On a recent trip to Alaska I brought along a lens on loan from Sigma, the 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS MACRO HSM lens. Apparently this lens a very popular lens in the super zoom multi-purpose category but the question is, how would do on a wildlife shoot? When I was packing for my trip I remember thinking that I didn’t know how the lens would perform but at least the lens is so tiny it wouldn’t take up a lot of room in my bag.
Honestly it was my first time using this lens, or any type of super zoom lens, so I didn’t have a clue of what to expect but as the first series of images popped on the screen I was pleasantly surprised but when I zoomed in to see the sharpness at 100% the feeling changed to one of mild shock!
One of the most common questions I get about a new lens is autofocus. So how does the autofocus on this lens perform? It was not the fastest that I have ever used but it was perfectly usable for eagles in flight. Take a look at the images in this post. These are not huge crops, I only removed a small horizontal strip to crop to a 16:10 ratio or to level the image.
So how sharp is this lens? With live real live subjects in the field, not test charts, I would give this multi-purpose travel lens a good rating.
My favorite thing about this lens was the size and weight, this lens would easily fit in a jacket pocket or small bag. After all what good is a lens that is too big or bulky to bring with you on an outing.
If you haven’t tried a lens with a huge zoom ratio capability, its really fun being able to go from a scenic to tight portrait in a couple of seconds. Its so fun its almost addicting.
After using the Sigma 18-250mm on and off for a few weeks I don’t see this lens replacing my 120-300mm f/ 2.8 for wildlife photography but I can recommend this lens for someone that shoots nature only occasionally and needs a super compact lens with super coverage that is easy to carry and easy on your bank account.
These images were made during an epic 21 day trip to Alaska this winter. Visit my website to find out how you can join me on the same photography tour next year.
Southern Californian’s should check out the Sigma display at this weekends Big Photo show at the Los Angeles Convention Center where I will giving two image presentations and will be giving out signed prints made with the Sigma 18-250 lens. For more info visit the Big Photo Show website.
If you have any questions or comments be sure to share ‘em in the comments section below.
Robert O’Toole is a Sigma Pro and has been a professional photographer for more than 20 years. As an accomplished instructor, Robert leads photography workshop tours across the US and internationally. For more info visit Robert’s web site at robertotoolephotography.com