Tamron 18-200 vs Sigma 18-125 & 18-200

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Bill Tuthill, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    One semi-frequently asked question is whether the Tamron or Sigma 18-200
    is better. Over the weekend I looked at back issues of Popular Photography
    and recorded SQF scores for these two lenses, and the Sigma 18-125 as well.
    Here are grades for 20x enlargements. Although the Tamron scores better
    at 50/16,22 and at 100/11, the Sigma 18-200 has better numerical grades
    throughout its range, especially wide open (where it counts).

    The 18-125 is the best of the three lenses, mostly on the strength of its
    excellent scores at 50mm wide open (if you can call f/4.5 wide), which
    performance probably extends to focal lengths near 50. Furthermore its
    numeric scores within a single grade are almost always higher than the
    other two lenses. Grades for 18-125, Sigma 18-200, Tamron 18-200:

    18mm 50mm 125 100mm 200mm
    3.5,4 B B C+
    4.5 B B C+ A B+ B+
    5.6 B B C+ A B B+ B B B x D D
    8 B B C+ A B B+ B B B x C C
    11 B B C+ B+ B+ B+ B B B+ x C C
    16 C+ C+ C+ B+ B B+ B B B x C C
    22 C+ C+ C+ C+ C+ B C+ C+ C+ x D D

    Personally I don't like to even use lenses that yield poor results
    at some focal length, so for me the 126-200 range is less than useless
    in both the Tamron 18-200 and Sigma 18-200. It's hard to know where
    between 100 and 200mm the performance trails off so much.

    I hope Pop Photo tests the Minolta 18-70 for comparison with the above.
    Seems like a test of the Canon 17-85 EFS IS is due shortly.

    (Apologies for not posting in r.p.d.slr-systems, still don't get it.)
     
    Bill Tuthill, Aug 29, 2005
    #1
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  2. Who gives a damn?

    This kind of stuff is all crap. Which is better: brown rear shit or
    black bear shit?
     
    uraniumcommittee, Aug 29, 2005
    #2
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  3. Agreed. Depending on Popular Photography for anything
    intelligent...uh...it just ain't there.
     
    Randall Ainsworth, Aug 30, 2005
    #3
  4. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    I post SQF scores here mostly so I can refer to them at a later date.
    Looks like small-circle normal-zoom lenses are, from best to worst:

    Sigma 18-50/2.8
    Sigma 18-125/3.5-5.6
    Nikon 18-70/3.5-4.5
    Nikon 18-55/3.5-5.6
    Canon 18-55/3.5-5.6
    Sigma 18-200/3.5-6.3
    Tamron 18-200/3.5-6.3

    Still untested hence not in the list, but probably in this order:

    Nikon 17-55/2.8
    Pentax 16-45/4
    Canon 17-85/4-5.6 IS
    Minolta 18-70/3.5-5.6
     
    Bill Tuthill, Aug 30, 2005
    #4
  5. Uh, if you don't give a damn, why get in the discussion?
     
    Bartshumandad, Aug 31, 2005
    #5
  6. Bill Tuthill

    bmoag Guest

    Take PopPhoto results with a grain of advertiser paid for salt.
    They gave a good review to the Nikon 55-200 lens which, after personal
    experience, I would consider possibly the worst lens ever issued by Nikon
    and virtually unusable. For one thing, you can time how long it takes on
    average to autofocus with your wristwatch. One look through this lens at a
    high contrast area or any point light source will tell you that this lens
    has fatal optical flaws.

    The Sigma and Tamron digital only 18-whatever lenses are not Leica single
    focal length lenses and if you obsess over those kinds of numbers you should
    not consider this type of lens. They are made for convenience, for example
    travelling. It is foolish to look for the kind of performance from these
    lenses that you would expect from shorter range zooms or single focal length
    lenses.

    These newer digital only lenses are much better than the 28-200/300 genre
    for 35mm cameras in terms of contrast, sharpness and distortion probably
    because they only have to cover the smaller digital sensor.

    Having used the Sigma I can tell you it performs excellently at the 55-200
    range for practical use, far better than the Nikon. I would agree with the
    PopPhoto review that the Sigma has distortion at the widest focal length,
    but it is not much worse than the Nikon kit lens and easily dealt with in
    Photoshop if it bothers you.
     
    bmoag, Aug 31, 2005
    #6
  7. Bill Tuthill

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Interesting personal experience! I *was* surprised by the high scores
    of the 55-200. Another problem: changing DSLR lenses is an open invitation
    to dust particles on the sensor. Welcome, come on in, make white specks!
    It remains interesting to see how much better two lenses are than one,
    optically. The Sigma 18-125 paired with Tamron 70-300 (both have the same
    size 62 filter thread) is far superior to an 18-200.
    Right, that's my theory. Despite the lack of interest in Pop Photo,
    one of their recent issues compared equivalent focal lengths of these
    new 18-200 lenses with the slightly older full-circle 28-300s.
    Yikes, that's not what the SQF said. (Back to uranium comments on SQF)
     
    Bill Tuthill, Sep 1, 2005
    #7
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