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Tokina 50-135 versus Sigma 50-150, One more time...

Christopher Cherubin , Mar 01, 2009; 09:53 p.m.

I am likely buying one of these two lenses this week and have read review after review. Does anyone here have any more input on their real world experience with these lenses?


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Eric Arnold , Mar 01, 2009; 11:07 p.m.

well, the 50-135 wouldnt have been able to get this exact shot:

RZA's gambit

Eric Arnold , Mar 01, 2009; 11:09 p.m.

or this one:

stephen in sepia

Eric Arnold , Mar 01, 2009; 11:12 p.m.

both were taken at 150mm, f/2.8.

optically, havent seen much difference in IQ either way, but the sigma has HSM and the tokina has screw-drive AF.

Frankie Frank , Mar 01, 2009; 11:58 p.m.

What is the relationship between HSM and screw drive? How do these features affect your decision?

Christopher Cherubin , Mar 02, 2009; 12:37 a.m.

I own a D300 and a D70....My previous telezoom was the slow 55-200 with VR. I am shooting a lot more weddings these days and need something better in low light.

Eric Arnold , Mar 02, 2009; 01:23 a.m.

i havent tried the 50-135, my sense is its intended more as a landscape lens (hence the permanent tripod collar), but the 50-150 has faster AF. that would be more of an issue on a d70 than a d300. not sure if the 50-135 is also a true IF lens. in any event, i dont think you can go terribly wrong with either one --the FL is a good one on DX, especially paired with a 17-50 or 17-55.

sunglasses crop

Bruce Margolis , Mar 02, 2009; 06:18 a.m.

Tokina has a tripod mount, Sigma has a bit longer reach and might have faster AF. Optically, very close. Both good lenses and either is a big improvement over your 55-200. No right or wrong here, just personal preference.

Travis Hoover , Mar 02, 2009; 08:44 a.m.

I have the latest version of the Sigma 50-150mm, have no experience with the Tokina.

Build is excellent on the Sigma, and I feel it is my sharpest lens. I really like that it is an internal focusing and zooming lens, ie, it does not extend when you zoom or focus. The HSM works very well and is whisper quiet, something good for weddings I would think.

I don't think you could go wrong with either, but if I were buying again, I would get the Sigma again, no question.

Chris Perschk , Mar 02, 2009; 03:12 p.m.

Hi, I own a Tokina 50-135/2.8 but I'm not happy with it.

Definitely no recommendation from my side:
My first sample was backfocussing strongly (and to a varying degree for the various focal lengths) so I send it back to Tokina.
After 6 weeks and various e-mails they've send a new replacment sample which was showing the same issues. I again returned it to Tokina and received it back with the statement "focus repaired". It is still backfocussing like hell (I have to set my D300 to a focus correction of -15) but this is consistant so I at least can use the lens.

Other than this the focussing capabilities on moving subjects are quite limited.
I have them impression that is not strictly due to the mechanical AF system but also due to slower electronics inside the lens. In any case my old Nikkors are not hesitating like the Tokina for aquiring focus.

On the Photokina 2008 show I was holding the Sigma 50-150/2.8 II in my hands. I had a very positive impression of the speed of the HSM AF-system. Of course I couldn't really test it but given the issues I have with the Tokina I'm considering to get one.

It is a pitty, because I like the optics of the Tokina otherwise and the build-quality is superb.
I've bought my Tokina when it was quite new on the market but the last repair attempt dates to December 2008. So I have little hope that they improved. The lens even is no longer on sale here in Germany.

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