Sigma’s 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM Lens; The Whole Nine Yards Page 2

Ah, but that’s where the OS comes into play, which can get you three stops of light in terms of steadiness. It also saves you from having to amp up the ISO, which you know can create, when you get into those higher speeds, a loss of image quality, even with the best NR filtration. Optical Stabilization has certainly proven its merit over the years it has been available, and while it is an amazing aid that opens new imaging possibilities when shooting with fast lenses in quite low light, it becomes more of a saving grace here in a lens with a slow maximum aperture at the tele end. In fact, it makes this and similar lenses viable where in the past they would not be very useful for some types of shooting without a tripod.

During my tests I played with the zoom range to see the effect, shooting both setup and street shots in the process. I made some close-ups, which can be done as close as 17” even on the max tele side, which means you can get in quite tight on florals, etc. I also shot over the range of focal-length settings at max, medium, and minimum apertures and am happy to report that I detected no visible vignetting at any setting.

Concert Shots
Having this lens at a concert means you never have to rush the stage to get your shots. The wide shot (30mm) at this outdoor concert with Country Joe McDonald gives you an idea of how far I was from the stage; the close shot was made without me even stirring from my chair (400mm equivalent). The light was somewhat dim so I raised the ISO to 1250 and had the OS on. Exposure on this handheld shot was f/6.3 at 1⁄60 sec.

But my main aim in testing was to check out the street cred of this lens, which I must say was quite impressive. Having one lens for both wide and close-up (tele) shots made working at a parade and a concert much easier and faster, and gave me the ability to shoot the kind of candids and get the kind of coverage that made me think that this would be a good traveling companion. Sure, it would be great if the lens were faster at the tele end, but in my opinion at this price the Sigma will prove to be quite popular for travel and street candid photographers. The bonus is that you can utilize the OS or even boost the ISO when the light gets too low. It certainly did all I asked of it, given reasonable expectations, and was portable enough to make a day’s shoot with only one lens a pleasure and gave me the feeling that I didn’t miss one photo op.

Low Light
As the night came on, Country Joe McDonald was lit only by spots, so I switched to Spot Metering mode and metered directly off him and backed off on the zoom to an equivalent of 200mm to include the spots. Exposure at ISO 1000 was f/7.1 at 1⁄40 sec; once again the OS did its job.

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