Expecting SLRGear.com? We’re moving our lens reviews to Imaging Resource! Read about it here.

Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC

 
Lens Reviews / Sigma Lenses i Lab tested

Your purchases support this site

Buy the Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion
18-125mm $260
average price
image of Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC

(From Sigma lens literature) This zoom lens was exclusively designed for use with digital Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras and has a 6.9:1 zoom ratio. The image circle is designed to match the size of the image sensor of digital SLR cameras.

From wide angle to telephoto, this new zoom lens can capture a wide range of subjects. As there is no need to change lenses, there is no risk of missing those great shots. This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 50cm (19.6 in.) at all focal lengths and a maximum magnification of 1:5.3. A distance scale on the focus ring makes the lens convenient and easy to use.

Sigma's vast experience has been gained over many years in the development of advanced optical technology and film camera production. This experience was crucial to the development of the SD9 and SD10 digital SLR cameras. Sigma took digital characteristics into consideration when designing the lens power layout and created the most suitable lens.

We used the most appropriate coating for digital products to reduce flare and ghost, caused by digital SLR cameras and to produce the best color balance.

A Special Low Dispersion (SLD) lens and two aspherical glass elements produce a high level of optical performance throughout the entire zoom range. The resulting design has produced a compact and lightweight lens measuring just 77.7mm (3.1 in.), maximum diameter by 70mm (2.8 in.) in length, with a weight of 385g (13.6 oz) and filter size of just 62mm!

The lens is equipped with an inner focusing system, which prevents the front element from rotating making it particularly suitable for Petal shaped hoods and a circular polarizing filters.

The lens is also equipped with a zoom lock that eliminates "zoom creep" during transit.

Test Notes

Super-long ratio zoom lenses have often been called "vacation lenses", since they're the ideal solution when you're traveling, and only want to bring one lens along. The Sigma 18-125 f/3.5-5.6 somewhat falls into the long-zoom segment, but it isn't quite as ambitious as the 18-200s currently on the market, and as a result doesn't appear to trade off as much optical performance as those models do. It still does get somewhat soft in the corners when shot at its widest aperture, and its behavior at ~90mm wide open is rocky indeed. That said though its maximum-aperture performance is very noticeably better than some super-long ratio zooms, and closed down an f-stop or two, it turns in a very respectable performance. You'll still do better with high-priced shorter-ratio zooms, but the Sigma 18-125 frankly did better than we expected it to. On a camera with an APS-C size sensor, and the resulting approximately 1.5x crop ratio, it's equivalent to a 27-188mm lens on a 35mm camera, spanning a useful focal length range from fairly wide angle to moderate telephoto.

Chromatic aberration is moderate to high at maximum wide angle, but fairly low at points in between (and very low indeed at ~50mm). Here again, the shorter zoom ratio seems to have allowed better optical performance than that of longer ratio lenses. Relative to other long zooms, the 18-125's greatest shortcoming seems to be its roughly 2/3 stop of shading (aka vignetting) at maximum wide angle and maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/5.6 at 18mm reduces the shading to a much more acceptable 1/3 stop, and longer focal lengths tend to do much better as well, particularly at one stop down from the maximum aperture. Geometric distortion is also a bit of an issue: At 18mm, there's about 0.75% barrel distortion, which shifts very quickly to about 0.5% pincushion at 26 mm. Maximum pincushion of about 0.65% happens somewhere around 35mm, gradually decreasing to just over 0.5% at 125mm. You probably wouldn't notice the geometric distortion of this lens in shots of nature and scenery, but for buildings and room interiors, you'll probably want to apply some post-exposure correction in the computer. (This is one of the lenses supported by DxO Optics Pro, for correcting vignetting, distortion, sharpness, and chromatic aberration, semi-automatically.)

As always, when judging the bottom line for a lens like this, it's important to consider its price and intended market. As of this writing, in December 2005, it's widely available for under $300, and with careful shopping online, for less than $250. There's no question that higher-priced lenses could do better, particularly at large apertures, but for the money, the Sigma 18-125 f/3.5-5.6 is an excellent, inexpensive single-lens solution for a wide range of typical shooting situations. (And if you have enough light to shoot stopped down by one or two f-stops, it's excellent by any standard.)

(Another note, repeated from our comments on other long-ratio zoom lenses we've posted: Every time you swap the lens on your digital SLR, you risk getting dust on your sensor. While not difficult to clean off, particularly with good-quality cleaning kits like those sold by Copper Hill Imaging, it's a nuisance that's well worth avoiding. Long-ratio zooms like the 18-125mm Sigma mean much less lens-swapping, resulting in just that many fewer opportunities for dust to enter your camera body.)

Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC User Reviews

7.2/10 average of 27 reviews Build Quality 7.2/10 Image Quality 7.3/10
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Very useful zoom range, reasonable image quality, correct build quality, price.
    some distorsions wide, some soft tele

    For its price, and for its wide zoom range (roughly 27-190mm equivalent), it delivers more than decent image quality, very good considering the inevitable comprises.
    Compared to premium glass, images aren't as sharp, and colour and contrast aren't as pleasing. But they're certainly pleasant, making this a worthwhile walkaround or vacation lens.
    Autofocus is noisy and a bit slow.
    Some people have complained about inaccurate focus, but on a Nikon D80, my copy focused fine.
    Highly recommended for a low-budget travel/walk-around lens.

    reviewed September 5th, 2010 (purchased for $165)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Lightwight, sharp, size, cheap
    no for that price

    I bought this lens for use on travel with my Nikon D60.
    With this lens I take very nice pictures, including landscape, portrait and so on.
    The range is very good, the image quality is also good.

    reviewed September 5th, 2010 (purchased for $161)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Ottimo range di focali, nitido e leggero. Ottima costruzione.
    Nessuno.

    Ho una NIKON D40x ed uso quest'obiettivo in sostituzione del 18-55 del kit.
    Mi trovo benissimo e sono contenta dei risultati.
    Ho scelto il 18-125 invece di un 18-200 perchè sono convinta che maggiore è l'escursione focale maggiori sono i problemi.
    Sembra che questa versione sia otticamente superiore alla versione OS.
    Ve lo consiglio.

    reviewed September 5th, 2010 (purchased for $185)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Buona nitidezza, aberrazioni contenute, leggerezza.
    AF un pò lento e rumoroso.

    E' una lente che va confrontata e quindi valutata in rapporto lenti appartenenti alla sua stessa categoria.
    Il range 18-125 ha permesso, sia pur con i limiti propri delle lenti tuttofare, di contenere le aberrazioni cromatiche, la distorsione e la vignettatura, risultando superiore al suo "fratello" 18-200.
    Quando si valutano lenti di questa tipologia è molto facile esprimere giudizi negativi se il confronto viene fatto con modelli appartenenti ad altre categorie; per questo, io mi sento di promuovere a pieni voti questa lente perchè, nella fascia di appartenenza, conoscendolo e sapendone sfruttare al meglio le sue caratteristiche migliori anche chiudendo il diaframma semplicemente di 1-2 stop, permette di ottenere immagini davvero soddisfacenti.
    Premetto che sulla mia Nikon D300 e sulle due Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro, utilizzo le seguenti lenti:

    - NIKON AF-S DX Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
    - NIKON AF Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 ED
    - NIKON AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF ED
    - NIKON AF Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8
    - TAMRON AF 19-35 f/3.5-4.5

    Il Sigma AF zoom 18-125 mm 1:3.5-5.6 DC lo utilizzo moltissimo durante le escursioni ed i viaggi e ne sono pienamente soddisfatto.
    Lo consiglio vivamente!

    reviewed September 5th, 2010 (purchased for $170)
  • 7 out of 10 points and not recommended by (82 reviews)
    Light and compact.
    Soft...just too soft IMHO

    I would hightly recommend waiting on or buying the new OS version.

    Sample Photos

    -Lex

    reviewed May 26th, 2008 (purchased for $250)
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Image quality - if you mind price, size and weight.
    Autofocus is loud, slow and due to f 5,6 at the long end inaccurate in low light situations.

    The sigma 18-125 won't do the job if you are looking for THE image of your life. If you take a look at the zoom-range and the price this has to be like this. It has a quite loud, even screeching autofocus which is often inaccurate, especially in low light situations. The autofocus is also quite slow. Tracking of fast moving objects is very hard to do. The lens shows some minor cromatic aberrations. The vignetting is acceptable even at full opened aperture. (You need to turn up the vignetting correction in adobe's raw converter up to ca. 25 to get rid of them, but this is really not a problem)

    Very nice is the low price. It has THE perfect zoom range to travel and it's lightweight. It's quite sharp at f 8. There you can get quite decent results even when you are a censorius amateur. It does a "good" job for all day family & friends snap shooting. Good, but not more.

    If you buy it, you can do nothing wrong. Buy it, start taking pictures and have fun. It's not the lens, it's not the body, it is your point of view that makes the shot. Otherwise spend 1200 € and have a look at a L-series lens... ;-)

    Please have a look at my website. ALL pictures shown are taken with the 18-125 and an Canon EOS 10D, processed with several versions of adobe raw converter:

    http://home.arcor.de/christianmeding/

    Thanks for visiting! Christian Joerg Photographie

    reviewed July 24th, 2007 (purchased for $280)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (24 reviews)
    sharp and practic
    light fall off and wavy (funny) distortions

    That´s not a bad lens at all on my Pentax. Surprisingly sharp (at least my example) but distortions and light fall off is quiet strong, but it´s a wonderfull practic lens (18-125) - offering very good colours on my Pentax D-SLR! The buildings are quiet so so - not too bad.
    The price is good too - at least a middle-class-lens!

    reviewed May 15th, 2007 (purchased for $250)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (20 reviews)
    Lightwight, size, sharp, cheap
    no for that price

    I got that baby in 2005 right after purchasing Nikon D50. All that I can say - it's very very good deal ! For a bargain price you get quite big range of focal length. The lens was very sharp... maybe I got a true Sigma ? =) I sold it some time ago, but still like the images produced by 18-125.
    Thank you

    reviewed April 26th, 2007 (purchased for $275)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by (6 reviews)
    Nice zoom range (28-200mm for crop sensor)
    Very SOFT image, slow AF

    I bought this lens with my 20D in 2005, and returned them within a week. The pics were very very soft. It was much softer than my Rebel w/18-55 kit. This lens does give a good range for a walk around len. Too bad IQ part is so poor. I bought the Canon 20D w/17-85 kit afterward and am very happy with it.

    reviewed January 14th, 2007 (purchased for $300)
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by (7 reviews)
    reach, size, weight
    mine was not sharp and its colors/contrast were dull

    This lens looked just right for a beginner SLR user. But I soon found out that my copy was not sharp, and the focusing was not accurate. My subsequent Sigma 17-70 mm was so much better, also in contrast and colors. (Unfortunately, that one was stolen but I'll get another soon.)

    reviewed January 14th, 2007
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Lightweight, Sharp, Excellent Bokeh, quick focus, good lens hood, inexpensive
    Focus Ring turns when autofocusing, noisy focus,

    I have only one gripe with this lens. Mine broke just before the two year mark. It started to stick a bit while turning the zoom ring, then one day it would no longer zoom to the wide end or telephoto end. It's now a 45 to 70mm zoom, not what I paid for!

    But I did take quite a number of shots with it. It was the lens most on my camera other than my EF-S 10-22. I never understood why this lens gets panned so much. I found it to be very sharp. At least comparing it to my 50mm 1.8 or my 70-200 F4/L, I didn't see any advantage to those at comparable focal lengths, at least on my 300D or 350XT.

    Actually, I think the build of the lens was fine. I give it a 5 above because it didn't quite last two years. If that hadn't happened, I would have rated build a 10.

    The only regret I had with this lens was that I would have liked image stabilization and more range. I was jealous when they came out with the 18-200. And now I have my eye on the new 18-200 OS. But I do have some "worries" about whether that lens, which is about twice as much as I paid for the 18-125, will last.

    reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $250)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (16 reviews)
    Very useful zoom range, reasonable image quality, correct build quality, price.
    Distorsion at the wide end, softness at the long end, some AF problems at 18mm.

    I bought this lens to replace the kit lens of my EOS 300D, and it outperforms it in every domain. This focal range is extremely convenient as a walkaround lens and perfectly suits my needs (but I'd love a wider aperture too...).
    Image quality is good wide open under 70mm, and sharp on the whole focal range when stopped down to f/8, but is never "excellent" and sometimes lacks some contrast.
    Build quality feels good (I like the material of it, and its weight gives a good feeling) but it is subject to zoom creeping when held almost vertically, especially with the hood on.
    AF operation is fast enough, and not too noisy, but I found it to be sometimes inaccurate at 18mm. This problem dissapears when I use the center AF sensor only (not a big deal for me).
    The lens hood is supplied with the lens and is very convenient, though beeing shaped to fit the FOV at 18mm it becomes less efficient on the long end.

    So, this lens is a very good walkaround/vacation lens for APS-C DSLR and its price makes it very attractive too.

    reviewed January 4th, 2007 (purchased for $240)
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by (2 reviews)
    Light and compact.
    Resultant image quality is shoddy at too many points in the zoom and aperture range.

    I bought this lens when i bought a new Nikon D50. I opted for it over the Tamron 18-200 mm zoom, thinking i would get sharper pictures given the narrower (but still broad) zoom range. Not so! I found it pretty disappointing in terms of sharpness through much of the range. My photo results suggest there are a few sweet spots of crisper focus in the midrange, but its too soft at the extremes and most of the inbetween spots to warrant keeping. I replaced it with the Nikon 17-70 mm, for just a bit more money, and got consistenly better pictures (though obviously losing some of the zoom range).

    reviewed January 1st, 2007 (purchased for $260)
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by (12 reviews)
    Great zoom range, perfectly usable image quality at all focal lengths
    broke after 18 months of use

    This was my primary lens on my digital rebel. It was truly the 'little lens that could' I could snap this on my camera and go just about anywhere knowing that I wasn't likely to need any other lenses.

    That said, I was sad when the lens died after only 18 months of use. and since sigma only offers a 1 year warranty with their lenses, I could not get it repaired.

    Overall I still recommend the lens, it served me well for thousands of pictures and it didn't cost me too much money. Just don't expect it to last forever.

    reviewed January 1st, 2007 (purchased for $250)
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by (17 reviews)

    good lens, but darkens viewfinder image

    reviewed January 1st, 2007
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    very good range, good quality picture
    some distorsions wide, some soft tele

    After few months I have replaced the kit lens with this one. The range is very good, the image quality is also good, with some exceptions:
    - near 18mm some distorsions are clear visible; I correct this with PTLens;
    - near 125 it is a little bit soft; aditional sharpening can be adjusted in RAW processing.
    However, with this lens you can take very nice pictures, including landscape, portrait and so on. Tha macro capability is not so god as my Sigma 70-300, but this is not dedicated for macro.
    The construction quality is much better that the kit one.
    What I miss is the IS; at 125mm you need a good light to take blur free pictures. Because of this issue I sell this lens for Canon 24-105.

    reviewed December 28th, 2006 (purchased for $250)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (62 reviews)
    convenient focal range
    image quality not good enough for large prints, poor color

    The main reason to get this lens is convenience. It's lightweight and has probably over 90% of your FL needs. It's the perect match for an APS-C DSLR (especially the smaller ones) for travel and casual snaps - provided you don't plan to print large prints.

    Output lacks 'punch' but if you're willing to do some post-processing you may get some pleasing results.

    reviewed December 14th, 2006
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by (13 reviews)
    god focal range, lightweight
    soft, soft, soft

    Bought as alllround lens for Canon 350D. I delivered it back to the shop after only a week because it was ununacceptable soft even if stopped down to aperture 8 or 11!

    reviewed November 26th, 2006 (purchased for $350)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Decent performance for a wide-ratio zoom
    noisy autofocus, not super-sharp

    I had this lens for a couple of years. For its price, and for its wide zoom range (roughly 28-200mm equivalent), it delivers more than decent image quality -- certainly not stellar, but very good considering the inevitable comprises. Compared to premium glass, images aren't as sharp, and colour and contrast aren't as pleasing. But they're certainly pleasant, making this a worthwhile walkaround or vacation lens. Autofocus is noisy and a bit slow. Some people have complained about inaccurate focus, but on a Canon Digital Rebel, my copy focused fine.

    reviewed November 22nd, 2006 (purchased for $275)
  • 6 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Price, good range, reasonably sharp
    Not the best build, no hyperfocal scale, noisy AF, bad QA

    I got this lens for my 350D instead of the kit lens, and haven't regretted it (having no more money to spend on camera right now). It covers a very useful range (comparable to the ubiquitious 28-200 lenses on fullframe) and delivers well. Its focusing is on the noisy side, and accuracy changes from copy to copy -- but I got mine swapped without any hassle. It extends during zoom, but appears parfocal and neither extends nor rotates the front element during focus. With the (included) lens hood, I never bother to put the lens cap on anymore (in a mild climate). Highly recommended for a low-budget travel/walk-around lens.

    reviewed November 22nd, 2006
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    good zoom range for "walkaround" lens
    vignetting at wide zoom f/3.5

    I have been happy with this lens as a "walkaround" lens on my Nikon D50. The photos are sharp and the color looks good. The autofocus speeds are pretty fast, although it probably is a hair slower than the 18-55 kit lens (I tried one in the store) when it has to travel the whole focus range. The AF motor makes a little noise, but I don't find it objectionable. If you use this lens in point-and-shoot mode, you may be bothered by the vignetting at the 18mm setting and f/3.5. The vignetting is quite a bit less at f/5.6, and is practically gone at f/8. I normally shoot in aperture-priority mode at f/5.6, so it hasn't been too much of an issue for me.

    reviewed May 20th, 2006 (purchased for $280)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Good range, reasonable image quality, price

    I bought this lens as a reasonably priced alternative to the Canon 350D "kit" lens.

    For the price, I'm a happy camper. It seems to do a good job in actual use.

    I've posted a non-technical review that might be useful, just my own observations and a few sample images:

    http://ilind.net/reviews/sigma18-125a.html

    reviewed December 30th, 2005 (purchased for $285)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Great range of focal lengths in one lens - no constant changing your glass
    Fairly heavy, "good" images but not "great"

    At first, I was really pleased with this purchase and it's still the lens which is usually found on my 20D as a general purpose snapper. Fantastic if you're out somewhere and don't want to carry an additional lens - if you think about it, this can make the difference between getting a shot and missing it. It was fairly good value for money and the results are slightly better than the stock 18-55 Canon kit lens. However, I know that more money would get me better image quality. It suits general leisure photography if most of your output is for your homepage or email. Had the 18-200 model been around when I bought this, I would have opted for the longer zoom as the weight increase is negligible.

    reviewed December 17th, 2005 (purchased for $390)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by (4 reviews)
    price, zoom range
    vignetting, slow, poor performance when using 18 mm

    i had the Nikon version and while this sigma lens sounds like a bargain, it isn't.
    There are so many do everything lensens on the market nowadays, hard to choose a good one. And as the saying goes 'a jack of all trades is a master of none'.
    Same for this lens: heavy vigenetting when using 18 mm, slow focus, large and heavy for a digital only lens, only sharp at f/8 etc
    Don't but this one and save ur money for a more expensive but higer quality lens

    reviewed November 20th, 2005 (purchased for $250)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Great general purpose range, good color, surprisingly sharp
    none

    I bought this lens for use on travel with my Canon 20D. It was recommended by a friend, and I have not been sorry. No problems at all with focus, even on some fast moving subjects, or in low light. With Canon's 1.6x crop factor, the equivalent focal length is 30 to 200 mm, which covers 95% of my travel needs. The lens stays on the camera most of the time. The hood is self storing, a nice feature. Filter size is 62 mm which is fine, since I used to shoot Nikons and have a lot of top quality Nikon filters, and the 5T close up lens. For longer focal lengths, I have carried a Tamron 1.4x multiplier instead of a longer lens, which works surprisingly well, and the camera will still AF. Not a perfect combination, but better than no shot at all.

    The lens is fairly compact and balances well on the 20D without the battery grip. It seems well made with a nice feel to the zoom ring.

    reviewed October 24th, 2005 (purchased for $250)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by (2 reviews)
    optical (image) quality, range
    AF incosistent and loud AF motor

    I've used this lens on Canon 350D.
    Main advantage of this lens is being 18-125mm and it's size which makes it very usable for "walkaround". Using this lens I can confirm that optical (image quality) this lens performs quite good thru whole range. Better than kit lens? Yes, but not much (IMO kit lens is quite good) -but Sigma is better built and "feels" better on camera. Also front barell doesn't rotate, so polar filter can be used.
    Now the worst part: Auto focus is useless most of the time. Even when shooting under normal conditions (daylight, non-moving object, etc.) you can't be sure if AF will hit the target sharp. So learn using manual focusing is needed. That's the reason why I don't recommend this lens (even if it would be cheaper) -IMO if AF doesn't work as it should, it's useless.

    reviewed October 23rd, 2005
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (10 reviews)
    nice range, PT lens profile - Fast and detailed on K10D
    very slow auto focus on my Pentax DS

    I didn't think much of this lens when I first got it with the Pentax ist DS, the auto focus is slow (I can do better manual), but you can get some good results with it. I got this one because PT lens (photoshop plug-in) has a profile for this lens and the DS, and since i tend to shoot alot of architecture it makes a really good versatile lens (PT lens fixes lens distortions). It is alittle heavy for the DS, but it is a pretty small camera. I am usually very happy with the results and as with any digital photo you can usually make it alot better with some post processing. The petal lens hood is a pain when trying to use a polariser, but it's good that it's included with the lens, very useful. I do like the lens and find it's wider angle very useful (although if sigma made the 10-20 in pentax mount I don't know how often I'd pick this one up, except maybe travel).

    UPDATE: Well, a few things have changed - Sigma released the 10-20mm in K mount - Fantastic lens - and as I thought - i didn't touch the 18-125mm again. BUT - that was on the DS, I put the lens on my new K10D because as christmas day moves along i get very lazy with the whole zooming with my feet idea. Just looking at the photos has prompted this immediate update - the lens performs really well on the K10D. Auto focus is quite amazing compared to the DS, and the image quality is much better - it actually seems sharper, dispite the extra demands placed on it by the 10mp sensor - very weird, but makes me glad I didn't sell the lens - so it deserves a new score - well done.

    reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $350)