Sigma 28-200 3.8-5.6 UC Aspherical A-mount lens review by ithinkso

reviewer#26526 date: Mar-17-2016
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 3.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I have experience with this lens
compared to:I don't have anything else to make a direct comparison with. Might compare well to other "superzooms".
price paid:
positive:Versatile. Well made solid build, but not heavy. Compact. Bokeh.
negative:Soft. Lots of distortion.CA. minimum focus distance.
comment:I have always been a prime lens snob who subscribes to the idea that a zoom simply could not compete with them at the same focal length and aperture. That's not to say I don't appreciate a good zoom.

When my brother in law decided he was giving up photography and passed this lens on to us (gratis), I was certain that If i tried it out on full frame digital it would prove to be the worst lens I had ever tested. I was not disappointed. It is the worst SLR lens I've ever used.

Optically it behaves like a toy lens. It vignettes, the distortions are complex, obvious (most noticeably at 85mm with significant pin cushion), probably difficult to correct in pp (to be fair I have not tried to do this), chromatic aberrations a-go-go. It is soft throughout the zoom range at apertures down to f11 (didn't bother to try anything smaller). The minimum focus distance is an intergalactic starship defeating 1.5 meters - at all focal lengths.

And yet, having said all that, it's really not that bad. Designed in the film era for 35mm film SLRs, I doubt the designers imagined that anyone using it would be making enlargements any greater than 5"x7" (12x17cm). In fact, viewed full screen on my apple cinema display the images look OK. The colour balance is nice and contrast is reasonable. It's only when the image is magnified to 100% that the softness fully reveals itself . In fact, I'm irritated by how good the lens is, given all the compromises that have been made. It has no right to be as good as it is! It does better in high contrast situations. Used on a tripod with a flash you could almost say it's sharp. Nearly.

The images do have a sort of vintage look about them. Lens flare and veiling is well controlled when the sun is in or just outside the frame. Lens flares have a typical sigma orange tang. Maybe this lens would suit people who are into making vintage looking toy lens images. Perhaps with film?

Metasynthese in their review says "I like the bokeh". An apparently throw away remark that intrigued me. Let me tell you about the bokeh. It is big, round, squidgy and really rather attractive. In fact it is the best thing the 28-200 has to offer, and possibly a deal breaker for the bargain hunter.

Summing up. I would not go out and buy one of these unless it was very, very cheap. Even then I'd think twice now I know how it performs. But I've never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth. I don't know if we'll keep this lens or pass it on. It's really down to my partner to decide.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 6
  • sharpness: 3.42
  • color: 3.67
  • build: 3.67
  • distortion: 3.50
  • flare control: 3.17
  • overall: 3.48 - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania