The competition in superzoom lens for DSLR cameras are getting hotter and hotter. It is so popular for many people because its versatility. It is one lens for all kind of purpose. It is wide enough to cram in big group photos, and it is long enough to capture birds or outdoor sport games. It is generally compact and lightweight so it is also good for tourists or amateur travel photographers who love to travel light.
Because of the popularity of super zoom lenses, many manufacturer compete to provide the best lens in the market. Now, we have so many superzoom lenses from almost all manufacturers: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Sigma and Tamron.
Feng Niao (hummingbird), a Chinese photography site tested the Sigma, Tamron with Canon 18-200mm IS. The findings are not conclusive because each super zoom lenses have their strengths and weaknesses.
- Wide zoom (18mm): Tamron is the sharpest, followed by Sigma and Canon
- Standard zoom (35mm): Canon is the sharpest, followed by Sigma and Tamron
- Telephoto zoom (200mm and beyond): Canon is the sharpest followed by Sigma and Tamron. Keep in mind that Canon maxes out at 200mm while Sigma 250mm and Tamron 270mm
- Tamron controls vignetting better both in wide and telephoto angle.
- Wide zoom (18mm): Sigma is the best, Canon is the worst
- Standard zoom (35mm): Almost identical
- Telephoto zoom: Almost identical
Built Quality, Operation and Focus
Sigma has HSM (Hypersonic motor) which ensure quiet and faster auto focus. Canon AF performs pretty good, Tamron is struggling in low light. All of the lenses have image stabilization which is very good.
- Today, Tamron has the highest price, $630, followed by Canon $600 and Sigma $530.
It is hard to determine which is the best. You will love Sigma fast and quiet focusing and distortion control in the wide end, but this lens is not the sharpest lens out of the three.
Canon is generally a pretty good lens. It is very sharp at 35mm-50mm, but distortion in wide angle is very bad. It is also the shortest superzoom lens.
So which is the best? It depends on what focal length you use the most, if you use wide angle and super telephoto angle (more than 200mm) a lot, Tamron might be a good deal. If you use standard zoom a lot and rarely use focal length above 200mm, pick Canon. If you prefer fast and quiet AF operation, and you can live with average image quality, pick Sigma.
Below of is the sample comparison lens test.
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