The longer title-
Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM Contemporary
Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO
These two APS-C lenses give you an equivalent range of 28mm to 480mm!! A huge range and this I am calling this
The battle of convenience. Two Super Zoom lenses face off!
I am generally not a fan of do-it-all lenses. Lenses that cover this much range make sacrifices in quality – sharpness, distortion, chromatic aberration but when I reviewed the newer Tamron 16-300 a few months ago I was pleasantly surprised by its performance – Yes it still has issues but held up quite well and I certainly do enjoy the convenience, especially when traveling or hiking, carrying just one lens that provides me with a huge range, decent macro capabilities and image stabilization for handheld video. And then Sigma released an 18-300 and I have been asked repeatedly to compare these two lenses.
Bottom line about these lenses in general-
These lenses are for someone who is happy with the quality of the kit lenses that camera with their camera but wants more zoom and doesn’t want to switch lenses.
These lenses are not for someone who is going to shoot in low light or wants the sharpest image quality. Personally I suggest you carry one of these do it all lenses and a small prime like the 24 or 35. This is a compromise to the carry-only-one-lens philosophy but gives you an excellent low light sharp lens option when you really need it and does it without adding much bulk and weight to your camera bag.
Now let’s get to answering the question which of these two lenses is better?
I will give you the answer up front and tell you that 9 out of 10 times I would pick the Tamron over the Sigma despite the Sigma being marginally sharper at some focal lengths. Why? The Tamron has faster focusing, full time manual focus and weather sealed as well as a nicer focusing indicator and starting just a little wider.
Lens Compare Point by Point
Build Quality & Features – They are of similar construction with this tough plastic, from a distance you might think the Sigma is metal construction but it is the same basic material as the Tamron. Both feel well made, have a telescoping zoom and internal focusing which is nice when using circular polarizers. Filter size of the Tamron is 67mm. Sigma uses 72mm filter size. Both include a lens hood. I will say that the AF/MF switch and IS(VC) switch on the Tamron is small and slippery. Sigma’s switches have just a little more height and are easier to operate BUT the Tamron offers full time manual focus, a really nice feature that lets you quickly dial in sharp focus and on a lens that covers this much range focusing can be slower and helping the camera get where you want or letting AF get close and you finish the job can make for a much less frustrating experience. The stabilization of the Tamron seems just a little better – I saw this in slower shutter speed handholding and while shooting video – just a little smoother.
Weight – Sigma weighs 1lb 5oz. Tamron weighs 1lb 4oz.
Focusing Speed – Both offer the ultrasonic focusing system – HSM for Sigma and PZD for the Tamron I was at Longwood Gardens and they have a train display setup which made for a great test of focusing speeds and capabilities and using the Canon 7D Mark II in one shot and AI Servo the Tamron was able to keep focus on trains moving directly at me. Shooting the same train with the Sigma and some of the shots were out of focus it was just a little slower focusing. Focusing during video was a little smoother from the Tamron too.
Macro Capabilities -They are identical, both can close focus to 15” with AF and roughly 6″ if manually focusing. Both provide the same level of magnification. Sigma offers a screw on filter designed to increase magnification 2x. Sells for $50 from Sigma
Image Quality – Sharpness – Sigma is sharper – only slightly but when viewing at 100% or more it is noticeable. However and it may be due to the sharpness chromatic aberration is much more present in the Sigma with lots of purple/magenta fringing.
Sample Sigma Images
Sigma 18-300 at 35mm f/5 (Rollover to see Tamron 16-300 same settings)
Two images taken from the same spot 18mm (Rollover to see 300mm)
Sigma 18-300 at 300mm f/6.3 (Rollover to see Tamron 16-300 same settings)
Original Video Review of the Tamron 16-300
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