Now everyone can get the shake out with stabilized lenses.
SIGMA 18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM
• STREET PRICE: $400. • FORMAT: Digital-only. • 35MM EQUIVALENT: Approx. 29-200mm. • HANDHOLDING BENEFIT: 2-3 stops. • CLOSE-FOCUS DISTANCE: 11.5 in. at 125mm. • MAX MAGNIFIATION RATIO: 1:3.10 at 125mm. • FILTER SIZE: 67mm. • LENGTH: 3.47-5.40 in. • WEIGHT: 1.12 lb. • AF MOUNTS: Canon, Nikon, Sigma. (Pentax, Sony coming soon.) • TEST RESULTS: This light, compact lens is the first to turn stabilization on automatically when you fire up the camera. It recognizes when you pan, disabling OS on the horizontal axis for smoother panning blur. Our SQF tests were in the Excellent range at all three tested focal lengths, indicating superb sharpness and contrast. It showed Visible barrel distortion at 18mm (0.45%) in DxO Analyzer 3.0.1 tests, but pincushioning at longer focal lengths was only in the Slight range at 50mm and 125mm (0.27% and 0.20%), above-average performance. • COMPETITIVE SET: The Sigma is much longer than Canon's 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS, a bit faster, and $115 less costly. It also controls distortion dramatically better at the wide end. The Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-4.5 VR has much more reach, better shake control, and (at $680, street), a much higher price; the Sigma is visibly sharper at the longest setting.
BLOOM ZOOM: Blur due to camera shake is magnified at close-focusing distances, making an optical stabilizer crucial for handheld floral studies. Both shots taken at 1/60 sec and ISO 400. Right: Without OS.
SIGMA 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG APO OS HSM AF
• STREET PRICE: $850.• FORMAT: Full-frame. • 35MM EQUIVALENTt: Approx. 186-620mm (on APS-sized sensors). • HANDHOLDING BENEFIT: 2-2.5 stops. • CLOSE-FOCUS DISTANCE: 56.2 in. at 400mm. • MAX. MAGNIFICATION RATIO: 1:3.59 at 400mm. • FILTERSIZE: 77mm. • LENGTH: 8.12-10.55 in. • WEIGHT: 3.77 lb. • AF MOUNTS: Canon, Nikon, Sigma (Pentax, Sony coming soon). • TEST RESULTS: This near-silent tele allows manual focusing in AF mode and works with Sigma teleconverters. In field tests, the AF easily tracked cars, bicyclists, even pigeons. In our tests, it delivered Excellent-range SQF numbers at 120- and 250mm, for superior sharpness and contrast, but, typical of long tele zooms, it dipped to Very Good at 400mm. DxO Analyzer 3.0.1 tests detected only Imperceptible barrel distortion at 120mm (0.04%) and Slight pincushion distortion at 250mm (0.12%) and 400mm (0.17%) -- almost flawless numbers. • COMPETITIVE SET: Canon's 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS isn't as long, yet has a bigger zoom range. Far heavier on the wallet ($1,190, street), it's far lighter in the hands. The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR also has a wider zoom range, but it sells at a much lower price ($480, street). Test results? About equal.
DELICATE DETAIL: Intricate designs in New York's Manhattan Bridge are rendered crisp and sharp thanks to Sigma's optical stabilizer. Both photos shot at 1/50 sec at ISO 400. Right: Without OS.