Tamron 16-300 vs Sigma 18-300

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 SigmaImage 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
Original Video Review of the Tamron 16-300 Buy the Tamron 16-300 from B&HBuy the Sigma 18-300 from B&HBuy the Tamron 16-300 from AmazonBuy the Sigma 18-300 from Amazon

More Pre-Photokina Announcements - Nikon 20mm, Sony 28-135, Sigma 150-600, Tamron 15-30

As Photokina nears we are getting a pile of announcements- some shipping soon, some just developments. 

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED

Screenshot 2014-09-12 05.36.19

  • F Mount Lens/FX Format
  • Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
  • Aspherical and ED Elements
  • Nano Crystal Coating
  • Internal Focus, Silent Wave Motor
  • Soft Pouch, Lens Hood Included

The AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED from Nikon is a wide-angle lens that is compatible with both full frame FX and DX crop sensor cameras. The fast f/1.8 maximum aperture allows a shallow depth of field for selective focus use, as well as shooting in low-light situations.The lens provides a 94° angle of view (30mm, 70° equivalent on DX-format cameras), and has a minimum focus distance of 7.8", allowing you to get close to your subject while isolating it from the background.Aspherical and Extra-low Dispersion elements with Nano Crystal Coating reduce sagittal flare and chromatic aberration, producing sharp images throughout the frame. A Silent Wave Motor provides quick, near-silent autofocusing. A soft pouch and lens hood are included.Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G will be available September 25- Preorder from Amazon | B&H | Adorama 

Nikon SB-500 AF Speedlight

Screenshot 2014-09-12 08.40.26Featuring an LED video light and a compact design, the SB-500 AF Speedlight from Nikon provides users with a portable unit compatible with Nikon's i-TTL metering. The flash has a good power rating with a guide number of 79' at ISO 100, and offers coverage for a 24mm lens with full frame cameras. Also, the 100 lux LED light has three output levels- quarter, half or full power- which is beneficial for both video and close up still photography.Versatility is important in this unit with the ability to tilt upward 90° and rotate left and right 180° for excellent bounce and swivel capabilities. The flash will also function wirelessly as either a commander unit or a remote slave for full compatibility with cameras, other flash units, and wireless flash controllers in Nikon's Creative Lighting System. The SB-500 will also transmit LED and flash color information to the camera for setting an optimal white balance and runs on 2 AA batteries, which provide a recycle time of 3.5-30 seconds. Included with the camera are a soft case and stand.

  • Offers test firing, the ability to monitor pre-flashes, and an LED modeling flash function
  • Flash compensation is available through camera settings
  • Head tilts up 90° with click-stops at 0°, 60°, 75°, and 90°
  • Head rotates horizontally 180° to the left and right with click-stops at 0°, 30°, 60°, 75°, 90°, 120°, 150°, and 180°
  • Four wireless channels are available in Commander mode while only 1 is available in Remote mode
  • Two wireless groups, A and B, are available
  • Flash-ready indicator lights up when fully recycled or flashes slowly as a warning
  • Receives about 100 flashes from a pair of Alkaline batteries and about 140 from Ni-MH
  • A thermal cut-out function protects the flash
  • Firmware can be updated

Nikon SB-500 will be available September 25- Preorder from Amazon | B&H | Adorama 

Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lenses - Yes TWO! And I am not talking about one for Canon and one for Nikon

Sigma announced two new telephoto zooms offering 150-600mm f/5-6.3 with full-frame compatibility.  The share dust and weather proofing, SIgma's Optical Stabilizer (OS), Sigma's fast AF motors (HSM) and offer the excellent build quality that Sigma has used on many of their new lenses. both are also compatible with the Sigma USB Dock for lens adjustments and firmware updates. So why two different lenses that offer the same range? Two versions - Sports prioritizes optical performance and the Contemporary version prioritizes portability.  Screenshot 2014-09-12 08.45.58Designed to offer a higher level of optical precision and contains 24 elements in 16 groups, with two FLD and three SLD elements to control aberrations and distortions. It has a minimum aperture of f/22, minimum focusing distance of 8.5', and maximum magnification ratio of 1:5. The lens measures 4.8 x 11.4", and weighs 6.3 lb. Sigma is targeting photographers who place the utmost value on performance over weight, along with refined handling capabilities. The lens will be available in Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma SA mounts.Screenshot 2014-09-12 08.46.04This Contemporary version contains 20 elements in 14 groups, with one FLD element and three SLD elements. It has a minimum aperture of f/22, minimum focus distance of 9.2', and maximum magnification ratio of 1:5 and shaves some dimensions off the Sports version to measure 4.1 x 10.2". Sigma has not determined the final weight yet, but it is safe to say it will be lighter than the Sports version, thanks to it is smaller dimensions and fewer optical elements. It, too, will be available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, and Sony A mounts.

A new All-in-one (AIO) from Sigma 18-300

This APS-C-only, all-in-one zoom lens features a 27-450mm equivalent focal-length range and is targeted at photographers who want to travel as lightly as possible and don’t want to carry around multiple lenses. The lens’s design utilizes four FLD elements and one SLD element to help minimize chromatic aberration while maintaining consistent sharpness and clarity. Sigma has also incorporated a new Optical Stabilizer system, which should help with handheld shooting in difficult lighting, and a Hyper Sonic Motor for fast and quiet autofocus.  I wonder how it will compare to the Tamron 16-300 I reviewed earlier this year.  No word on pricing or release date.Screenshot 2014-09-12 08.46.11 

Tamron Announces Development of Full Frame 15-30mm f/2.8 VC

Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 VCpress release

September 12, 2014, Saitama, Japan. – Tamron Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Morio Ono), a leading manufacturer of precision optics, announces development of a new ultra-wideangle zoom lens for full-frame DSLR cameras with a fast F/2.8 aperture and VC (Vibration Compensation), the world’s first in its category. The price and launch date are to be determined. The lens will be showcased at the Tamron booth at Photokina 2014, September 16- 21, 2014 in Cologne, Germany (Photokina Booth Number:Hall 4.2 D10 – E19).Since 2012, Tamron has been expanding its lineup of interchangeable lenses for 35mm full-frame DSLR cameras. SP 24-70mm F/2.8 was the first in the series, being integrated with VC, followed by the 70-200mm F/2.8, 90mm F/2.8 Macro, and 150-600mm F/5-6.3. The array of those new lenses have been highly acclaimed among the photo enthusiasts and working pros around the globe. To address the needs for more towards the wider angular field, Tamron spearheaded the development of SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, a fast ultra-wideangle zoom lens with the image stabilization feature, setting itself apart from the rest of zooms in this category.

Interesting highlights here - image stabilization (VC), fast (f/2.8) and full frame- Those that need to shoot wide while on the move or for video work should stay tuned  - this could be a very interesting lens.

Tamron 16-300 Review with Samples and Video

Full video and image samples below.Summary: An impressive range with little image quality loss vs the kit lens from Canon (and Nikon) but increased chromatic aberration and limited maximum aperture across the range. Those valuing convenience above image quality may want to consider this lens. A nice bonus of great image stabilization (VS) and macro like capabilities make this a fun lens for travel and family snapshots. Just be warned that in low light you will need that VS at the longer focal lengths.

Tamron 16-300 Tested on a Canon 70D

Tamron 16-300 Pros:

  • Huge range- no one else offers 16mm to 300mm and does it better than many of the 18-200 lenses currently on the market.
  • Decent image quality
  • Good Vibration control
  • Macro capabilities - it is not a macro lens but does let you get close and coupled with the VC you can get good handheld shots
  • Focus sound is near silent similar to the STM lenses but. .

Tamron 16-300 Cons:

  • Focus was slower than STM lenses and more likely to get confused.
  • Increased chromatic aberration (purple/magenta fringe seen at the edge of high contrast areas) common in lenses like this and cheaper lens
  • Slow apertures  - meaning as you zoom you will find that you need lots of light or will have a very slow shutter speed to compare. At 100mm the 16-300 maximum aperture is f/5.6. The 70-300 IS USM offers f/4.5. at 200mm the Tamron has hit f/6.3 and the 70-300 provides f/5.
  • Zooming presents uneven friction (sticky spots as you rotate the lens) these seemed to decrease during testing but I worry long term about lens creep - the lens zooming as it hangs by your side.

Support my work and reviews - Buy the Tamron 16-300 from B&H $629.00Tamron 16-300 Image Samples (watch the video for more comparisons)See the tree on the hill? Rollover to see that at 300mm, Serious Zoom![himage]Tamron 16-300 at 16mmTamron 16-300 at 300mm[/himage]Way up on the hill is a small rock outcrop - rollover the image to see 300mm view- No cropping, no moving[himage]16mm with the Tamron 16mm-300mm300mm with the Tamron 16mm-300mm[/himage]Rollover to see the difference between 18mm(Canon 18mm with the 18-135 STM) and 16mm(Tamron 16-300)[himage]Canon 18-135 STM at 18mmTamron 16-300 at 16mm[/himage] Screenshot 2014-06-17 17.54.21Screenshot 2014-06-17 17.53.44 5349_300 mm1-200 sec at f - 6.3ISO 12505352_300 mm1-200 sec at f - 6.3ISO 25005366_300 mm1-250 sec at f - 6.3ISO 8005450_300 mm1-800 sec at f - 6.3ISO 3205491_57 mm1-1250 sec at f - 5.0ISO 3205500_50 mm1-200 sec at f - 5.0ISO 6405483_200 mm1-200 sec at f - 6.3ISO 320A portrait at 300mm f/7.1 Support my work and reviews - Buy the Tamron 16-300 from B&H $629.00