Best travel superzoom lenses: 8 tested

Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS - £290

Sigma's 18-200mm lens is bigger and heavier than some lenses with a mightier zoom range, including the Sony 18-250mm and Tamron 18-270mm. Indeed, it has almost exactly the same dimensions as the Sigma 18-250mm. When you're looking for a lens that's compact and lightweight for travel, yet delivers a generous zoom range, the Sigma 18-200mm is disadvantaged immediately.

The maximum aperture of f/6.3 is also a bit disappointing, being half a stop slower than the Canon and Nikon 18-200mm lenses. At least lenses that offer focal lengths up to 250mm or 270mm have a more compelling reason for the extra half stop. It also lacks the quiet HSM autofocus system found in Sigma's newer 18-250mm option. The standard micro motor in this lens is quite shrill and noisy.

Best travel superzoom lenses: 8 tested

Optical stabilisation is below par compared with other stabilised lenses in the group, because as one of Sigma's first stabilised lenses to hit the market, the 18-200mm features an old-generation system. In our tests, it gave an advantage of only between two and three stops.

The build quality feels pretty high, but the zoom ring goes through a nasty stiff patch in the middle of its travel. However, there's practically no zoom creep, and the lens also features a zoom lock. Optical quality for sharpness, lack of colour fringing and distortion proved average across the board.

Sharpness test

Best travel superzoom lenses: 8 tested

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Centre sharpness across the range is good, just beating the Sigma 18-250mm, but there's a steep fall-off towards the edges.

Fringing test

Best travel superzoom lenses: 8 tested

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There's a slight red fringe towards the edges at 18mm, and green at 200mm. However, the effect of fringing overall is minimal.

Distortion test

Best travel superzoom lenses: 8 tested

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The influence of barrel and pinch distortion are more pronounced than on the 18-250mm, but results show an average score.

Image test verdict

Centre sharpness is not far behind the 18-250mm. It copes well with distortion and fringing, but edge sharpness suffers at all focal lengths.

Score: 3/5