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Long Telephoto zoom for Bird Photography- Tamron 200-500 or Sigma 150-500 OS (BigmOS?

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  • Long Telephoto zoom for Bird Photography- Tamron 200-500 or Sigma 150-500 OS (BigmOS?

    Hello friends


    I use Nikon D90 with Nikkor 70-300G VR lens. I have been looking for some options for a longer reach and internet seems to be filled with Sigma 150-500 OS and Sigma 50-500 OS versions as recommended budget tele-zooms. Now there is one more from Nikkor, 80-400 f4.5/5.6. I almost settled my mind on 150-500OS version as it complements my 70-300VR better.
    Now one of my Facebook photographer friend, who swears by Photozone.de, strongly recommended Tamron 200-500 Di version. I read the photozone review of this lens and it seems to be alright, more so if I stop down the lens to f8. I tried to find whether there is any comparative test between Siggy 150-500OS and Tammy 200-500 SP Di version, but there is none from reputed sites.
    So may I ask the opinion of the members here about which lens would give me better IQ (150-500OS or 200-500 SP Di)? Is there any comparative test between these two lenses?

    Please understand that I shall not be able to afford higher primes which are simply out of my reach.

    Please help.
    Thank you

  • #2
    I would choose the stabilizes version of the 50-500 as my first choice. I have handled many of the Tamrons and they are my least favorite of the third party vendors. Sigma is my go-to for third party.

    Comparing the two (assuming good copies) the Sigma will be a little sharper (even though it "shouldn't be") with better contrast and a quieter motor. My impression is that the Sigmas focus a bit faster as well.

    I did a quick check on FredMiranda.com for the reviews and the ratings there seem to follow my impressions. FWIW, I have owned the Sigma 50-500, used the Tamron (didn't like it, maybe had a bad copy) but I have not used the 150-500 (but it generally rates lower than the 50-500, it seems there may be more QC issues with it)
    Steve
    the Photographic Academy.com
    SharpShooter Industries
    My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

    Comment


    • #3
      I had the Tamron and sold it. I did not like it as it was usually very soft, even when stopped down. I find I get better pictures with my Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 with a Nikon 2x TC than I got with the Tamron.
      Nikon D800e, D300, D5000, NIKON GLASS 85mm F/1.8 D, 105mm f/2.8 Micro AF-S VR, 70-200 AF-S VR f/2.8, 28-300 AF-S VRII,10.5mm Fisheye, 24-70 AF-S f/2.8, TC-20E III AF-S, Sigma 12-24 HSM, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 HSM, Sigma 150-500 OS, 2 SB-600 Speedlights, SB-900 speedlight, 4 YN-622N transceivers, Manfrotto 190MF3 tripod & 322RC2 ball grip head. - NJ, USA
      Flickr Photobucket
      Ok to edit and repost my shots on DPS forums

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kirbinster View Post
        I find I get better pictures with my Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 with a Nikon 2x TC than I got with the Tamron.
        I would agree with that, and it's comparable or better than the Sigma as well (using my VRII and TCIII) but the combo is also about $1k more.
        Steve
        the Photographic Academy.com
        SharpShooter Industries
        My 500px, My Flickr, My Blog

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the replies sk66 and kirbinster

          Well, I do not intend to buy 50-500OS mostly because it's price is near $1700, about $700 extra. I that price I can go for 80-400VR of Nikon (non AF-S version).
          I am considering the price quality factor. There are many users who are reporting they are getting excellent shots with 200-500 by stopping down it ti f8. Though there is about 1px CA at the 500mm end which I think is tackled better in 150-500....but 150-50 is very heavy, hand holding the lens is almost not an option, unless I can pump up my biceps and triceps...

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          • #6
            i went with the sigma 120 - 400mm lense it is faster focusing than the 150 - 500mm. I have been very happy with the results i've been getting. When it comes to birds what ever you have it is never long enough

            Cheers Jo
            Nikon D600, D7000, 16-35mm f4, 35mm f1.2, 50mm f1.8, 85mm f1.8, 105mm macro f2.8, Sigma 24-70mm f2.8, 120 - 400mm f4.5-5.6, lensbaby, Nissan Di622 speed light, lots of other bits and pieces
            There is always some thing to see you just have to open your eyes
            http://www.flickr.com/photos/jot2010/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jo.T View Post
              i went with the sigma 120 - 400mm lense it is faster focusing than the 150 - 500mm. I have been very happy with the results i've been getting. When it comes to birds what ever you have it is never long enough

              Cheers Jo
              I agree with you Jo regarding birds
              But as I already have the 70-300VR, just another 100mm would not be worth spending.
              I was pondering over the following thoughts (like searching for a solution of a practical problem theoretically)
              Though the Sigma 150-500 is an HSM lens, there is not much of a confirmation how good the auto focus is, is it fast enough to track a flying bird? I have also read that the sharpness of the Tamron lens at 500mm end is sharper than that of 150-500...so things are pretty confusing to me. I am yet to find any comprehensive test report on CA factor of both these lenses at the extreme end. I am more tempted towards sharpness and contrast, both seems to be better at the extreme for Tamron. One more thing that strikes me is, without a Motor Tamron costs almost the same as Sigma which features both OS and HSM. If price dictates quality (considering both have almost the same Brand Value as Third party lens manufacturer), then Tamron should give better IQ.
              Finally I am still very much confused...

              Comment


              • #8
                I wod also consider the tokina 80-400. It's very sharp from what I've heard.

                And you can always put a 1.4 or 2.0 teleconverter on it.
                Matthew
                Canon EOS 50D gripped | AE-1p film SLR | 17-85 | 70-300 | 28-105 | 10-22 | 100 macro 2.8 | Sigma EX 30mm F/1.4 | FD 50mm f/1.8 | Assorted speedlites | Some Minolta, Pentax, and Kodak film stuff
                My Website My 500px Powered By Christ Amateur/HAM radio call: KJ6PNN
                A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into. ~Ansel Adams

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ishootRAW View Post
                  I wod also consider the tokina 80-400. It's very sharp from what I've heard.

                  And you can always put a 1.4 or 2.0 teleconverter on it.
                  And I have heard it is one of the worst in the market....don't get me wrong mate

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                  • #10
                    When I first got back into photography, I tested a lot of the lenses mentioned here. I had been a serious mammal photographer on film, but took a ten year break. Moved to digital and wanted a setup at a decent price to see if I enjoyed shooting birds. Of all the consumer grade lens I tested I ended up buying the Sigma 150-500 OS. There are problems associated with this lens, one being the difference that is seen between lenses. I have a friend that went through eleven of these lenses until he found a good one. I was lucky in that the one I was shipped performed great for me. I found the lens to be very sharp even at 500mm, but I've also seen versions that at 500 looked very soft. If you purchase one make sure the dealer will work with you on swapping lenses.
                    I've since moved to the Nikon 600 and my son has taken the Sigma. There are times when I wish the Sigma was still close by for me to use, son lives a few thousand miles away, as the Nikon is very heavy to take on a long walk. In the right light, the Sigma needs lots of light, there is not a lot of difference in the IQ. It's when in the low light which is where I shoot most of the time that the Nikon really outshines the Sigma. Well that and being a little longer. I've tested the print quality by printing images from both lenses and then had some very experienced photographers try to pick out which lens was used. With ten 20x16 prints they could not determine which came from which lens.

                    Again, I highly stress this is having the right light and getting a good version of the lens.

                    As far as using the Sigma with a teleconverter, my experience was that the images were unusable. You can make a species shot with the Sigma and a teleconverter but that's about all, it will be extremely soft.
                    Thanks, Fred
                    Only one photo away from perfect, keep shooting.
                    500px
                    flickr
                    Nikon

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                    • #11
                      Forgot to mention, you do have to stop down the Sigma to f/8 or f/9 to get sharp images. Again, it's a light hog.
                      Thanks, Fred
                      Only one photo away from perfect, keep shooting.
                      500px
                      flickr
                      Nikon

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Alokchitri View Post
                        And I have heard it is one of the worst in the market....don't get me wrong mate

                        Interesting you say that. Here's Fred Miranda's review. And lenstip..

                        Edit: Let me just add me opinion on tamron vs Sigma as manufacturers, not of the individual lenses. Sigma has a bigger selection, and their autofocus is usually much faster. However their quality control is much more varied then Tamron. their costumer support is also crapey. Tamron lenses on the other hand, have generally slower AF, but are IMHO slightly better built. Their CS is also great. IMO even better then Canon's.
                        Last edited by ishootRAW; 08-05-2011, 04:43 AM.
                        Matthew
                        Canon EOS 50D gripped | AE-1p film SLR | 17-85 | 70-300 | 28-105 | 10-22 | 100 macro 2.8 | Sigma EX 30mm F/1.4 | FD 50mm f/1.8 | Assorted speedlites | Some Minolta, Pentax, and Kodak film stuff
                        My Website My 500px Powered By Christ Amateur/HAM radio call: KJ6PNN
                        A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into. ~Ansel Adams

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                        • #13
                          Thanks Fred for your excellent reply.

                          Thanks FDCPR, I was going to ask the question...saved me the trouble

                          Thanks Matthew for summarizing about both the brands as manufactures. Points are duly noted.

                          Regarding Tokina, according to the lenstrip review suggested by you:

                          Cons:

                          weak image quality at 400 mm,
                          huge chromatic aberration in the 300-400 mm range,
                          minimum focus from as far as 2.5 meters,
                          distinct astigmatism at longer focal lengths.
                          As a bird and WL shooter, I would like to look at the usability of the lens at the longest of it's focal lengths, and Tokina fails miserably at the longer end. So I said, it's worst of the lot. Please do not take my comments personally, and I have no intention to start a debate on this. If you are happy with your lens, then it's best for you- that's my motto

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                          • #14
                            Ultimately you will have to decide which to purchase. If you are who I think you are, and this question was posted at BPN also. The replies there have great merit, going with the right 300mm and 1.4 teleconverter. I didn't get involved there, as it seemed you had lots of expert opinions. If this wasn't you, sorry, but go look at BPN there is an almost identical thread on that forum.

                            It all depends on what stage you are in your development. If you're just getting started and want to test the waters before jumping in head first by getting all the very expensive equipment getting one of your mentioned lenses is a good option.

                            Another dilemma, that I hate to mention, but you should know about is your camera. The D90 has a known focusing issue and doesn't have a micro focus adjustment option, at least from what I remember it doesn't. If it does, someone let's us all know. Now, let's say you find a vendor willing to work with you on getting a good copy of the Sigma 150-500 OS lens. You're testing the lens and can't achieve a sharp photo at 500mm. The dilemma is that you can't really identify if it's the lens or camera. If you do have that situation, then hopefully you know someone close by that will take some test shots with the lens to help you determine if it's the lens or camera. But, if you are able to get sharp photos with other lenses then your camera should be fine. I'm just throwing this out to you as I know multiple people that either sent their cameras in for calibration or just sold them and moved to a different model.

                            Focusing with the Sigma is not really an issue. Some will say that the lens will hunt for focus, and I agree to an extent. It will hunt for focus in low light, but low light conditions are not where this lens is good for much. Get it in the right light and it focuses fast enough for BIF shots and using the zoom is a whole lot easier to pick up the bird than using my prime lens. I don't like the noise of the OS, but it is what it is and functions well otherwise. The lens is easily hand holdable when using a good holding technique.

                            I would highly recommend the 150-500 OS, but only if you are willing to put in the effort to get the right copy of the lens. It's the luck of the draw, and can be a major pain in the a$$ to get a good copy. I've actually been contemplating purchasing this lens in a Sigma mount. I have a Sigma dslr that my wife gave me and it really just sits in the camera bag without being used. I'm thinking that on the days when I'm out scouting locations I could carry it along. I haven't pulled the trigger on it yet, as I keep talking myself out of it by rationalizing I should get a different telephoto lens and use one of my Nikon bodies.
                            Thanks, Fred
                            Only one photo away from perfect, keep shooting.
                            500px
                            flickr
                            Nikon

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Alokchitri View Post

                              As a bird and WL shooter, I would like to look at the usability of the lens at the longest of it's focal lengths, and Tokina fails miserably at the longer end. So I said, it's worst of the lot. Please do not take my comments personally, and I have no intention to start a debate on this. If you are happy with your lens, then it's best for you- that's my motto
                              No Offense taken Its my fault as I did not read the review all the way through. My friend must have got a exceptional copy. As the shots I took at 400mm with his are much nicer then the shots I am seen online. I did not intend to start a debate either. Just offer ignorant advice
                              Last edited by ishootRAW; 08-07-2011, 02:25 AM.
                              Matthew
                              Canon EOS 50D gripped | AE-1p film SLR | 17-85 | 70-300 | 28-105 | 10-22 | 100 macro 2.8 | Sigma EX 30mm F/1.4 | FD 50mm f/1.8 | Assorted speedlites | Some Minolta, Pentax, and Kodak film stuff
                              My Website My 500px Powered By Christ Amateur/HAM radio call: KJ6PNN
                              A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into. ~Ansel Adams

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