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AF Performance of third party lenses compared to Nikon

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by gugarci, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. I’m looking to add a couple of lenses to my arsenal. I currently have a D300, a D80 an 18-135 kit lens, a Nikon 16-85VR, Nikon 70-300VR, Tokina 12-24, Nikon 50mm 1.8 and a Nikon 85mm 1.8.

    I could really use some fast glass. I definitely will buy the Nikon 35mm. But I’m looking for advice on the Tamron 17-50 2.8, Tamron 28-75 2.8, Sigma 18-50 2.8, and the Tokina 16-50 2.8. The Nikon 17-55 is out of my price range but if it had VR I’d make would make the sacrifice. I like the Tamron 28-75 a lot because it will also work on a full frame DSLR. But I’d be lying if I said that new Tamron’s with the slow built-in AF motors didn’t worry me.
    My question is how do these lenses compare to each other and the Nikon in accurate AF performance. Lens will be used on a D300 as the D80 is getting ready to be sold with the kit lens. I’m talking about accurate AF performance in relation to AF issues such as back-focusing and front- focusing issues.
    I know there’s differences in IQ performance in the lenses and they’re also sample variations. But a lens that is on the soft side wide open can be sharpened up during the processing. I have already tried this with sample images taken from all these lenses wide open. Also I always sharpened my pictures during the processing specially if they’re shot with a lens wide open. But unfortunately there’s not a whole lot you can do to save out of focus shots.

    So am I likely to get more accurate AF performance from a Nikon 17-55 compared to these lenses??? And do any of these lenses work better compared to the other of the D300???
    Thanks again.
  2. I guess no one here knows wether or not Nikon lenses focus more accurately compared to third party lenses.:confused: 
  3. GKR1


    Apr 19, 2007
    San Diego
    I can vouch for the sigma 18-50mm 2.8 HSM - Get it.
    The new Tamron 2.8 with internal servo is slow, that is what I e read and heard. The screw drive one is Ok. However, I like the Sigma better.
  4. Johnny Yuma

    Johnny Yuma

    Jun 27, 2007
    SE MI
    Photozone has reviews of all of those lenses.


    I know how you feel. I am looking at either a Tamron 28-75 2.8 or the Sigma 24-70 2.8, as we speak.
  5. weiran


    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    The new Tamron is no slower than the HSM Sigma, both of which have an almost identical focusing system (the Sigma is not real HSM, just a standard motor). Both are plenty fast enough, I don't really see the problem with focusing speed at this focal length, if you've used a 18-70DX then the performance is comparable.

    The Tamron 17-50 without motor is infact incredibly fast, way faster than the Sigma or Nikon 18-70DX, if you can get your hands on a copy. Optically the Tamron 17-50 is the best out of the bunch of DX zooms (including the Nikon) so go with that if it suits your need.
  6. I've read all the rieviews on these lenses. I was just curious to see if from any of your user experience any of these third parties lenses focus as accurate as the Nikons. But then again I recall seeing a thread some place about front focusing issues with a Nikon 24-70 2.8.
  7. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    The only comparison I can offer is between the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 HSM and the Nikkor 80-200mm AFS on my D50. The Sigma was admitedly very fast (faster than any of the AF lenses I've used on it) however the Nikkor can be considerd VERY fast.

    I don't know whether or not this is true of all AFS v. HSM comparisons.
  8. I bought a Tamron 28-75 without the built-in motor in December. The focusing speed was decent. But it had inconsistent focusing issues. Sometimes it was on, sometimes it wasn't. I tested it very carefully on a tripod under controlled conditions. I've read other posts with this problem. I returned it as defective.

    I bought a Tamron 17-50/2.8 with the built-in motor earlier this year. I had ordered the one without it, but B&H had run out and substituted the BIM one as a free "upgrade." The focusing wasn't as fast as I would have liked -- it does this "eh-eh-eh" chimping after acquiring initial focus. Which equals slow focusing in my book. Worst yet, it was remarkly soft at 17mm. Chalked the softness to a defective sample and returned it as well.

    I was going to give a Tamron another try, but acquired a Nikon 17-55/2.8 for $809 new when the Microsoft Cashbacks were very good. Focuses much faster than the 17-50/2.8 with the built-in-motor, and is very accurate.

    Please keep in mind that I liked the 28-75/2.8 when it focused correctly the majority of the time. I thought it was just about as good, optically, as a Nikon 28-70/2.8 I had rented in December. "Just about" but not really quite. However, I liked the Tamron better than a Nikon 35-70/2.8 I tried. Better bokeh at more focal lengths, less CA.

    I think the Tamron lenses can be very good -- if you get a good sample. I fully realize that Nikon makes bad samples too. But for whatever reason I've had worst luck with Tamron, and I bet their lemon rate is higher. So buy it from a dealer with a good exchange policy!

    My friend has been playing "Tamron roulette" too. He just went through three bad Tamron 28-75 samples from B&H for his Pentax K10D. Each one had a problem in one or two focal length ranges. E.g. one very soft at f/2.8 at 75mm. B&H was good about it, though the third "new" lens they sent him was clearly one that had been previously returned.

    I'm not sure if he's going to try for #4 now or not. He's getting pretty frustrated by now and this is consuming more time than it should.
  9. This is exactly what I'm talking about, inconsistent AF. Don't really care too much about AF speed as long as it focuses accurately. Like I said, I can sharpen soft shots wide open. But you can't do much with out of focus shots.
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