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.
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