Sony 70-400G/G2 vs Tamron 150-600

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Douglas F Watt
Regular MemberPosts: 205Gear list
Re: Sony 70-400G/G2 vs Tamron 150-600
In reply to GEGJr, 1 week ago

GEGJr wrote:

wt66 wrote:

GEGJr wrote:

Hi WT66,

I know this is an old post and I hope you're still tracking it. I've read through all the responses you received and didn't see anyone give you any really good answers backed up by actual real life actual use comparisons. Did you ever come to a decision?

I am in the same boat as you. I like to shoot small birds and larger BIF. I very rarely have occasion to shoot small birds at great distances. Currently I don't have a good 70-200 f/2.8 lens since I sold the Tamron 70-200 (cheaper one) because I was going to buy the newer Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 but never did. I do have an old Tokina f/4 100-300mm IF that I use with a Kenko 2x TC and have gotten pretty good results using it in good light especially on a tripod or mono-pod. I also have an old Tamron 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 IF that gets excellent results at f/5.6-f/8. So I've been mostly using it.

So like one of your responders, I really feel a need for a good 70-200mm but since the Sony reaches to 400mm I see no sense in buying a f/2.8 70-200 since I can get a really good 70-400 f/4-5.6 that will keep me from having to carry around an extra lens. Besides, I rarely if at all shoot at f/2.8 or even f/4 because as you know, and as I have seen in many reviews, even the best of lenses don't get truly good results until at f/5.6 and above. My overall strategy is to get by carrying as little equipment as possible for most situations and I really feel the Sony 70-400mm will fit that bill but I do wish it was f/4 throughout its range.

I wonder too how good the Sony is at 90mm? I assume at 90mm the lens is still capable of f/4? I assume it doesn't switch to f/5.6 until 200mm and above?

Anyway, if you're still monitoring the post I'd like to hear about what you decided and how it has worked out for you.

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A99, A700, KM7D and plethora of film cameras.
'It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.

Hi, I haven't been in this post for a long time!

I Had the 70-400 but ended up selling it and getting a 300mm 2.8 Minolta HS G lens. It is much MUCH sharper than the G2 and has faster AF too. The photos I took to compare the lenses show the Minolta being sharper wide open and MUCH sharper than the Sony when stopped down to f4.5. With both the 1.4 and 2.0 TC, it is still sharper wide open than the Sony after micro adjust.

I recently bought the Tamron 150-600 for my GF who shoots with an A99. Its -40 outside now and I haven't got much of a chance to shoot with it.

One thing I can say positive about the Sony was that I owned it for a year, and sold it for basically no loss. They certainly keep their value!


Thanks for responding. I need something more versatile than a prime lens. I would expect a prime lens to be sharper, so no surprise there.

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A700, KM7D, Maxxum 9, HtSi Plus
'It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.

This is the exact same issue I've been debating and researching myself. I've spent a lot of hours on this, and my conclusion is that Tamron (and Sigma too) are rewriting the traditional assumption of telephoto zooms from third parties as a sharpness versus cost trade-off. If the Sony were really that much sharper, I'd be inclined to spring for brand-name lens and swallow the extra cost. However, the Tamron 150-600 is clearly better value. With both lenses at 400 wide-open, there's really nothing separating them. The Tamron does get a bit softer if you go much past 500, but that's still a little bit of valuable extra reach, but in order to get it reasonably sharp at 600 you've got to stop down to about F8. Here's the two best head-to-head comparisons:

DxO comparison chart:

Also, DxO testing pretty much shows the same performance – at 400 mm, with both lenses wide-open, there's nothing to separate these two lenses other than the painful thousand dollar price difference, (and perhaps some cache value!) and the Tamron gives you an extra 50% reach, so for me, it's looking like a no-brainer.

Plus I've had a very positive experience with the new Tamron 70-200 2.8 (not to be confused with the older screw drive macro lens from several years back), with their newer 70-200 so similar in so many ways to the Sony 70-200 2.8 G2 lens that makes me very suspicious that Tamron made that lens for Sony with some modifications.  I got the Tamron 70-200 2.8 brand-new on Amazon for 1000 bucks – $2000 cheaper than the Sony lens, and I really think it's just as good.  It's a hefty and very professional grade lens, and I'm extremely pleased with it, particularly for candid portraits from a distance, and for videography.  Just need someone to tote it around.

I'm going to order the Tamron 150-600 to shoot wildlife in Florida over the holidays. Happy to get back with you at that point. And, to boot, the Tamron just won first-place as lens of the year from the camera store guys.

Happy shooting

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 Douglas F Watt's gear list:Douglas F Watt's gear list
Sony RX1 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Sony a77 II Sony 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G SSM Sony 100mm F2.8 Macro +4 more
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