How bad are they?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by nicefor88, May 6, 2009.

  1. nicefor88

    nicefor88 Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    How bad are the Topcon, Sigma, Tamron lenses compared with the Big Boy's productions (Nikon, Canon)?

    On second thought, how good are they ? (don't want to offend anyone)
    :wink:
     
  2. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    Tamron is pretty good. I have one for my Nikon and it is at least as good as the Nikkors. Maybe better.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The best Tamron SP's are as good as the major manufacturers. Personally I'd never buy a Sigma lens after problems I had with build quality the first fell apart, the 2nd didn't hold focus and the 3rd wouldn't focus at Infinity, I had my money back and bought a different brand :D

    I have 5 or 6 Tamron's - they are all superb.

    Can't comment about Topcon

    Ian
     
  4. JPD

    JPD Member

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    "Top con" sounds suspicious... :wink:
     
  5. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    I've been using a Sigma 28-70 f2.8 commercially for several years and I have to say I'm very pleased with it. Sharp, good colour rendition etc. I use it with both film and digi and I've never had a problem. My son's a photojournalist and he also used the same lens (he's Canon, I'm Nikon) successfully and regularly without issue.

    Bob H
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    But - have used second brand for most of my photography. Those you mentioned sans Topcon. Quantaray deserves mention as well.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    They were supposedly quite good. Topcon made a high end SLR system that was designed to compete with the Nikon F.

    However towards the end the name was used on other manufacturers products and nowadays Topcon lenses may bear no resemblance to the original in terms of quality.

    Ian
     
  8. Lightproof

    Lightproof Member

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    I have a manual focus Tamron 28-200mm with a Nikon adaptor, but I dont like it that much. It is my only zoom lens, so I cannot do a fair comparsion. The results have always been a bit too low in terms of contrast. It was my "all in one" solution for freeclimbing - it is not that heavy.
     
  9. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I have used a number of Sigma or Tamron lenses on Nikon over the years. Here are my thoughts on the ones I used long enough to form definite opinions:

    Sigma 28mm f/1.8 (the old one with 58mm thread): I had this when I was in college and I loved it, it was fast and certainly sharp enough for the school newspaper work I was doing. Build quality was pretty good; they aren't that common these days.

    Sigma 24mm f/1.8 (current model): I bought this based on my experience with the older 28mm Sigma; fast but not particularly good until about f/4 (which sort of defeats the purpose). I didn't like the odd manual-autofocus switch (switch off, then pull the focus ring towards the body...).

    Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 (35mm *not* digital-only): I love this lens for the wide, wide, wide, angle of view. I am not sure how sharp it really is but 12mm was just amazing, I could shoot in almost any indoor situation. Sold to pay the bills...

    Tamron SP 70-210mm f/3.5: Another lens I used in college. I thought it was well built, it is fast and compact and has a good macro range (important to me); nobody ever complained about the quality of the sports photos I made with it (important to the school paper at Appstate).

    Some third-party lenses are great; if the lens serves your needs, who really cares who made it?
     
  10. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, NiceFor88;

    As Ian Grant said, the Tamron SP lenses back in the 1970's ran with the major manufacturer's lenses, and frequently beat them. The Adaptall-II system allowed great flexibility in moving from one body to another. I have about eight of their lenses, and four of their teleconverters, but I am still looking for a Tamron SP 200F 2x teleconverter.

    I have very limited experience with Sigma lenses. A Sigma 600 mm f 8.0 Mirror lens is on the way to me.
     
  11. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    The Tamron SP series and Tokina AT-X series were/are good lenses. In the Tamron line I own the 17mm, 90mm f2.5, 180mm 2.5, 300 mm 2.8 and 400mm 4 plus several of their zooms. Stick with the SP series and you will be pleased. Bill Barber
     
  12. EdColorado

    EdColorado Member

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    Another Tamron user here. I have a 80-210 f2.8 SP ED Adaptall 2 which is incredible. Best zoom I have (in comparison to various Canon FDs and a Nikkor). I also have a Tamron 500 SP f8 mirror which is actually pretty decent and in a side by side test with the Canon FD version, the Tamron blew the Canon away (so I sold the Canon). I also have a Tamron 35-70 in an auto focus Nikon mount. Its a great performer. I've never used but have been told that Tokina AT-X lenses can also be very nice.
     
  13. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I have an old Tamron BBAR 105mm lens and it is very sharp. My Tamron 28mm f2.5 is another excellent performer. My Sigma 24mm is sharp and contrasty but exhibits barrell distortion. Nothing that you would see in a landscape photograph but evident in architecuture. My sigma 80-210 is adequate at best and not a patch on any of my prime lenses.
     
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  15. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    The older 90mm SP Tamron macro lenses were legendary, in MTF tests they would frequently beat the major SLR makers own macros.
     
  16. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    The Tamron Adaptall-2 lenses are well known. There's a website at http://www.Adaptall-2.com which tells you all about them. I have 4-5 of these lenses and have found them somewhat overrated. YMMV. The greatness of the system is that they are good lenes, no doubt, even if they are not as good as the hype, but you can mount them on practically ANY camera. I have mounts for Canon FD, Konica AR, Pentax K, Yashica, M42, Minolta MD, Fujica, Mamiya, and Nikon. There is a Pentax KA mount, but they sell for insane prices on eBay.
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There's a Canon EOS mount and that sells for even more :D

    Ian
     
  18. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

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    I have that 90mm f2.5 Tamron SP Macro. It's quite simply the best lens I've ever owned. I've moved it from Nikon F, to Canon FD, to Olympus OM, and now back to Nikon in my digital days. Not only tack sharp, both for macro and general purpose uses, but beautiful bokeh as well. It outresolves both an 8 MP 4/3 and a 12 MP APS sensor wide open in the corners of those digital frames.
     
  19. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Thats not comparing like with like at all as the KA is a genuine Tamron mount the Canon fit just a 3rd party adapter with focus confirmation. The proper Tamron Adaptall EOS mount relays aperture settings etc to the camera and they are now extremely rare and difficult to find.

    I do use an M42/EOS adaptor to use my longer focal length Tamrons on an EOS body.

    Ian
     
  21. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    I've owned a Sigma 15/2.8 AF fisheye and 30/1.4 EX DG, both in Nikon mount. No problems with either, mechanically or optically. Both sold, the former because I hardly ever used it once the novelty wore off, the latter because I very rarely use my D70 now.

    I've also got a Tamron 19-35 f/3.5-4.5 zoom, Nikon AF mount. Lives almost permanently on my N90S. Again, no problems with this.

    I can't see a quality difference between any of these lenses and a modern Nikon lenses like the 18-70/3.5-4.5 DX zoom, of AF-D 50/1.8. They don't compare in solidity to any of my AI/AIS Nikkors or the 80-200/2.8 AF-D, but that's apples to oranges IMO.

    Ian
     
  22. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    Actually, some are really good. I'm a Minolta user, and a complete addict to Minolta glass, so sorry for the comparisons being made with Minolta. Generally, I feel that it's the best (Leica, aside). However, I still concede that I'd much rather the Sigma 12-24mm EX DG than any other wide angle lens from any other manufacturer.

    As for macro, I love my Minolta 100mm 2.8, but also, I concede the Tamron 90mm and 180mm perhaps have an edge on the Minolta 100mm (but not sure about the very rare Minolta 200mm macro). I live in Japan, and on Saturday evenings there's a photography show on, sponsored by Canon, and all the photographers on it are professionals who are either Canon users, or obviously aren't. Every time I see one of them use a macro lens, it is without fail, the 180mm Tamron macro (thought the programme doesn't like to say this).

    As for primes, I think the Pentax 50mm has an edge on the Minolta 50mm 1.4, but these two are perhaps better than the top Sigma equivalent, though, some will say the Sigma is better. Anyway, based on reviews at DPReview, they suggest not to bother with a 50mm Canon or Nikon.

    I can't say much more, as I haven't seen the reviews, haven't used much else. Three good places to check are PhotoDo, PhotoZone, and DPReview.
     
  23. JMC1969

    JMC1969 Subscriber

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    So where would Tokina rated amongst these brands?
     
  24. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Ranking brands is always iffy (even the most prestigious brands have some lenses which don't stand out for some reason or another).

    Even talking about particular lenses can be risky, especially for the cheaper models, because of sample variation.

    Let's say that the better Tokinas are probably better than the second rate model lenses produced by the "great" manufacturers.

    Compared to the top production of the big brands, the better universal lenses will usually fall short in one or more parameters (flare resistance, distortion, vignetting edge sharpness), with some notable exceptions among some macro and tele-macro lenses.

    That usually doesn't mean that they are in any way "bad", apart from specific situations (like using a very distorting lens for architecture).

    I have 17mm and 400mm (Vivitar-branded) Tokinas... Quite good lenses in their own right. They won't shine in a *direct* comparison with Leica or Zeiss equivalents, but for most uses they are quite adequate.
     
  25. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    Some of the independent lenses I've owned have been right up there with the proprietary branded lenses from Olympus, Canon and Nikon. The best I've owned (by far) was the Tamron Adaptall 2 90mm f2.5. The worst was a Prinzflex (a UK retail store 'own-brand') 300m f5.6 M42 job that was virtually impossible to focus as the split screen went black every time I put it on my Edixa...!

    Comparing independent manufacturers is probably easier as everything I've ever owned by Tamron has been 'good' to 'excellent'. I still have their 11-18mm and 90mm f2.8 for my Nikon D300.

    I've owned a few Sigmas. The APO 300mm/f2.8 was really good but I've owned a couple of short-range zooms (can recall exact models) which have jammed. One had 'crunchy innards' that sounded like grinding glass when trying to focus / zoom them and a 70-210mm (I think) that was just plain soft from end to end.

    I bought an old Tokina 28mm f2.8 from a friend some years ago and it was excellent. Sadly, I had it nicked out of my camera bag when at a football match in the early 80's.

    The advantages, I've found, in having proprietary lenses is that they have always seemed to be much more consistently well made and at least sharp in the middle. They also seem to hold their value better when you trade.

    One exception was a kit lens (28-85mm I think) that came with a Canon 300 film camera I had around 2003/4. This was built like a yoghurt pot and never appeared critically sharp at any focal length or aperture. This seems difficult to achieve in a modern lens but they managed it with aplomb.

    I have never had a bad Nikon or Olympus lens, though some are better (optically) than others.
     
  26. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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