Review of the Sigma 55-200mm f/4-5.6 DC lens
With a list price that is just a shade over £100, and on-the-street prices comfortably into the two-digit domain, this is a very affordable tele-zoom that offers a very useful range of focal lengths. Its f/4 maximum aperture is a bit of an illusion because the lens needs to be stopped-down to f/5.6 before its resolution figures hit the magic 0.25 cycles-per-pixel but they then remain above that critical value down to about f/16 at all focal lengths.
Casual perusal of their specifications might lead potential buyers to assume that this lens is on a par with Sigma’s 18-50mm sub-£100 standard zoom (tested previously by WDC) but the 55-200mm feels more robust and has a particularly nice balance. The zoom ring, which is located closest to the camera body, has a very comfortable grip and is wide enough for comfortable use. The manual-focusing ring is more distant and has a rather loose rotational movement but is very usable.
Sadly, not only the focusing ring but also the entire front-end of the lens rotates in AF mode, making it difficult to get a firm grip on the lens as the only non-rotating place to take hold is the zoom ring. This in turn results in a very poor balance and risks losing image quality through camera-shake. There is no image-stabilisation to offset this handling limitation but a reversible conic lens-hood is included, which should help to improve image quality under high-flare conditions.
Real-world testing produced some very nice pictures from this lens. There are no exceptional strengths to the Sigma 55-200mm but neither does it have any serious weaknesses. Given its low cost, there is little to fault and much to admire about this refreshingly unpretentious lens.
Sigma’s lens is consistent overall but, by the same token, is bereft of any noteworthy highlights.