Packing Light with the Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM

After a long winter of heavy shooting and endless travel on assignment I usually take a few weeks of late spring and early summer to spend time with family and friends and do a bit of casual photography.  When I don’t have to worry about deadlines, editors, athletes and assignments I leave the big pack filled with heavy fast glass and opt for an all around kit.  This year it was the Canon 7D paired with the Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS Macro HSM that was with me on all occasions.

I really put the 18-250mm through the paces and shot a huge variety of subjects including family snapshots, backcountry skiing, mountain biking, wildflowers, landscapes, location scouting, backpacking  and more.  If I had to use just one word to describe this lens it would be FUN!


© 2013 Liam Doran | Focusing was fast enough to capture sharp images of racers even at high speeds. Shutter speed: 1/1250 sec | Aperture: f6.3 | ISO 400 |Focal Length: 212mm

I did a bit of low-key coverage of a new mountain bike race in Eagle, Colorado and shot it exclusively with the 18-250.  The lens focused fast and I was able to get a high number of keepers while using AI Servo and the Optical Stabilizer worked well enough to get a few shots dragging the shutter.

© 2013 Liam Doran | The OS performed well and I was able to get good panning shots at low shutter speeds. Shutter speed: 1/80 sec | Aperture: f10 | ISO100 | Focal Length: 61mm

Some of key aspects I like about this lens are its svelte weight, which makes it easy to get around mountain trails and also keeps me feeling unencumbered on family outings.  Its versatility also amazed me!  I had never used a super zoom before and was blown away at having the ability to go from wide angle all the way to telephoto with the twist of the barrel.  I do quite a bit of location scouting for commercial shoots and I quickly realized the 18-250 is perfect for these reasons.

© 2013 Liam Doran | Location scouting. Shutter speed: 1/2000sec | Aperture: f10 | ISO 400 | Focal Length: 18mm
© 2013 Liam Doran | Same mountain shot at Shutter speed: 1/1600sec | Aperture: f10 | ISO 400 | Focal length: 250mm

One of the issues with many high-ratio lenses, including this one, is zoom creep .  When the camera was pointed down the lens would extend to its full 250mm length.  While mildly annoying it is certainly not a deal breaker and it does have a locking mechanism to keep the lens barrel from extending when not in use.  On a ski mission with friends (that ended up being a photo gallery for an outdoor magazine!) I had my camera out quite a bit and used the locking feature extensively.

© 2013 Liam Doran | Shoot for the moon! Light enough to bring on all your adventures. Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec | Aperture: f13 | ISO 500 | Focal Length: 250mm
© 2013 Liam Doran | Rugged enough for real-world use. Shutter speed: 1/1250 sec | Aperture: f16 | ISO 500 | Focal length: 18mm
© 2013 Liam Doran | And fast enough to capture all the action! Shutter speed: 1/1600 sec | Aperture: f8 | ISO 250 | Focal Length: 61mm

The lens is impressively sharp too, yielding enough detail to make big prints that will look great on your wall.  I brought the 18-250 with me to a very remote hard to reach area of the Gore Range for a shot I had wanted to get for the last few years. It was an overnight trip with over 8,000 vertical feet of hiking and weight was a critical factor in what gear I was going to pack with me.  At first I was a bit nervous about bringing an all purpose zoom with me for landscape shooting, but stopped down to somewhere in the f10-f16 range the lens performed beautifully.

© 2013 Liam Doran | Morning light cloaks the Colorado Rockies in pastel colors. Shutter speed: 1/3 sec | Aperture: f10 | ISO 200 | Focal Length: 37mm with 2 stop split ND filter.
© 2013 Liam Doran | Warm morning skim light flows across the tundra and into the high peaks. Shutter speed: 1/50 sec | Aperture: f13 | ISO 200 | Focal length: 87mm with 2 stop split ND filter.
© 2013 Liam Doran | The author’s camp at 12,250 ft. Gear selection was critical and the lightweight of the 18-250 helped keep the pack weight reasonable. Shutter speed: 1/80 sec | Aperture: f 13 | ISO 200 | Focal length: 18mm

Sharp, fast and versatile––the Sigma 18-250 F3.5-6.3 is the perfect one lens solution for 90% of shooters out there 95% of the time.  And with a kind retail price, it won’t break your budget.  Pick one up today and let the fun begin–wherever your adventures take you!

Read more blog posts about the Sigma 18-250mm lens!

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Liam Doran

SIGMA Ambassador Liam Doran is an outdoor sports and adventure travel photographer based in Colorado. Liam's work covers all aspects of outdoor mountain life including skiing, biking, trail running, fly fishing as well as travel and lifestyle. His images appear regularly in commercial advertising and in today’s top outdoor magazines including Powder, Outside, Ski, Skiing, Trail Runner, Mountain Magazine and more.

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