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Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM review

November 2012 | By Andy Westlake


The 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM is the latest in a long line of all-in-one 'superzoom' lenses from Sigma, having been announced in June 2012. It offers two main developments over its predecessor, the confusingly similarly-named 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM - namely improved close-up capability (hence the 'Macro' moniker), and a significant reduction in size and weight. Sigma says the latter is due to the use of a 'Thermally Stable Composite' (TSC) material in the construction of the lens barrel, which makes it almost identical in size to its main rival - the Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD.

Like Tamron, Sigma has included optical image stabilization in the lens design, promising the ability to hand-hold the lens at shutter speeds four stops slower than usual before camera shake becomes a problem. The lens features an ultrasonic-type 'Hypersonic Motor' for quiet focusing, which means it will autofocus on entry-level Nikon SLR bodies. Despite its improved close-focusing abilities, the optical formula is actually a bit simpler than its predecessor's, and uses only a single Super-Low Dispersion glass element rather than four. Three aspheric elements are also used in the 16 element, 13 group design.

The 18-250mm offers an impressive wideangle to telephoto range (equivalent to roughly 28-400mm on full frame), which is beaten only by the aforementioned Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD and the recently-released Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR. It will be available in Sigma, Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax mounts, although the latter two versions won't feature optical stabilization and will rely on the cameras' built-in systems instead. As usual for a new product it comes to market at a higher street price compared to its predecessor, but look a little closer and the RRP has actually dropped.

Headline features

  • Approx. 28-400mm equivalent focal length range; F3.5-6.3 maximum aperture
  • Available for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma and Sony mounts (APS-C/DX format DSLRs only)
  • In-lens Optical Stabilization system (excluding Pentax and Sony versions).
  • Hypersonic Motor (HSM) focusing
  • 0.35m closest focus (0.34x magnification)

Angle of view

The pictures below illustrate the focal length range from wide to telephoto (on Canon APS-C, 1.6x).

18mm (29mm equivalent) 250mm (400mm equivalent)

Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM specifications

Price • $550 (US)
• £499 (UK)
Date introduced June 2012
Maximum format size APS-C/DX
Focal length 18-250mm
35mm equivalent focal length
• 27-375mm (1.5x APS-C / DX)
• 29-400mm (1.6x Canon APS-C)
Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C) 74º - 6º
Maximum aperture F3.5-6.3
Minimum aperture F22
Lens Construction • 16 elements / 13 groups
• 1 SLD glass element
• 3 aspherical elements
Number of diaphragm blades 7, rounded
Minimum focus 0.35m
Maximum magnification 0.34x
AF motor type • Micro-type Hypersonic Motor
Focus method Internal
Image stabilization • Yes; 4 stops claimed benefit
• Automatic panning detection
Filter thread • 62mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories* • Front and rear caps
• Petal-type Hood
Weight 470 g (16.6 oz)
Dimensions 73.5 mm diameter x 88.6 mm length
(2.9 x 3.5 in)
Lens Mount Canon, Nikon, Pentax (KAF3), Sigma, Sony

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area


This lens review uses DxOMark data thanks to a partnership between dpreview.com and DxO Labs (read more about DxOMark and our partnership with DxO Labs). DxOMark is the trusted industry standard for independent image quality measurements and ratings. DxOMark has established this reputation with its rigorous hardware testing, industry-grade laboratory tools, and database of thousands of camera, lens and mobile test results. Full test results for this lens can be found at www.dxomark.com.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2012 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Canon SLR Mount
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Nikon SLR Mount
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Pentax Digital SLR
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$349.00 »
Sigma DSLR
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$349.00 »
Sony Digital SLR
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$349.00 »
Canon SLR Mount
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$349.00 »
Nikon SLR Mount
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$349.00 »
Pentax Digital SLR
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$349.00 »
Sigma DSLR
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$349.00 »
Sony Digital SLR
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$349.00 »
Canon SLR Mount
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$349.00 »
Nikon SLR Mount
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$349.00 »
Pentax Digital SLR
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$349.00 »
Sigma DSLR
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Usually ships in 24 hours
$349.00 »
Sony Digital SLR
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Usually ships in 24 hours
$349.00 »
Canon SLR Mount
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Usually ships in 24 hours
$349.00 »
Nikon SLR Mount
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$349.00 »
Pentax Digital SLR
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$349.00 »
Sigma DSLR
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$349.00 »
Sony Digital SLR
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Comments

Total comments: 4
shadenfroh
By shadenfroh (1 month ago)

Can somebody (staff or readers) confirm that the OS on this lens is running *constantly* regardless of the switch being on or off? I purchased one yesterday after using the older 18-200 (where it engages the OS on focus and disengages after a few seconds) and I feel irritated that this is constantly drawing power from the battery. I want to know if this is the intended behaviour or an error in my unit.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
guywithyashica
By guywithyashica (6 months ago)

Good overall performance for me.A bit heavy but it beats the snot out of the Tamron 18-200 I owned for an entire week, Really, should you see lens softness in a viewfinder? Mind you, the 18-200 Sigma and Sony were no better than the Tamron in similar test shots. Keep it simple: Take a few shots wide open in broad daylight with a chrome bumper or metal power lines in the estreme left and right frame then have a close look. You will notice CR at the edged way more than you will notice some barrel distortion across a photo of a lake.

0 upvotes
Slartibartfas builder of fjords

I purchased this lens a few days ago and use it with a Nikon D7100. In general it is a great lens, but I find it worse than the review suggests in 2 aspects, namely:

1. zoom creep is bad. If you like to carry the camera over your shoulder, you need to always use the lock button. Although that button is nice to have, it sometimse gets in the way of taking a quick shot, because you first have to fiddle with it to unlock it.

2. I find vignetting worse than advertised. Although I am sure that the test results are accurate, I found that many of the pictures I took at various apertures and focal lengths have darkened corners.

apart from that, and especially for the money, this is still a great buy.

0 upvotes
Sharontlg
By Sharontlg (9 months ago)

I recently used this new lens on a holiday to Cairns. It was great not having to stop to swap lenses whenever i wanted to shoot something further away/close up. Agree it is not a perfect lens in all situations, but shooting between f8 and f 11 gave reasonable sharpness, boost your iso so that your shutter speed is fast too when zooming out.
I used it on a pentax k5.
I had a simple Nikon camera to use on days when I did not want to take my dslr with me and found having the choice really good.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 4