Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM review
4 Conclusion & samples
Conclusion - Pros
- Huge 13.9x focal length range, ideal general purpose and travel lens
- Good image quality in the wide to short telephoto range
- Fast, quiet autofocus
- Low distortion (for a superzoom)
- Good build quality, smooth zooming action and no zoom creep
Conclusion - Cons
- Very inconsistent sharpness through the zoom range - extremely soft at 135mm
- Soft corners at almost all focal lengths
- Image stabilization not as effective as on similar lenses, especially at telephoto end
The Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM, perhaps unsurprisingly, seems very much to be a case of 'take the 18-200mm OS, make it longer', and exhibits much the same characteristics as the older design. It's therefore a lens which takes a slightly different approach than usual to the 'all-in-one' superzoom concept, trading off absolute sharpness against other desirable optical characteristics, namely relatively low distortion and chromatic aberration. So, just as we noted with the 18-200mm, if you're the kind of photographer who absolutely demands pixel-level sharpness in your images, you can look away now - this simply isn't the lens for you. However, if you don't tend to examine your pictures in that level of detail, and want straight lines to appear as nearly straight as possible, the 18-250mm becomes well worthy of consideration.
In terms of operation and ergonomics, the 18-250mm scores pretty highly. The HSM autofocus is fast, silent and positive, and probably on a par with Canon and Nikon's own image stabilized superzooms - this is important when you want to grab quick shots of moving subjects. The zoom action is impressively smooth and even in feel for a lens with such a long range, and our sample also showed no inclination towards zoom creep (i.e. the tendency for the zoom mechanism to extend under its own weight), which is a common affliction of superzoom designs. Of course that enormous zoom range is compelling in itself - and hugely useful in situations when changing lenses is undesirable or inconvenient.
The optical stabilization system, however, is some way short of the best we've used, and perhaps the weakest link of the package. It works reasonably well towards the wide end, giving about three stops benefit, but disappointingly is at its least effective at telephoto, where we got at best two stops stabilization (compared to 4 stops from the best performers in this class). This is problematic because it's where you need it most; indeed the combination of the long focal length, slow F6.3 maximum aperture, and ineffective OS means that on anything other than a bright, sunny day, you'll find yourself struggling for light, and needing to boost the ISO significantly to get usable results.
Many potential buyers will of course be interested in how the Sigma compares to its most obvious direct rival, the Tamron 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Di-II VC. As usual, the answer to this question is not entirely simple, with the two lenses having a different array of strengths and weaknesses. In a fashion that's almost stereotypical between the two brands, the Tamron certainly appears to be consistently sharper, and has a rather more effective stabilisation system. The Sigma, in contrast, has arguably a more balanced overall design approach; alongside its low distortion, the autofocus is far faster and quieter, and the build quality and ergonomics are better too.
Ultimately, with superzooms, the choice comes down to a game of 'pick your favorite compromise', as there's inevitably a penalty to be paid for the undeniable convenience of carrying around such a large zoom range in a single lens. If you tend to share your pictures by posting downsized versions to photo-sharing websites, or making small prints to show around friends and family, the 18-250mm's relative lack of sharpness won't be much of a problem, and its low distortion will be a positive virtue. Likewise if you're after an all-in-one travel lens, and want to be able to grab quick snaps of friends or children, that HSM autofocus system may well prove to be beneficial. As always, the choice is yours.
Rating (out of 10)
|Ergonomics & handling||8.0|
Recommended (with reservations)
There are 36 images in the samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.
Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. A reduced size image (within 1024 x 1024 bounds) is provided to be more easily viewed in your browser. As always the original untouched image is available by clicking on this reduced image.
Sigma 18-250mm DC OS HSM Review Samples
|Moon 99% D55 C14 St-Zénon 20170806 DP by MarioSS|
from Best Picture of the Week
|Reeds on lake by kkardster|
from Abstracts in Nature
|Florence & the Machine by Dutch Newchurch|
from Second chances..
Photographer and master potter Steve Irvine makes incredibly intricate, functional ceramic pinhole cameras that look like robots and monsters.
Chinese gimbal manufacturer Gudsen has released a firmware update for its Moza Air that lets you control the direction and angle of the head remotely just by moving a small handlebar-mounted control unit.
Curious how the Sony a9 performs underwater? Our friends at Backscatter took the camera diving off the Baja California coast, to find out how it handled shooting great white sharks.
While most of the DPReview crew put away our cameras and just watched the celestial event, Rishi decided last-minute to hack together a rig and capture a few shots.
Defunct Russian camera maker Zenit is making a comeback, and they're planning to release a full-frame mirrorless camera in 2018.
The days where you're more or less locked into premium or first-party flash units has gone. They're less than $50 now, so there's one less excuse not to get one. Here's our case for adding one to your kit, and a few pointers to get you going.
If you're shooting the solar eclipse here's a hint: don't fry your camera's sensor. Use a proper solar filter that offers at least 16 stops of light filtration, along with UV and IR filtering. More important? Don't look at it unless you've got solar filters. Sensors can be replaced, your retinas can't.
Photographer Rick Wenner recently captured an odd event called the Race of the Gentlemen with a rather odd camera: The Phase One XF IQ3 Achromatic, the world's only 101MP black-and-white digital back.
Buying used is a good way to save some dough, and with the right precautions you can protect yourself from falling victim to a scam.
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.