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Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 vs Sigma 24-70 f/2.8?

John N. Wall , Mar 08, 2011; 04:32 p.m.

Comparison, please, for these alternatives to the much more expensive Nikkors? This is for an FX body.
I am very aware that the Sigma is much better from 24-27 mm and the Tamron is much better from 71mm-75mm, but obviously I'm interested in how they compare through their common focal lengths.

This lens would replace for me a Nikkor 28-105 f.3.5-4.5 lens.


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David Haas , Mar 08, 2011; 06:20 p.m.

Shooting wise - I prefer the Sigma in the common focal lengths over the Tamron. But the differences are so small that to me they are meaningless.

Build wise - the Sigma is built like a tank - and the Tamron is built like a ...hmmm.

If I were shooting all day - the Sigma would definitely build up arm muscles. I don't even notice that the Tamron is on camera.


Eric Arnold , Mar 08, 2011; 07:52 p.m.

i've never shot with the sigma. but the tamron is excellent optically. it wont win any awards for beauty, but it produces beautiful images, with pleasant bokeh and good contrast.

Andy L , Mar 08, 2011; 08:28 p.m.

Never used the Sigma but I carried the Tamron around Europe with my F100 and was never disappointed. What's nice about it is that it's a very good (let's not kid ourselves - very good, but not outstanding) f/2.8 that's inexpensive and very light. At 2.8 the edge sharpness is nothing to write home about, but that's true of a lot of these lenses and the Sigma tests worse. At f/4.0, optical performance goes way up, very sharp, and it gives good bokeh.

It is a pretty ugly lens, isn't it? :)

Eric Arnold , Mar 08, 2011; 09:31 p.m.

It is a pretty ugly lens, isn't it? :)

you got that right.

i should probably add that as far as price-performance ratio goes, the tamron is the business! my experience seems to be similar to andy's: i found it usable at 2.8 but tack-sharp at f/4. i mainly shot people with it--did i just type that? oh heavens--and it was great for that on APS-C. focusing was always fast in good light, but it can hunt in low light a bit.

on FX, it's a tougher call as to what's more useful, 24mm or 75mm, but looking at the sigma's specs, i see it takes 82 mm filters, which is a bit ungainly. back to the tamron: i've since upgraded to FX and the nikon 24-70, and IMO the biggest optical difference between them is probably performance at 2.8, which is excellent on the nikon. i'm keeping the tammy, though, because it's the perfect size for walkaround use, whereas the 24-70 is something of a brick.

actually, john, it seems there are two versions of the sigma 24-70: the earlier one, which has slightly better close-up performance, and the newer one, which adds HSM and focuses to 1:5. the new one is supposed to be better than the old one optically but the price tag is heftier--almost 2x the tamron, and approaching the used price of a nikkor 28-70/2.8 AF-S aka "the beast." which sigma were you talking about? HSM or non-HSM?

Dave Lee , Mar 08, 2011; 10:22 p.m.

I have the Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 SP Ashperical zoom lens (no internal motor) and for the most part it is a stellar performer, very sharp and very well made. At 17mm on a full frame camera it does vignette in the extreme corners but other than that I love it. And best of all I purchased it second hand from a local seller for only $150.

Carl Becker , Mar 09, 2011; 06:58 a.m.

I use the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 on my D700. It replaced the Nikkor 28-105mm AF-D. It delivers sharp results when stopped down, better at 28mm then the Nikkor. It is not to big and very light which gives it real high value for me.

Howard Owen , Mar 09, 2011; 08:45 a.m.

The only real disadvantage of the Tamron is its build quality. Even if you treat it carefully, you'll find that its life expectancy is less than 50K shots. That probably won't matter to the hobbiest, but the pro will want to take note.

Still, you can buy 3 or 4 of these for what you'd pay for one Nikkor 24-70.

John Wall , Mar 09, 2011; 08:58 a.m.

Eric, I'm really talking about the Sigma HSM model. I've never been impressed with Sigma's lenses, especially their build quality. But this new line seems worthy of attention.

Rodeo Joe , Mar 09, 2011; 09:49 a.m.

Once bought a Sigma 24-70 for use on a Canon 5D (am I allowed to mention that here?) it went back two days later because it made the 5D perform like a cheap compact. Swapped it for the Tamron 28-75 and was well-pleased.

PS. I think it's a shame that Tokina dropped their 28-80 ATX-Pro and most of the rest of their full-frame lenses. Sigma needs a bit more competition than just Tamron can provide.

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