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Sigma, Tamron and Quantaray lenses ... differences?

James Casey , Jul 25, 1999; 11:24 p.m.

It is my understanding that Sigma, Tamron and Quantaray lenses are all made by Sigma, all rolling off the same factory floor ...

My question: does anyone know the major differences between the quality of these lenses, or is this some huge marketing ploy?

Thanks ... james.


Neal Vaughan , Jul 26, 1999; 12:42 a.m.

Sigma and Tamron are two completely different companies, with completely different product lines. Not connected at all. Ritz Camera, as a result of a contract with Sigma, sells the Quantaray optics exclusively. The lenses are always the same optically as Sigma's, but cosmetically, they are a little bit different to distiguish them from Sigma's line. There are wide differences between the quality of differnt lenses from just one of the manufacturers. Both Sigma and Tamron made low-level lenses made for consumers that are decent and very cheap, and both of them also make pro-level lenses that can compete with the camera makers own lenses. You cant really say that one brand is better than another in this case, its kinda impossible because of the variations in lenses. Quantaray lenses, on the other hand, are usually Sigmas's non-professional lenses. They have about 10 or so lenses overall, but none are truly professional.

Joseph Albert , Jul 26, 1999; 10:25 p.m.

I don't have alot of experience with Sigma lenses, nor with the newer Tamron lenses, but of the dozen or so sigma and tamron lenses that I've handled, I'd say that the Tamron lenses generally have been noticeably more robust in build quality than the Sigma ones.

Tamron denotes their higher end lens line with the notation, "SP" that stands for "Super Performance". You didn't ask about Tokina, another third party company, but they denote their high end line with the trademark, "ATX", and they add "APO" for an apochromatic design, or "SD" for a design with "super-low-dispersion" or just low-dispersion glass.

Sigma adds prefixes like "APO" if low dispersion glass and an apochromatic design are used. But you have to be a little more careful with Sigma since they are more liberal with the "APO" suffix than the other 3rd party companies are with their high end lettering. Sigma sometimes will add a single low-dispersion element and then use the APO lettering for a not all that high quality optic.

With all these companies, even in their premium line indicated by SP/ATX/APO or whatever, there is more variability in quality than there is with the lenses made by the major camera companies, which in 35mm means Canon, Contax, Leica, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax. But some of the 3rd party lenses represent outstanding values for the less label-conscious photographers.

There are some other brands who are exclusively marketing labels for lenses made by others, including Soligor, Vivitar, Spiratone, and some others.

Nhat Nguyen , Aug 25, 2000; 12:59 a.m.

I just did a side by side comparison of a Quantaray 24mm lens and a Sigma 24mm lens and they indentical, of course with the exception of the names and designations on the front rim.

This is a deal if you find a used for under $100. The Sigma 24mm AF, i surprisingly found out, has a higher rating than the Nikon 24mm AF on the photodo.com site!

I just won one on a Yahoo auction for $75. I will write a follow email about it's performance.

Derek K. Miller , Sep 08, 2006; 02:32 a.m.

As mentioned, Quantaray is Ritz Camera's Sigma re-brand. I've had good luck with a couple of Quantaray zooms, one manual focus Nikon-mount 28-200 mm I bought in the early '80s and which was stolen in 1991; and a similar, autofocus 70-210 mm I bought in 1995 for my F601 and still use on my D50.

For the money (quite low) they perform extremely well, and I would recommend them over the low-end lenses from Nikon (or, presumably, Canon, Olympus, Pentax, et. al.), which tend to have a price premium just for the name. The Quantaray/Sigmas, being consumer- grade, are not as good as the higher-end lenses from Nikon and the others, but you wouldn't expect that at the price anyway.

I just bought a 24mm Quantaray "Tech-10" (no idea what that designation means) from eBay, and we'll see how that does.

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