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Old Apr 13, 2011, 10:47 PM   #1
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Default Sigma 50-200mm f/4-5.6 DG OS HSM vs Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

tl;dr: I guess the title says it all, I'd like your opinions.


Long version: I got a t2i a couple weeks ago, and now, on a shoestring budget, I'd like to extend the reach past the 18-55mm IS kit lens...Eventually I'd like to get a 70-200mm f/4L but until then, I just want something to hold me over temporarily (maybe a year)

I'm looking at either the Sigma 50-200mm or the Canon 55-250 for now, and here are some of the pros and cons as I see them:

Sigma 50-200mm f/4-5.6 DG OS HSM
Pros:
- Metal bayonet mount
- Hypersonic silent motor
- Optical Image Stabilization
- Price: $159 delivered.
Cons:
- Softer focus toward the long end compared to the canon, even if you step it down quite a bit.


Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
Pros:
- Sharper than the sigma through the entire zoom range at all apertures.
- Image Stabilization (not sure if one is better than the other, they're probably not different enough in their implementation for either one to be a dealbreaker)
- More reach at 250mm vs 200mm sigma
Cons:
- More expensive, Price: $200-$220
- Cheaper build all around, light, plastic mount, whiney motor, etc.


Overall, just looking at photos and reviews, it seems like the sigma is overall better-built and packs in more luxury features (HSM), but suffers from soft-ish images unless you really know how to finesse it to its best performance, and even then it's still not quite up to the canon's quality.

I feel more comfortable shelling out only $160 right now vs $50 more for the canon....I got a great deal on the T2i kit through canon's loyalty program ($540 delivered), which was the only reason I could afford it at all.

My other consideration would be if I could find a Sigma/canon/Tamron 18-200mm AIO type lens (doesn't have to be that exact focal length per se) that is affordable, yet comparable in quality, and sell my kit lens to offset the higher price of this one lens, and just use ONE lens only until I can get a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 or something similarly high-quality for my shorter focal lengths.

The question will probably come up: "What do you want to shoot with it?" Honestly, a little bit of everything, I work on a college campus and I've been known to shoot anything from architecture, to student candids, to landscapes, so eventually I'd like to get a nice collection of glass, but for now I'd like something to simply get me rolling with moderately-decent quality on a shoestring budget, something that will let me do 80% of what I want to do, at 80% of the quality I'd eventually like to achieve, for 20% of the cost of "L" quality lenses....More or less....if that makes sense...I'm looking for the best value, ultra-low-budget lenses at present. The ones that pack the best bang for the buck, and will get me covered through the 18-200mm range, either by adding a 50-200mm to my kit lens, or by getting a single zoom to cover the gamut.

I'll be doing my due diligence and reading other threads as well, but a quick search of 50-200mm didn't bring anything up, but I'm sure I just need to tweak keywords, etc. But I'd like to take the forum's pulse as of today and see what current thoughts are. I'm open to all kinds of advice, if there are any tamrons or other brands that fit the bill, lay them on me!

Thanks in advance, any and all replies are greatly appreciated!

Addendum, for anyone so inclined to keep reading: My history with DSLRs: I've had a Canon XT and XTi body in the past, and such lenses as the canon 70-300mm IS, then later the 70-200mm f/4L which was paired somewhat awkwardly (a coverage gap in the 50-70mm range) with a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, and a 50mm f/1.8....all of which got sold off when I spent over a year in the unemployment line...I'm now sporting a new job and looking to get back in the scene, while still minding my budget. So I've experienced some decent quality lenses, for whatever that's worth. I know I should probably just go with the sharper lens, and not look back, but the sigma I listed above seems to be a good value for all the extras it throws in, at a cheaper price, to boot. *sigh*....I need to sleep on this, and dialogue with some of you regulars for a little while before I pull the trigger, but right now I really just need to do the sleeping part. Thanks, and if you made it this far, congratulations!

Last edited by matt314159; Apr 13, 2011 at 10:57 PM.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 11:04 PM   #2
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matt
heres the deal man, for the extra 50 bucks go with the canon, it will always work on your now and future canons, just save up 50 more and wait a coupla weeks thats all.
when it comes to lenses dont penny pinch, almost all of us have done that and regretted it, if you think something is better, then save and buy it, dont be pound foolish and penny wise, and buy something cheaper and not of quality, welcome to the DSLR world matt
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 11:27 PM   #3
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also the canon is the sharper lens, the sig might focus faster, but it is not that great of a lens.
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Old Apr 13, 2011, 11:35 PM   #4
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the canon is a great value, very sharp for its price
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Old Apr 14, 2011, 3:13 AM   #5
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The canon is a nice lens I use it a lot its light and easy to carry, I really haven't heard it being noisey
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Old Apr 14, 2011, 8:37 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies, everyone! Just to be clear, the extra $50 isn't a dealbreaker by any means, like I said I just want to make sure I'm getting the best mileage out of my money for now. The sigma appealed because of the apparently better build quality and the higher-end features they packed in. If people said, "they're actually pretty close in image quality, the canon edges it out just barely" then I would have gone for that over the canon to get the hypersonic motor and metal bayonet mount. Since nobody's standing up for the sigma yet it looks like I know which direction to go. Unless there are any $300 (okay, maybe up to $350) 18-200 type zoom lenses with image stabilization that would combine both the kit and the 55-250 into the same lens, while retaining most of the quality of each lens separately, that would be cool for the convenience factor alone... but I'm pretty sure that's gonna be a big fat "no" for an answer...maybe one exists, but probably not near my price range.

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Old Apr 16, 2011, 3:36 PM   #7
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i wanna get some zoom lens too.. my first choice was canon 55-250 but then.. since i live in the city that would not be very practical and i'm certainly will break or drop one of the lens while changing on the move. So i've decided to invest in some ~18-200 $400-600 lens..i think it worth it

so what's with this sigma it says optical stabilizer and its just a little over 300 bucks and i'm sure you could find it on craigslist for around $300
http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-18-200mm...2982485&sr=1-1
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Old Apr 16, 2011, 3:39 PM   #8
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I've actually looked at that lens and it is tempting, they're going for $250 BIN on fleabay.. I'm just worried that I'll miss out on a lot of image quality compared to the 18-55 IS kit and 55-250mm IS kit telephoto...

Anyone have experience with the above sigma to speak to the IQ? If it's close, I really would like just one zoom for now but again, I worry the IQ wouldn't be as sharp as the 18-55/55-250 combo would be.

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Old Apr 16, 2011, 3:46 PM   #9
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The megazooms are never as sharp as 2 lenses as they are soft and not consistence through out the FL. But depending what you are comparing it to. It can be a problem or not. If you were to go that route, I would look for the tamron 18-270. It covers general photography better with 70mm more of reach.
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Old Apr 16, 2011, 4:14 PM   #10
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^That's another lens I've seen, but had all but written it off because of its $400+ price range, and that I won't necessarily be shooting past 200mm, after I got the 70-200 f/4L on my last body (before I lost my job and sold everything) I never missed the 300mm of my former lens really...so the extra 70mm on the tamron is neither here nor there for me-- would be nice, but not necessarily at the expense of a higher price or decreased image quality.

There's this really nebulous, almost undefinable target range/sweet spot I'm trying to hit here with just the perfect combination of quality construction, image quality, price, and performance capabilities that I don't think I'll ever be able to really hit. And I know I'm going to have to compromise--Having had good glass in the past (Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, Canon 70-200 f/4l, etc) I know it ultimately comes down to the maxim of, "you get what you pay for"

That said, perhaps it would help me to weight my priorities a little:
60% image sharpness
15% Affordability
15% Convenience (only a megazoom would win points in this area)
10% Quality features (USM/HSM, OS/IS, Metal construction)

The lens that comes closest to matching all this within my current budget, wins. If the Tamron 18-270mm were in the $300 range, and touted nearly as good of image quality as the Canon two-lens kit combo, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. It's why the Sigma 50-200 OS/HSM is still so tempting, it matches a lot of my criteria, if only I had a feel for what its real image quality would be. There aren't nearly as many reviews on that lens, or sample photos on flickr, as there are of the canon 55-250...and I'm left thinking, 1) "maybe that should tell me something right there" or 2) "just maybe it's some undiscovered gem that isn't getting a lot of coverage"

After payday next week, if I have enough left over to play around with, I might buy the sigma 50-200 AND the canon 55-250 and simply compare them myself...Pick the one I like best, and re-sell the other one and try to come close to breaking even on it. I will probably have enough to drop on both of them, but I would need to turn one of them back around into cash ASAP to leave a little breathing room in my budget.
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