Nikon 18-200 or Sigma 18-250

Started Apr 18, 2013 | Discussions thread
georgehudetz
Contributing MemberPosts: 741Gear list
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Re: Nikon 18-200 or Sigma 18-250
In reply to Smalls, Apr 18, 2013

Based on my experience with the lenses you have listed, I believe you can meet your goals with an all-in-one, and you will be happy to leave the lens swapping behind.

I had a similar kit that you have – 18-55/55-200, but on a D3100 body.  Using that kit while traveling in Europe, I found myself frustrated with the need to swap lenses, not because I hate the act, but rather because it was forcing me to ask my traveling companion to wait while I swapped.  I eventually grew tired of that and ended up just not getting certain shots.  After that trip I vowed to look into a “travel zoom.”

I then sold that kit and moved up to a D7000 with an 18-105.  While the 105 was nice, I still wanted more at the telephoto end, so I bought a Sigma 18-250 OS Macro four weeks ago.  My neighbor was gracious enough to loan me his Nikon 18-200 VR at the same time, and I’ve been busy comparing the lenses.

My short summary is that both lenses have about the same IQ, with each having strengths & weaknesses.  It’s possible to get good shots either way.  In fact, I’d say when you are shooting outside in direct sunlight, the Sigma has the edge, because you can stop it down to f11 where it is very sharp edge-to-edge between 18 & 100mm.

Above 100mm, both lenses are only sharp in the center of the frame.  But the good news is, at least with the Sigma, you can get that good center sharpness wide open, which is where you really need to be when shooting telephoto anyway.

The Sigma also has fast autofocus – I use it to shoot my dogs in the dog park and it works fairly well, given the chaotic motion.  I will say that in this situation, there is no substitute for an all-in-one.  I need to shift from wide angle to full on telephoto in a matter of seconds.  I’d never go back to a dual-lens setup in that circumstance.

So to me, I have no regrets with the Sigma as compared to the Nikon 18-200 VR.  It’s lighter and cheaper, and fulfills the role of convenience/travel zoom very well.  About the only thing I like better on the Nikon is that it has slightly better bokeh. If it were my only lens I might pay the extra $$$ just for that, but I have primes and other lenses I use to get my subject isolation kicks.

Now, as for whether or not either lens can replace your existing pair of lenses, only you can decide that.  But I think you’ll find a similar set of IQ compromises at the long end (soft corners) and I actually believe the Sigma is a better lens than the 18-55 in the ranges they overlap.  It’s only a little heavier and larger than the 18-55 to boot.

A two-lens solution would give better IQ than the Sigma, but I think you need to go to a 16-85/70-300 pairing to do it (I’m sure I’ll have that pair sooner or later for use when swapping lenses is a pleasure as opposed to a bother).  I’m on the fence on whether or not I keep my 18-105, and I certainly would not take off the Sigma to put on an 18-55.  Keeping an 18-55 around as a backup lens isn’t a bad idea, but I predict that once you have the Sigma on the camera, you won’t put your existing lenses back on.

My .02. Good luck and have fun, whatever direction you go!

 georgehudetz's gear list:georgehudetz's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS +1 more
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