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12-27-2010, 02:30 PM   #1
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Please help me decide which lens to sell!


I'm ready to purchase some Alien Bees but the problem is I can't afford to at the moment I have a Tamron 90mm macro lens which I love. I have been using that lens a lot. I also have been playing around with it attached to the Vivitar 2X macro focusing converter (the PK/A version). I also have the Sigma 180mm APO Macro DG lens which I also am in love with. I bought the Sigma from someone on this forum.

My dilemma is that I really don't need to have 2 macro lenses but I'd love some strobes. I am contemplating selling the Sigma because I would get the most money for it towards the strobes. I just can't decide if I want to sell it or the Tamron + the Vivitar.

I did a few shots today, one with just the Sigma, one with just the Tamron, & one with the Tamron + Vivitar converter. I found the Sigma & Tamron to be very close to each other in terms of IQ. They have a slightly different color cast but all lenses are different right? I found the Tamron + Viv combination definitely not as good right out of the camera but with a tiny bit of tweaking in Lightroom, I was surprisingly happy with the results.

Please take a look at these 3 shots & give me your opinions. I left the names generic so you could pick your favorite image without the bias up front. The only PP (other than the cropping to match composition) was on the Tamron + Viv image & it was a contrast & clarity boost + a little sharpening.

Thanks very much for your thoughts & advice!


Last edited by gsrokmix; 12-27-2010 at 02:55 PM.
12-27-2010, 09:16 PM   #2
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To my weary eyes, the first shot looks to have the best detail, especially looking at the thread atop the spool. The second shot is worst, the third sort of in-between but visibly not as detailed as the first. I would guess that the first is your 90, the second is the 90+TC, the third is the 180. I think the first shows more detail because of its slightly thicker DOF than either 180 setup.

You have a tough decision. A longer lens gives you more working room, at the cost of some DOF and IQ. I have manual 50 and 90 macro lenses; for longer, I put enlarger lenses on a tripod, up to 162mm, so I'm still manual. But manual setups are tricky to use with strobes. You might ask yourself which you use more now, and which you think you'll use more in the future. Good luck.
12-27-2010, 09:38 PM   #3
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You really can't make a decision based on three shots that may or may not be accurate and then asking the forum to help you choose !

The Sigma 180 is supposed to be a superb macro lense and I've seen some great shots from it, though many wonderful macro shooters use the Tamron 90. I have the T90 and absolutely love it - I currently use twin LEDs with/without a hotshoe flash or diffused pop-up. Tough decision.

Do you need the length and extra minimum focusing distance ? As RR said - which one are the majority of your shots taken with ? Or which do you use most for your favourite subjects ?

Good luck choosing - I don't envy you having to make that decision !
12-27-2010, 10:02 PM   #4
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I like the first shot the most, but the images are so similar I would keep the preferred focal length. My vote would go to the 90 because it is a useful portrait length, but that might not be your thing at all.

12-28-2010, 10:20 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies guys. The top shot is with the 90mm w/ the Viv TC, the middle shot is with the 90mm by itself, & the bottom shot is with the sigma 180mm.

I think I am leaning towards keeping the sigma mainly because of it's rarity. I am tempted to sell it though because it's worth about 3 times the Tamron. All in all I was impressed w/ what the Tamron + TC could look like with a little help.

Thanks again!

12-29-2010, 03:26 AM   #6
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I loaded them into a viewer to switch them on the fly. The first image is by far the best. It wins in terms of contrast, color and detail. The second image is slightly out of focus, it should be shot again to be fairly judged. The third image is better but lacks the contrast of the first.

Last edited by JHD; 12-29-2010 at 03:27 AM. Reason: granny
12-29-2010, 03:49 AM   #7
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As both lenses are excellent performers I think the decisive argument lies elsewhere, not in IQ.

One question: what kind of macro work you do the most?
Insects, dragonflies and small animals? Working in the field? The Sigma might be more useful.

Flowers? Repro work from a bench, at home? The Tamron gets the upper hand here, because you can stay closer at the same RR.

It is also dependent on how much money you really need: as you said the Tamron will not sell for that much...


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