View Full Version : Sigma 18-50 Macro or Oly 50mm Macro

05-31-2008, 03:52 AM
Does anybody have any thoughts on what would be the best way to go between a Sigma 18-50 f2.8 macro versus the Oly 50m f2.0 macro. They are of a similar price and both seem very well regarded. However, would I be right in thinking the Sigma would be the more versatile lens given its zoom range and still offer excellent image, macro and low light capabilty versus the Oly which may well offer superlative image, macro and low light capability in exchange for the restriction of being a single focal length? Reason for asking is I can see a savings in ordering my new E520 body only with the Sigma taking over the role of the 14-42 kit lens, but I would still require the 14-42 if I went for the Oly 50mm. Hope this makes some kind of sense, quite happy to be told its crazy to be making this choice as the lenses are not comparable in any way.

05-31-2008, 04:05 AM
the Oly is a dedicated macro lens so will give you full 1:1 reproduction, (lifesize). the sigma has a close minimum focus distance which means it can do "macro" but its more like 1:3. (third lifesize).

IQ of course there is no comparison. the oly will smoke the sigma.

05-31-2008, 12:50 PM
Hard to say. I personally like my zoom range, and so pulled out all stops and went for the Oly 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5. However, the Sigma is better at low light (slightly) and cheaper, though it lacks 8mm equivalent at the wide end and another 8mm at the long end. So if zoom range is your thing, you might be better off with the 14-54mm. However, the Sigma is supposedly just as good in IQ as the 14-54mm (though Sigma reportedly has much greater IQ variability), so you will be gaining lower price and slightly wider aperture, while losing zoom range and no change in IQ vs. the Oly. Of course, the 14-54 is weathersealed and has better construction.

Now, compared to the other two: The Olympus kit lens is supposedly as good as kit lenses get, but I have never been that impressed by it except for its size. While I'm sure IQ is extraordinary for what it is, I can't get past the low zoom range (3x), narrow aperture, (f/4.5-5.6), and distant minimum focus distance (10 inches). It is great for snapshots of large things at arm's length or further outdoors during the day, but otherwise not that capable except the miniature size. Note that 14-42 is actually a larger zoom range (3x) than the sigma 18-50 (~2.8x).

The Olympus 50mm macro is by all accounts extraordinary. I believe there is a quip in the review of the Olympus E-3 at DPreview that it had better IQ in some respects than comparable Nikon and Canon cameras simply because the Olympus 50mm f/2 was better than anything similar from those two companies. And f/2 is good in itself. Of course, the single focal length of 100mm equivalent is very limiting.

So, umm... what to do... honestly I don't know. For myself, I wanted wider angle than the Sigma's 36mm, but if you don't need wide angle then no problem. For myself I like either of the two Olympus choices (14-54 or 14-42 + 50) because of the longer zoom range. But Sigma is cheaper and somewhere between more flexible with poorer low light performance less flexible with better low light performance. Really, I guess I can't answer your question.