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 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 first lens manufacturer to allow 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 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.
With the Sigma, the user is able to calibrate for the following focal lengths:
In comparison the Tamron allows for the following focal lengths:
The other advantage of the Tamron is the calibration interface, which is much cleaner and straight forward. Whereas the multiple focus distance ranges 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 among some of Sigma's own technicians) and is necessary to get the most of this lens (note this is not necessary with other Sigma dockable lenses). 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 focal lengths that can be calibrated and the simplicity of the 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 the standard for all others to follow. Their turnaround times are nothing short of miraculous, they always carry the right number of spares 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 distributor here in the UK, with Tamron being based in Europe and the servicing handled by a UK repair company. This leads to an apparent lack of continuity, as everything is not under the same roof and means spares are not so readily available, or so it appears from the feedback we have received.
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.
- About Calibration.
- Lens Optimisation - Where's the sweet spot of my lens
- Sigma 60-600mm Performance
- Canon And Interim Calibration