Review Sigma 18-200mm Contemporary

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The Sigma 18-200 mm Contemporary is smaller, lighter and cheaper than its classmates, like, for example, the Canon 18-200 mm. Also in comparison to similar superzooms that we have tested so far, Sigma 18-250 mm, Tamron 18-270 mm and the Nikon 18-200 mm, the Sigma 18-200 mm C wins in terms of compactness, weight and list price. These are important considerations for the target group, amateur photographers who want to have a not-too-expensive, all-round lens with a hefty zoom range, to be able to head out without having to lug a lot of weight along and without having to change lenses. We previously published our first, very positive, experiences with the Sigma 18-200 mm. Now we had the opportunity to test this lens more comprehensively. How good is the optical performance of the first superzoom in the Sigma Contemporary series?

Sigma 18-200 C test

Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary @ Canon 650D

Sigma 18-200mm C test: zoombereik Sigma 18-200mm Contemporaru
With more than 10 times zoom range, you bring a subject quite close to you, but you can also create a landscape shot without changing lenses. At this zoom range, you practically always have enough. To illustrate, you see above two shots: taken right after each other from the same position, first at a focal length of 18 mm, then at a focal length of 200 mm.

Construction and auto focus

 

First of all, you notice how compact this zoom lens is. Shorter (16%), narrower (10%) and lighter (30%) than the Canon 18-200 mm. In comparison to the Canon 18-55 mm STM kit lens, the Sigma 18-200 mm C is only 2.5 cm longer and 1 cm wider, while the zoom range is 3.5x as great. The Sigma 18-200 mm's housing is made of a light and sturdy composite material; the mount is metal. Like all superzooms, this lens is more than twice as long when you set the longest focal length and use the included lens hood. On the lens are three sliding switches: for AF vs. manual focus, on/off for image stabilization and to block the zoom during transport.

2013 10 29 sigma 18 200 002 a

The zoom ring turns smoothly. Perhaps even a little too smoothly. When you have the camera hanging around your neck without locking the lens, the zoom shifts on its own from 50 mm to 80 mm ("creeping"). The focus ring has a relatively short run, so you can quickly set focus manually, but it is also more difficult to accurately to focus manually. Because superzooms have no large aperture, that's not terrible. The Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures fast, silent AF. Many cameras focus less quickly and less accurately at the longest focal length of a super zoom, because the image is then darker and has less contrast. In this test, we have therefore paid some extra attention to the operation of the AF at the longest focal length. That's much better than expected: the accuracy is good and the AF speed in nice weather was amazingly good.

Specifications
Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM Contemporary
Image Stabilization:+
lenses/ groups:16/13
length x diameter:86 / 71
filter size:62
Weight:430
Lens hood:+

Image stabilization

It's nice that the Sigma 18-200 mm is equipped with built-in image stabilization. Built-in image stabilization ('OS') ensures that you can keep shooting longer by hand, without you having to set higher ISO values on the camera to prevent motion blurred images.

We have tested the image stabilization at a focal length of 46 mm. If you shoot by hand, then the resolution begins to fall off from 1/50 second. Pictures made with image stabilization, but at a shutter speed of 1/13 second, it appeared to be sharper. The built-in image stabilization yielded a gain of 2 to 3 stops.

VR

Vignetting Sigma 18-200mm Contemporary

Vignetting is – as with the Canon 18-200 mm zoom lens –kept well in check for a zoom lens with such a large zoom range. At maximum aperture, vignetting in some situations will be visible, but if you have used a smaller aperture, whereby the sharpness also increases, then you will not suffer from vignetting. The picture here is made at maximum aperture.


Move your mouse over the image for the Imatest results.

Sigma18200mmCvignet

Sigma18200mmSampleImageMiniSigma 18-200mm Contemporary @ 200mm, 200 ISO, f/6.3, 1/4000 sec Click (2x) on the image.

Both the test camera and the Sigma 18-200 mm C are not designed for action photography. However, our results, made at the longest focal length and at maximum aperture, were much, much better than expected. Under these types of conditions, you don't expect to come home with 100% successful shots, if only because I'm no action photographer. The number of successful shots was as high as in an earlier session, when I photographed winter sports with a 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens, which is about 5 times as expensive as the Sigma 18-200 mm. A more expensive, bright lens gives sharper pictures with a nicer bokeh. And you pay heftily for that.

Distortion

The course of the distortion is typical for a superzoom and goes from visible barrel-shaped at 18 mm, to pincushion-shaped at focal lengths above 30 mm. In particular, the barrel distortion at the shortest focal length is every now and then clearly visible. A beautiful part of the design, is that this distortion is no longer visible at 22 mm.

Distortion is easy to correct automatically for RAW files in Lightroom or Photoshop with lens correction profiles. And if you don't have the access to these programs: because the distortion between 28 mm and 200 mm is so constant, you can apply the same correction for that entire zoom range.

Distortion

Flaring

 

The Sigma 18-200 mm C beats out many, mostly more expensive lenses, when it comes to flaring.

Even under the most extreme conditions, you have remarkably few ghosts or flaring. The picture here is made straight into the Sun. The flared area around the Sun is extremely small and there are – despite the very bright light source – no ghosts due to internal reflections. This is just, regardless of the price of a lens, really very good.  

flare

Sharpness: zoom or megazoom?

Some people expect from a mega zoom the same image quality as from much more expensive lenses with a fixed focus or of much more expensive, bright zoom lenses. That is not realistic. The current megazooms deliver acceptable image quality over the entire zoom range, which is better than what you get with a compact camera. At most focal lengths, the highest sharpness is reached after stopping down 1 stop. The sharpness in the center is always somewhat higher than in the outer corners. Even at the longest focal length, which used to be the weakness of a megazoom, the picture is still usable. To give you an impression of the sharpness at the longest focal length, you can enlarge a couple of the test shots on this page up to 100%. For those who attach a great importance to sharpness, the bright Sigma 17-70 mm C is an affordable alternative.

Rezz

JumpSigma 18-200 mm C @ 200mm, 400 ISO, 1/4000 sec, f/6.3 (detail)

Chromatic aberration Sigma 18-200mm Contemporary

With lateral chromatic aberration, in the corners of the picture not all colors land in exactly the same place, meaning that in the corners at sharp contrast transitions, you find green and purple edges. Also the sharpness in the outer corners drops a bit. If you compare your pictures made with the Sigma 18-200 mm C with the Canon 18-200 mm, without applying lens corrections (for chromatic aberration and vignetting; see the RAW table below for this test), then both lenses at both the shortest and the longest focal lengths are evenly matched in terms of chromatic aberration and sharpness. At a focal length of 200 mm, the chromatic aberration was more noticeable in the test shot made with the more expensive Canon 18-200 mm than with the Sigma 18-200 mm C. Below you can see a partial enlargement from a corner of the image. Sigma18200mmCA
Above you can see a 100% partial enlargement, made from an outer corner of a test shot, in which you can recognize chromatic aberration. This is the worst case we found. Even if you don't correct for chromatic aberration, the chromatic aberration in this worst case is only noticeable if you print larger than A4 size. With Nikon cameras, all jpg files are automatically corrected for chromatic aberration, but on a Canon camera you can only correct Canon lenses for chromatic aberration. Therefore, the Canon 18-200 mm for jpg files that are listed in the table at the conclusion scores slightly higher for chromatic aberration and sharpness than the Sigma 18-200 mm C. If you correct your pictures made with the Sigma 18-200 mm C afterwards for chromatic aberration, then these differences diminish.
CAcomparison

Macro?

If we compare the specifications of the Sigma 18-200 mm C with those of kit lenses or other superzooms, then the Sigma 18-200 mm C also offers more close up than the competition.

The Sigma 18-200 mm Contemporary is also ideal for close-up photography. And that makes the lens extra versatile. The closest focusing distance is only 39 cm, which gives an image scale of 1:0.33. That is better than the 0.26 x that the previous version of the Sigma 18-200 mm managed. And Sigma let that be reflected by adding "macro" to the already not so short: Sigma 18-200 mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM C. It isn't real macro, which we pin to the definition that the image on the sensor is the same size as the original (image scale 1:1).

macromini

Bokeh

All superzooms have a less woolly background blur. And the Sigma 18-100 mm C is no exception, as you can see in the practice shots, made in the snow. However, we were quite pleased – for a super zoom – by the shot from our bokeh test setup, created at the longest focal length. But if you really want a nice bokeh, without spending too much money, then choose a bright lens with a fixed focal length or the Sigma 18-70 mm f/2.8-4 C.

bokeh

OepsSigma 18-200mm Contemporary @ 200 mm , f/6.3

Conclusion Sigma 18-200mm Contemporary test with Canon 650D

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Look in our list of all reviewed lenses or the lenses we have reviewed with a Canon mount in order to compare the performance of this lens with other lenses.

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
85
135
6.7
6.8
7.0
8.3
5.9
125
200
5.8
6.0
6.6
7.3
5.6
18
29
6.2
6.7
5.6
6.0
5.6
200
320
6.3
6.3
6.1
7.8
7.3
22
35
6.5
6.4
6.7
7.8
7.3
31
50
6.3
6.2
6.8
8.1
6.4
53
85
6.7
6.6
8.2
8.2
5.8
Overall
Overall
6.1
6.0
6.7
7.7
6.9
ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens when the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.
85
135
6.8
7.0
9.4
9.2
6.2
125
200
6.6
6.9
9.5
8.9
6.3
18
29
7.1
7.4
9.2
8.5
5.5
200
320
6.8
7.2
9.2
8.9
6.6
22
35
7.2
7.2
9.2
8.8
7.6
31
50
7.0
7.1
9.3
9.0
6.3
53
85
6.8
7.0
9.3
9.0
6.0
Overall
Overall
6.5
6.9
9.3
8.9
6.0

Advantages

  • Compact, light and yet very well built
  • Image quality equivalent to more expensive alternatives
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • Very well protected against flaring
  • Attractively priced

Disadvantages

  • Limited brightness, particularly at 200 mm
  • Sharpness in the extreme corners lags behind the center

The Sigma 18-200 mm Contemporary is an ideal lens for people who want to have a universal zoom with a longer range than an 18-55 mm kit lens. And that without getting a big, heavy lens in exchange, and also not having to fork out too much.

Superzooms, walk-around zooms or holiday zooms – these are all names for the same category lenses. These are universally usable lenses that enjoy great popularity. The Sigma 18-200 mm Contemporary is smaller, lighter and cheaper than its counterparts, but offers a similar image quality. Looking at the scores, the distortion is noticeable, which as with all other superzooms is relatively high. Even so, it goes mostly pretty well, because it usually just over 1%. Despite the low weight, this lens is also very well built. This lens is ideal for street photography, family photos, reporting, social photography and even for close-ups. If we compare the specifications of the Sigma 18-200 mm C with those of kit lenses or other superzooms, the Sigma 18-200 mm Contemporary also offers more close up than the competition. The built-in image stabilization is effective and ensures that you will make fewer pictures with motion blur in low-light situations. 

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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Comments (11)

  1. Phil

I've had this lens just over a week and bought it for my upcoming trip to Mid Wales and Italy. So far I'm really pleased with the results despite the trade off between F/L & IQ. I do have faster lenses for my professional work but for a...

I've had this lens just over a week and bought it for my upcoming trip to Mid Wales and Italy. So far I'm really pleased with the results despite the trade off between F/L & IQ. I do have faster lenses for my professional work but for a walkaround/holiday lens this one fits the bill perfectly

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  1. Bob    Phil

Hi Phil,<br /><br />Thanks for adding your experiences with this nice compact Sigma lens. I wish you a fruitful holidays.<br /><br />Bob

 
  1. Roko

If you were choosing between those two, which would you choose ?<br /><br />I'm also searching for a do it all lens ..could really come in handy in some situations<br /><br />I would sacrifice extra range for a better sharpness throughout the...

If you were choosing between those two, which would you choose ?<br /><br />I'm also searching for a do it all lens ..could really come in handy in some situations<br /><br />I would sacrifice extra range for a better sharpness throughout the range. What would be your answer :-) ?

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  1. Ivo Freriks    Roko

Hi Roko,<br /><br /><br />I don't know the answer yet. First of all, the design of zoom lenses with a large zoomrange inevitable needs compromises. In general lenses with a smaller zoom range are faster and sharper at the shortest and longest...

Hi Roko,<br /><br /><br />I don't know the answer yet. First of all, the design of zoom lenses with a large zoomrange inevitable needs compromises. In general lenses with a smaller zoom range are faster and sharper at the shortest and longest focal length.<br /><br />I don't know whether you will see any difference between the 18-250mm @ 18mm, 200, or 2500mm compared with the 18-200 C at 18mm or 200mm. Lens reviews show you the performance of camera and lens, combined. We haven't tested both lenses using the same camera, yet. The 18-200mm is very wel built end extremely compact. The 18-250mm is well known for its high image quality for a general purpose lens: Dpreview says:<br />"The Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM fits the bill nicely; it's compact, has decent enough optics, offers fast autofocus and effective image stabilisation, and tops this all off with impressive close-up ability. We'd be inclined to conclude that it's the best-rounded general-purpose SLR lens currently on the market."<br /><br />http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/sigma_18-250_3p5-6p3_os_c16/4<;br /><br />Personally, I sacrifice extra range for a better sharpness when choosing my lenses. Perhaps I would even choose the Sigma 17-70mm C:<br />http://www.camerastuffreview.com/sigma-lens-review/review-sigma-17-70mm-contemporary<;br /><br />and a Sigma 50-150mm:<br />http://www.camerastuffreview.com/sigma-lens-review/review-sigma-af-50-150mm-f-2-8-ex-dc-os-hsm-c-aps-c<;br /><br />But it's totally unimportant what I would choose. The choice is yours....<br /><br /><br />Ivo

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  1. Roko

Thank you for reply . You really put an effort in it <br /><br />Sigma's 17-70 and 50-150 are tempting choices ,but quite pricey . Maybe i'll try with second hand one's some day <br />I can get a 18-200 for ~350$ so i'm willing to try it <br...

Thank you for reply . You really put an effort in it <br /><br />Sigma's 17-70 and 50-150 are tempting choices ,but quite pricey . Maybe i'll try with second hand one's some day <br />I can get a 18-200 for ~350$ so i'm willing to try it <br /><br />Thing is , which i should've mentioned in the beginning , i already have nikon 18-105 , and 55-200 . <br /><br />I'm just looking for a do it all lens on a travel or open field event while keeping decent quality and sharpness . <br />I know Sigma's gonna perform worse then those two, but if it's by little margin , i'm willing to go down that road ,and forget about hassle when changing between those lens. <br /><br />Thing i'll order a Sigma 18-200 c and decide after if the Nikon one's are worth keeping or selling .<br /><br />When i'm all for quality i use the sigma 24-70 f2.8 and nikon 50mm f1.8 <br /><br /><br />Thank you once again

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  1. Giuseppe

(beyond ) pro and con... :sigh: Tnk!

 
  1. Jose Augustine

Do this lens have inbuilt focus motor to use in my nikon d3300

 
  1. Ivo    Jose Augustine

Hi Jose Augustine

You can use this lens with AF on your D3300.
We even tested it on a Nikon DX camera:
https://www.camerastuffreview.com/sigma-lens-review/review-sigma-18-200mm-c-nikon

Ivo

 
  1. Thomas

You mentioned that you can fix the distortion with a lens correction profile. Where can I download the profile for this lens?

 
  1. ivo    Thomas

They're included in Photoshop / Lightroom updates.
In the Development module, choose the Lens Correction tab and check the checkbox "Enable Lens corrections"
Lens correction profiles are only avaibale for RAW files.

If you use jpg files or don't...

They're included in Photoshop / Lightroom updates.
In the Development module, choose the Lens Correction tab and check the checkbox "Enable Lens corrections"
Lens correction profiles are only avaibale for RAW files.

If you use jpg files or don't have Lightroom or Photoshop: DxO Optics offers lens correction profiles for RAW and jpg files and installs the correction profiles you need automatically, whenever you open a file without lens correction profile.

Regards,

Ivo

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