Sigma 18-200 vs Nikkor 18-55, Nikon D50 lens, D50 with Sigma lens

I was extremely pleased to receive another Sigma lens for my camera this week. I have been enjoying using the telephoto 135-400 lens but it is way too long for most day-to-day photography. As a result I’ve been relying on a Nikkor 18-55, but I’ve found the results to be very ‘soft’. Don’t get me wrong – they are perfectly adequate, but lack a degree of sharpness that the Sigma lens has got.

So, how does it compare?

First off, the sigma lens has a metal case which the Nikkor lens doesn’t. The added weight is somewhat reassuring, actually, but it is considerably heavier. If you are thinking that a lighter lens is better, stop reading now 🙂

It comes with a petal shaped hood, but when this is in place it is tricky to get the lens cap on and off, since the release clips are at the very edge of the cap and not recessed into the centre as the Nikkor is. I find this a nuisance and much prefer the Nikkor system. However, the hood is easy enough to remove and does fit back onto the lens in a reversed position (whereupon the lens cap is easy enough to operate).

In use, the Sigma lens responds well. It focuses quickly and responsively, and at the shorter lengths really does give a nice crisp image. At the longer lengths, certainly over 150mm, the image quality tends to fall off very slightly. It isn’t dreadful, by any stretch, and even at 200mm it is producing some nice results. There just seems to be a hint of vignetting… maybe it’s me being overly critical, but you should check it out for yourself to see if it is OK for you.

Overall then this lens is a good piece of kit to have in your bag. It performs well throughout the range but is better at shorter lengths. The weight could be a factor for some, but the images are more crisp than the Nikkor ‘kit’ lens that comes as standard on a D50.