Upload & Sell: On
I recently purchased a t3i as my travel camera of choice. Great camera. Superb with very good to great glass.
Until now ... and except for the behemoth Canon 28-300 IS lens I'd owned for a time ... I've pretty much steered clear of the lower cost and lighter super zoom lenses in that coveted 18-200 and 28-300 range. But I recently read some very good things about the newest version of the Sigma 18-200, the 18-200 OS II. One user review in particular pushed me in that lens' direction. I decided to give Sigma the benefit of the doubt ... which is a big step for me 'cause I am not at all a fan of Sigma products. I've not had good experiences with them, cameras OR lenses.
So I purchased one of these Sigma 18-200s this morning, brought it home and immediately put it through some pretty basic, simple, straight shooting kinds of tests.
Bottom line: it is the single worst lens I have ever put on ANY camera, film or digital. Even when it focused accurately ... which it rarely did ... the images it produced on the t3i were totally unnatural, as if something had come between lens and camera and had decided to interpret the subject matter in its own way. Fine details ... a hallmark of these Canon 18MP sensors ... were totally lost to this lens, at any focal length and aperture. Color was noticeably off and contrast was on very much on the light side.
More importantly, every single image was soft, soft, soft, soft and soft. No amount of USM could save these pics. And Sigma's version of IS ... which they call OS ... was hit and miss. Sometimes it worked as promised. Most times it didn't live up to its "3 stops."
It's possible I got a bad copy. But I decided I didn't want to exchange it for another only to find out that the 2nd copy was the same. I could have sent it in to Sigma .... but to what end? To have them tell me it's "within spec?" To have them "fix it" only to return it to me with exactly the same poor performance as when I sent it in? ... then to go through that back and forth episode a few more times until they got it right?
Canon's 18MP sensor embedded in the t3i, 60D and 7D absolutely demands the best glass you can afford. What I've decided is that few manufacturers are designing their lenses to match the sensitivities of these new sensors. However, great glass is great glass, and if it's really great, it will only bring better and better results with each new generation of cameras. Some of my older NIkons and Canons perform splendidly on the t3i. A few don't.
So I brought the Sigma 18-200 back to the store and exchanged it for the old, trusty, totally incredible and reliable Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 ... which performs better on the t3i than on any other crop camera I've ever used it on. It's a great lens. Always was. Always will be. Hard realities sometimes have to hit you square in the face before you can fully come to grips with them ....