Review: Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS

Sigma-18-250mm-f-3.5-6.3-DC-Macro-OS-HSM-Lens

Sigma-18-250mm-f-3.5-6.3-DC-Macro-OS-HSM-Lens

I got this beauty earlier this year.  I got it for two reasons:

  • Greater optical range
  • Image stabilizaton

This particular lens was originally released way back in 2009 and has held pretty much to the original specs as far as I can tell.  It seems to be a popular one out there, not only for Nikon but for Canon and Pentax as well.  Another good reason is its popularity.

Greater Optical Range

For the better part of 10 years, my main lens choices have been the 18-55mm Nikkor kit lens and the 55-200mm Nikkor.  Yes, I do have others but these seem to have been the mainstays for much of that time.  The big issue has been that I was a bit limited in focal length with each of these.  Add to that, I would need to change lenses on the fly if I was looking to either zoom in closer or pan out further, depending on which glass I had on the body.  I have been humming and hawwing on which lens I should get.  There was a lot of reading reviews, looking at sample images and chatting with staff at Henry’s as well as with other photographers.  I was looking for a good lens that would not only help with making great images but also would become a general purpose walk-around lens.

Image Stabilization

It’s the first of my lenses with image stabilization.  Yes, that’s right:  I’ve never had image stabilization in a lens until I got this one.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what kind of difference it would make but once I got it, I like it.

I took images in these posts with this lens:

Observations

Like everything that I get that is new to me, I got all excited with this lens and just couldn’t wait to use it and see what it would do for me.  I was not disappointed.

On startup, when I turn the camera on, it takes a few seconds (about 2 or 3) for the OS (Optical Stabilization) to engage.  There’s a tiny little whirr that let’s you know that it is active.  Once on, you don’t hear it again.  This may be a problem with some folks but when I’m out there taking photos I keep the camera on anyway.  Besides, it’s a bit comforting to listen for the sound and get that gratifying little whirr.

It seemed that I was immediately able to take more lower light shots without flash.  Big bonus here because nobody likes to be inundated with light flashes at family gatherings and such.  I am also able to take sharper hand-held images at a bit longer focal length and/or a slightly slower shutter speed with the OS on.

The auto-focus is nice and fast.  It’s also very accurate and seems to perform a bit better/faster than my kit lenses.  This is great for walkabouts.

Of course, if I am using a tripod, the OS is turned off.  There is no need for the lens to be compensating for nothing.

It’s also not too heavy, all things considered.  You can certainly feel the weight difference but keep in mind that you aren’t carrying two (or more) lenses to cover the focal range.  I would have had to carry my two Nikon lenses and the old Tamron 70-300 to cover all of what the Sigma carries.  Combined, they weigh a lot more than the Sigma.  I’m sure that if you have a regular neck-breaker strap you would feel it more than if you had a sling strap or other alternative.  I had the regular strap until April.  I can honestly tell you that the strap can make a big difference.  But hey, that’s another post (coming soon).

This lens has definitely become my ‘go-to’ most of the time.  I found that it can be used for a broad range of images from landscapes to portraits.  I love the range I can get with this and convenience as a result.