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Sigma vs Tamron

Christina Santavicca , Jan 11, 2010; 12:51 p.m.

I've tried researching previous posts on this topic, but they didn't help me much. I'm torn between the Sigma 24-70 2.8 for $900apprx. and Tamron 17-50 2.8/used for $350. The only thing I have found is that the Tamron's autofocus can be noisy, which may be a definate con for wedding photography.
I want the best for less here. If the Tamron can get me there, for sharp images and a fast lens, then I need to save my money buy getting that one. Or is it not worth it?
Thank you for your input.


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Mihai Ciuca , Jan 11, 2010; 01:19 p.m.

I don't have experience with that Sigma but I tested a Tamron 17-50/2.8 VC. This is around $650 new and is a very good option. The VC (equivalent of VR) is very efficient for taking images handheld and the lens provides sharp and pleasant images. On the other hand, 17-50 is a better range on crop camera than 24-70. This particular Tamron is one of the best lenses from Tamron's lineup. You cann't go wrong for this ammount of money.

Christina Santavicca , Jan 11, 2010; 02:00 p.m.

Thank you Mihai. That really helps. What's your opinion on the noise of the autofocusing??

Phil Burt , Jan 11, 2010; 02:28 p.m.

Hi Christina,
I can talk about the Sigma 24-70 only as I do not have any experience with the Tamron. I purchased my from Adorama and was lucky to find a used one for half the price. I love this lens so much that it hardly comes off of my camera. I use it for everything I can think of. It is a great lens, a lot better lens than I am a photographer. I would hang out and get a used one, it is hard to compare a used to new as the price will always be a factor, at least for me.
phil b
benton, ky

Christina Santavicca , Jan 11, 2010; 02:35 p.m.

Phil, I definetly agree!! I've been trying to spot a used Sigma 24-70 2.8, without much luck :( Thank you for letting me know your perspective on owning that lense tho :)

Wouter Willemse , Jan 11, 2010; 02:40 p.m.

Cristina, which camera do you use? Since the Tamron is DX only; the Sigma is an FX lens (with a rather massive 82mm front filter - if you need filters?). There is also a Sigma 24-60 f/2.8 that seem to be pretty good, and a 18-50 f/2.8 for DX which according to consensus is not better than the Tamron.
Since the range of the 2 is quite different, based on your current gear would you miss 17-24, or 50-70 more? To me, this would make a more critical deciding point than price or AF noise; these 2 lenses are sufficiently different in that respect.

If you're going to use it for professional wedding shoots, frankly, I'd cough up the money for either one of the Nikons, expensive as they are. I only handled the Tamron once, and the build quality is a tad less inspiring than the optics.

Christina Santavicca , Jan 11, 2010; 02:48 p.m.

Yes, I agree. I am trying to weigh out the focal lengths, and I'm favoring the 17-50 more. I have a D60, which of course is DX. Now, being in my beginning stages still of the business, I will get a better camera in the future, which would bring my current one to be my back up body.
Soooo ... for the future body, I would cough up the money for a Nikkor. I just kinda want the best of these worsts (lol) that will give me a faster lens, for least money, for the time being.

Eric Arnold , Jan 11, 2010; 02:55 p.m.

for $800-$900 you might be able to find a used nikkor 17-55; that's a lot of money to spend on a sigma in that focal length. also, you are comparing two different lenses in two different focal lengths. if you are shooting DX, 24mm will be fairly long on the wide end.

i own the 17-50 and use it for shooting concerts, walkaround stuff, portraits, just about everything. to me the AF noise hasnt been an issue, but if this is really really important to you, then get a HSM- or AF-S-equipped lens. otherwise, the tamron's build has held up over almost 4+ years of regular use--its more solid than it looks--and i have no complaints with IQ. i've heard the new VC model has slower AF than the older screw-drive version, btw.

finally, the new price of an older tamron 17-50 is about $400-$450. its worth buying new just to get the warranty.

Mihai Ciuca , Jan 11, 2010; 02:56 p.m.

Honestly the copy I tested was not showing an exagerate noise... maybe it's noisier than a regular Nikon zoom but not to a larger extent... I've heard that there are variations in Tamron copies so probably are some noisier than others.

IMHO the bad part of this lens is that in low light, if in the focus area there are not some contrasting surfaces, it is hunting quite a lot. Nikon 24-70 is doing much better in similar situations but of course it plays in a different league. I want to mention that this happens only in really bad light situations.

The best part of the lens is that VC which is at least as good that Nikon's VR... you really feel that the image is freezing in the viewfinder and this helps a lot for indoor / dim light handheld photos. Also images are sharp and full of color... a good surprise for a budget lens in this area of cost.

Hal B , Jan 11, 2010; 03:06 p.m.

I use the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. It's certainly as good as any other make for that focal range. The Tamron 17-50, as I understand it, is even better. I doubt the Sigma has anything to offer over the Tamron in terms of performance. Maybe the new HSM motor makes it a little quieter, but the Tamron is NOT noisy to my ears. Not having any first hand experience with the Sigma lens, I can only say that you need to decide if a couple dB off an already quiet lens is worth an extra $550 to you.

The Tamron 17-50 gets my two thumbs up, one for the better wide angle range, and two for the price.

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