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07-02-2008, 08:46 PM   #1
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Tamron or Sigma? Best budget 3rd party lens manufacturer?

Well I have seen alot of other battles and face offs on this site, but never anything like a Tamron vs. Sigma fight.

In your opinion which manufacturer offers the best quality lenses for the money and state your reasons WHY. Please dont post baseless information.

07-02-2008, 09:32 PM   #2
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And what is the purpose of this thread?
Every lens manufacturer has good and not so good lenses, you can't talk about the manufacturer as a whole.
07-02-2008, 09:36 PM   #3
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If every manufacturer has good or bad lenses then lets hear it and why you think your a Sigma lens person or a Tamron lens person. Everyone has a story I am keen to hear them.
07-02-2008, 09:38 PM   #4
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Both companies made some good and not-so-good lenses, can't just say which company is better I guess. And this goes to Pentax too who also made many excellent lenses, but some lousy ones too.

Personally I've owned or used:
Tamron 24-135, 90Di Macro, 28-75/2.8 XR Di, 28-300, 300/2.8 SP AF, 70-300 LD ...
Sigma 16/2.8 FE, 24/2.8 A, 50/2.8 A Macro, 50/2.8 DG Macro, 28-70/2.8, 17-70 DC, 18-125 DC, 18-200 DC, 70-200/2.8 EX, 70-210/4-5.6 AF, 70-300 APO ...

The best in the bunch is the Tamron 300/2.8 SP AF and Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX. The others I quite like are T28-75/2.8, T90Di Macro, S1770DC and S50/2.8 DG Macro, these are all excellent lenses.

If I have to buy third party lenses, I'd buy from both companies, but only buy those good ones from either company

07-02-2008, 10:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
Both companies made some good and not-so-good lenses, can't just say which company is better I guess. And this goes to Pentax too who also made many excellent lenses, but some lousy ones too.

Personally I've owned or used:
Tamron 24-135, 90Di Macro, 28-75/2.8 XR Di, 28-300, 300/2.8 SP AF, 70-300 LD ...
Sigma 16/2.8 FE, 24/2.8 A, 50/2.8 A Macro, 50/2.8 DG Macro, 28-70/2.8, 17-70 DC, 18-125 DC, 18-200 DC, 70-200/2.8 EX, 70-210/4-5.6 AF, 70-300 APO ...

The best in the bunch is the Tamron 300/2.8 SP AF and Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX. The others I quite like are T28-75/2.8, T90Di Macro, S1770DC and S50/2.8 DG Macro, these are all excellent lenses.

If I have to buy third party lenses, I'd buy from both companies, but only buy those good ones from either company
I have a side question to Frank: I am deciding a 100mm macro with AF and 1:1 magnification and I nail down to two good choices: Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 and Sigma 105mm f/2.8. And if you have to choose one over the other, would you pick Tamron again? It may not be a fair question to ask as there are many supporters for both lens but I can only choose one in my Lens Road Map

Thanks,
Hin
07-02-2008, 10:56 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
I have a side question to Frank: I am deciding a 100mm macro with AF and 1:1 magnification and I nail down to two good choices: Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 and Sigma 105mm f/2.8. And if you have to choose one over the other, would you pick Tamron again? It may not be a fair question to ask as there are many supporters for both lens but I can only choose one in my Lens Road Map

Thanks,
Hin
Nice Road Map

I've seen and held the Sigma 105 macro lens before, but it's not a Pentax mount. If I have to choose between a Tamron 90 and Sigma 105, I'd go w/ the Tamron due to its slightly smaller size and lighter weight, and its good reputation too. Seriously, there is no bad macro lens. All macro lenses are more than enough for us amateurs. Just go w/ the one you like (focallength/size/weight/price/feel ...) and I'm sure you'd be happy w/ the results

Of course if I were the one to buy, I'd buy a Pentax 100mm macro lens 'cause it's not too much more expensive than third party ones, and easily available both new and second hand. But that's just me though. I like Pentax lenses over third party ones in general, you can call me Pentax fanboy if you like
07-02-2008, 11:17 PM   #7
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i'm noticing that i'm looking at Tamrons more than sigmas recently. out of my last 5 lenses, 2 were tammys (18-200, 17-50 F2.8) and 2 were pentax.

if i were to post this on sunday, it would be 3 out of 6 (70-300 F4-5.6 LD macro)

that being said, on sunday it'd be 3 sigma (18-50DC, 55-200DC, 18-125DC), 3 tamron (17-50 F2.8, 18-200, 70-300 DI macro), and 3 pentax (FA 50 F1.4, M 50 F2, DA 10-17 FE) in my collection (+ one Loreo PC in a cap + 1 seimar donnex 135mm F2.8 MF)
07-03-2008, 07:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicholasN Quote
Well I have seen alot of other battles and face offs on this site, but never anything like a Tamron vs. Sigma fight.

In your opinion which manufacturer offers the best quality lenses for the money and state your reasons WHY. Please dont post baseless information.
Like in many markets, there is no "one best manufacturer" - often one manufacturer will be better in one segment of their product line, but in a different segment the other will be.

This is the case with Sigma vs. Tamron.

The Tamron 70-300 is generally recognized as better than Sigma's variants - The Tamron is sharp but subject to severe PF in certain situations. The Sigma doesn't suffer from PF but tends to be soft from 200-300. A situational flaw (PF) is not as bad as an "all the time" flaw (soft), so the Tamron is better (and cheaper too!)

The Sigma 17-70 is really hard to beat as a general purpose walkaround lens. I have it and I love it, and its range is a good match to my Tamron 70-300.

Tamron's 17-50/2.8 seems very popular, most people like it more than the Pentax DA* 16-50 it seems (partly due to the 16-50's QC issues), I don't hear many rave reviews about Sigma's variant. (I don't know any of these though.)

Tamron has no equivalent for Pentax mount to the Sigma Bigma. The Bigma is by all reports a great lens - I'll know soon as UPS is dropping mine off today. The Bigma is one of the rare lenses that manages to be good despite being a superzoom. (Tamron has the other exception to the rule that I know of.)

Sigma has some wide-range walkaround superzooms (18-200+), but none seem popular. Tamron's 18-250 is incredibly popular and seems to be regarded as having unusually high image quality for a superzoom. It's good enough that Pentax chose to license the design for the Pentax DA 18-250. I don't have this lens but I am basically assuming that any foreign vacation needs $450 budgeted for this lens. (As in, I don't need it now but when I need "one lens to do it all" for travel, the Tamron 18-250 will be the one.)

07-03-2008, 07:44 AM   #9
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Ditto on specific lenses. The Tamron 28-75 is supposed to be excellent as is the 17-70.
If you want to generalize, bad Tamrons tend to have BF/FF issues.
Bad Sigmas tend to have decentering issues (I had this w/ my 17-70)...
07-03-2008, 08:04 AM   #10
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I really don't think there's a "better" 3rd party manufacturer than another. Obviously I'll say Pentax trumps the 3rd party, but that's because I love their color rendition, quick shift, and sealing on the DA*.

You really have to take individual lenses into account. I know, it makes things more difficult, but that's how it works.

I've owned two different Tamrons:

70-300 Di LD Macro -- Too much purple fringing for my tastes and too soft at 300mm for me.

28-75mm f/2.8 - Very sharp lens and I loved the focal length, but frontfocused (two copies did) on my K200D...could be the K200D, unsure. I would have kept this with the K20D, but I ended up getting Pentax lenses that covered the range and didn't want to be redundant.

Your best bet in any lens purchase is to scrounge many different review sites and get a general consensus for how good the lens is, whether there are any rampant problems, etc.

In really general terms -- You're going to get what you pay for.
07-03-2008, 08:28 AM   #11
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A situational flaw (PF) is not as bad as an "all the time" flaw (soft), so the Tamron is better (and cheaper too!)

I have had two copies of the Tamron and one Sigma APO, I now own none of them and own the Pentax 55-300mm(great lens). But anyways the Sigma APO is not always soft at 200-300mm, if you stop it up. The Sigma needs to be depending on copies ~f8/200mm and ~f11/300mm, at least. Then its sharp and has better contrast than the Tamron. So if your willing to use a tripod at times with the Sigma APO its hard to beat. Even the Tamron is soft at f5.6/300mm and people stop it up, but with the Sigma APO you must stop it up more. So in the end your trading speed at the 200-300mm range for great CA/PF control, but your not trading sharpness, because if the lens becomes sharp at any point in its aperture range...
07-03-2008, 09:50 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
Ditto on specific lenses. The Tamron 28-75 is supposed to be excellent as is the 17-70.
If you want to generalize, bad Tamrons tend to have BF/FF issues.
Bad Sigmas tend to have decentering issues (I had this w/ my 17-70)...
One thing I've always wondered - how can you test for decentering?
07-03-2008, 10:32 AM   #13
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When considering manufactured goods, all manufacturers specify some manufacturing tolerances. So, when you buy those goods (cars, lenses, cameras, pencil...), if all the tolerances are at the minimum, you end up with an good product. If, on the other hand, the tolerances are at their max, you end up with a lemon. So, when looking at lenses, manufacturer A might have less purple fringing than manufacturer B, but manufacturer B has more contrast than manufacturer A doesn't mean one is better than the other, it just mean they have different objective (pun intended) when they manufacture their lenses. But, due to manufacturing tolerances, you can get bad material with any brand. But a lot of people using DSLR would be better served with P&S, and those people are not likely to see any difference between a good or a bad lense. So, according to my experience, you can't say one is better than the other. Sigma's goal is not Tamron's goal. I think they both do a very good job given the constrain they have to work with, i.e. price, PF, CA, IQ and so on.
07-03-2008, 10:40 AM   #14
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As said previously, it depends on which lens.

I have the Tamron 90mm F2.5 macro (about 20 years old) and is excellent, great optics, and fine sharpness and colour rendition.

With Sigma, I have a couple which I love (10-20mm DC EX, 24-70mm F2.8 DG EX) A couple of reasonable ones (55-200mm DC, 70-300mm DG) and an average at best (170-500mm)

I would suggest with sigmas, get hold of the EX models with their superior optics, and with the Tamrons, go for the SP types.

Personally, apart from the 90mm Macro, I don't have any other Tamrons, but the 17-70 F2.8 and forthcoming 70-200mm F2.8 look excellent lenses indeed.
07-03-2008, 12:22 PM   #15
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As others have said, all manufacturers have stars and duds. I own Pentax, Tamron and Sigma. For Pentax, the DA*50-135 is an amazing lens. I really love it. From Tamron, I have the 18-250 and think it's a great all around lens. I also have the 90mm macro, but haven't learned it yet. From Sigma, the 50-500 (aka "Bigma") is untouched for the price.

I've also heard good things about the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4.
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