A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Featured Equipment Deals

The August Monthly Project Read More

The August Monthly Project

For August's monthly project, Tom Persinger is joining us again to explore the various ways of using texture to evoke tactile qualities in our photographs. Please add your photo to the thread and...

Latest Equipment Articles

4 Outdoor & Adventure Photo Packs Read More

4 Outdoor & Adventure Photo Packs

Photo packs have come a long way in the past decade, especially those that are targeted toward outdoor and adventure photographers. Alaska-based adventure photographer Dan Bailey takes a closer look...

Latest Learning Articles

A Brief History of Photography - Part I (Video Tutorial) Read More

A Brief History of Photography - Part I (Video Tutorial)

This video tutorial gives a succinct overview of the discovery and development of photography from the origins of the camera obscura through the Daguerrotype process. Next week's tutorial will cover...


Sigma vs. Tamron vs. Canon vs. Canon Professional Lenses

Yi-Fu Han , Feb 22, 2003; 04:00 p.m.

I've used Sigma lenses as long as I have been a photographer. Yet I wonder if there really is a difference between Sigma and Tamron brand lenses and which one is better. If one is noticably better than the other, how does it stack up to consumer Canon lenses? Also, how much better are consumer Canon lenses compared to professional Canon lenses? I'm a college student, so my options are limited. I can't go out and buy these lenses and try them all out so I am seeking the opinions of the people here. Thank you!

Responses

Al Kaplan - Miami, FL , Feb 22, 2003; 05:57 p.m.

Think of them as tools for doing a job. Some lensmounts are sturdier than others, some lenses are sharper than others, some have better bokeh or better contrast, some may sacrifice maximum sharpness at smaller apertures in favor of performance wide open. To some extent "pro" grade lenses are designed to hold up better to hard use than "consumer" grade optics. Some independant brands have actually marketed lenses from several manufacturers under one brand, and the same lens with slightly different knurling on the control rings may appear under more than one label. There are no absolutes.

When I was a college student (that was about 12 years after they first invented colleges) we used to try to buy good quality used equipment. There's a lot of pro grade Canon, Nikon, and similar stuff going begging today for a fraction of what it should be worth because it won't couple with the latest whizz-bang auto exposure systems or isn't auto focus. It's a buyers' market if you want fairly new top quality equipment, and can think for yourself and turn a ring or two before pushing he button. The truth is, it's harder to defeat the automation in some cameras for creative purposes than it would be to just set a manual camera yourself. Leicaflex and Leica R (reflex)cameras and lenses are the bargain of the century on the used market.

Chip L , Feb 23, 2003; 02:43 a.m.

I've used Sigma lenses as long as I have been a photographer. Yet I wonder if there really is a difference between Sigma and Tamron brand lenses and which one is better. If one is noticably better than the other, how does it stack up to consumer Canon lenses? Also, how much better are consumer Canon lenses compared to professional Canon lenses? I'm a college student, so my options are limited. I can't go out and buy these lenses and try them all out so I am seeking the opinions of the people here. Thank you!

What I do know of Tamron lenses is that they are supposed to license the mounts from the manufacturers. That means fewer comaptibility issues (which from postings on the net van be an issue with Sigma). Opticaly I would assume that they are very close. As to Canon consumer lenses. It is possible given todays economy that that Sigma or Tamron produce lenses for Canon. I know that the Pentax 28-80 was produced for a time by Tamron. And based on optical design and physical layout - not to mention lens tests - that the Nikon 70-300 seems to be based on the Tamron. Tamron will admit that they produce lenses for other manufacture; but of course can not comment directly.

Chip

Leif Goodwin , Feb 23, 2003; 03:35 a.m.

I have read that Cosina produce several items for Nikon including the renowned 45mm P lens and a manual body. Independent makers tend to cut corners to reduce costs, including lower build quality. As to which independent is best, there is no generalisation. A few Tamron lenses are first rate. Some Sigma lenses are first rate. Voigtlander is a posh Cosina brand and the lenses are very good. Oddly enough price is often a good guide to quality.

David Smith , Feb 23, 2003; 03:46 p.m.

I've used manual focus sigma's, tamrons, tokina, Nikkor's, Hexanon's, and rokkor's.

I haven't noticed much difference except that inexpensive zooms aren't as good at longer fl. All are very good.

My leica and Konica M lenses are slightly better that the SLRl lenses I've used over all f stops. (More sharp, less light fall off etc.)

One man's experience.

Douglas Green , Feb 24, 2003; 02:02 a.m.

In my opinion, the Canon Pro lenses will be the best, then the next will be the top of the line Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina. Then the Canon consumer and the standard level third party lenses will be less impressive.

Frank Uhlig , Feb 25, 2003; 10:25 a.m.

I think, you could rate the lens quality simply by price: the more you pay, the better all around is the lens. A very simple criterion.

Now, how good a lens you want, need, and can afford is another question, But the ranking is quite simple to achieve by price.

You get what you pay for generally, Also true in photography.

Now, even the best lens does not equate to the best pictures, not even necessarily good ones. No way! The best lens can only take pictures as good as your vision and technique. So, a 3 $ disposable can easily outperform a $ 5,000 pro camera and lens. But you knew that? If Ralph Schumacher drives a Kia, he will still be able to outrun most Mercedes driving doctors, right?

Douglas Green , Feb 25, 2003; 01:44 p.m.

I don't know about that, I know some doctors with Bimmers and Benzes that I think MIGHT be able to outrun Ralph Schumaker. OTOH, they couldn't get near his brother MICHAEL Schumaker, who is clearly the world's top driver.

Brian Southward , Feb 27, 2003; 07:05 a.m.

This is fun. The guy's name is Ralf Schumacher, and he drives a BMW. His brother's reputation as best driver in the world rests on a couple of lucky Grand Prix wins...

Back to top

Notify me of Responses