Budget 70-300mm: Nikkor, Sigma or Tamron?


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xray

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I'm planning to purchase a zoom/macro lens that I will use occasionally. My budget is around $200 - $350 (poor student mah). Using D80, so have 3 options:

Nikkor AF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G - $250
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro - $330
Tamron AF 70-300MM f/4-5.6 LD Macro - $220

prices from http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=151190

I've heard Nikkor is actually manufactured by Tamron. Is this true? If so, what are the differences between them? The Sigma is more expensive. More $$$ equals better? The online reviews for all three lens are rather positive, considering the low price.

Any recommendations on these three options? :dunno:
 

tkbonz

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Cause for the mentioned prices in the TS post, the sigma is too ex for that range. I would prefer tamron over sigma in terms of quality.
 

xray

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I don't mind spending a little more for slightly more quality. Are they all the same?
 

tkbonz

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I would think that the nikon lens is the best! Original lenses always better ;)
 

DeWei

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I owned sigma one. It is very nice lens, sharp and macro feature comes in handy always. Focusing is accurate but rather loud. Front element is rotating (not sure about the other two), so difficult to use circular polarizer. It has 3 ED elements, hence has low CA. Strongly recommended.
 

benjaminteo

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In fact, I am also wondering what is the difference between the brands and the prices. While researching, this is what I found out. Though it's alien language to me, as least they seemed all quite similar to me (except the parts in red). Guess it's really down to the weight, construction of the lenses and the quality of the glass used. Any experienced Nikonians to advice?

Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2
Lens Construction (Groups/Elements): 9/13
Angle of View: 34°21'-8°15'
Type of Zooming: Rotation
Diaphragm Blade Number: 9
Minimum Aperture: F/32
Minimum Focus Distance: 59in.(1.5m) in normal setting/ 37.4" (0.95m) in macro mode (f=180mm-300mm range)
Macro Magnification Ratio: 1:2 (at f=300mm MFD 0.95m)
Filter Diameter: ø62
Weight: 435g (15.3oz)
Diameter x Length: ø3.0 x 4.6in.
(ø76.6 x 116.5mm)
Accessory: Lens hood
Mount: Canon AF, Sony/Maxxum AF-D, Nikon AF-D, Pentax/Samsung AF

Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO
Lens Construction (Groups/Elements): 10/14
Angle of View: 34°-8.2°
Type of Zooming: Rotation
Diaphragm Blade Number: 9
Minimum Aperture: F/22
Minimum Focus Distance: 59in.(1.5m) in normal setting/ 37.4" (0.95m) in macro mode (f=180mm-300mm range)
Macro Magnification Ratio: 1:2 (at f=300mm MFD 0.95m)
Filter Diameter: ø58
Weight: 550g (19.4oz)
Diameter x Length: ø3.0 x 4.8in.
(ø76.6 x 116.5mm)
Accessory: Lens hood
Mount: SIGMA, CANON, NIKON (D), SONY/MINOLTA, PENTAX

Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6G
Lens Construction (Groups/Elements): 9/13
Angle of View: 34°-8.2°
Type of Zooming: Rotation
Diaphragm Blade Number: (Not Stated)
Minimum Aperture: F/22
Minimum Focus Distance: 59in.(1.5m) in normal setting/ 37.4" (0.95m) in macro mode (f=180mm-300mm range)
Macro Magnification Ratio: 1:3.9
Filter Diameter: ø62
Weight: 550g (19.4oz)
Diameter x Length: 74 x 116.5mm
Accessory: (Not Stated)
Mount: Nikon
 

SNAG

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Hi,

I've never used the Sigma/Tamron variants, but I had used the 70-300ED before, and I think personally it's a great lens.

Although it hunts slightly in low light conditions, it's a great lens if you have lots of light. Sweet spot is at f/8 and above, although it's not too shabby at wide open apertures.

I strongly suggest you get a good, used copy - I sold mine a few weeks back for approx $350 with a Hoya UV filter.

Well, actually the 70-300 G lens is OK, and gives approx the same quality as the ED version (the last I read), but I would strongly suggest that you go for the ED version - at least there's a metal mount.
 

tribal.snake

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just go for the nikkor. reasonable optics at reasonable price.
better yet, go get a used one, lagi cheaper.
 

tangoninazero

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Have an article with me from the Practical Photography review (July 2005 issue) where they compare 6 budget zoom lens and your stated three are reviewed. Heres a summary:

Tamron AF 70-300mm LD Macro:
-Rubber rideges on the zoom ring arent chunky enough to prevent finger from slipping off
-Metal mount that will help the lens last longer
-Macro focus limiter switch to save time on autofocusing
-Manual focuing is simple and nice
-Best results above 200mm and you should stay below f/8 or softness will start to affect your images
- cheapest lens
- Don't be amaze by results at 300mm
- Good Budget buy

Pros: Great price
Cons: Noisy autofocus, zoom grip too slippy

Rating: Handling: 4/5
Features: 4/5
Image quality: 3/5
Value: 4/5
Overall: 3/5

Nikon AF 70-300mm G
- No control other than zoom and focusing ring
- Writing on the lens is a dull white
- Mount is plastic
- Lens is functional but simple and not overstated
- Below 200mm the images are reasonably sharp with limited distortion
- Nearer to 300mm sharpness starts to decline dramatically
- Autofocus is good and doesnt make whining noises like some other lens
- Lack and design and handling style

Pros: Light weight, good results, large zoom ring
Cons: Nothing outstanding about the lens, lack of extra features

Rating: Handling: 3/5
Features: 3/5
Image quality: 4/5
Value: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Sigma 70-300mm II APO Macro
- Constructed from SIGMA APO lens (special low dispersion)
- Slightly pricey as compared to zoom lens from this category
- Sharpness is good and most notably at the long end of the zoom range
- Film user might still notice the some pincushion distortion
- Metal Mount
- Macro photography well catered for and can reproduce subjects at half life sized (1:2)
- Focus limiter switch to make autofocusing quicker
- When set to f/8 and above, the edges of the frames are not very sharp, however they are not soft enough to cause problems.

Pros: Offers 1:2 macro mode, good grip on zoom and focus ring
Cons: Noticable pincushion distortion, result slightly soft at the edge of frame

Rating: Handling: 4/5
Features: 5/5
Image quality: 4/5
Value: 5/5
Overall: 5/5


Their article help me made a sound decision and I bought the SIGMA which I am very happy with the results. 2 of my colleagues bought this lens as well and they are equally happy.

Hope the review help you. Have a good day
 

xray

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Thanks for all the suggestions guys! I think I'll go for the Sigma, or get a second hand 70-300ED like what Snag mentioned. :)
 

littlejt

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yep from what i researched in the area of 70-300mm lens you SHOULDN'T IGNORE the SIGMA...

it came out top in the group of that focal range. just like tangoninazero's short review.

played around with it at the zoo and loved it. i heard the sweet spot is f/8 and gives nice dof / bokeh. the macro thingy also makes it kinda versatile, having you able to switch easily to do some macro shots when going around. i bring it together with my d80kit lens (18-135) wonderful pair. prolly gona get another prime lens to compete my set althogh i have a 50mm f/1.4 MF nikon lens.

i suggest that you but the sigma 2nd hand. i bought a good conditioned 70-300mm SIGMA APO from a friendly fellow CSer

hope my post helps in your decision.

CHEERS!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
 

rodel

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Sep 22, 2006
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this is a very good thread for 70-300mm lens.
:thumbsup:
 

erictan8888

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i used the sigma 70-300mm before i finally sold it away...
its a great lens... highly recommended... very very good.... hee hee :)

btw, i sold it away not because it is no good... rather, needed some extra cash and have the 70-200mm to replace, so the range kind of overlap a little...
 

intregra2509

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Jan 28, 2007
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I'm planning to purchase a zoom/macro lens that I will use occasionally. My budget is around $200 - $350 (poor student mah). Using D80, so have 3 options:

Nikkor AF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G - $250
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro - $330
Tamron AF 70-300MM f/4-5.6 LD Macro - $220

prices from http://forums.clubsnap.org/showthread.php?t=151190

I've heard Nikkor is actually manufactured by Tamron. Is this true? If so, what are the differences between them? The Sigma is more expensive. More $$$ equals better? The online reviews for all three lens are rather positive, considering the low price.

Any recommendations on these three options? :dunno:




I still prefer Nikkor , no matter what nikkor is still better . i am selling my 70 - 300mm , very new . selling at good price . do consider .
 

littlejt

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in this range of lenses, nikkor didnt really put in much effort (IMHO) for the glass used in the making of this lens thats why the cheap price...

go for the SIGMA!
 

leyo04

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Jan 8, 2007
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I have both the lenses. I must say, the result of the nikkor is sharper compared to the sigma. But m not saying the sigma is not sharp.

If you can live without the macro, the nikkor is the one for you. It's light as well.

Also, I have this raynox dcr-250 converter that I use for my s3is. I fitted it in both lenses and the nikkor had the sharper images.

Still I'm keeping my sigma though. hehehe...
 

ExplorerZ

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Jan 9, 2006
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in this range of lenses, nikkor didnt really put in much effort (IMHO) for the glass used in the making of this lens thats why the cheap price...

go for the SIGMA!
are you sure? they got a 70-300 ED and also a 70-300 ED VR... both beat the the sigma but the price is :sweat:
 

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