which is the best 70-300mm for A57

Started May 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
NAwlins Contrarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,580
Re: which is the best 70-300mm for A57
5

I went through the same decision a few months ago, and opted for the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di USD (note that the Sony version is not "VC" and does not have image stabilization built into the lens, instead relying on the Sony bodies' Super Steady Shot).

Basically, analyzing all available information, my conclusions were:

(1) if cost is no object, the Sony 70-300 G is probably the best lens;

(2) but the Tamron SP 70-300mm Di USD, at effectively less than half (not a lot more than a third) the price is probably not too far behind in (a) optical quality, (b) focusing speed, and (c) build quality;

(3) the Sony 55-300mm is probably about the same optically as the Tamron SP, but focuses significantly slower, and is not full-frame (I aspire to a full-frame DSLR, and do still have a Minolta 35mm film body);

(4) the Sigma 70-300mm OS may or may not be overall about on this same level optically, but given the Sony in-body stabilization, the SSM / USM type focusing on the Tamron is more useful than the stabilization on the Sigma, and over time many Sigma lenses have ceased working on new bodies (due to reverse-engineering instead of licensing the mount); and

(5) the older, cheaper, 70/75-300's from Sony, Minolta, Sigma, and Tamron (even the original Minolta 75-300mm sometimes called the "big beercan", which differs optically from all of the several subsequent Minolta and Sony 75-300's) are all steps down in both optical performance and focusing speed, and in many cases build quality.

I have been happy with the lens. It focuses quickly and accurately on my A580. It is quite sharp at the wider end, and reasonably sharp at 300mm. Bokeh is quite good. Build quality is very good. Obviously I don't have the other lenses and can't make a direct comparison, but my "Beercan" (Minolta AF 70-210mm f/4) is going up for sale.

Note that one response appears to be talking about a different, older lens inferior to the Tamron about which I'm speaking: "Tamron 75-300 Macro for Xmas last year.... I am surprised how well this lens has worked for me. it is not very quick on the focusing." Both the 75 (instead of 70) and the slow-focusing suggest a different, older, inferior lens. The Tamron I'm talking about is distinguishable by starting at 70mm instead of 75mm, being an "SP" (Tamron's "Super Performance") model, and having the "USD" ultrasonic focus motor built into the lens.

 NAwlins Contrarian's gear list:NAwlins Contrarian's gear list
Nikon Coolpix S30 Canon PowerShot S110 Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD +5 more
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