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358 of 367 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice lens. New leader in the "walkaround" category
I am very very pleased with this newest superzoom from Sigma, paired with my Canon 60D. Build quality is excellent. Image quality is sharp at both ends of the range. Focus is quick and quiet. OS works extremely well. It is light weight and compact compared to others in this category, which adds to its value as a "walkaround" lens. To top it all off, the price is...
Published on August 8, 2012 by GaryPen

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78 of 91 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You're going to need a lot of light
I purchased this as that everyday, walk around, do it all lens that everyone is looking for. Paired with a Nikon D5100 it makes for a nice compact kit for a day of street photography, the zoo, at the park with the kids, etc. My copies zoom ring moves lightly and smoothly up till about 80-100mm then becomes very stiff from there to 250mm. The focus ring in manual has no...
Published 22 months ago by D. M. Harman


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358 of 367 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice lens. New leader in the "walkaround" category, August 8, 2012
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I am very very pleased with this newest superzoom from Sigma, paired with my Canon 60D. Build quality is excellent. Image quality is sharp at both ends of the range. Focus is quick and quiet. OS works extremely well. It is light weight and compact compared to others in this category, which adds to its value as a "walkaround" lens. To top it all off, the price is outstanding for a lens with this feature set, build, and image quality. (It's ~$100 cheaper than the "comparable" Tamron, and ~$30 less than the shorter focal length Canon 18-200.)

I had used the Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD LD Aspherical IF Macro Zoom Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras for a while last year, when it was the "hot" 3rd party superzoom. But, the images looked a little soft to me, especially at the long end. Plus, I didn't care for the build quality and feel of the zoom/focus rings at all. (The Tamron is made in China, while this Sigma is made in Japan.) And, IIRC, the Tamron zoom ring operated in the opposite direction from Canon and Sigma, which wreaks havoc with one's muscle memory. The Tamron also suffered from lens creep, which the Sigma, so far, has not.

I have been using the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras with my 60D until switching to this Sigma, and the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras with my T2i before that. This Sigma lens focuses quicker, is much easier to hold and carry, and results in the same quality shots. It is much smaller and lighter than the canon 18-200. Yet, looks and feels as well made or arguably better than the Canon lenses. The AF/MF, OS, and lock buttons are positioned better than the Canon's. The Canon 18-200 also suffers from lens creep, which the Sigma, so far, does not. The image quality is about the same, although the Sigma does show a little less CA, which is a plus.

There is an older version of this lens with an almost identical title, just not "Macro" Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF Lens for Canon AF Digital SLR Cameras. But, it is larger, heavier, and slower to focus. However, if money is an issue, it's ~$120 cheaper than this one. So, it might be a viable option for you. But, not having used it, I cannot speak to its image quality, build, or operation. It does get mostly positive reviews, though.

I can, however, highly recommend *this* Sigma for your Canon EOS system body. Of course, it will not result in images as sharp as most prime lenses or almost any L series lens. But, I find it the best of the current crop of "walkaround" lenses available for the Canon APS-C sensor models. (It is not recommended for full-frame models.) I can almost guarantee it will rarely see any time not attached to yours, if you are like me and want a single lens for most of your everyday shots. Sure, there are plenty of situations that require that prime portrait or macro lens, or that long telephoto zoom. But, when you're at the dog park, or the kids' birthday party, or the family reunion, or tourist destination, etc, this is the lens.
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239 of 246 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great lens - image stablization PLUS ultrasonic motor with 18-250mm range...., June 15, 2013
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I'm reading all the other reviews here saying to myself "are these folks really taking this much time and energy nit-picking over small reductions in image quality, or why this lens is not ACTUALLY 250mm but more like 239mm?!?"

Look at the facts - this lens is only $400 AND it's got a huge range, optical stabilization, an equivalent USM super-quiet motor, and capable of sharp, clean images!

Judge things on their own merits, not compared to lenses 6-8x the price. Some of these other reviews are actually akin to "I bought this Camaro for $35,000 and was duped into thinking it handled nearly as well as a Lamborghini Aventador at $375,000."

Will you get superior images from L-series glass? Every time. Is the auto-focus USM from Canon superior? You bet. Is the IS quieter than the OS from Sigma? Sure is. Is the low light performance of this lens inferior to the Canon counterparts at 3x the price? You know it.

BUT....

If you are on a budget AND are willing to compromise a tiny bit in each of these areas will you get a lens that comes very close to it's competitors for a GREAT DEAL LESS?! Of course!

Enough said. Get the lens, you'll be happy.

-- UPDATE 19-OCT-14 --

The lens is still going strong, of course.

One thing to bear in mind - if you are using this lens on a crop sensor body (Rebel series, xxD, 7D or 1D) you are getting a magnification factor of 1.6. This means that a 250mm lens is gaining a reach similar to a 400mm lens. I say similar because on a smaller sensor you are not actually getting the 400mm - it's a cropped, or smaller amount of the image.

That is, if you take a photo with a smaller sensor than a full-frame 35mm size and use the same lens it will only show a smaller area of the scene. Thus, we say the image is cropped - it APPEARS that the lens has a greater reach, but in reality it is just showing a smaller area of the scene, magnified.

A great explanation is given here: http://digital-photography-school.com/crop-factor-explained/
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210 of 219 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome walkabout lens...thank you Sigma..., January 14, 2013
This review is from: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I wanted a solid walkabout lens for my D5100 without breaking the bank. I had the option of buying the Nikon 18-300 for about $1000 or a 3rd party lens. I really did't want to invest too much in glass for a D series mount as I can see myself moving up to an F series in a couple of years. I was sick of changing lenses and lugging a lot of weight around and really wanted a zoom in this range.

After doing research online I decided to go with the Sigma (over the more expensive Nikon and competing Tamron). Their reviews were solid, and I have previously owned and been satisfied with Sigma lenses.

Here is the scoop:

Pros:
1. Fast, accurate, quiet autofocus (faster that the stock Nikon lenses which came with the camera (18-55 and 55-300).
2. Light weight, well built, well balanced, and ergonomically superb in every aspect.
3. Image quality is awesome (for a super zoom).
4. Image stabilizer does the job with at least 3 f stops improvement.
5. I love the internal manual focus mechanism, it is definitely an upgrade over basic Nikon lenses. Easy and fast to use.

Cons: The only thing I can say so far is there is lens creep. Actually more than creep. The front portions of the lens will extend halfway out while the camera is hanging from my neck. The good part is there is a very convenient lock that prevents this from happening when you are walking around. For me personally, lens creep is not an issue. I haven't bought this lens for tripod mounted macro photography. Be pretty sure that any such lens will have creep; If not right out of the box, sometime within a few months of usage. You can always send the lens back and they will tighten it, but the creep will again come back in time and warmer weather. It's just the nature of the superzoom beast....

Other tidbits:

***You will get a shadow using on camera flash even without a hood if you are shooting closeup with this (or any other wide/telephoto superzoom). Buy a SB400 Nikon flash and problem solved....

***I use a 72mm filter on this lense (even though the mount is 62mm). I like to do this because I don't get vigneting with a polarizer attached.

***The standard hood that comes with the camera is cute, but useless (as is the case with all hoods that come with superzooms). It covers you on the wideangle range but does nothing on the telephoto range. If you use the 72mm step up ring and filter trick, you can acually use a nice collapsible rubber hood that offers you more coverage (get Hoya's they make a nice one)...
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126 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent General Purpose Lens, October 30, 2012
By 
Jeremy S (Harlingen, TX) - See all my reviews
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I purchased my first DSLR (a Canon T3i) and I immediately purchased a CANON EF 75-300 III F4-5.6 to go with the 18-50mm kit lens. After a few months I grew tired of constantly swapping lenses and I started looking into a general purpose lens that I could keep on the camera most of the time.

I borrowed a Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF Lens for Canon AF Digital SLR Cameras from a friend before I went on a trip to Disney World and I was impressed by the convenience it and started looking to get one for my self. As I was looking at the Sigma website I ran into this newer version of the 18-250 and decided to give it a chance.

After receiving it I was very impressed by the weight and size difference. The older Sigma 18-250mm has a 72mm filter size and this version has a 62mm filter size and this lens weighs about 200 grams or .4 lb less than its predecessor.

Image quality is very good for the class of lens. It doesn't hod up to a good prime or "L" lens but its price is not in the same ballpark either. I do notice some barrel distortion on the short end but that is easily fixed with Lightroom or Photoshop.

OS (optical stabilization) works well allowing for hand holding some shots that would otherwise require better support.

Autofocus is quick and rarely struggles to focus. It may just be me imagining things but I think it is a bit louder that the other lenses I have worked with but it is not really distracting in any way.

As with other reviewers I have found the zoom to be stiff at the beginning of the zoom range but it loosens up after about 50mm. My copy does have zoom creep from about 28mm through 110mm but the lens has to be pointed nearly straight down for that to happen. I have had to learn the habit of using the zoom lock switch when I am finished shooting and am moving around but I consider that a good habit to get into anyway.

I do appreciate that Sigma includes a petal type lens hood with the lens. The hood is sturdy and connects very firmly to the bayonet mount on the lens.

I love shooting with this lens and I feel it is worth every penny I paid for it. In comparison with the Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF Lens for Canon AF Digital SLR Cameras I feel that the smaller size, lighter weight, and faster autofocus easily justifies its extra cost.
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78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OK, so I REALLY WANTED to love this lens . . ., July 31, 2013
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OK, so I REALLY WANTED to love this lens . . .

This is a long review. I like to write. I hope folks will find my story interesting and helpful.

I struggled for weeks to decide on my “next” DSLR lens. After hours staring at specs, searching for prices, and digesting review after review, three contenders emerged. They were: the Sigma 18-250mm for $399, the similarly designed Canon 18-200mm for $699, and the Canon 24-105 f/4 L for closer to $1,000. OK, so that’s a big price range. Stay with me to the end and this will make sense. . .

The Sigma 18-250mm could be considered a good “litmus test” to clarify your personal goals as a DSLR owner. If you are using your DSLR to take "pictures" then you may really enjoy this lens. For the money, it delivers quite a lot. If, instead, you use your DSLR to take "photos" then this lens is probably not going to be for you. I want to characterize the lens on this basis, because it's really only a "good lens" or a "bad lens" based on what you expect from it.

Let's start with disclosures: I’m a total amateur. I own a Canon T2i (EOS 550D) and “sort of” know how to use it. I originally decided to pop for a DSLR in order to get faster instant-on-to-first-shot performance for taking pictures of my kids. Once I started using the T2i, I fell in love with what the camera could do. Beyond the kit EF-S 18-55mm lens, I next bought the EF-S 55-250mm. The 55-250mm is a solid, inexpensive, long telephoto lens that will let you take nature shots, action shots, etc. – I bought it for soccer games. Together, these lenses give you a nice wide-angle to medium-telephoto range. But, let’s be honest: changing lenses is a pain. The Sigma 18-250mm is designed to replace this standard Canon EF-S combination, and give you the 18 – 250mm range without changing your lens. If replacing this combination is your goal (or if you only have the 18-55mm,) then the Sigma may be what you are looking for. If you’ve got the budget, however, you should definitely consider the more expensive Canon 18-200mm. (I’ll only indirectly address the Canon lens in this review.)

My problems with the Sigma stem from the third lens I purchased for my T2i: the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, affectionately known to many as the "Thrifty Fifty.” When I took my first looks at shots taken with this lens, I stopped wanting to take "pictures" and started wanting to take "photos" – the impact was overwhelming! If you own a Canon DLSR, consider yourself a relative beginner, and DON'T own the Thrifty Fifty, then you should stop reading this review right now, and go out and buy yourself a Thrifty Fifty immediately. For a mere $150.00, you will be absolutely blown away by what your camera's sensor can actually do! The kit lenses are excellent. However, when you see the razor-sharp focus, incredible detail, and beautiful bokeh (foreground & background intentionally out of focus,) that the Thrift Fifty delivers, you’ll be amazed. Why do I mention all of this detail? I think it’s helpful to explain what I actually knew about lenses when I decided to try out the Sigma. So here goes…

The good:
- The zoom range of the Sigma is why you buy it -- having 18 to 250mm available in a single lens is just really, really convenient. There’s almost no shot you won’t get.
- The lens is relatively lightweight given its range. I carried it daily for the better part of a week, and never considered the weight an issue. (It is a good bit heavier than either of the kit lenses. I’m told it weighs about the same as the Canon 18-200mm.)
- The build quality is very nice. I have friends who swear by Sigma lenses, and now I can see why. It is solid, well manufactured, and aesthetically pleasing
- Sigma's OS (Optical Stabilization) is quite good. OS won’t help you too much in a low-light situation, but it will effectively combat camera shake when shooting handheld outdoors, which is what this lens is for: walking around with a single, do-it-all lens.
- f/3.5 performance at 18mm is very nice, especially when combined with Sigma’s OS. You won’t get brilliant light like you can with a faster (f/2.8, f/2.0, f/1.8) lens, but it will help tremendously when there is enough light available.
- For $399, the price / performance of this lens is really quite impressive. I can’t say that you should expect more for your money. If you are tight on budget, want lots of capability, and aren’t a freak about image quality, you will be very pleased with this lens.

The Bad:
- Because of the Thrifty Fifty, I’m now a freak about image quality. Sadly, adding the Sigma to my lens collection felt like a step backward. Yes, I got the shot, but I tended to be unhappy with it . . . here come the details . . .
- At all focal lengths except 70 - 120mm, the Sigma’s shots were soft. Pixel-peeping (zooming way in with your photo editing software; something that amateurs really shouldn’t be doing…) on all shots taken outside of this range, I was disappointed that I was not seeing crisp, sharp details. Softness is understandable at long zoon, but from 18mm to 70mm, things should be sharp.
- Significant CA. Honestly, I didn’t really understand what Chromatic Aberration (or, CA) was before owning this lens. CA is the tendency of red and green light to separate at the edges of an image. It happens because the different wavelengths (colors) of light bend differently, and so they don’t line up together when focused through a complex lens. Apparently, all lenses suffer from some degree on CA. However, it’s particularly a problem on zooms with a wide range. Unfortunately, I found the Sigma to suffer quite badly from CA, resulting in significantly degraded image quality. For me, this was the killer.
- Lens creep. Many zooms suffer from what’s known as "creep," where the lens barrel will extend (undesirably) under its own weight. I use BlackRapid strap (which I highly recommend) that attaches to the camera’s tripod mount. Because this design means that the lens points towards the ground when being carried, any lens that does creep, will creep. The folks at Sigma obviously anticipated creep, because they included a zoom lock, which lets you lock the barrel at the 18mm position. Unfortunately, this results in constantly locking & unlocking the lens, which quickly becomes a pain. It this a nit-pick? Maybe. But for reference, I’ve never had my Canon 55-250mm creep. (Perhaps this issue is not such a big deal with other straps, but it was definitely an “annoyance” with my set up. At least they included the zoom lock!)
- Is it really 250mm? One of the odd things I noticed during my checkout was that photos taken at full zoom (250mm) on the Sigma somehow seemed different from those taken at 250mm on my Canon 55-250mm. So, I did a test. I took the same shot and actually measured the captured image. I was stunned to find a 40% difference! The Canon lens seemed to zoom much farther than the Simga – what’s up with that?! I queried some forums and got educated on “lens breathing” which can sometimes account for this type of difference. However, the consensus from several experts was that a 40% delta could not be explained solely by lens breathing. In the end, I left this as a bit of a mystery, but caveat emptor – I am still wondering if Sigma’s 250mm was really 250mm, or maybe just 200mm…
- Barrel friction. Apparently one of the big mechanical challenges of long zooms is getting just the right amount of friction in the barrel, and keeping it consistent. The Sigma underwhelms here; there is very obvious “stickiness” between 70 and 200mm. Perhaps they were intentionally trying to make it sticky to avoid lens creep? The upshot is that as you zoom from 18 towards 250, you hit big resistance for about a ˝ turn. Once I got used to it, it wasn’t a huge deal. Ideally, it shouldn’t be there, but there you have it.

So, why did I return this lens? No question: Image Quality.

At the end of the day, I realized that for me, taking a step back on image quality wasn’t worth the convenience of this massive zoom range. During my checkout, I aggressively researched lens design, and read dozens upon dozens of reviews of zooms of various ranges. My conclusion is that outside of wildly expensive professional lenses, you must be willing to accept tradeoffs in a consumer super zoom. In the case of the Sigma, while they maintain good aperture performance and wonderful zoom range, these features come at the expense of Image Quality. For me, this was a deal-breaker. For you, it might not be.

So, for the amateur-recently-turned-IQ-snob, what lens to buy instead?

After countless hours poring over reviews and asking friends, a clear direction emerged: I was going to have to sacrifice zoom range if I wanted better, faster glass. There were dozens of contenders out there: Canon, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina. The winner? The Canon 24-105mm f/4 L. Although nominally priced at $1,149.00, white box copies of this lens are now showing up at $799. So, is it worth 2X the money to get less zoom range but upgrade to one of the legendary Canon “L” lenses???

Ab-so-lutely.

Giving up wide angle from 18mm to 24mm really didn’t worry me too much. At 18mm, most of the group people shots I’ve taken have been easily inside the frame. Looking across the wide-angle shots I had taken with the Sigma, I also noticed that many of them were actually at 22m, instead of 18mm. So, bumping from a maximum wide of 22 to 24 didn’t seem like too much of a sacrifice for me – so, maybe I just have to take another step back from my subject to get the shot. Big deal. If the shot is going to look MUCH better, I can take one more step back….

In contrast, the prospect of giving up telephoto from 250mm (if it really was 250…) all the way down to 105mm, did worry me… a lot. Should I just be happy with the 55mm max range on my kit lens and save my money? Should I just continue to use my 55-250mm for these longer-range zoom shots? Should I try the Canon 18-200mm instead? After all, if my intent was to have “just one lens,” what would having the extra 50mm provided by the original kit lens really buy me?

Then I remembered the Thrifty Fifty.

One of the amazing things I discovered when first playing with it was that far-away objects, when in focus, were still very, very sharp. So sharp, in fact, that with 18MP to play with, I could shoot a far-away object, crop the shot, and still have a nice end result. So, couldn’t I do the same with a very sharp shot at 105mm? If I wanted to zoom to 200mm and could only do 105mm, if the shot was sharp enough, would I be happy with a cropped image? And there was my answer . . . yes.

The 24-105mm f/4 L blows away the Canon 18-55mm, the Canon 55-250mm, and the Sigma 18-250mm throughout its entire range. At every focal length, its performance is simply superb. So, while it may have minor limitations for shot framing and composition, it completely wins by enabling the best results all the way across the middle part of its zoom range. Still, the question lingers: is it worth 2X the money given the zoom range sacrifices? Well, let me just say this: I’m once again giggling when I review my shots at the end of a day. The Image Quality of the f/4 L is just off the hook, and I can’t imagine going back – I haven’t had this much fun since the 50mm f/1.8. Even when the lens is stopped down to 5.6 or more, the sharpness of the images are just astounding. So long as you keep the ISO below 800, the lens delivers amazing IQ across its aperture range. There is no question that it is the winner from 24mm to 105mm at every length.

At the end of the day, you need to assess the Sigma 18-250mm based on your own personal goals. For me, it was an interesting and educational detour that taught me how much I value IQ. For you, the lens might be a terrific expansion that brings you lots of creative results. Just know that lenses are priced based on very mature and active consumer markets. You will get a lot with this lens, but you won’t get everything. Just make your decision based on how you take pictures, and you’ll be satisfied.

I’m very glad I got a change to shoot this lens – thank you Amazon for your generous exchange policies. At the end of the day, both Amazon and Canon got more of my money, and I got more satisfaction. As much as I enjoyed the Sigma, I’m enjoying having splurged for the f/4 L even more!
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66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better results than with the Tamron, plus it's cheaper, December 29, 2012
By 
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After about a year and a few thousand shots with the Tamron 18-270mm Zoom Lens I wasn't entirely happy with it. Oh, the size and zoom range were great. I got a lot of very good shots with it. But it sometimes wouldn't focus quite right, especially in low light. On occasion I would get an error from the camera that it couldn't communicate with the lens, and I would have to unseat and reseat the lens. So I thought I'd try the Sigma, as I've had good luck with their lenses in the past. (Last Tamron I'd had was years ago, for a Pentax film SLR.)

I was somewhat surprised to see that it was cheaper than the Tamron, but the size and performance specs are very close.* The Sigma looks a little classier and feels a little better built. After about 500 shots I've had no problems, and am happy with the results. No, you won't get the performance of prime lenses, or even shorter focal range zooms. But for carrying around and taking the kind of shots where minor distortion isn't an issue, this is a terrific lens.

How much difference does the telephoto range make? In theory 270 vs 250 is an 8% magnification difference. But manufacturers are known to overstate the true long end. I didn't try an absolute measurement, but I did test the relative magnification, and the Tamron's is actually only 4% greater than the Sigma's. Not much practical difference.

I'll be using the Sigma from now on. (Or until something even cooler comes along.)

* Both are 16 elements in 13 groups, same length and diameter, the Sigma is slightly heavier, same F# range, the Tamron has a longer telephoto, the Sigma focuses closer.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Travel Zoom Lens, January 16, 2013
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This new lens by Sigma, only released in December of 2012 for Sony alpha cameras (the Nikon and Canon mount versions were released a bit earlier) is worthy of a good look by anyone shooting with a Sony alpha and looking for a do-it-all "walkabout" lens.

The lens seems to be manufactured with excellent quality. An increasingly rare thing these days, the lens is manufactured in Japan. The materials used are described in the product literature at the top of the Amazon page, but the feel of the lens is very good, with a solid feel and a generally smooth zoom mechanism. Both the zoom lock and the manual focus switch have a very nice, solid click engagement. The zoom, while smooth, has the slightest amount of stiffness in the middle of the zoom range, something that I believe will probably decrease over time. I believe the lens will exhibit "lens creep" over time, but this is hardly something unusual for this class of lens (and if you wish, look into a Lens Band to help control it). The glass elements (again, see the description on the Amazon page above this review) incorporate low dispersion glass ("SLD"), and also make use of three aspherical lens elements (meaning that the lens curvatures for these elements are not spherical, but "a"-spherical to reduce distortion) to apparently reduce the number of lens elements used in the model.

This lens is an updated version of Sigma's earlier 18-250mm lens (the Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM IF Lens for Sony), which has been out for a couple of years. BE CARFUL ABOUT THIS, because the older and newer models come up together when you search for them on Amazon or any other site. The distinguishing mark is that the new version will say "Macro" as part of it's name. It's not a true macro lens, of course, but the newer lens element configuration has allowed Sigma to reduce the minimum focusing difference to about fourteen inches (and at any zoon level!), no mean feat. When you couple that minimum distance with the 250mm zoom level, this lens can pass as a macro in some sense, and I've been able to achieve such shots using that configuration. There is also a price difference between the older and newer models, and you have to be careful not to make the mistake of thinking you are getting a real steal on the lens when you are, in fact, looking at the older model. The newer model is lighter (470g vs. the older model's 630g, a substantial difference) and smaller (7.37 x 8.89 cm vs. the older 7.87 x 10.16 cm), which is part of the reason you might want to consider the newer one (amongst others, continue reading).

Images seem to be sharp across the zoom range, and although some reviewers are reporting a slightly softer image at maximum zoom (250mm), I really don't see that too much myself. In fact, most of the shots I've taken with the lens thus far really don't seem to need sharpening all that much (maybe a touch here and there, but this is true of all lenses in most any price category). I normally use a Sony SAL-1680Z 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T DT Zoom Lens, and the Zeiss has it's trademark "Zeiss color," and this Sigma has more of what I would describe as a neutral color palate: you can intensify the contrast a bit if you desire, but it probably isn't necessary. You might also be wondering about the sharpness level against the Zeiss. I actually don't see all that much of a difference in the sharpness, but these are two very different lenses with very different costs. The Zeiss 16-80mm does what it does remarkably well. This Sigma, however, does what is does very well, too. It's a wide angle lens that zooms all the way to 250mm, and gives pretty uniform picture quality across the whole range.

I am using the lens with a Sony Alpha SLT-A57 16.1 MP DSLR, and the weight and reduced physical dimensions of the lens make it a really great companion to the a57. The lens is light enough (470g) and small enough that you shouldn't have trouble using it on a day-long shoot, or carrying it around on vacation. It's physical appearance is pretty nondescript, which is kind of nice in a way, because it doesn't attract attention to itself. There's just a small amount of gold labeling, and white markings for zoom level, and a flat black finish to the grip. The lens uses the "double-trombone" extension for the barrel, but it feels very solid, and doesn't protrude as much as similar lenses.

One thing this lens has--and something that will ruin you once you try it--is the "Hypersonic Motor" focusing mechanism. This means that focusing is accomplished through application of a small amount of current on a piezo-electric component, not a screw-drive mechanism, as in most lenses. In practice, it means that you'll hear almost no sound when the lens if focusing, just the slightest amount of internal movement of the elements. It's nearly completely silent. Even my 16-80mm Zeiss doesn't have this focusing technology. Focusing is fairly quick, too, although perhaps not quite as quick as my Zeiss, but really nothing of great difference to speak of.

So, as you can tell, thus far, I'm happy with this lens. When you add to this that the lens is currently being sold at only $550, it's actually something of a bargain. It's a well-built, good performance lens with a fantastic zoom range and a good price, to boot. And it's made in Japan. I suspect this lens will become quite popular over time. Five stars.

--

Additional Notes:

Although the descriptor here says "Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM," note that this is a slight error. The Sony (and the Pentax mount, as well) do NOT come with optical stabilization ("OS"). As Sony users are aware, modern Sony alphas have "SteadyShot INSIDE," so any lens you mount to the camera has, by default, optical stabilization. This titling error seems to be a carry over from the Nikon and Canon mount versions of the lens, both of which come with "OS," since neither Nikon or Canon cameras have built-in optical stabilization like the Sony alphas.

There is some vignetting (darker portions of the photo in the corners of it's frame)present at most of the zoom levels. This may or may not be an issue to you. Most "travel" zooms exhibit this behavior as a function of the compromises made to achieve such long reach (here, 18 to 250mm). You may be able to reduce this somewhat by decreasing the aperture for a given shot, but I have not yet tested that on this lens. The vignetting is pretty small (although noticeable), so this may not be of great concern.

Note, also, that the lens does not come with a lens bag or case. You'll have to pick that up separately.

For whatever it is worth, the bayonet mount is made of metal, not plastic (silver in color, made of brass).

The small white dot that is used to align the lens with the camera when you are attaching the lens is a bit hard to see. Compare that with the bright orange dot on Sony lenses, which is instantly visible, and therefore easier to mount the lens. It's alright that Sigma did not use orange to keep from intruding on the Sony style, but the white dot should have been made a bit larger for easier visibility.

My printed documentation says the lens has a one-year warranty.

For filters, I recommend the excellent Hoya 62mm Super Multicoated UV (0) or the Hoya 62mm DMC PRO1 Glass Protector.
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78 of 91 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You're going to need a lot of light, February 6, 2013
This review is from: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I purchased this as that everyday, walk around, do it all lens that everyone is looking for. Paired with a Nikon D5100 it makes for a nice compact kit for a day of street photography, the zoo, at the park with the kids, etc. My copies zoom ring moves lightly and smoothly up till about 80-100mm then becomes very stiff from there to 250mm. The focus ring in manual has no resistance at all and feels like plastic on plastic, easily moved with one finger.

As the title implies, my copy has great IQ in high light situations, I can't quite express it but IQ falls dramatically in lower light situations, more so than the "numbers" would lead you to believe. The D5100 typically does very well in the 800 to 1000 ISO range not so with this lens on. Outside, at ISO 100-400 at f8 to f11 it finds it's sweet spot, but drop down to f3.5-f6.3 and a higher ISO depending on zoom level indoors and IQ is "snapshot" at best. Now I know most lenses have this sweet spot and tend to lose sharpness as you open up, but this lens does it more than any other lens I own. As far as distortion goes, it's there, expected to be honest in a super zoom, and easily corrected in post processing. It also has a slightly "bluer" look than any of my Nikkor lenses as well. The $100 kit lens that came with the camera has much much better indoor IQ under the same fstop ISO conditions. A flash helps this lens greatly, but I much prefer using natural light when possible and at least my copy of this lens pretty much takes that away.

I'm keeping it, for the price, as an outdoor walk around lens in normal or sunny conditions it makes for a one lens day with decent photo quality. Indoors in natural light when you push it a bit, well, if you're known for sharing great photos with friends and family after an event or gathering, your reputation is going to take a hit!
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Lens, March 19, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sigma 18-250mm f3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Electronics)
I was a bit anxious about this lens after reading some of the less than stellar reviews, but for the sale price and its features gave it a try, knowing that if it wasn't as good as other's said it was, with Amazon's EXCELLENT return policy there was very little risk.

Boy, am I glad I did. I've got a Nikon D5100 body, a Nikon 300mm telephoto, and a Tamron 10-24mm wide angle lens. They are wonderful lenses, but I never seemed to have the right lens on for what I needed, and was constantly having to stop and switch. I was looking for a good "walking around" lens and I've found it. Not only do I not need to carry all the heavy equipment and the backpack to protect it, but no more missed shots. I like to hike and the smaller weight and less hassle is important.

This isn't intended to be a detail technical review, but rather my impressions after using the lens in various situations. I've had the lens for 1 month, and have taken a couple of thousand shots by now. It gets the job done.

I'm not a professional photographer but have been seriously involved for over 50 years. I'm extremely satisfied with the quality of not only the manufacturing, but the digital images themselves. (You can see samples at [...] ).

I would not hesitate to recommend this lens to anyone.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Initial Review A+++++, September 6, 2012
I just purchased my first DSLR in August (Cannon T3i), so I will not write at length because I have no expertise. However, I purchased this lens to compliment my first lens, which is the 50mm f/1.8 (Canon's cheapest prime). I am thrilled with my first 500+ pictures from the Sigma. I took stills of landscapes, zoomed macro images of plants, action photos of wakeboarding/watersking, videos, etc. and I felt that this lens made it easy to take beautiful photographs & video, even for a novice like me.
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