The new lens worth it ?


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Sep 9, 2015
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I'm new in general to this stuff and self taught however feel i've caught on fairly well. I mostly shoot drag racing and parked cars, with some landscape. I've got a Nikon D7100 and use a 35MM Nikon Prime lens.

I've been eyeballing a zoom as my next, the sigma 70-200MM f2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM and started looking at reviews, i keep seeing people reference how great it is for $800 etc. I was confused as its a $1200 lens. Then i found it existed in the past, however it looks to not have been an OS model, I'll admit I'm not up on my abbreviations which is why I'm asking here, is there a big difference between these two if i stuck them both on my D7100 ? I see the old lens used for about $500-700 and considered that route. Is it worth the extra coin for the new lens ? I know it wont be quite a 70-200 on my camera as well.

Finally got out of aperture priority mode and into full manual and would like a decent zoom lens

Thanks, heres the kind of the stuff im usually doing.






Couple action ones, apologize in advance for the crazy exposure as it was my first time shooting anything with the camera and was facing the sun and hadnt learned of polarizing filters yet.

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Is the OS model worth it?

OS is what sigma calls it's "VR". Sigma calls it OS (Optical stabilization), Nikon calls it VR (Vibration reduction) and Tamron calls it VC. All the same thing really, if your shooting at low shutter speeds and it might introduce blur due to camera shake the lens tries to compensate.

I really like mine. I shoot the Sigma 70-200 mm 2.8 OS HSM, always gotten good results with it. The one thing about the OS I've found though, it doesn't always disengage the way it should, at least not on my lens. When I'm shooting at lower shutter speeds and the OS is needed it works great.

However sometimes when I'm shooting at higher shutter speeds it will engage even if it's not needed, which can sometimes introduce blur. Apparently the problem is the copy I have needs to have the firmware updated to fix this issue, which of course means I would need to send the lens back to Sigma. I didn't bother though, if I'm shooting at higher shutter speeds I just shut the OS feature off.

All in all it's been a great lens for me, I know a lot of folks also have the Tamron 70-200 mm 2.8 and swear by it.
In terms of aftermarket lens what seems to be the better piece Sigma or Tamron ? Or is it a personal preference kind of thing?
Sigma makes a decent lens, but over the past 3-4 years Tamron has made huge advancements in their lenses. I own their 70-300 4-5.6 VC lens and it is fantastic.

As said above the stabilized models can help especially when shooting in low light at slower shutter speeds. However photographers of the past didn't have this technology, and either used a tripod or practiced good hand holding techniques to get sharp photo's at lower shutter speeds.

The beauty of the Nikon D7xxx series is the ability to use just about every lens Nikon ever made all the way back to the late 70's. This also includes other companies who made lenses for Nikon cameras back then.

I'm not made of money and can't afford the newer crop of extremely expensive zooms so I am currently using an old Nikon AF 80-200 2.8 (push pull zoom) lens. It uses the older screw driven auto focus which uses the AF motor within the camera body to auto focus the lens. While people will say that it doesn't auto focus as fast as the more modern AF-S lenses it focuses plenty quickly on my D7000. This lens was manufactured in several variants from the early 80's through today. Nikon still manufactures this lens today in the form of the AF-S 80-200 2.8. All versions of the 80-200 are optically identical. You can pick up the version I have used in the $300-500 range depending on condition, with the newer versions (90's through today) starting at around $600 and up again depending on which version you get and condition.

While my 80-200 2.8 is a wonderful lens for doing portraits of just about anything I really love my collection of old Nikon Ai and Ai-s manual focus prime lenses for doing portrait work. Here's an example of a photo of my motorcycle using my 135mm 2.8 Ai-s lens.
In terms of aftermarket lens what seems to be the better piece Sigma or Tamron ? Or is it a personal preference kind of thing?

I haven't shot the Tamron so really couldn't compare side by side, I have always gotten good results out of the Sigma though so no complaints here.

This was shot recently with my D7100 and the Sigma 70-200 F2.8

20150907 175 by Todd Robbins, on Flickr

I've always liked the image quality myself. I got a good deal on mine, paid roughly $700 for it used off ebay.
Most of the races I shoot 70mm is almost too long most of the time. Sometimes I need more but most of the time for cars on the track I shoot between 50mm and 70mm with a 17-70 Sigma lens. If I need more I use a 70-300 but it focuses slower than the 17-70 so I have to be careful with it.
Thanks for the heads up, it seems my 35MM is good for starting line pics but it'd be nice to zoom for on track photos and big end stuff. I would eventually like a smaller zoom lens as well so i don't have to do as much foot work as i do with the fixed lens. Figure my 35, a nice zoom and a smaller zoom would hold me over for some time.
I am loving that WHTRICE license plate!!! TOO FUNNY!

Check the dPreview website's review of the older Sigma, and the first-generation Tamron 70-200/2.8...neither of them were that good, really. The first-generation Tamron series zooms had the reputation of beautiful image quality, but persistent, intermittent to semi-regular focus failures...just would not hit focus often enough. The earlier Sigma models were simply not good at f/2.8, and had to be closed down to f/4 to get acceptable image quality--and that was on 10 and 12 MP sensors...

SInce then, Sigma and Tamron were forced to offer better products...and the prices went up from, around $799 discounted retail/ $999 MSRP (which is always way high!) to approximately doubled; meanwhile the Nikkor 70-200's went from $1699 to $2499 between VR-1 and the new VR-2 generation.

For static cars, the older 80-200 f/4 Ai-S zoom is a solid lens for $99 or so used, as long as you can get across the street or so to frame.'s still a professionally-capable, but manual focus zoom.
Well, I will stick to the newer designs them with OS/VR now to which brand haha.
This is just my own $.02 worth, so please use my opinions only for what they are worth to you.

This is probably going to sound a bit crass or blunt, however I personally find that VR (regardless of which acronym you use) tends to be something of a crutch...if not comparable to a drug in that it tends to cause one to develop some degree of dependency, LOL! I don't own VR lenses myself...I've always been of the mind that as long as I don't have one, I simply won't miss it. For the difference one would spend on a VR lens, personally I'd rather rely on good technique instead...after all, a lot of great photographers did some really amazing work long before VR was around. Likewise, I would always recommend that a student or newbie learn that technique FIRST. In this case at least, learning how to properly hold and use a camera (and/or a tripod when necessary) will take one further than VR ever could. -IF- I had a lens with VR, I wouldn't thumb my nose at it, however, no...I won't go out of my way, let alone spend extra for one. I've been doing this stuff for quite a while and my hands are usually pretty steady (barring that second pot of coffee in the morning, LOL) and I can usually shoot pretty steady down to around 1/60 of a second or so (give or take focal length), so there's just not enough advantage for me to really warrant the additional cost. In all fairness, if the cost of the lens was the same, I'd probably opt for the VR with all other things being equal, but for the difference of a few hundred dollars (or more), I just don't usually see it as a useful investment.

Now on the issue of Sigma vs. Tamron, personally I'll go with Tamron every time. Sigma has made some very fine lenses over the years, however like Canon, they are also occasionally prone to Quality Control issues as well. Back when I was still a Canon shooter, I ended up with a couple of Sigma's that were basically little more than paper weights...the comparable Tamron's were FAR superior. I honestly don't know if that's still the case, however it really put me off Sigma. Like Mr. Photo up there, I also have a Tamron 70-300mm and it really is one of my "go to" lenses. I used this lens A LOT as a Canon shooter and it was the first lens I purchased when I switched over to Nikon. Likewise when I was still shooting Canon, I had a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 (the NON VC version) and that was truly an outstanding lens in terms of image quality. No, it didn't focus as quickly as the comparable Canon L lenses at the time, however every single independent test I read said the Tamron was actually sharper than it's Canon counterpart...and I don't doubt that for a moment.

Also, if vibration reduction is in fact important to you, Tamron advertises its VC system as having a 3 coil system, which according to the hype is supposed to work better than other brands...if I'm not terribly mistaken, most of the competitors still only use a 2 coil system of some kind (I believe it's called "X and Y axis" compensation or something like that).

That said, on the Sigma vs. Tamron issue, my suggestion here would be; try both! Go into a local camera store or 2 and slap each lens on the front of your own camera...take a few pics around the store (even in the parking lot) at various focal lengths, then take the camera home and compare the images side by a bit of pixel peeping to see which is really sharper.

BTW...for what it's worth, I do actually still shoot in Aperture Priority mode most of the time! I think that a lot of people have a misconception about this in that it's somehow "cheating" or that they are somehow less than professional if they use it. The fact of the matter is that I grew up with a manual SLR film camera. I still have my old Canon FTb...the ONLY thing the battery on the camera powered was a small on-board light meter. EVERYTHING was manual...manual focus, manual exposure and if you needed to change ISO or color balance, etc., you had to stop and change film (or carry an extra camera or two around with you)! These days, camera technology has gotten to the point that it's insanely good in the majority of average situations. I do -occasionally- shoot manual, if nothing else just to prove that I still can (or in the occasional tricky lighting situation...something that's heavily back lit for example), however the vast majority of the time I'd rather let the camera do the work so I can simply "focus" on the subject matter and composition (pun intended). My view is simply this; the camera (and all it's tech) is simply a tool. Like any advanced tool, it's worth taking advantage of. Think about it...if you were a carpenter and you had your choice between an old rusty hand saw or a state of the art, laser guided power saw, which would you use? You get my point. Perhaps this makes me something of a hypocrite in light of my comments about VR, but personally I just don't feel any need to shoot things in manual any more. As far as I'm concerned, AP mode is a REAL blessing!

Anyways, these are again my own opinions...I hope they help!
sigman and tamron are both great lenses, read reviews, google search for comparisons on the sigma vs the tamron lens you are thinking about getting. i have 2 sigma lenses and they both work really well. my 10-20mm not have vibration reduction, my 150-500mm does and its works great. i never use a tripod and i get some really nice sharp shots, with out the vibration reduction on the shots are horrible so it works well. both of mine auto focus quickly and the vibration reduction works quickly..

not the same lens your looking at but here is a shot from my 150-500mm just so you can see a photo from another sigma lens. robbins photo seems to get great photos out of his sigma lenses. i do see some people saying some sigma lenses have issues with the vibration control or autofucus. those seem to the be major complaints, if that is not a problem with the lens you are looking to get or if it is and you get one without issues you do get good image quality out of them.

if you want allot of zoom you can get the sigma 150-500 for a pretty good price these days. even at 150mm that can be too much zoom for allot of things, if your shooting small thing or things that are pretty far away its a great lens to have. but it is big and heavy... and its not that great in low or bad lightning conditions. since you usually want to shoot this lens around f/8 or f/9 to get nice sharp images.

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