So whats people's beef with third party lenses?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by anubis404, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    Most anti-third part lens comments I've seen come from Ken Rockwell, but I don't really trust him.

    My curiosity sparked when I was visiting one of my friends, who is also an experienced and talented photographer who had just picked up some good L glass he was showing me. After I told him I had a pretty good lens coming, he wanted to know the detail. I told him it was a Sigma, and he winced. "I dunno man, third party lenses...". I've also seen some people around this forum who dislike third party lenses. Most tests show that even though most are not as good as their Nikon/Canon counterparts, they are pretty damn close and a lot cheaper. Is there another detail I'm missing?
     
  2. TheOtherRob

    TheOtherRob TPF Noob!

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    I think alot of people feel in most cases that the amount of money saved is not worth the risk of getting a lens that is not up to par with its counterpart. I own a Tamron lens that came with my camera and it has been decent, but the things squeaks like crazy now when adjusting the focal length.
     
  3. Dubious Drewski

    Dubious Drewski TPF Noob!

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    I had a guy come into the store a month ago and we got to talking about third party lenses. He said this to me "I don't know, do third party lenses work at all? Like, does your metering work and don't you need an adapter most times?"

    This guy is a respected photographer in town. His photos are everywhere. I hesitated for a moment while I tried to think of something respectful to say in response to that.

    I mean, what did he think, that the Sigma folks just decided one day to make a lens for Canons, so they stared at a photo of the Canon mount in a magazine and roughly built the lens by guessing the dimensions of the mount?

    Third party lenses are often lower cost and cheaply built, yes. But these companies also offer high-end gear that is often very competitive with the first-party lenses. Sometimes better, like in the case of the Sigma 10-20. The "Bigma" lenses are also superb, but unfairly, people often don't even consider them as a choice.
     
  4. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    Before I worked at ritz, i too was skeptical about third party lenses, and still am for tamron's - I just cannot stand their construction.

    HOWEVER, Some select sigma lenses have turned my head. Their 12-24 is one funky hunk of glass when used on full frame digital or film, I prefer their 10-20 over the nikon and canon ultra wides anyday, and their new 50mm f/1.4....HOLY CRAP.


    I've not had much experience with tokina lenses, but I have used the Pentax 16-50, 10-17, and 50-135 and if they're the same as the Tokina flavor's then i'm pretty impressed.

    I wouldn't hesitate to tote around some thrid party lenses, especially sigma's. Their EX lenses feel more solid, smooth, and overall well built then most of Nikon or Canon's high end gear that I have had the chance to work with.
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Third party lenses can outperform the onbrand ones too. But a real issue is quality control. A classic example is the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 which is on par optically with Nikon's models IF you are lucky enough to get a good batch.

    That's not to say that Nikon / Canon aren't without their problems, but considering more people own Nikon / Canon lenses I see considerably more complaints around on dodgy third party lenses.
     
  6. chris

    chris TPF Noob!

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    That is the whole point - on 'a value for money' basis a lot of third party lenses win out. However, they are often, but not always, out-performed optically and mechanically by marque lenses. The choice between marque and third party depends upon what your priorities are and if that is budget restricted then third party or second hand marque is probably the way to go.
     
  7. Captain IK

    Captain IK TPF Noob!

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    OK, I don't own any third party lenses so this may be a ridiculously stupid question...
    Can, or why can't you, buy interchangeable mounts for third party lenses? That way if you started with a Nikon body, but chose to switch to Canon, you could simply replace the lens mounts on your third party lenses and off you go.
    Seems to me that would be a good selling feature for those lenses.
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    For most photographers it's about cool guy status. If they can't get a sharp photo with decent color and tones with a Sigma or Tamron or Tokina spending the big bucks on a top-o-line Nikon or Canon probably isn't going to help them, but it sure makes them feel good, and most importantly it's cool!

    I've been using Sigma, Tamron, Canon, and Canon L lenses on my DSLRs. I can't tell the difference between them in the prints on my walls (8x12 to 20x30), and I'd be willing to put up money in a bet saying no one else could either.

    Some of the expensive lenses have better build quality, they're quieter, supposedly better AF, and features such as image stabilization which can be very handy.

    As a wedding photographer I need back-up lenses, so I actually own and use f/2.8 normal zooms from Sigma, Tamron, and Canon (L). The Canon isn't any sharper (even in the corners and at f/2.8), nor does it's AF seem faster or more accurate, although it is silent. The main difference I notice (besides the 4x price) is that the Canon L is bigger and heavier, and flares more easily. I have yet to break the Canon, and I admit both the Tamron and Sigma have been back to the repair center, but we'll see how the Canon holds up in the long run. I hope it is built better; Tamron and Sigma have 6 and 3 year warranties so getting them repaired cost me nothing, while Canon only backs their top-o-line gear with a 1 year warranty. Apparently Canon isn't as convinced of the build quality. :)

    There is only one lens test that means anything to me: how do my prints look? And if there are problems am I right in blaming the gear, or maybe is it my fault? 99.99% I am responsible for flaws in my photos, not the gear. There was a post like this a few weeks back; someone claiming they could see the difference between lenses on their LCD. If you can see blur on an LCD the whole photo is mush at 8x12. No one would ever buy that lens. But the real problem was that it was completely mis-focused.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  9. MikeBcos

    MikeBcos TPF Noob!

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    Tamron used to make a line if lenses with interchangeable mounts, their Adaptall line, they were discontinued in 2006.

    I used to use their SP line, unfortunately I sold them several years ago when I switched from film to a digital point and shoot. Now I've moved back to a DSLR I regret that, they were excellent lenses.

    Tamron Adaptall-2 SP Series Lenses
     
  10. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    With the exception of shooting test patterns and sometimes build quality (Tokina ATX is as well built as any) there is little real difference.

    Reread Ksmattfish's post. :)
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think a lot of people cut their teeth with a very cheap lens from a 3rd party like sigma - something like a 70-300mm macro. Now for its price you won't find anything better from Canon or Nikon or Sony - however because its a cheap lens trying do to everything is just does not stack up against the specific and more expensive lenses - like a true macro prime lens or a 70-200mm.
    However once people get more into the game they tend to go for higher range lenses in their company (nikon/canon) and then they compare the two and find the sigma very lacking - and this viewpoint seems to stick and then apply to all the sigma range.
    Its certainly not true - sigma make some fantastic lenses - their range of macro primes is top rate (especailly the 150mm and 180mm). Infact I can also say that their lens hood for the 150mm is better than my hood and hood fitting on my canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L (and that was more than 3 times the price!). Their EX quality finish is also (I find) much more comfortable to hold than canon L (its always so cold and metaly)
     
  12. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    lol... file this in "funny cuz it's true"

    i know i feel better...
     

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