Ever since Sigma introduced its Contemporary line of lenses, I’ve been pretty intrigued. Offering a fast aperture and compact footprint, these lenses are great for the everyday photographer, perfect for a wide range of shooting scenarios.
When it came to the 18-50mm APS-C lens, I was anticipating another great lens. While it certainly holds its own, it’s not without its flaws. That said, it’s a good all-around entry-level lens for photographers with an APS-C camera. For anyone wanting to upgrade beyond a standard kit lens, the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 is certainly worth a look.
- Small, compact and lightweight
- Focal range great for a variety of situations
- Excellent price point
- Quick to focus
- Acceptable sharpness
- Dust and splash resistant
- Autofocus accurate but can have trouble keeping up in darker situations with fast movement
- No image stabilization
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN — Technical specifications
All of the technical specifications listed here have been taken from the official Sigma website:
- 13 elements/10 groups
- 7 rounded diaphragm blades
- Angle of view: 76.5°–31.7°
- Min focus distance: 58–280cm / 4.8–11.9in
- Filter size: φ55mm
- Dimensions: 61.6mm × 76.5mm / 2.4in. x 3in
- Weight: 290g / 10.2oz.
- Stepping autofocus motor
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN — Handling and build quality
The Sigma 18-50mm is a very compact lens, meaning that you’ll just have a small zoom ring and even smaller focus ring. There’s no external buttons present, but there’s not really much room for them, either!
The build quality is solid, just like Sigma’s other Contemporary lenses.
While I found the lens to be pretty small in my hands, it was still very easy and comfortable to work with. While it looked a bit ridiculous on a full-frame body with a grip, this lens is pretty well-balanced, even on larger cameras.
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN — In the field
The Sigma 18-50mm was really a joy to use. I took it on a hike to experience some fall colors, a trip to Washington DC and tested it in a few other scenarios. This lens can hold its own no matter what genre you’re shooting — landscape, street, documentary, portrait and more.
Simply put, it’s a great all-purpose, everyday lens.
I tested the Sigma 18-50mm on a Sony a1 and a7 III. With the a7 III, I was somewhat limited, as the megapixels were cut down to 10 megapixels. So if you do use this on a full-frame camera, that’s something to be aware of. With the A1, I had a lot ore megapixels to work with, with the 50-megapixel sensor being cut down to a very workable 21 megapixels. Obviously if you use the lens on an APS-C camera, you’ve got nothing to worry about here.
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN — Autofocus performance
While I was generally pleased with the Sigma 18-50mm’s autofocus performance — it was quick and accurate — I did notice it trip up a few times, mainly with motion at night. While photographing some busses downtown using a panning technique, the lens delivered more misses than hits. However, the photographs I did get in-focus (like those above), I was very happy with.
This may have been due to the lack of image stabilization built into the lens. For under $600, I can’t complain too much about this, and in most scenarios, it works great. During the day or good lighting situations, it works flawlessly. But if you have a body without IBIS, it’s definitely something to take into account.
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN — Characteristics
Flares, chromatic aberration and barrel distortion
I didn’t notice much, if any, chromatic aberration with this lens. Same with barrel distortion. It’s just not common for this focal length.
In terms of flares, I tried to create some with the lens, and struggled to create a tack-sharp sun flare in a landscape shot. While not exactly a deal-breaker, landscape photographers might want a lens that’s a bit more high end, especially if they’re serious about capturing the scene around them.
Sharpness was acceptable in all of my tests. While it doesn’t match Sigma’s higher-end Art series lenses, the 18-50mm is comparable to other lenses in this price range.
While my Sigma 35mm f/2 Contemporary lens displays beautiful bokeh, I was kind of disappointed with the Sigma 18-50mm, as it’s a bit busy in the backgrounds. All that said, this is a zoom lens, and it’s a relatively standard focal range that isn’t often used for that creamy depth of field look.
But if you’re looking for a strong bokeh, I might recommend some of Sigma’s other Contemporary lenses.
Like most of Sigma’s lenses, they tend to learn toward the warmer end of the spectrum. This is something I’ve always been very pleased with, especially on a Sony camera, as it creates a natural, pleasing color throughout your captures.
There is a fair amount of vignetting with the Sigma 18-50mm, but this is something I’m not too concerned about, as it’s easily fixable in post-processing if that’s not your thing. I, for one, happen to like a bit of vignette to help draw the viewer’s attention to my subject.
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN — Moving beyond the kit lens
Kit lenses often limit photographers in terms of what they can capture, and more importantly, how well they can photograph in a specific situation. Kit lenses have their place, but once you’re ready to move beyond that, the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN is a great choice for APS-C cameras. Take advantage of fast autofocus, a compact footprint and better low light performance in this lens, that’s sure to excite crop-sensor shooters.
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary Lens for Sony E
Ideal for a wide range of photo and video applications including landscapes, portraits, street photography, architecture, and events, the 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary Lens from Sigma is a small, light and bright standard zoom for crop-sensor mirrorless cameras. Offered here with a Sony E-mount, this lens provides a versatile full-frame equivalent zoom range of 27-75mm and a wide constant aperture of f/2.8 throughout the entire zoom range.