I have used many lenses and cameras in the past. I have been into photography since I was 15 and many cameras passed through my fingers in the years, starting from my first camera – Smena 8M, and then Zenith 12XP, leading to some Canon cameras in the past years.
When it comes to lenses, I have used many lenses in the past and even with my Canon cameras I have used a number of different lenses, not just the lenses from Canon.
If you have been following my blog for some time, or if you attended one of my Adobe Certified Courses, you know that when I plan to buy something, I do research trying to find a product that will suit me best (or actually, that will give me what I need). Those of you who have asked me about my opinion on something you wanted to buy, remember that my first question to you was ” What are you going to use it for? ” or ” What do you want it to do? “.
Recently, I started looking for a lens that I could use for travel. I do have a few “good” lenses (one of them being an L lens from Canon), but they are big, heavy and with limited range. I wanted something that I could take with me when travelling, ideally a lens that would give me at least a zoom range of wide-angle ca.18mm to telephoto ca.140-150mm (on APS-C camera) and at the same time a lens that would be portable.
I were to decided between these lenses:
- Canon EF-S 18-135mm
- Canon EF-S 18-200mm
- Sigma 18-250mm OS HSM
- Tamron 18-270mm
I have read loads of reviews online and most of them were rating these lenses quite similar. However, what I didn’t like about the Canon lenses, and what was very important to me, was that these lenses from Canon don’t have USM motor. And they even cost more than Sigma or Tamron. I have a friend who has Canon EF-S 18-200mm and the lens is very noisy. If it has USM, I would probably buy it as it had good reviews. This brought Sigma into the picture.
Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM lens has everything you need:
- HSM motor (ultra silent, in my opinion as quiet and as fast as USM),
- OS image stabilisation which worked great in real life situations,
- and it even has a Macro mode.
Sigma lens seemed to be very similar to the Tamron in terms of specifications and reviews, but some of the things I liked about Sigma were:
- it is lighter (only 470g),
- it is made from special materials – Sigma’s newly developed Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) which allows for a more compact design.
Here’s what the lens looks like set to minimum – 18mm and extended to maximum – 250mm:
The lens features an Optical Stabiliser, pretty much standard on most Sigma lenses nowadays, which proved to be very useful in low light situations, where I was using slower shutter speeds.
Optical Stabiliser is very good, allowing shooting at lower shutter speed, and most importantly it is very silent. I couldn’t tell the difference in terms of noise (or being almost silent) between Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM and my other lens Canon EF 24-105mm F4 L USM. There is a dedicated switch on the lens that can be used to turn the Optical Stabilizer on and off. It sits close to the Auto Focus / Manual Focus switch. I found the switches to be well designer, however, in terms of design and being ergonomic, I would give the edge to the L series from Canon. However, keep in mind that Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM is not a professional lens (like L series from Canon). For a consumer lens, this is a very well designed lens.
This is not my first Sigma lens. A few years ago I purchased Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 lens. As I compare my experience with both these lenses, both lenses were very well designed. They handle very well and there is a nice feel to them. My major disappointment with Sigma 24-70, at that time, was the lack of HSM motor. The auto focus was noisy. This has now been dealt with with the HSM lenses from Sigma, including the lens we have here. Auto Focus on Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM is fast and quiet. I couldn’t tell the difference between Canon’s USM and Sigma’s HSM. Great job, Sigma!
The lens mount is very well done, with the metal mount:
The mount of the lens is very well made and it feels high quality.
The lens has a nice size, fits nicely with the camera and doesn’t weigh too much. Despite its big zoom (18-250mm), this second generation of the lens is much lighter than the previous one thanks to special materials used in the lens. Below are the images that show what the lens looks like on a Canon EOS 7D:
To summarise, Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM is a very good lens with great, fast, and silent auto focus and image stabilisation. It also creates great quality images. I didn’t notice too many distortions, some barrel distortions on the edges when shooting at wide angle with aperture below F8, and some small colour fringing which can be easily removed in Photoshop or Lightroom.