The Great Everyday Lens: Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM | C

The Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM | C is a fantastic everyday zoom lens for photographers looking for a compact, high-zoom ratio lens for their small DSLRs without sacrificing image quality or build quality. This 11.1x zoom is just slightly larger than the typically bundled 18-55mm kit lens paired with a Canon EOS Rebel or Nikon DSLR, but offers much greater versatility in terms of creative composition including macro capture; and a noticeably higher build quality feel than the usual starter camera lens.

The Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM | C lens is a versatile, compact all-in-one zoom lens that covers wide angle to telephoto and macro close-up photography. It is available for the most popular DSLRs. Here, for example, is a purple rose as seen through this lens on a Canon EOS Rebel T3i. 1/60 F6.3 ISO 400 at 200mm.
The Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM | C lens is a versatile, compact all-in-one zoom lens that covers wide angle to telephoto and macro close-up photography. It is available for the most popular DSLRs. Here, for example, is a purple rose as seen through this lens on a Canon EOS Rebel T3i. 1/60 F6.3 ISO 400 at 200mm.

For DSLR photographers looking for a very compact one-lens solution, the new Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 very well may be the answer. On APS-C DSLRs, such as the Canon EOS Rebel series and the Nikon D3200 or D5200, the Sigma 18-200mm equates to about a 28-300mm zoom lens, covering wide-angle to telephoto, with a close-focusing setting at 200mm offering 1:3 macro magnification. And yet it weighs less than a pound is is just 2.8 x 3.4 inches in size. Optical Stabilizer, which counteracts camera and lens movements at slower shutter speeds, adds to the on-the-go abilities of the lens, by helping to keep shots sharp at slower shutter speeds without a tripod. (Learn much more about OS here.)

A flower bursts into bloom as seen through the Sigma 18-200mm lens at 75mm. 1/160 F5.6 ISO 400 on the Canon EOS Rebel T3i.
And here, we are zoomed out to 200mm and nearly 1:3 magnification to really make this bloom the star of the composition. The longer zoom range and macro magnification really adds to the versatility of this lens. 1/125 at F6.3 ISO 400.

All in all, it’s an impressive, compact, well-built all-in-one zoom lens that is perfect for many compact DSLR photographers. The hypersonic autofocus motor is swift to find focus, and exceptionally quiet while in operation as well. The Optical Stabilizer motors are barely audible during still capture operation, and is unobtrusive or wholly unnoticable during video capture in all but the most sterile audio environments. In others words and by way of examples, it will disappear into the background sounds at a concert, but you might sometimes be able to discern some slight motor whirring during a hushed segment of a spelling bee.

This image was captured at 1/15 at 200mm with Optical Stabilizer activated.
And for this shot, we turned OS off, again at 1/15 second. As you can see, Optical Stabilizer can have a very positive impact to make sharp shots at slower shutter speeds.

Thanks to its small size, it’s a great grab and go lens for times when it just isn’t possible or desired to lug a big heavy bag filled with specialty lenses. It covers wide angle landscapes, mid-range portraits, and long-reach shots with just a twist of the zoom barrel, perfect for most day to day photography needs both near home and on summer vacations. And the 1:3 magnification at the far end of the zoom is a nice touch for detail shots of flowers, jewelry and anything else tiny that catches your eye while out and about.

The Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 was the only lens I packed for everyday photography on a recent family trip to Florida. My mother-in-law made this photo of a manatee at Homasassas State Park during one of the family outings. Thanks to its small size and big range, it’s a great everyday lens. 39mm at 1/100 F6.3 ISO 100 on the Rebel T3i.

Listen, I’ve been writing about cameras, lenses and photography for a long time. I could go on here for several more paragraphs about each of the key features, functions, and overall product performance, and try to throw in some clever wordplay into the mix to keep it fresh. Or I can just cut to the chase. As far as very compact all-in-one lenses go, it doesn’t get much better than the new Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 in terms of overall build quality, performance, and cost.

A penny is seen at near-maximum magnification through the Sigma 18-200mm at 200mm. Notice the circular specular highlights between 11:00 and 12:00 on this penny. This lens has rounded aperture blades for pleasing off-focal plane rendering, a touch that adds to the overall aesthetic quality of the images.

You may find some competing all-around lenses for a cheaper sticker price, or you may be tricked into thinking that spending a lot more on an OEM version makes some sort of sense. But here is where the Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM | C stands out from the pack in a big, big, way.

A hibiscus bud at 200mm. 1/320 F6.3 ISO 100 on the Rebel T3i.

It, like every Sigma lens, is made in Japan, at our one and only factory in Aizu. (Take a look inside our factory here.) We do not have secondary production facilities for any grade or classification of Sigma products. We have three premium lens lines, and all are made in Japan. And every single unit is individually tested for image quality and performance on our proprietary A1 MTF Device. It ships with a four year US warranty. And should you ever choose to switch from one camera brand to another, you can, for a small fee, swap the lens mount out. You simply cannot do that with any other lens brands out there. Like I said, it is a very high quality, compact, all in one lens offered at a very fair price.

The specially designed cam of the 18-200mm offers smooth, well-damped zooming, and also curbs zoom creep when the lens is pointed skyward or downward for creative angles.

For example, there’s a specially designed cam for smooth zooming, and the lens barrel locks in place for transport. Thanks in part to that specially designed cam, zoom creep isn’t an issue at all with this lens, even when pointed skyward or straight down. In other words, unlike many other zoom lenses, the extending barrel of the 18-200mm isn’t impacted by gravity—if you want to shoot straight at zenith at 100mm, the lens will stay at 100mm.

I used manual focus to lock in on the center whorl of this small sunflower at 200mm. Manual focus is very handy for fine-tuning the shallow depth of field of close-up photography. 1/200 F6.3 ISO 800.

Most of the time, most photographers are going to be using this lens in Autofocus mode, but there is a manual focus ring that can be engaged with the flip of the solid Autofocus/Manual Focus button. The focus ring is a bit narrow, due to the compact design of the lens, but it glides easily to find focus. Manual focus can be particularly useful for close-up and macro work—to get the razor-thin zone of focus exactly where you want it.

The Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 is a great compact all-in-one lens for everyday adventures, to parks, playgrounds, and wherever you’re off to next. 46mm 1/400 F5, ISO 100.

We’ve racked up a lot of shots on my 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 so far. It journeyed to Florida with me for a family vacation earlier this month; and while there, it spent a lot of time in the hands of my wife and mother-in-law for adventures to amusement parks, nature trails and more. It just works for real-world photography—wide to tele, indoors, and out, whenever a photogenic moment presents itself, the new 18-200mm is a great everyday lens to reach for.

Published by

Jack Howard

Jack Howard is a lifelong photographer and author of two editions of the how-to book, Practical HDRI. Based in Central Jersey, Jack's go-to photography spots are backroads and beaches of his home state. He loves to travel far and wide with his wife and daughter, visiting national parks, museums, tropical islands and more along the way.

One thought on “The Great Everyday Lens: Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM | C”

  1. Jack, great post with beautiful images to back the topic up.
    Sigma is getting more and more fans after its lens line-up refresh into C|A|S categories. High quality and fair pricing policy is a good recipe for earning photographers’ appreciation. Wish Kazuto Yamaki and whole Sigma team good luck & prosperity!

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