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01-21-2019, 02:44 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Sigma 18-300 Alternatives

I rather set my heart on a Sigma 18-300mm F/3.5-6.3 DC Macro HSM, however I can't find one in the UK (new or used). The shops I have spoken to say that Sigma have no stock and as they "batch produce" them, the shops cannot get a likely delivery date.

I know that Pentax, Sigma and Tamron have produced a number of lenses in the 18-250/270 range, but none of them seem to be as highly rated in the reviews I read (here and elsewhere).

I had a Tamron 18-200 and was disappointed in the sharpness, etc (particularly at 200, but throughout when wide open) . I was also hoping for some extra reach.

Has anyone here done a direct comparison of the Sigma 18-300 with the 18-2XX from either manufacturer?

Do I keep waiting, or is another lens a suitable alternative (and significantly better than the Tamron 18-200)?

I am running a K3 so Full Frame isn't a necessity. My budget is 400, but I could stretch that a bit, however F2.8 lenses are out of my price range at the moment.

All advice gratefully received...

01-21-2019, 03:02 PM - 4 Likes   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Robin CB Quote
I rather set my heart on a Sigma 18-300mm F/3.5-6.3 DC Macro HSM, however I can't find one in the UK (new or used).

I had a Tamron 18-200 and was disappointed in the sharpness, etc (particularly at 200, but throughout when wide open) . I was also hoping for some extra reach.

Do I keep waiting, or is another lens a suitable alternative (and significantly better than the Tamron 18-200)?
Currently BHPhotovideo has them on sale for $400 USD and they do ship to the UK.
Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC MACRO HSM Contemporary Lens 886109

But if sharpness at the long end is a concern, your best alternative is really two lenses. What other lenses do you currently own?

If auto focus speed is essential then I'd suggest the Pentax 55-300mm PLM.
Pentax HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Lens 21277

If price is a consideration and you'd rather gain a third of a stop at the long end, then the Pentax HD DA 55-300mm.
Pentax HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR Lens 22270 B&H Photo

And if you really want sharpness at the long end, I'd save up for a 300mm prime and be patient.
01-21-2019, 03:11 PM - 1 Like   #3
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+1 for 55-300mm PLM
Couple that with an 18-135mm and you're set.
01-21-2019, 04:32 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I love the 18-135. That said, if I was trying to find a good two-lens replacement for an 18-300 superzoom, I think the 55-300 PLM would mate very well with the 18-50 RE. The 18-50 is kind of slow and it's odd to look at but it seems to take quite sharp images based on shares from others here that have used it. I have not, so grain of salt with all that.

Just throwing out another option.

01-21-2019, 06:11 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Another pitch for the 55-300 PLM. If your budget can stretch some more you can go for the DA 16-85. These two lenses would make a great kit with the K-3. These are my two most used go to lenses.
01-21-2019, 06:30 PM - 3 Likes   #6
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I will take a different view, based upon my own experience. I have had the DA18-250mm (my first ever Pentax lens), DA18-135mm WR and DA18-270mm. The DA18-250mm is a great lens, even by today's standards in my opinion. When I was looking for my first lens, I knew that I wanted an all-arounder. I went to a shop to try the Sigma 18-250mm and DA18-250mm. The Sigma was far too heavy and too big, for bushwalking. The DA18-250mm was perfect.

The DA18-135mm is a WR lens, small nice and very decent. My wife loves it. For me, it lacks the long focal length of the DA18-250mm.

I bought the DA18-270mm, because my DA18-250mm started to develop mechanical issues, after more than a decade of use (by me, and many more before with previous user(s)). The DA18-270mm is, like the DA18-250mm, the perfect all-around lens in my opinion. It is small, compact, relatively light weight and very versatile. I considered again alternatives like the Sigma 18-250mm and Sigma 18-300mm. In each case, the weight and size was an issue for me. In addition, the Sigma 18-300mm was pricier than the DA18-270mm at the time of my purchase. If I compare side-by-side the DA18-250mm and DA18-270mm, I have been very impressed by the AF of the DA18-270mm, its speed, reasonable accuracy and it is almost silent. IMHO, the AF is a major improvement over the DA18-250mm..

Importantly all these lenses are all-around lenses. They cannot be compared with prime lenses in terms of sharpness and IQ: it would be like comparing oranges and apples. I am a prime lens shooter (see my profile), but I value highly the versatility of an all-arounder lens, especially my DA18-270mm.


In summary, the DA18-270mm is a very decent lens, excellent all-arounder, and perfect for bushwalking thanks to its relatively light/moderate weight and small size. I do not believe that the DA55-300mm can fulfill the same role.

I hope that the comments may help.
01-21-2019, 08:10 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I have a Sigma 18~250mm, the predecessor to the current 18~300mm. I think it was rated overall a little better @250mm than the new longer version is @ 300mm and was particularly noted for decent close-focus (both reproduction ratio and IQ). Copies can be had at bargain prices and if you really want a one-lens-does-all it is worth considering.. BUT, a two lens system, perhaps a sigma 17~70mm + a Pentax 55~300mm will almost certainly give better results. If price and size/weight is not an issue, IMHO the best Pentax APS-C two zoom system would be a 16~85mm plus a 60~250mm.
01-22-2019, 06:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Currently BHPhotovideo has them on sale for $400 USD and they do ship to the UK.
Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC MACRO HSM Contemporary Lens 886109
Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't tried purchasing something like this from the US (or indeed anywhere outside of Europe). I see that BHPhotovideo have an arrangement with UK Customs, so that is not a problem, but how do Guarantees, etc work? I don't really fancy having to ship it back to the US if anything happens


QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
But if sharpness at the long end is a concern, your best alternative is really two lenses. What other lenses do you currently own?

If auto focus speed is essential then I'd suggest the Pentax 55-300mm PLM.
Pentax HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm f/4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE Lens 21277

If price is a consideration and you'd rather gain a third of a stop at the long end, then the Pentax HD DA 55-300mm.
Pentax HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR Lens 22270 B&H Photo
My original digital setup was a K100D and 18-55 & 50-200 kit lenses (I still have them), but I found constant swapping when out & about to be a pain and I ended up having to get the sensor cleaned more than once. I use my camera out and about in local woods & fields, so a single superzoom is more convenient really.

I have a Sigma 70-300, but find the lack of wide angle frustrating at times. The plan is for that to join my Tamron 18-200 in a friend's collection (they are starting out).


QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
And if you really want sharpness at the long end, I'd save up for a 300mm prime and be patient.
One day :-)

I have a few primes (35, 50 & Sigma 105 macro, as well as some old manual lenses from my film days) and a Sigma F2.8 24-70, so I know not to expect miracles, but just want the best compromise superzoom.

---------- Post added 01-22-19 at 06:15 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I have a Sigma 18~250mm, the predecessor to the current 18~300mm. I think it was rated overall a little better @250mm than the new longer version is @ 300mm and was particularly noted for decent close-focus (both reproduction ratio and IQ). Copies can be had at bargain prices and if you really want a one-lens-does-all it is worth considering.. BUT, a two lens system, perhaps a sigma 17~70mm + a Pentax 55~300mm will almost certainly give better results. If price and size/weight is not an issue, IMHO the best Pentax APS-C two zoom system would be a 16~85mm plus a 60~250mm.
One of the shops I am talking to has a Sigma 18-250, but it is more expensive than the 18-300 would be (if they had stock). The reviews I have seen don't rate it as highly as the 18-300, but I am interested in your experience. Have you done any direct comparisons?

01-22-2019, 06:22 AM - 1 Like   #9
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While testing the Sigma 18-300 (you can read the in-depth review here) I was both underwhelmed and impressed.

Underwhelmed because, like all such lenses, it's about compromise. After testing the best lenses o the market IQ-wise, the Sigma can't really compare, of course. My own kit is made up mostly of Limited and Star glass, so of course the Sigma falls short.

Impressed because, when all is said and done, the compromises are really few and not that problematic. This is a lens that's better than it should.

I have a hard time suggesting a strategy, because using a superzoom is not part of what I do as a photographer. I'd rather use a good shorter zoom and primes when needed.

If you're set on a superzoom, then I'd suggest buying from B&H. If not the advice of a two-lenses combo is sound and will reward you with great images.
01-22-2019, 06:31 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I will take a different view, based upon my own experience. I have had the DA18-250mm (my first ever Pentax lens), DA18-135mm WR and DA18-270mm. The DA18-250mm is a great lens, even by today's standards in my opinion. When I was looking for my first lens, I knew that I wanted an all-arounder. I went to a shop to try the Sigma 18-250mm and DA18-250mm. The Sigma was far too heavy and too big, for bushwalking. The DA18-250mm was perfect.

The DA18-135mm is a WR lens, small nice and very decent. My wife loves it. For me, it lacks the long focal length of the DA18-250mm.

I bought the DA18-270mm, because my DA18-250mm started to develop mechanical issues, after more than a decade of use (by me, and many more before with previous user(s)). The DA18-270mm is, like the DA18-250mm, the perfect all-around lens in my opinion. It is small, compact, relatively light weight and very versatile. I considered again alternatives like the Sigma 18-250mm and Sigma 18-300mm. In each case, the weight and size was an issue for me. In addition, the Sigma 18-300mm was pricier than the DA18-270mm at the time of my purchase. If I compare side-by-side the DA18-250mm and DA18-270mm, I have been very impressed by the AF of the DA18-270mm, its speed, reasonable accuracy and it is almost silent. IMHO, the AF is a major improvement over the DA18-250mm..

Importantly all these lenses are all-around lenses. They cannot be compared with prime lenses in terms of sharpness and IQ: it would be like comparing oranges and apples. I am a prime lens shooter (see my profile), but I value highly the versatility of an all-arounder lens, especially my DA18-270mm.


In summary, the DA18-270mm is a very decent lens, excellent all-arounder, and perfect for bushwalking thanks to its relatively light/moderate weight and small size. I do not believe that the DA55-300mm can fulfill the same role.

I hope that the comments may help.
Thanks for this - I am interesting in your comparison of the DA 18-270 and the Sigma 18-300. Bushwalking - or its softer English equivalent :-) is my reason for a single lens.

The DA 18-270 is about 180 more expensive locally and reviews don't seem to rate it as highly, but was it just the weight that prompted you to buy it?

---------- Post added 01-22-19 at 06:56 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
While testing the Sigma 18-300 (you can read the in-depth review here) I was both underwhelmed and impressed.

Underwhelmed because, like all such lenses, it's about compromise. After testing the best lenses o the market IQ-wise, the Sigma can't really compare, of course. My own kit is made up mostly of Limited and Star glass, so of course the Sigma falls short.

Impressed because, when all is said and done, the compromises are really few and not that problematic. This is a lens that's better than it should.

I have a hard time suggesting a strategy, because using a superzoom is not part of what I do as a photographer. I'd rather use a good shorter zoom and primes when needed.

If you're set on a superzoom, then I'd suggest buying from B&H. If not the advice of a two-lenses combo is sound and will reward you with great images.
Thanks for that - a most detailed review. I note that US and UK Warranties are different - that is my concern about buying from the US.

You say in your conclusion: " the Pentax 18-270mm costs $80 more, doesn't fare any better optically, and has a shorter warranty." The difference in the UK is just over 100, but I could probably live with that (and the loss of 30mm) if the optics were as good. Are they?
01-22-2019, 07:01 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Robin CB Quote
Thanks for this - I am interesting in your comparison of the DA 18-270 and the Sigma 18-300. Bushwalking - or its softer English equivalent :-) is my reason for a single lens.
The DA 18-270 is about 180 more expensive locally and reviews don't seem to rate it as highly, but was it just the weight that prompted you to buy it?
When I bought my DA18-270mm, the size (compactness) and lighted weight of the DA18-270mm were two key factors. The weight was clearly a determining factor, but the slightlysmaller size of the DA18-270mm lens, as well as a better balance on my K-3, were additional factors that I considered.


For info, I paid US$410 for the DA18-270mm from B&H (I have no vested interest) in Jan. 2016. Both the DA18-270mm and Sigma 18-300mm were about the same price (within US$50 from memory) at the time.

Hope that the additional info will help.
01-22-2019, 08:36 AM - 1 Like   #12
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I read that the Pentax 18-270 has internal AF, whereas the Sigma 18-300 has external AF, which means the outside of the barrel of the Sigma moves on occasion during AF and the Pentax does not. That is one of the reasons I returned my Sigma 18-300. Though it did provide very nice imagery in many instances, I opted to get a Pentax 16-85, and it is an amazing lens. I also have the Pentax 70-200 and a Sigma 150-500 DG OS for Pentax

Due to your price point, you may want to purchase the Pentax 18-270, or purchase the Pentax 16-85 and Pentax 55-300 PLM version when it is viable in whatever sequence you prefer. You may want to keep in mind, that if you are not planning to switch lenses (to avoid sensor or lens contamination), to opt for one lens which has the range you prefer. Another factor to consider is that the 16-85 and the 55-300 PLM are more recently manufactured/updated lens versions than the 18-270.

Last edited by C_Jones; 01-22-2019 at 09:08 AM.
01-22-2019, 11:27 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Robin CB Quote
Thanks for that - a most detailed review. I note that US and UK Warranties are different - that is my concern about buying from the US.

You say in your conclusion: " the Pentax 18-270mm costs $80 more, doesn't fare any better optically, and has a shorter warranty." The difference in the UK is just over 100, but I could probably live with that (and the loss of 30mm) if the optics were as good. Are they?
I have only passing experience with the Pentax 18-270. The difference in image quality is probably small. It's essentially the same as the Tamron 18-270 whose reviews show good, but not great, results, like the Sigma.
01-22-2019, 12:24 PM - 1 Like   #14
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best of the superzooms

Wait for the 18-300. I have had all the superzooms, and the Sigma 18-300 is the best of the lot. At 300, it is very comparable to the 55-300plm, and better than the old 55-300. It loses a little at the wide end, but still very good.
01-22-2019, 10:56 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
In summary, the DA18-270mm is a very decent lens, excellent all-arounder, and perfect for bushwalking thanks to its relatively light/moderate weight and small size. I do not believe that the DA55-300mm can fulfill the same role.
QuoteOriginally posted by Robin CB Quote
Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't tried purchasing something like this from the US (or indeed anywhere outside of Europe). I see that BHPhotovideo have an arrangement with UK Customs, so that is not a problem, but how do Guarantees, etc work? I don't really fancy having to ship it back to the US if anything happens

My original digital setup was a K100D and 18-55 & 50-200 kit lenses (I still have them), but I found constant swapping when out & about to be a pain and I ended up having to get the sensor cleaned more than once. I use my camera out and about in local woods & fields, so a single superzoom is more convenient really.

I know not to expect miracles, but just want the best compromise superzoom.

---------- Post added 01-22-19 at 06:15 AM ----------



One of the shops I am talking to has a Sigma 18-250, but it is more expensive than the 18-300 would be (if they had stock). The reviews I have seen don't rate it as highly as the 18-300, but I am interested in your experience. Have you done any direct comparisons?
You should email B&H directly, but I would assume that you would have to return it to them for any warranty work...but honestly, how often has a lens gone bad under warranty? I'm sure it happens, but it's not common and if you simply can't find one in the UK, it's a viable alternative.

To some degree, lens swapping does lead to dust on the sensor, but it's also the nature of non-WR zooms too.

I think @hcc has more experience than I do in terms of direct comparisons and the Pentax 18-270mm seems like another good choice considering the range and the smaller, lighter design. Pentax smc Pentax-DA 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 ED SDM Lens 21497 B&H

I am mostly a prime shooter, but I can live with the 16-85mm or the 18-135mm. Beyond that, I think it has a lot to do with your tolerance, finding the best apertures at the long end, and a bit of luck with sample variation.
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