292 of 300 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Reading reviews is a crap shoot. You know nothing about the reviewer or the use of the product. That said, I am assuming you are not a struggling professional trying to shoot a high quality, tight-budget job. You are a user looking for one lens to carry to cover a wide range of service.
I'm a pro. I have a many bodies and L lenses to use.
I carry an XSI with THIS Sigma 18-200mm non OS lens just about everywhere I go. It is a great vacation tool, where most pix are shown in a digital frame or are never going to be more than 4x6.
Yes, the MTF is not great (simply: contrast across the lens), there is some chromatic fringing and watch out! the lens hood will cause vignetting and shadows with a flash at wide angle. I've been using this lens since it was released in early '05.
It's a $300 lens. Does it compare to a $1500 L lens? Yeah - very badly. So what? The first rule of photography is get the picture. Missing the shot while changing lenses is not photography. Is this the preferred lens in my arsenal? No. But for general non-client, daylight, non-sports shooting, it's the one I'll probably be using. I prefer the non-optical stabilzed version - less complexity.
To help you weigh this review: I use five professional (5D, 1D) and several prosumer (40D, 50D, XTI, XSI) bodies and nine L lenses, plus a slew of others.
Photo tip: night shooting of foreground against backround (done a lot with this lens!): typical situation: girl on beach in front of sunset. Manually set exposure to flash shutter speed, aperature & ISO to get background. Turn flash on to expose and meter foreground. You'll get some great "how did you do that?" pix. All the MTF, abberetion and linearity issues will mean nothing, because you got a picture no one else could and th L doesn't really add anything, because you want depth of field here.
Thanks for reading my review.
173 of 180 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This was shipped to my office yesterday, so I naturally had to play with it. I have an old Nikon D50, and had gotten use to the kit lens that was on it. This Sigma is CONSIDERABLY larger and heavier. I expected that of course, and maybe I'm just getting old, but IMO its a pretty hefty lens.
I bought this lens expressly for the Optical Stabilization, so that was the first thing I tested. My office has a logo painted on the far side, so I handheld, indoors, at 200mm and focused on one letter. The lens setting was f6.3 at 1/30 sec. Looking side by side at the OS and non-OS shot in the camera lcd screen, they looked almost identical.
However, puting them in Photoshop and blowing them up revealed a whole other story. The non-os picture was blurred - and no amount of sharpening in Photoshop could correct it.
The OS picture was sharp. I'm not easily impressed, but I was really surprised at how well it worked. When I enlarged it to 200 percent in Photoshop, it seemed to be a bit soft, so I applied a small bit of sharpening from the software - and ended up with a photo that looked like
it had been shot with a macro lens from 3 feet away on a tripod. It was outstanding.
I bought this lens for 2 reasons.
First I am a Realtor. All of my listings need indoor shots, and I stay away from flash if I can - natural light seems to create warm home interiors. Problem was, most of these shots ended up in the 1/8-1/15 range - so I packed a tripod around. This lens should be far more convenient.
Second, I am a photographer. I shoot a lot of weddings and reunions, and I often try to drag the shutter, especially in churches or large halls, where I want some ambient light to fill in the background. This lens will allow me to shoot all day at 1/15 sec. with a TTL flash, and create some nice balanced portraits without the background blur found in most of these sort of images from the slow shutter speed.
I have read in other reviews that this lens is slow. It is. If it were a straight lens with f6.3 at 200 mm, I wouldn't even consider it. However, the OS allows you to handhold safely at least another 2 fstops slower, so IMO, that makes up for the slow speed of the lens. Besides, it's ridiculous to compare a $500 lens to a $1700 lens in the first place.
The lens also has a bit of distortion. If you primarily shoot architecture, and don't want to correct all of your images, this isn't the lens for you.
I haven't noticed any lens creep yet, the zoom ring is pretty stiff, but that may change over time, and there is a lock, anyway.
One major complaint I have about this lens: the focus ring is prominent, and easy to grab. TOO easy to grab. Sigma warns against turning the focus ring when you are in autofocus mode, for fear of damaging the lens. I trained myself after about 15 minutes to keep my hand off of it, but I noticed that anyone that picked up the camera had a tendency to want to turn the focus ring, thinking it was the zoom ring. If you hand this lens to someone to take your picture, be sure to instruct them how to handle it, or risk damage to the lens.
The focus mechanism and OS are a bit noisy, but mostly because my ear is about 4 inches from the camera when it operates. I care very little about the noise factor.
Overall, this is a great lens. Inexpensive, will probably be on your camera exclusively, and allows you to handhold the camera in low light situations. I never got to test it against Nikon's version, but the difference in price made the choice easy. I recommend this lens highly.
95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
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I disagree with the previous poster. I think this lens is pretty great.
The quality is exceptional for a lens of this price and range.
There seems to be a controversy regarding how focal lengths of lenses are measured; from what I've read, the lens does go to 200mm if measured at infinity.
In the real world, the lens takes fine pics as long as you have enough light. The size and weight is perfect for a walk-around lens. My Rebel XT with this lens (and the Hakuba hand grip) is a perfect fit, and feels great to carry around and shoot. To get better optical quality at this range, you would need to get a few lenses that each cost a lot more. There is nothing quite like this, except for Tamaron's 18-200, which I hear doesn't compare favorably to the Sigma.
It seems that Sigma has quality control issues, so I would buy
the lens from a local dealer that has a return policy. Test the lens, and if you don't think it's up to par, return it for another.
135 of 144 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
First impressions after having the lens for 1 week, using with the Nikon D200 (upgraded from Nikon 24-120mm VR):
1. It is loud. When auto focusing or engaging the OS function, the lens makes a chirp sound. Doesn't really matter from a performance perspective, but it is annoying.
2. Auto focus in the dark takes longer than the 24-120mm Nikon. Not sure if this is the camera or the lens, but the lens just doesn't seem happy to do the nighttime auto focus.
3. Range is amazing. From full tele to full zoom, the photos look great.
4. OS stabilization seems to work just as well as the Nikon 24-120mm VR's did.
4. For just over 1/2 the price of the Nikon 18-200 VR, no matter how much quieter/faster the Nikon is, this seems like the better value for the buck.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Jonathan H. Ward
- Published on Amazon.com
I purchased this lens for use with a new Nikon D40 and have been blown away! I really enjoy having the flexibility to go from 18mm to 200mm in a single lens, rather than swapping between my 18-55 and 55-200 lenses. I took it for a "test drive" on a hike in the mountains this weekend, and I will never go back to carrying my two other lenses again when I'm walking around! Images were crisp and the colors were great. I forgot to take my circular polarizing filter with me, but it wasn't a problem with this beauty.
The optical quality is much better than I expected. There is some barrel distortion when you're zoomed back to wide angles - it was noticeable through the viewfinder. If it bothers you, it's corrected easily enough using Capture NX or Photoshop to work on your images.
The lens is noticeably heavier than its brethren, but I don't believe that will be an issue. It's also almost an inch bigger in diameter than my 55-200mm lens, but I actually think that's good. It feels better in my hand.
I found myself switching to manual focus on several occasions, as I was shooting through trees into the valley several miles from the mountain. As others have noted, the focus ring is larger than I have come to expect on other lenses, and I did find myself grabbing it by mistake a couple of times when I meant to go for the zoom ring. I'll learn, though...I'll be using this lens almost all the time, so I know I'll get used to it.
I have noted that in extreme close-ups (macro range), the lens does a great deal of "hunting" to find the right focus. The Nikon lenses often do the same thing, but the hunting is a little louder with the Sigma lens. I wonder if the wider lens barrel partially blocks the camera's autofocus sensor. Again, this is not a big issue for me...especially in macro shots, where I prefer to focus manually anyway.
The Optical Stabilization feature worked great. I didn't have a single blurred picture from my shoot on the hike, even though I was shooting at f10 or narrower most of the time, at many zoom angles, in a variety of lighting conditions, and without a tripod.
The biggest problem I had came from the embarrassment of riches at having so wide a zoom range available to me! On many occasions, I found myself shooting the same scene from the same spot, all the way from 18mm to high zooms, and every one of the pictures had its own artistic interest and merits. How do I choose which one I like best?!
All in all, this is a great lens. I'm very happy with it and I know I'll be doing a lot more photography with it than I would have been doing without it.