Lens: Nikon vs Sigma vs Tamron

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by mcoppadge, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. mcoppadge

    mcoppadge TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking to get a new lens. Ideally, I would love to get the Nikon 70-200 VR 2.8. Price is the only issue, but it's a big one. I'm considering a cheaper alternative, either the Sigma 70-200 2.8 or the Tamron 70-200 2.8. Does anybody have any input on what might be my best decision? Or has anyone had any experience with either the Sigma or the Tamron?
     
  2. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Does a used Nikon 80-200 fit your budget?
     
  3. Heck

    Heck TPF Noob!

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    I hear the sigma is a very good 2nd to the Nikon 2.8 I went with the Nikon 2.8 cuz I was worried about not getting "the best" and money was a issue but not a huge one with me. But If it was I would have went with the Sigma.
     
  4. itznfb

    itznfb TPF Noob!

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    if you can afford the best. then buy the best.
    i'd still get a 80-200mm f/2.8 over the sigma or tamron.
     
  5. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    Id say get the 80-200 f/2.8...it delivers great images (almost the quality of the Nikon 70-200) at about $900 less. I believe its also better than the Sigma and Tamron.
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    This lens does not have VR, so that's part of the $900 difference. So, if VR is not a hot button for you.......
     
  7. mcoppadge

    mcoppadge TPF Noob!

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    Is VR really all its cracked up to be? I mean, I've got two of them but I've never known the difference of not having it.

    Depends. Are you selling? I'm not planning to buy for a month or two but I'd be willing to go with the 80-200 over the Sigma. I want to do a little more research between the two.
     
  8. Montana

    Montana TPF Noob!

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    Nope, it was just a question to give you another option. I own a 70-200 2.8 IS, but mine is white and no its not for sale. LOL
     
  9. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Last Sunday I had a chance to play with a few fellow Nikon photographers and between us we had quite a few lenses, and the 70-200, 80-200 Nikkors and 70-200 Sigma were part of the lenses we were using. No one had the Tamron and when I asked why, I found that EVERYONE of the 7 other guys there (except me) considered it before their purchase and due to sub-par performance results online and in talks with other that owned it, they all pushed far away from it.

    I've now had a chance to play with all of them (except the Tamron, obviously) on my D200 and D700 and can speak with experience.

    Sigma 70-200:
    Bottom line... yuck!
    - Ok but not spectacular at apertures above F/5.6, so soft at F/2.8 it looks out of focus compared to side by side shots against the Nikkors!
    - Build quality is so-so. Not terrible, but not very good.
    - Slow focus
    - Has issues focusing in lightly dark places where other lenses were still able to focus without issues.

    Nikkor 80-200:
    Bottom line... nice bang for the buck, but I'll pass, thanks.
    - Slower focus than even the Sigma 70-200... I missed 50% of my shots before it finished focusing!
    - I thought the Sigma was bad at attaining focus in dark conditions, and thought it was the worst of the lot, the Nikkor 80-200 was not far behind.
    - Sharper at F/2.8 than the Sigma, not tack sharp, but pleasant.
    - Background blur (bokeh) was kinda "off" feeling and grainy.
    - Vignettes way more than the Nikkor 70-200 on my D700... it was so bad that at 100% correction in PS CS3, it was uncorrectable and had some vignette visible to the naked eye.

    Nikkor 70-200:
    Bottom line... best of the lot, and by far.
    - The VR works and gave me about 20% more keepers than the 80-200 Nikkor under the exact same circumstances, everyone noticed this right off the bat as well.
    - Vignettes on the D700, but is correctable to 0 vignette by the 25-35% adjustment mark in PS CS3.
    - SHARP! Sharp at F/16, F/8, F/4 and sharpest by far of any other lens at F/2.8
    - In situations where the other two lenses were constantly hunting for focus, the Nikkor 70-200 focused quickly and without hunting.

    The final tally was that the Nikkor 70-200 leaves all others in the dust, with the Nikkor 80-200 in 2nd and a *distant* third was the Sigma. Given the choice of using the Sigma, I'd prefer to not use any lens at all, that is my personal opinion.

    Now, these were my personal experiences with these lenses I used that day and the results may not be the same with other lenses due to production tolerances. The Sigma 70-200 that was used was an exchanged unit and one that was said to have been a good copy, and far better than the first one that was bought by the owner.

    As a result of these tests, two Sigma owners are selling their unit and purchasing the Nikkor 70-200s. The others either have the 80-200 or cannot afford the Nikkor 70-200, though they would sorely love to upgrade as well.

    I am *so* glad that I got the Nikkor 70-200 and I unequivocally know why 90% of Nikon wedding photographers get this specific lens. The bokeh is silky smooth, it is sharp as a tack at any aperture compared to it's competitors and VR at these longer ranges I used to think was good to have... I now consider mandatory based on my real life experiences. You will get shots becuase of the VR, when hand holding, that you will not get with the other lenses. I hand-hold my lenses 95% of the time, so this is a major thing for me.

    This really supports what I always say...that in photography, there are 2 things that one purchases once and purchases the best of... lighting and lenses... becuase a good lens today will be a good lens 25 years later... where as a bad lens today, is a bad lens forever.

    Rather than settle for the 2nd best, I often say that it is better to do without, work harder, save a little longer and get the better lens... your photography will thank-you for it.
     
  10. mcoppadge

    mcoppadge TPF Noob!

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    Just what I needed to hear. Thanks for your input.

    Unfortunately now I'm faced with the daunting task of saving $1800 on a college budget. I'll be taking donations if anyone is interested in supporting young people in the arts. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009
  11. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I know it doesnt have VR, honestly I wouldnt use it if it did. No sense in paying $900 more for something I'm not going to use. It's a nice lens and though the Nikon 70-200 is a bit better, I dont feel like paying twice twice the price for the extra 10% of performance.
     
  12. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You must have a really deep hatred for the Sigma lens. I've seen you put it down quite a few times when this same question comes up. I don't know if you just had a bad version or what, but I own one, and from my own experiences, none of that is true.

    The closest to truth would be the softness at f/2.8, yes it's not quite as sharp as the Nikkor which costs literally twice the amount (yes, the non af-s 80-200 is cheap in comparison, but not the af-s version of it), but i'd hardly say it looks out of focus, and for the price difference, the softness is not a huge surprise.

    The build quality on mine is very good. Definitely better than the other consumer lenses I have. It's Sigmas version of a pro-grade lens. Is it as good as the Nikon? Probably not, but again, half the cost, what do you expect?

    Slow focus? That's downright false. Mine focuses fast. I have a nikkor with af-s, the 18-70. It seems just as fast. Sure that's not the 70-200 vr i'm comparing it to, but numerous reviews on the web say the difference is barely noticable, again half the cost..

    Mine hasn't had any focusing issues.. *shrug*

    OP- if you can afford it, i'd say go with the Nikon. There is a reason it costs so much. It's the best option if you've got the mney. If you don't need AF-S, then the 80-200 without it is probably a good choice (around the same price as the sigma). I needed an internal motor for fast focusing and can't afford the Nikon, I got the Sigma. I have no regrets.

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    Last edited: Jun 10, 2009

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