Sigma 17-70 VS Tamron 17-50 VS Zeiss 16-80

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Sigma 17-70 VS Tamron 17-50 VS Zeiss 16-80

Postby sbl03 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:32 pm

I'm looking for an all-around zoom lens, and I've pretty much narrowed it down to these 3 lenses.

$470 Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS (Optical Stabilizer) HSM
$460 Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR DI-II LD Aspherical (IF)
$850 Sony 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Vario-Sonnar T* DT

Both the Sigma and Tamron have 5 stars in "Price to performance" according to, and the Zeiss has 4 stars. The Tamron has more sharpness than the Sigma, and generally better optical quality, but the zoom range is only 17-50, which is why I kind of prefer the Sigma over it (also that it's macro). The Zeiss on the other hand, is much more expensive, and it doesn't seem like the cost is justified.

Any thoughts?

Postby vdjong » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:38 pm

The tamron is faster on all the focal lengths, so it will be a choice between speed or reach. I think that I would choose speed over the reach, but off course the question is, are you going to shoot a lot inside? Sony is going to release a new lens 16-50 F2.8 so that could be a good contender (to make it even more difficult). What I've read is that it will be tack sharp.

Postby theorigamist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:50 pm

I recently purchased the Sigma 17-70 and used it heavily during a trip to Prague. You can see some sample photos in this thread. In my view, the extra reach (well into the territory of a portrait lens), optical stabilization, and the macro capabilities of the Sigma make it more truly "general purpose" than the Tamron, even if the Tamron is a bit faster.
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Postby Razvan » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:55 am

tamron all the way. the zeiss is not very sharp at 16mm (which is a very important focal,since you're buying a wide-telephoto zoom)

Postby sbl03 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:31 am


Postby janern » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:49 am

Another vote for the Tamron 17-50/2.8

As the owner of two constant f/2.8 zoom lenses myself, I can say that constant f/2.8 should not be underestimated - it's simply awesomeness-ness (a little DRTV reference there :P)
But f course it depends on your photography style
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Postby Razvan » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:57 am

maybe those samples are...wrong? I tested the Tamron & it has the sharpest corners of all the budget zooms I've tested!

Postby sbl03 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:41 pm

Well, after a strange series of events, I have both lenses in my possession. I took several test photos at 17mm and 50mm, f/2.8 and f/8.0, ISO 100 and 800.

Some observations - the Tamron is wider at 17mm, and there is higher contrast. (though the Tamron has a more expensive B+W UV filter on it than the Sigma with a Tiffen filter). Also, while the Tamron is over twice as fast with AF than the Sigma, the Sigma has a silent AF compared to the Tamron's relatively noisy motor.

I will take more appropriate test shots later tonight without the filters.

Here are some 100% crops at the very center.




Postby Jiko » Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:52 pm

Personally I'd go for the Sigma - I just like the extra flexibility. OS, macro (but there are better macro lenses), more reach. It's just more of an everyday lens suited for more situations.
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Postby sbl03 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:24 am

Ok, I lied. My previous shots were 25% crops.

Here are actual 100% crops:





Conclusion: They are both sharp enough. They both have equally significant chromatic abberations at the edges. At some points, the Sigma is sharper, and at others, the Tamron is sharper. Basically, the decision is down to (since they are both basically the same price):

Tamron for 2x faster AF, slightly better build quality, slightly lighter and smaller, constant f/2.8, slightly wider on the 17mm side
Sigma for silent AF, Optical Stabilization, closer minimum focus by 5cm (0.22m vs 0.27m), 20mm greater range, slightly better color reproduction

My personal preference will be the Sigma :D .

Re: Sigma 17-70 VS Tamron 17-50 VS Zeiss 16-80

Postby Gerry22 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:52 am

Well, I may just wait until PMA to see what comes out also. Hopefully a nice lens in the $500 range. After doing a bit more reading, now I think I am going to scrap the idea of getting the Tamron, so it will be between the Sigma 17-70 and CZ 16-80

don't hold your breath for the lenses sony will release at PMA 2009. I don't really want a 18-55/3.5=4.5
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