Review Addendum: Sigma 18-200mm Lens

My husband was surprised when I gave such an uncomplimentary review to the Sigma 18-200mm lens I recently purchased. True, I did originally drool over the idea of having a wide-angle and a telephoto in one lens. It’s also true that the entirety of my “test” involved only low-light interiors: a sushi restaurant, a coffee shop, and our living room.

Before passing final judgment on this particular lens, I thought it only fair to research the other comparable lenses. By “comparable” I mean similar focal lengths and maximum apertures. I had thought to find a faster and more expensive lens but, as I discovered, even the most wide-open superzooms or walkabout lenses aren’t suited for low light photography.

I do own a Sigma 50mm macro lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, so I thought it would be only fair to compare the new superzoom with the 50mm prime lens, just to make sure I would be able to get the shots I was after with a faster lens. Earlier this week, I took a few identical photos with each lens to see how they compared.

photo comparison

This image basically embodies what I found: the results from the 50mm prime lens were definitely more passable, due to the faster shutter speed, but were still nothing to write home about.

If I were to want to take ambient light photos in this kind of lighting situation, I would likely brace myself and/or my camera against something stable, rather than shooting handheld alone. I would also crank up the ISO as far as possible — something I failed to do in either test.

I’m planning to give the walkaround lens more of a walkaround, learn to use it properly, and develop a steadier hand. I really am looking forward to having such a wide range of composition options open to me… although this will force me to consider all of them, rather than just working within what my 28-70mm (and my feet) can give me.

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