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Old Oct 5, 2009, 11:18 AM   #1
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Default Sony 70-210 f2.8 vs Tamron 70-210 f2.8

I am in the market for a 70-210 f 2.8 lens for my Alpha 700. The Sony lens is around $1,800 while the Tamron is around $700. How do the two compare as far as picture quality is concerned. I understand that to get the better picture, you need the better glass. Which is the better glass?

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Old Oct 5, 2009, 11:37 AM   #2
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What are you planning to shoot for the most part?

The Sony or Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses appear to have faster and more reliable Autofocus compared to the Tamron. The build quality is going to be better on the Sony, followed by the Sigma, and then the Tamron

Some tests I've seen indicate the Tamron may be slightly sharper at some focal lengths at wider apertures. But, I'd consider other factors like AF speed and reliability, too.
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 11:43 AM   #3
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IOW, for sports shooting, I'd lean towards the Sony or Sigma lenses, since these are going to focus faster with less hunting from comments I've seen from Sony users. I didn't see you mention the Sigma, but the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM is available for around $800 now.

If money is not a big concern, I'd get the Sony.
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 11:57 AM   #4
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P.S.

You'll find some user reviews from Sony dSLR owners here:

Tamron:
http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=381

Sigma:
http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=452

Sony:
http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=315
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 12:03 PM   #5
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P.S.

One other lens you may want to look at is the older Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8G HS APO. You can usually find these on the used market if you shop around. It doesn't have Supersonic Motor Focusing like the Sony and Sigma lenses, but from some user accounts, it's a faster focusing lens (despite having a screw drive AF system like the Tamron you're looking at):

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/....asp?IDLens=59

On the downside, it's not compatible with Sony or Minolta TCs due to optical element clearance issues.
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 1:44 PM   #6
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Hi Jim. Thanks for all the info. I shoot a lot of scout stuff, soccer, and other events. I have been leaning towards the Sony but a friend talks about the Sigma and recently bought the Tamron. He likes the Tamron. Naturally money is an issue, but I don't want to be unhappy with the lens every time I miss the shot because the lens can't focus fast enough or because the picture is a little soft.

I have concidered the Minolta 80-200 2.8 but they go for almost the same as a brand new Sony lens.

In the mean time, I am sitting here holding my breathe waiting for Sony to drop the price. I included that just in case someone from from Sony was watching.

Thanks
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 2:03 PM   #7
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Yes, it's not cheap. But, if budget permitted, I'd probably go for a used Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8 G over a new Sigma or Tamron (if I were buying from a reputable vendor of used gear that fairly grades them, has a short term warranty, etc.) . I'd consider the qualilty of G glass in other areas, too (color, contrast, bokeh, etc.), as well as build quality.

keh.com has some in stock now at various price levels starting in the $1200s, depending on condition and what the lens comes with (hood, caps, case).

$1299 (in EX+ condition, but no hood, caps or case)
http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/Produ...BCL=&GBC=&GCC=

$1499 (in LN- condition with hood and caps)
http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/Produ...BCL=&GBC=&GCC=

Here are a couple of them with hood, caps and case:
http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/Produ...BCL=&GBC=&GCC=
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 2:56 PM   #8
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So you would buy the used Minolta instead of the brand new Sony even though the price for the used, old Minolta is only a few hundred dollars less?
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 3:07 PM   #9
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If I could afford the newer Sony, I'd probably go that route. If not and I needed to save a few hundred bucks, I'd go with a used Minolta 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM (same design as the newer Sony) or Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8 HS lens.

After that, it would be a tougher choice. I'd probably lean towards the Sigma versus Tamron if I planned on doing a lot of sports shooting. For other low light uses (Weddings, Theater, Concerts, etc.), I might lean towards the Tamron.

On an even tighter budget, I might look at a used Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 (as you can find these for around $400 now).
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Old Oct 5, 2009, 3:52 PM   #10
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Another option, if the budget is really tight, is a Beercan. It's only one f-stop dimmer, and if you can make that up with a higher ISO and/or a slower shutter speed, you've saved a lot of money.
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