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Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 APO Macro Super vs. Tamron 70-300 4-5.6 LD

R.T. Dowling , Mar 02, 2004; 11:30 p.m.

I'd like to know if anybody who has used these two lenses can tell me which one they think is superior. I've searched photo.net and Google, and have found some reviews which claim that the Tamron is better, and other reviews which claim that the Sigma is better.

Basically I'd like to know which one is sharper and has better contrast.

I've also heard that both of these lenses are comparable to, or perhaps even better than, comparable offerings from Canon. I realize that camera-brand lenses are usually superior to lenses made by companies such as Tamron and Sigma, but I suppose anything is possible.

Lastly, can anyone comment on the Canon 55-200 4.5-5.6 lens? I haven't been able to find much info on that one. For instance, I'd like to know how sharp it is at 200mm compared to the above lenses at 200mm.



Pavel Toman , Mar 03, 2004; 12:20 a.m.

Personally, I wouldn't use word "superior" when comparing these two lenses. Both of them belong at the very bottom in the same cattegory.

Anyway, I would probably buy Tamron for its better built quality. And, some may think otherwise.

"I've also heard that both of these lenses are comparable to, or perhaps even better than, comparable offerings from Canon"

Canon, at the very same bottom cattegory is just as crappy. The built-in quality is better then that of those mentioned above, though. Optically? Not much of a difference, but surely not worse. The USM version beats both Sigma and Tamron and IS USM takes it to a different league.

Macro capability that both sigma and tamron have to offer is a nice thing for a beginer but useles for more serious work.

The only good thing about those lenses from my point is their versatility - compact, lightweight, incospicuous, cheap, let you reach out where point-and-shoot cameras won't let you.

#1. canon 70 - 300mm IS USM

#2. tamron ....DL

#3. sigma ....APO

Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Mar 03, 2004; 03:44 a.m.

Optically, at 300mm, I think I'd reverse that order. But I agree that there's not much difference between any of them, and they all represent the bottom of the telephoto pile. Well, the Sigma non-APO is really the one at the bottom of the pile. No wait, it's the Vivitar 100-400, or is it the...

Ron Chappel , Mar 03, 2004; 03:59 a.m.

Sorry i don't know anything at all about the tamron.
That sigma i have seen images from and i'm quite impressed!Note that the sigma you mention is the 3rd one up the range.
From what i have seen and experienced myself i would say that sigma will easily beat a canon 75-300 usm (for optical quality and focus speed-& no the focus speed comment is NOT a mistake!)
Personally i have had a few cheap telezooms & the cheapest i would tollerate are that sigma or a canon ef100-300 (which i have now)

Yakim Peled , Mar 03, 2004; 07:24 a.m.

I’d consider the 75-300 IS (for the IS + USM) or 100-300 USM (for the USM).

Happy shooting , Yakim

Mark U , Mar 03, 2004; 07:26 a.m.

I don't think that Pavel can have either tried these lenses or even looked at images produced by them side by side. There's no question that the Sigma produces significantly better results. Canon's 75-300 competitors are about on a par with the Tamron. Canon do not sell a better 70(75)-300 (though the forthcoming 70-300 DO IS lens ought to be quite a bit better, but it's 6 (!) times the price of the Sigma). If you want fast AF, then Canon's 100-300 is the better option at around this price level. Currently, for best results with Canon glass you have to use a 1.4x TC on a 70-200 zoom and that may remain the case even when the new lens hits the market. The best x-300 lenses optically are Sigma's 100-300 f/4 EX HSM and 120-300 f/2.8 EX HSM.

It's far from true that price for price, camera brand lenses are superior to third party ones optically - if anything the reverse would be a better generalisation. It's the basic marketing propostion for most third party lenses. The very best lenses do tend to be made by the camera manufacturers, and command a sometimes substantial price premium. But even this isn't always true - the best 1:1 macro lenses for EOS come from Tamron (180mm and 90 mm) and Sigma (50mm), for instance. What do you get by buying own brand lenses at similar prices? Trivially, the "my outfit's entirely by Chanel" feeling. Often, though not always, a slightly more robust build quality. Sometimes a better AF performance. Also, more certainty that the lens will turn out to be compatible with new bodies in the future. Build quality and compatibility issues will affect second hand values. The compatability issue means that for exactly equivalent OEM and third party lenses, the latter is cheaper, and/or has a much longer warranty (e.g. Tamron offer 6 years warranty on most lenses in the US, compared to Canon's 1 year).

Ajay Kumar , Mar 26, 2004; 06:13 p.m.

I have ethe tamron lens that you referred to.

If you want to use this lens "as is". i.e. without adding any close up fileter or other accessories, things are fine.

If you want to try to add, say, a close up lens to the front of it, FORGET IT. Adding any external elements to this messes up the lens optics severely and you get many abberations. Please note that the close up lens I tried on was a cheap single element.

The sigma on the other hand has an APO, so it is more forgiving in this regard. but also around $60 more expensive if I recall correctly.

At this price range, the image quality from all three lenses will be about the same, especcially for regular size prints. In this particular case, buying a canon lens also will not be a better "optical choice".

I would say, go for the sigma if you want to add a close up lens / teleconverter. Tamron if not.

Good luck deciding Ajay

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