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Thread: 3rd party lenses

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    Member Hayaku's Avatar
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    3rd party lenses

    Been wondering on this but are there any disadvantages to using Tokina/Sigma/Tamron/etc lenses compared to Canon/Nikon lenses on Canon/Nikon bodies?

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    For me it is simple, 3rd party are not going to be as good but a LOT cheaper. It is up to you to decide if one is enough to out weight the other.

    Cheers
    Danny

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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    Don't think you can really generalise. Some brands are good fairly consistently, and some are reliably poor. Camera manufacturer's lenses are usually good, as are some of the other makers' but every lens is different. Best to assess them on a case by case basis.

    The best known alternative makers (Tokina, Tamron and Sigma) make some excellent lenses that are usually a fair bit cheaper than the equivalent Nikon or Canon, though I wonder if their quality control is as good. That is, there might be more variation between different instances of the same lens.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danny View Post
    For me it is simple, 3rd party are not going to be as good but a LOT cheaper. It is up to you to decide if one is enough to out weight the other.

    Cheers
    Danny
    I completely disagree. My Sigma 24-70 f2.8 is the sharpest lens I own. I rarely have to sharpen photos taken with it. To say they are not as good is false. The Tamron 90mm macro was THE macro lens for years. It won heaps of awards above all the macro lenses from the brand names. Eventually Nikon and Canon brought out better ones, but to say third party is not as good is not correct.
    Last edited by ricktas; 01-05-2013 at 9:50pm.
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    Hayaku's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies so far but I have an additional question. Anyone know why they usually come out cheaper than the equivalents on Nikon and Canon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by danny View Post
    For me it is simple, 3rd party are not going to be as good but a LOT cheaper. It is up to you to decide if one is enough to out weight the other.

    Cheers
    Danny
    No way! There are LOTS of 3rd party lenses that are way better than Nikon/Canon's offerings. Do your research and you will see the light
    Cheers,
    Ian

    All the 7's: D700, D7000, D70

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayaku View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far but I have an additional question. Anyone know why they usually come out cheaper than the equivalents on Nikon and Canon?
    Cause Nikon Canon etc pay for all the research and development. Then the others probably just get one of their lenses, pull it to bits, and fairly much copy it. No different to people buying a beamer as opposed to a holden. Why do people buy kellogs cornflakes when the Coles brand ones come out of the same factory, and are just packaged differently at 1/2 the price?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Epoc View Post
    No way! There are LOTS of 3rd party lenses that are way better than Nikon/Canon's offerings. Do your research and you will see the light
    Which ones are you referring to? The ones listed by the OP are generally cheaper than the equivalent CaNikon offerings so they seem to compete on price rather than quality alone.
    Last edited by jjphoto; 01-05-2013 at 10:02pm.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayaku View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far but I have an additional question. Anyone know why they usually come out cheaper than the equivalents on Nikon and Canon?
    Could be lower costs of research/development, but I'd say it's simply because of the larger customer base they market too.

    the third party manufacturers sell their lenses to (usually) all brands of popular)camera mount types, so that Sigma's 24-70/2.8 sells not only to Sigma, but also to Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus(??) ... etc.

    So they will obviously spread one of their greatest costs(the development costs) across a larger market, whereas the genuine manufacturer only (usually) markets to their own customer base.

    That is, you can't get a Nikon 24-70/2.8 that is a direct fit for a Canon/Pentax/etc.

    Even the manufacturing costs will still end up being cheaper(as long as they sell in large volumes). In simple terms, it's not difficult to change the mount of a lens to suit a different manufacturer mount type. There are issues of course, but I'm sure these are factored in during the design stage.


    Also other aspects of thrid party manufacturer's lines of product come in the form of uniqeuness .. where no genuine manufacturer item exists.

    a few examples of this are Sigma 100-300/4, 120-300/2.8 and the newly announced 18-35/1.8.
    Tamron have also made some interesting lenses, the major one being the 28-105/2.8!
    This focal length range usually comes as a kit type lens, or an f/4 type .. but f/2.8 for such a long zoom range is unheard of. It wasn't a particularly great lens tho.
    Tammy also have the 24-70/2.8 with image stabilization(the only one of it's type).

    I don't see having third party lenses as a disadvantage in most circumstances, and in many ways can actually offer advantages.

    If you are unsure about any particular lens from a specific manufacturer, asking the question will usually lead to much advice offered.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    I'm a Sigma boy, I'll admit it.

    My Sigma 50 1.4 is nearly as sharp as my Vitrinox chef's knife!
    Greg Bartle,
    I have a Pentax and I'm not afraid to use it.
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    Sigma 10-20 | Tamron 17-50 F:2.8 | Sigma 50 F:1.4 | Sigma 70-200 F:2.8 Plus a bunch of Ye Olde lenses


    Would you like to see more?
    http://flickr.com/photosbygreg

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    Chalk my previous comment up to inexperience and gross generalisation... this is me eating humble pie.

    By the way I own 3rd party and am very happy with it

    Cheers
    Danny

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    LOL!

    I don't think there is any need to apologise. If you believe something, then this is your right to do so .. as long as you're sincere about it.

    But it also must be remembered that not all third party lenses are going to be cheap, nor inferior(as is usually expected).

    Must be remembered that third party lenses also includes the likes of Zeiss too! Whilst this is not a common brand that many folks instinctively think of an an option, they're usually 2x the price of equivalent lenses from the genuine manufacturer! .. and yet they're still third party lenses.

    What this point highlights is the importance of assessing the merits of each individual item rather than broad generalisations of third party manufacturers as a whole.

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    Ausphotography Addict Lplates's Avatar
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    I go for 3rd party lenses for price - after researching and checking the quality is there also. I own Nikon, Tamron, Tokina and Sigma lenses. At present my 3 favourites are my Tamron 24-70 2.8, the Tokina 11-16 2.8 and the Sigma 150-500. The difference in price between the fast 3rd party lenses and their Nikon equivalent is usually substantial.
    Glenda


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    I have and use a couple of Sigma lens with my Nikons ...
    As far as I can tell they are good quality, and limited only by my ability.

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danny View Post
    For me it is simple, 3rd party are not going to be as good but a LOT cheaper. It is up to you to decide if one is enough to out weight the other.

    Cheers
    Danny
    And incorrect in almost any interpretation! If you are going to make such a blanket statement, include a warmth factor. That, at least, may be of some use.
    m.
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    Member jeffde's Avatar
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    I bought a Tamron 70-200 2.8 a few years ago - and it was awful - took it back and bought the Canon - maybe it was a lemon so to tar all Tamron's with the same brush is unfair - i had a 10-20 sigma for a few years but just upgraded to the canon 10-22 (both 2nd hand) and the Canon is much sharper - if you can afford it - buy the brand lens i think IMHO...
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffde View Post
    - buy the brand lens i think IMHO...
    So what to do if you have a Sigma camera.

  18. #18
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I'd be totally confused if I was new and just read this thread. I think you have to look at each lens on its merits. Generally, the camera brand (ie Canon or Nikon) lenses will be of high quality. The third party lenses are not always high quality. I have a Sigma 180mm macro and it is superb, but it is not weather sealed and it is not as fast focusing as the Canon version. On the other hand it is a lot cheaper, it is reasonably weather sealed and I don't need fast focusing for macro. My advice is do your research for each particular lens and make your decision from there. There are plenty of good reviews on the net. Use Google.

  19. #19
    Ausphotography Regular swifty's Avatar
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    Agree with Steve there that each lens needs to be judged on its own merits these days.
    Gone are the days when you can assume original manufacturer's products are superior all of the time although one can probably still make the case that its more often than not.

    But as an example, the latest Art series Sigma 35mm f1.4 seem like the new gold standard for 35mm FF (FX) lens. Sigma's 85mm f1.4 and 50mm f1.4 are also both highly regarded.

    There are certain (non)issues that you should be aware of though. Third party manufacturers generally reverse engineer the technology eg. AF protocol and electronic info for each mount hence there are potential incompatibility issues. In practice, I wouldn't worry about it unless you're a leading edge technology adopter and like purchasing the latest and greatest just-released products. In which case you can do a little beta testing for all of us :P

    A little OT since you're asking about Nikon/Canon generally but this could be useful info. Sony's E-mount is now an open standard I believe, hence eliminating this technological barrier for third party manufacturers.
    The 4/3 and m4/3 mounts are part of a consortium that any manufacturer can join (for a price) and have access to all the mount standards.
    The openness of the mount standard should in theory contribute to the amount of support for it from third parties and in turn create competition, better range, quality etc. In practice though, the dominant third party support are for Canon and Nikon even though they are proprietary standards due to the sheer bulk these two manufacturers hold in market share.

    Back on topic, as has been pointed out third party lens are generally cheaper. Whether rightly or wrongly, there's a perception that third party lenses are inferior, whether it be from a quality-control, build or performance stand point.
    This makes third party lenses often far better value than their Canikon counterparts.

    There's also a tendency in third parties' willingness to design and manufacture lens outside of what's provided by the original manufacturers so you'll often find a larger selection to choose from as well as lenses Canikon simply don't make. Of course there are lenses Canikon make that Sigma/Tamron/Tokina don't make either.
    Nikon FX

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