Sigma 18-200 DC OS HSM – Quick Review

Sad news last week when gravity decided to kill my 18-135 Nikon lens and damage my camera was followed by the good news of a new, better lens and my camera surviving the fall.

The new lens came in today and I went around town taking a few pictures with it.  I didn’t have anything planned and took all the pics without a tripod to check out the effectiveness of the optical stabilization (which works quite well, btw).

The thing that is impressing me the most is the power of this lens.  Here’s the same picture shot at 18mm and then at 200mm.

Pretty impressive right?

Unfortunately, I’m getting TERRIBLE chromatic aberration with this lens. Absolutely horrendous at both the 18mm and 200mm and at f-13.  Thank fully, Adobe Photoshop CS3 has some tools to fix this.

Unfortunately, again, the PS CS2/CS3 filter, Distort – Lens Correction – Fringe tool doesn’t do damn diddly.  It’s a complete waste.  It follows purple/yellow type fringing which isn’t typical with D-SLR‘s.

Luckily, the RAW import tool in Photoshop has a much better lens correction tool that almost gets rid of it completely, with some slight grey fringing as a side effect of the treatment.

Chromatic aberration aside, I’m liking this lens.  But I’m still not sold on it.  There might be something wrong with my lens… The optical stabilization is quirky, noisy.  If you put your ear to the lens you can hear what sounds to be very, very bad.  Maybe it’s just the nature of optically stabilized lenses.  This is my first one to own, but the Nikon I had used before was completely silent.  Of course that was a couple of thousand dollar lens, but still.

At one point the lens would not auto focus.  Resetting the lens’s settings, turning the camera on/off… nothing worked until I reseated the lens, then fixed.

Later in the day I noticed this weird noise coming from my camera bag.  The camera was off but the lens kept moving in and out, maybe trying to focus.  Again, the camera was turned off.  However, this problem MIGHT be the D80’s fault.  I remember a firmware upgrade I missed that had something to do with the status light blinking, which was happening when the lens was making these noises.  Reseated the lens and again, problem fixed.

So I love the features of this lens; the optical stabilization is stellar, the zoom range awesome and the build quality seems to be top notch.  But, the chromatic aberration, the quirkiness of the focus/optical stabilization and weak bokeh makes me second guess this lens choice.

The next best option would probably be the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S which clocks in at $1100 more than the Sigma 18-200 DC OS HSM and not even half the range (which is why it can be fast at f/2.8 and be so damn SHARP!).

So, for the next week I’ll be debating this lens.  Keep it or save up for something a little better.  Most reviews say the chromatic aberration in this lens is stellar so maybe I just need to play around with different f-stops.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

6 thoughts on “Sigma 18-200 DC OS HSM – Quick Review

  1. My next purchase is going to be the Tokina 11-16mm ultra-wide angle. If I can ever find one. They’ve been backordered for a year now. 🙁

    Dave2s last blog post…Stranded

  2. I just got the 11-16mm, Canon mount. It’s really great.

    As for your problem, Justin, zooms that cover such a huge FOV range do so at the expense of image quality. They typically have lots of CA, distortion, aren’t really that sharp, and have focusing issues. Nobody can make a lens that covers 18-200mm and looks as good as a high quality lesser zoom that costs three times as much.

    I say that if you want to use this lens as a walkaround, do so and forget about the many artifacts and problems you’ll encounter with it and other similar lenses.

    Jonathans last blog post…St. Louis Wedding at the Lucas School House: Hadas and Tony

  3. Jonathan took the words right outta my head. If you want a lens that is going to cover such a wide range, you are going to run into issues. There will be even more when that lens isn’t a solid f-stop all the way through.

    I don’t know much about Nikon, but I try not to buy lenses that change aperture based on how much you zoom in or out. Maybe it’s just me, but if I were you I would save my money and buy a top-tier lens that is straight f/2.8 all the way through. You will be much happier in the end.

    David Bickleys last blog post…Thanksgiving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *