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Logo10heli Dec 14, 2012 2:26 PM

Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 or Tamron ?
I'm currently shooting wildlife with a D90, Sigma 50-500 OS and saving my money for a faster lens. I'm considering the Sigma or Tamron 70-200 2.8 over the Nikon model due to the price difference. It seems the Tamron can be purchased new for $1499 (about the price of a used Nikon), and a new Sigma for $1249.

I would also be interested in using a teleconverter since the new lens would leave me well short of the 500mm that I'm used to. Could I use a 1.4 or 2.0 converter and still retain AF ?

For all the money spent, would IQ be the same or perhaps less than the Bigma ? As an enthusiast, perhaps I couldn't tell the difference in IQ between the Nikon and the other two.

Thoughts and comments would be appreciated.

JohnG Dec 14, 2012 2:37 PM

What type of wildlife shooting are you planning on doing with a 200mm lens? Have you considered flash/better beamer rather than faster lens?

Logo10heli Dec 14, 2012 9:20 PM

Good point, JohnG. I was hoping that even with a 2x the IQ would be good enough for cropping. Otherwise I'm still short of 500mm.

JohnG Dec 15, 2012 7:50 AM

with a 2x TC, the lens will be f5.6. So, what exactly have you gained over your current lens?

Logo10heli Dec 16, 2012 11:35 AM

I apologize for getting ahead of myself. Perhaps we could back up for a moment. I think my original question was if an enthusiast, who doesn't print large sizes, could tell the difference in IQ between an aftermarket 70-200 2.8 OS and the Nikon version.

If not, I'd also be interested in opinions on which is preferred... Sigma or Tamron.

TCav Dec 16, 2012 1:59 PM

At 200mm, the Nikon is sharper than the Sigma, but in most other circumstances they're about equal. (Nobody has done any objective testing on the stabilized Tamron yet.)

Your D90 might not show the difference, but your next camera might. But for almost double the price, I'd have to think long and hard about getting the Nikon.

You might want to consider renting them before you make your decision. LensRentals has both of them.

zig-123 Dec 16, 2012 6:30 PM


I have used both a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 (older version)as well as the NIKKOR 70-200mm f2.8 VR lens on both the D90 & now the D7000 which replaced it.

Both of these two lenses are great overall. But, there are differences. My experience has been that the Nikon is a sharper lens when shooting wide open.
I would say that that is true for pretty much the entire focal range.

BUT, when you stop down to f4, things change a bit and the Sigma is really pretty tack sharp. I would say it is on par with the NIKKOR.

Overall, I prefer the NIKKOR 70-200mm 2.8 VR because I'm shooting birds early in the morning and tend to shoot wide open.

While it has been mentioned that you're not gaining much, if anything, over the
Sigma 50-500mm f5.6 I would argue that even with the TC-20E teleconverter, the NIKKOR lens would be sharper.

As for the Tamron lens, I don't have any personal experience with it so can't comment.

One other point regarding focal length. I don't know what type of wildlife you are interested in shooting, but I use the 70-200mm for shooting songbirds as well as shorebirds.
I'm not sure if this is possible for your application, but I spend a great deal of time getting as close to the subject as I can.

When I shoot songbirds, I'm usually within 10ft of the subject. For shore birds, I try for 8-20ft depending on the species.
I forgot to add that the major reason for getting as close as is possible to your subject is to fill the frame as much as you can, thus minimizing cropping. That, and the detail improves immensely.
Each time I go down to the birding hotspots in Florida, I see a significant amount of photographers carrying around 600mm f4 lenses. While I've always wanted to get one, the spousal acceptance factor
makes that impossible. Instead, I concentrate on how much closer I can get to the subject. Not only is it rewarding, but it also costs a heck of a lot less.

You can take a look (if interested) at some of the bird photos @


DigMe Dec 17, 2012 9:24 AM

Going back to the original question if I had to choose between the Sigma and the Tamron today it would be the Sigma just based simply on an established good reputation for that lens. I do think the Tamron is shaping up to be a solid lens though. One other thing going for the Tamron is that they have some of the best warranty and repair service in the business.

I have the Nikon 70-200 VRII. It's the best-of-the-best IMO but I hope I never have to go to the Nikon abyss for warranty repair!


Logo10heli Dec 17, 2012 6:05 PM

Thanks for all the replies.

Zig - Nice photos. Very inspiring.

It sounds like the Sigma would be the best bang for the buck, but since I plan to upgrade to either a D7000 or D400, the better glass would be a wiser investment.

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