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09-24-2010, 01:16 PM   #1
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70-300mm: Sigma -vs- Tamron

Hi All-

I have the K-x with the 50-200 kit and I've used it quite a bit and am at the point where I want the extra reach of a 300 (dumbest thing I ever did was not getting the 300 kit in the first place).

I have a limited budget for sure, and have been researching in my very limited price range ($250 or less is best). I believe I have it narrowed down to one of these two:

a) Sigma Zoom Telephoto 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF / $209 / Rater 7.85 in the lens DB.

Amazon.com: Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Pentax and Samsung SLR Cameras: Electronics

b) Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens for Pentax AF / $165 / Rated 7.7 in the lend DB.

Amazon.com: Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras: Gateway


I've included the Amazon links, but will order from B&H or Adorama for sure.
  • Both lenses are near identical in ratings in the lens DB
  • Both seem good for the price
  • The Tamron has a purple fringing almost everyone reports
  • I don't see as many photos from the Sigma - The Sigma is about $40 more - perhaps that's why less photos shown here?

I guess I'm looking for something to say the $40 for the Sigma is worth it over the Tamron?

Or is there another lens I should be looking at altogether in that price range?

09-24-2010, 01:29 PM - 1 Like   #2
Ash
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This debate features often on the forum, and I'd implore you to do a quick search on the forum for similar discussions in the past.
Overall, the Tamron offers a slight edge with contrast, colour rendition and sharpness (but not by very much at all) - in this price range, you do get what you pay for and there aren't any other options in AF to consider. But I'd suggest Pentax's own DA 55-300 as a much better option (considerably better sharpness, colours and contrast throughout the focal range) but is clearly more expensive (again not by all that much). It really is very good value for money. I myself have this lens despite having a Tamron 70-200/2.8 as well. It's that versatile and good.
09-24-2010, 01:46 PM   #3
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Hi Ash-
I tried searching in the forums and found the Tamron 70-300, but didn't have any luck finding a similiar Sigma 70-300 thread.

I'll try searching on "Sigma vs Tamron" perhaps.

Generally I do not have much luck with searches! Usually it's 0 results returned or I get 300+ results.

Yes, I would take the Pentax lens in a second over either, but it's at about the $300 price point - nearly double the Tamron. Getting that OK'd past the wife has about a 10% chance right now.
09-24-2010, 02:06 PM   #4
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Well Brian, if you were going to make anything (I don't mean money, though) from your telephoto photography, I'd just wait until you've saved up your pennies for the Pentax. I've tried all these lenses myself and see the stark difference having the DA 55-300 is to my results. It's worth every dollar.

But if just for playing around with telephoto shots, the Tamron should do the job for you - it's probably the better of the two options.

09-24-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
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Also see the lens review database on this site for reviews of the Sigma and Tamron specifically. As for finding threads, also look for thread titles with the word "telephoto zoom" in them, or other words to that. Also, just look at the bottom of the page while viewing this thread - it always displays a few "similar" threads, and the suggestions are usually pretty good.
09-24-2010, 04:57 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Well Brian, if you were going to make anything (I don't mean money, though) from your telephoto photography, I'd just wait until you've saved up your pennies for the Pentax. I've tried all these lenses myself and see the stark difference having the DA 55-300 is to my results. It's worth every dollar.

But if just for playing around with telephoto shots, the Tamron should do the job for you - it's probably the better of the two options.
One thing the Tamron has, is Macro ability. I use that all the time at work on my K200D............but for my leisure use, my K20D has the Pentax DA 55-300 on it. I make the money with the Macro setup, so it pays for the leisure

As Ash states, as a general walk around zoom lens, the Tamron is very good. The purple fringing can be removed easily in PP. But if you're going to need to use a zoom as a workhorse, the Pentax DA 55-300 is more solid and dependable to get nice shots. It is well worth saving up for.
09-24-2010, 09:05 PM   #7
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If you're restricting yourself to under $200 anyway also consider the Tamron AF 75-300/4-5.6 Macro LD.

Last year I had the opportunity to do a hands-on comparison with all three Tamron 7x-300 zooms. Although not cataloged as a Di lens and discontinued in 2009, the results with the 75-300 DL were so close to that of the 70-300 Di there was no practical difference between these two examples. Used 75-300s can often be found for $60-70 today.

H2
09-24-2010, 09:15 PM   #8
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I've personally used both the Sigma and the Tamron to a pretty great extent actually. I had originally thought the Sigma would be better but I found the Tamron to actually be quite superior. The Sigma feels like a sturdier lens to me, but the Tamron has superior optics. I now ONLY own the Tamron.

09-24-2010, 10:36 PM   #9
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Also consider a used copy of the FA 100-300/4.7-5.8 - it doesn't have the 1:2 macro but it still gets pretty close - 1.5m.
09-25-2010, 01:15 AM   #10
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Pentax 55-300 is almost always twice as expensive as Tamron 70-300, new and used. Anyone that thinks spending twice as much for Pentax over Tamron or Sigma as 'just a little more' is ruddy more loaded than thee or me! If spending twice as much on a lens gives a definitive and quantitative edge in performance in the order of 10% or so, I would say go for it. But it does not. In terms of resolution both lenses' performance is about the same. On a budget, get a Tamron. Not on a budget but just want to dabble with long lens, get a Tamron and save your money. Not on a budget and want to seriously pursue long focal length photography, get a Tamron 60B or the Pentax *series telephoto lens.

Thanks,
09-25-2010, 04:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by chalion Quote
One thing the Tamron has, is Macro ability. I use that all the time at work on my K200D............but for my leisure use, my K20D has the Pentax DA 55-300 on it. I make the money with the Macro setup, so it pays for the leisure
I quickly got over the 'macro ability' of the Sigma I had when I tried to shoot with the lifeless ol' lens. If macro is what someone wants, then bypass these pseudo-macro lenses and just go with the real deal - there is no substitute, and nothing else comes close to a dedicated macro lens.

Minimum focusing length of the DA 55-300 is 1.4m, whilst for the Sigma/Tamron, 0.95m
Then look at the IQ of results captured at the MFDs between the Pentax and the Sigma/Tamron. I could not get this kind of brilliance from the latter:

09-25-2010, 04:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by excanonfd Quote
Pentax 55-300 is almost always twice as expensive as Tamron 70-300, new and used. Anyone that thinks spending twice as much for Pentax over Tamron or Sigma as 'just a little more' is ruddy more loaded than thee or me! If spending twice as much on a lens gives a definitive and quantitative edge in performance in the order of 10% or so, I would say go for it. But it does not. In terms of resolution both lenses' performance is about the same.,
Not sure if you've seen the IQ tests from Photozone comparing these three, but the DA 55-300 comes out far superior than both the Tamron and Sigma. There is also more to IQ than simply resolution.
09-25-2010, 05:16 AM   #13
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Go for the DA L. You can get it for around $250.
09-25-2010, 01:45 PM   #14
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I have been using the Sigma 70-300 for 3 years and am very happy with it. I have the cheaper,non APO version. I'll mention right off that I use it primarily outdoors in daytime and stopped down to f/8 or more. Also, I'm quite satisfied with the "macro" feature even though it's not a true macro. Yes, there are better lenses out there but for $159, it does pretty good. A couple of recent shots. The Heron shot is wide open and cropped.

Last edited by reeftool; 12-29-2016 at 04:42 PM.
09-25-2010, 01:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Not sure if you've seen the IQ tests from Photozone comparing these three, but the DA 55-300 comes out far superior than both the Tamron and Sigma. There is also more to IQ than simply resolution.
I am not knocking this lens, I think it's a superb entry level zoom lens and the price should reflect that. Imo, DA50-200 should never have happened and if DA55-300 was available at a price somewhere in the middle of 50-200 and 55-300 I don't believe this discussion would even be happening. As it is, the Tamron offers the best bang for the buck.

Simply resolution you say, resolution is the foundation of IQ. if you don't have good resolution no amount of tweaking is going to make much difference. I have seen the results at photozone, other than the MTF (resolution) and CA seem fairly even, there are pictures to view for the 55-300 but none for the 70-300. I don't see what you have seen.

Thanks,
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