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Sigma 150mm-600mm vs Tamron 150-600mm G2

One of the most popular questions we get asked by aspiring wildlife / bird photographers wanting to purchase a longer zoom is which of the two bidding zooms is the best and why? Ultimately the most popular is the Sigma, it is certainly the most popular lens we see here at Cameracal, we calibrate as many as 4-5 per week but does it make it the better choice - yes and no !!

In comparison, we see fewer Tamron’s but this is changing.

Sigma where the fist lens manufacturer to allow for users to “tweak” or calibrate to multiple focal lengths using their proprietary sigma dock, in comparison Tamron only allowed for this with their G2 series, therefore Sigma stole a considerable march in terms of popularity as this lens has been out longer and thus has gained a cult following amongst wildlife and aviation photographers.

Which is the easiest / most versatile in terms of calibration?

This is ultimately where the Tamron wins hands down as the calibration process is both easier and allows for a greater number of focal ranges within the range of 150-600mm in terms of calibration, so much so that this lens is often referred to as the holy grail of calibration.

Comparison

With the Sigma, the user is able to calibrate for the following focal lengths:
150mm
250mm
400mm
600mm

In comparison the Tamron allows for the following focal lengths:
150mm
200mm
300mm
400mm
500mm
600mm

The other advantage of the Tamron is the calibration interface, much cleaner and straight forward. Whereas the multiple focus distance ranges as offered by the Sigma leaves many a user bewildered if not totally confused.


There is also the need to “covert” the calibration figures when entering these into the Sigma dock, this is a phenomenon which is not widely known ( even by Sigma) and is necessary to get the most of this lens (note this is not necessary with other Sigma dockable lenses). Note this is only necessary when using Reikan’s Focal software to determine the + / - correction value. In comparison this “conversion” of values is not necessary with Tamron.

So far then it seems that the Tamron is better option, both in the number of focalLengths that can be calibrated and the simplicity info interface and ease of use so why does it not win hands down. Two reasons…

Firstly the focus / image stabilisation configuration options.

Within the Sigma’s software interface the user has the ability to adjust focus speed and effectiveness of the optical stabiliser. With the focus options speed can be significantly improved and the stabiliser made to be less off putting in terms of “swimming” in the viewfinder but more effective in the lens. Even thought the Tamron has similar features they are not as effective and unlike the Sigma cannot be programmed to a C1 and C2 lens setting on the lens.

Secondly, servicing, this is a BIG plus for the Sigma and unfortunately a minus for the Tamron

Anyone who has had reason to use Sigma’s UK service department will know what I am talking about. SIGMA have what is probably the best service department in the photographic business and set a precedence for all others to follow. Their turnaround times are nothing short of miraculous, always carry the right number of spaces and are very keenly priced, they are also there to help their customers, a refreshing change.

In comparison Tamron are not as efficient, this is mainly due to a change in distributer here in the UK with Tamron being based in Europe and the servicing handled by a UK repair company. This leads to a lack of continuity as everything is not under the same roof and means that spares are not so easily available and there is not the same expertise as with Sigma.

So which do you choose? This is ultimately down to you as both are very good lenses and once calibrated they return excellent results. The Tamron is generally a little more expensive to buy and both can be found on the used market. Its' fair to say that neither will disappoint.

Further Reading

  • About Calibration.
  • Lens Optimisation - Where's the sweet spot of my lens
  • Sigma 60-600mm Performance
  • Canon And Interim Calibration
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