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10-25-2012, 05:48 AM   #1
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Another take on the fast tele zoom question

It's a question which comes back quite often, but instead of simply comparing the current Tamron/Sigma offerings, I'd like to include two older lenses in the discussion...

I'm trying to figure out which lens I should get to cover the 70 (or 80) to 200mm range. I already have a DFA 100 macro WR that's simply fantastic at 100mm, but sometimes it's too short. A DA200 or 300 is too expensive and I'd like the convenience of some zoom on that range. I plan on using the lens for sports and kids shots (sometimes kids playing sports...) I have a FA100-300 f4,7 which delivers good results but isn't fast enough by far. I don't mind some weigth, but the less the better of course. Here's what I know for now:

Tokina AT-X PRO 80-200 : 1350g, 184mm long, 180cm min focus, good built, good bokeh, fast AF (?), inconvenient MF, much CA (?), metal hood (must be used to reduce CA?), about 500$ used

Sigma APO EX DG 70-200 : older model, 1270g, 184mm long, 180cm min focus, OK build, sharp, some CA(?), inconvenient MF, about 750$ used

Sigma DG OS HSM 70-200 : 1430g, 198mm long, 140cm min focus, HSM, sharp, front zoom ring, some zoom creep, 1250$ new

Tamron 70-200 : 1150g, 194mm long, 95cm min focus, very sharp, average build, slow AF, inconvenient MF, 800$ new, 600$ used

The Tamron would be the obvious choice except for the slow AF and reportedly hit-and-miss perrformance. The newest Sigma has the best optics, but is larger, heavier, and much more expensive. The older Sigma might be a good choice, but I've read about its CA, and it's hard to find. The Tokina might fit the bill, but I'm trying to find examples of CA and sharpness and it seems hard. It seems to be appearing on the market these days.

There is the Sigma macro lens, but its supposed to be below expectations at 200mm, so that's a no-go.

Any input, ideas, experience will be welcome. Thanks!


Last edited by bdery; 10-26-2012 at 10:00 AM.
10-25-2012, 06:34 AM   #2
Ari
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All of the super teles have issues at the full wide and tele end wide open. I have owned the Sigma APO EX DG 70-200 and was generally not thrilled with it's performance. I have used many Tamron zooms on Nikons and Canons but I can't comment on it's performance on Pentax bodies (though most Pentax shooters I know are generally happy with the Tammy's IQ). I would strongly suggest you consider getting the DA*50-135. I know a lot of people are still scratching their heads wondering why Pentax won't make a 70-200 (or rerelease the FA*80-200) but, in the meantime, there is no zoom in that general focal range (crop factor or not) that delivers such hi IQ.
10-25-2012, 06:56 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ari Quote
I would strongly suggest you consider getting the DA*50-135.
I know it's a fine lens, with slow AF but great IQ. But I have a 50 and a 100mm. I've used 135mm lenses and didn't find the difference between 100 and 135 to be worth it. what interests me is a fast 200mm plus the convenience of zooming out a bit.

The 60-250 could be an option too if it wasn't that expensive.
10-25-2012, 07:44 AM   #4
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I'm very very happy with my Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM II Macro and I strongly advise you to to get a HSM one if you go with a Sigma. HSM on that lens is fast och almost dead silent and nowhere like SDM.

10-25-2012, 08:04 AM   #5
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I think the Tamron is the best value of the bunch, but you certainly couldn't be faulted for spending more on Sigma HSM.

You may also want to try tracking down a Sigma 100-300/4. More reach, similarly good optical performance, but is discontinued and very rare in Pentax mount.
10-25-2012, 08:48 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
'm very very happy with my Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM II Macro and I strongly advise you to to get a HSM one if you go with a Sigma. HSM on that lens is fast och almost dead silent and nowhere like SDM.
HSM would be nice, indeed. Price is the main issue there. And the newer Sigma is larger and heavier.

QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote
I think the Tamron is the best value of the bunch
True, in terms of price. But its reportedly slow AF really bothers me. The Tokina is supposed to focus really fast and be an excellent value if it can be found.

QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote
You may also want to try tracking down a Sigma 100-300/4
I know less about this one. I'll look into it, it could be an interesting option.
10-26-2012, 08:06 AM   #7
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There was a Tokina in the marketplace that recently sold for I think $550. There's another listed for $700 that has been up for a while and still available.
10-26-2012, 09:06 AM   #8
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I was at one point convinced I was going to own the Tammy, but, the slow AF is an issue. Plus I've somehow come up with the notion that the Sigma is faster focusing and optically better. I'm not sure exactly how it happened but the new Sigma 70-200 has crept to the top of my list. Id' get the Tammy 28-75 to go with that if I was interested in something like the the range covered by the 50-135. The 50- 135 mm covers an odd focal length. You can't walk around with it on your camera, it doesn't go wide enough, but only going to 135, it's not really a long telephoto either. It's a mid range telephoto. I haven't had the pleasure of owning a 50-135 so I can't say my opinion is based on direct experience, but for myself, I can't see it being in my camera bag when I walk out the door. I don't need its short end, and it's long end is too short.

10-26-2012, 10:00 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote
There was a Tokina in the marketplace that recently sold for I think $550. There's another listed for $700 that has been up for a while and still available.
I know 700$ appears to be far too much based on the usual selling price I've seen around the web. One sold on eBay for 460$ shipped, for instance.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Plus I've somehow come up with the notion that the Sigma is faster focusing and optically better.
Apparently the Tamron is optically at the top of the list, but the Sigma HSM have a great reputation regarding AF. The Tokina is supposed to be slow in most mounts, but fast in Pentax and Minolta land.

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I haven't had the pleasure of owning a 50-135 so I can't say my opinion is based on direct experience, but for myself, I can't see it being in my camera bag when I walk out the door. I don't need its short end, and it's long end is too short.
I think it's the perfect wedding lens, and it's probably great for concerts and other events where you can be close to the subject. It's probably nice for portraits too. But it's not what I'm looking for.

I have found (at last, one could say) a comprehensive gallery of shots taken with the Tokina, in Canon mount:

Tokina ATX-PRO 828 80-200 F/2.8: vvume: Galleries: Digital Photography Review

The car pictures show the worst of what can expect regarding CA, I assume. Another gallery shows some interesting results too:

Tokina ATX-PRO 828 80-200mm f/2.8

CA can be visible on some reflections (the Sun on car bodies for instance) but it's less horrible than I would have thought. I actually assumed I would see CA on the plane's top or bottom, but there was none.
10-27-2012, 10:21 AM   #10
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Be careful with older Sigma APO 70-200 EX lenses.

I have the original as typed above. Later versions had DG, DG macro, DG macro II, then Dg macro HSM, and HSM II.

The original and original DG non macro are quite sharp. Once they added macro, they got softer at maximum focal length and also wide open. Check the sample image archive for the original EX non DG version I have posted a lot of images there
10-29-2012, 04:42 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
The original and original DG non macro are quite sharp. Once they added macro, they got softer at maximum focal length and also wide open. Check the sample image archive for the original EX non DG version I have posted a lot of images there
Yes, I read about this. Still, availability for all versions of the Sigma lenses is sparse.
10-29-2012, 04:49 AM   #12
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The best option Ive seen in this range that is seriously worthy of consideration is the sigma 50-150 F2.8. It give a superb performance throughout the range even wide open. I would choose this or the Tamron 70 210. Value for money wise... the tamron is light years ahead of anything though.
10-29-2012, 08:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Yes, I read about this. Still, availability for all versions of the Sigma lenses is sparse.
My own view is if you are going to use it with the sigma TC go for the first version. if not get the latest HSM version it gets better reports about IQ at the tele end than the intermediate versions
10-29-2012, 08:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
My own view is if you are going to use it with the sigma TC go for the first version. if not get the latest HSM version it gets better reports about IQ at the tele end than the intermediate versions
No interest on TCs. Not possible to pay over 1000$ either. That's why I like the idea of the Tokina which sells, used, at around 500$.
QuoteOriginally posted by westmill Quote
The best option Ive seen in this range that is seriously worthy of consideration is the sigma 50-150 F2.8.
Too short for me, sadly.

QuoteOriginally posted by westmill Quote
the tamron is light years ahead of anything though.
Except regarding AF, and that's an important point for me.
10-29-2012, 12:59 PM   #15
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I went through the same process several months back, result - I own a Tamron 70-200/2.8 and am pretty happy.
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