Sony 55-300 Comparison

Started Sep 29, 2012 | Discussions
OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
IS was turned off

I realized after I took the photos that IS was turned off - so these were at 300mm with no IS. I agree the 55mm makes it more useful in some ways than the 100-300 which is making the decision a little tricky. The bulk of the Tamron is a concern for me and how I will use it. I am leaning to to Sony over the Minolta right now mainly due to the 55mm vs. 100mm... The Tamron comes tomorrow.

Jeff

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Sony A57, Sony 18-135, Tamron 60 f2, Sigma 50-150 f2.8, Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5 (Circa 1988), Minolta 100-300 APO D

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wallawallaron
wallawallaron Forum Member • Posts: 95
Re: More thoughts on the Sony 55-300mm

+ 1 to all that has been said.

As far as the speed of the 55-300 do you feel it will focus fast enough for air shows and Rodeos or will the Tamron 70-300 be better?

Thanks again for this great post.
WWR

BlueFightingCat Forum Member • Posts: 71
....what about compared to Tamron 18-270mm...

The Sony 55-300mm has caught my attention. However I have a Tamron 18-270mm PZD. Anybody have any idea how these two would compare to each other...focus speed and IQ...

BFC

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Sony a6000
aim120 Regular Member • Posts: 264
Re: ....what about compared to Tamron 18-270mm...

BlueFightingCat wrote:

The Sony 55-300mm has caught my attention. However I have a Tamron 18-270mm PZD. Anybody have any idea how these two would compare to each other...focus speed and IQ...

BFC

The Sony 55-200 SAM for eg is sharper then the 18-270 all the way from 50 to 200mm,its even sharper then then the Tamron 70-300 USD especially at longer end.

So i wouldn't be surprised if the Sony 50-300 being sharper then the Tamron 18-270.

OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
Re: ....what about compared to Tamron 18-270mm...

I do not own the 18-270, but have used it some in the past. I would say based on what I remember the 18-270 is quieter to focus and focus speed is comparable to the Tamron 18-270 (maybe slightly quicker on the Tamron), but I would have to test that to be sure.

What I can say about the 55-300 is the optics are very impressive. Impressive enough in my use so far to say in many instances makes up for the lack of focus speed. If I end up keeping the Sony 55-300 over the Tamron 70-300 or Minolta 100-300 APO D, it will be mainly because I like the build, balance on the A57 and the optical quality more.

Jeff

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Sony A57, Sony 18-135, Tamron 60 f2, Sigma 50-150 f2.8, Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5 (Circa 1988), Minolta 100-300 APO D

 jcurtistx's gear list:jcurtistx's gear list
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OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
Running towards me test...

Unsuccessful. I tried several times to get photos of the kids running towards me to no avail. I am able to get these types of shots with the Sigma 50-150 HSM lens, but not with the SAM motor in this lens.

I will try out how well the Tamron 70-300 USD does tomorrow.

Jeff

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Sony A57, Sony 18-135, Tamron 60 f2, Sigma 50-150 f2.8, Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5 (Circa 1988), Minolta 100-300 APO D

 jcurtistx's gear list:jcurtistx's gear list
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Setter Dog Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: Running towards me test...

Jeff,

I've been using my Sony 55-200mm lately, just to see how I adapt to a non stabilized lens. I've tried nothing special, just normal shooting, but have notice frequent focus hesitation, especially during early morning low light efforts. I got this lens for an extra $100 when I bought my a57. I like the color and sharpness of the lens. I do not have these focusing problems with my Sigma 18-250, however.

I have not fully adapted to the non stabilized lens "look" through the EVF, but am trying to keep an open mind since I appreciate the size and weight of the Sony 55-300mm. It's nice to have some choices.

Looking forward to your tests on the Tamron and continued comments on the Sony.

Jack

Dave Oddie Veteran Member • Posts: 4,126
Re: Sony 55-300 Comparison

jcurtistx wrote:

This lens does not have DMF like the Sony 18-135mm does.

Pity. I had hoped the advent of the 18-135 had seen the end of that particular omission in SAM lenses.

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OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
Frustratingly difficult decision

So I can say right now after using the Sony 55-300 since Monday I like it but do not love it. As long as I do not have to track focus on moving subects the photos are great. Movie mode is very good and the Sony 55-300 is quiet enough. But ugh when I have to track the kids running or moving quickly.

Since I photograph the kids more than I take movies of them, I think I am leaning away from the 55-300 reluctantly. The balance on the A57, size and build are great for this price. However, I cannot swing keeping more than 1 zoom in this range so it will likely be either the Minolta 100-300 APO D or Tamron 70-300 USD.

In my basic testing, to focus from close to infinity and back, the Minolta is 40% faster (1.5s vs. 2.4s) which is significant. That can be the difference between getting a shot and missing one.

It is with reluctance that I say that, but for me the focus speed is troubling. It makes action shots difficult not just for me but also my wife. If the combo of this lens and everyone that needs to use it does not make using it easy, it will not get used a lot which ends up being money not well spent.

The focus speed is looking to be a deal killer for me sadly.

I will use it more tonight and compare to the Tamron 70-300 but I am pretty confident the Tamron will focus faster and more accurately. Just do not like the size of the Tamron.

Could be I am being to picky about the focus speed, but it is not a plus I can say that much.

Jeff

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Sony A57, Sony 18-135, Tamron 60 f2, Sigma 50-150 f2.8, Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5 (Circa 1988), Minolta 100-300 APO D

 jcurtistx's gear list:jcurtistx's gear list
Panasonic ZS100 Sony a6000 Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN Art Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +1 more
Setter Dog Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: Frustratingly difficult decision

Jeff,

I certainly don't think you're being picky at all. For your purposes, focus speed is very important. The 55-300mm will work for many other users. Strong IQ and good video is important. All in all, the lens seems to be a good value.

It will be interesting to get your initial impressions of the Tamron. I tried one in a store on my a55 over a year ago and was stunned at the weight. I bought a Sigma 18-250mm instead and after a short time, decided it was too heavy also. I sold it. Less than one year later, I'm using my second 18-250mm and really enjoying it on my a57. Not sure if it's the larger camera or if I've "grown into it". What I'm hoping is that you will find the Tamron is what you're looking for.

I've enjoyed "going to school" with you on these lenses.

Jack

9000AF Contributing Member • Posts: 597
Re: Frustratingly difficult decision

Jeff, thanks a lot for sharing your experiences with the lenses. It looks like the 55-300 is somewhat similar to the 55-200 in character and speed. I'm always curios if newer lenses can do better than the 100-300 APO D. The APO D together with the CZ 16-80mm is my travel combo and it never failed me, nothing else seems to deliver as well in such a small package. AF is getting faster with every new body and keeps up with my kids, even an unplanned trip to an airshow worked out surprisingly well. I also like the fact that the APO only needs very minimal PP, virtually no color fringing.

The Tamron is too large IMO and AF isn't any faster than the 100-300 APO on the A77, only silent. I only tried it briefly, but I would say that IQ is similar.

I'll stick to my 100-300 APO D based on your observations and the rest of my lineup.

When I need more speed or a wider lens I use the Sigma 50-150mm HSM II with or without matched 1.4x TC, this is usually the better lens for capturing action.

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tjstyphon1
tjstyphon1 Regular Member • Posts: 131
Re: Frustratingly difficult decision

jcurtistx wrote:

In my basic testing, to focus from close to infinity and back, the Minolta is 40% faster (1.5s vs. 2.4s) which is significant.

Does anyone know if this lens would focus faster on an A77? I have seen some posts where people report their lenses focusing faster on the A77 than on other cameras. I need to buy one of the lenses in this category in the next 2 weeks, was leaning towards the Sony for IQ and in camera compensation, but if the focus speed is really that much slower it may be a deal breaker.

Any insight is appreciated, thanks!

Tracy

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Kzoozoomer Senior Member • Posts: 1,493
Re: Frustratingly difficult decision

9000AF wrote:

Jeff, thanks a lot for sharing your experiences with the lenses. It looks like the 55-300 is somewhat similar to the 55-200 in character and speed. I'm always curios if newer lenses can do better than the 100-300 APO D. The APO D together with the CZ 16-80mm is my travel combo and it never failed me, nothing else seems to deliver as well in such a small package. AF is getting faster with every new body and keeps up with my kids, even an unplanned trip to an airshow worked out surprisingly well. I also like the fact that the APO only needs very minimal PP, virtually no color fringing.

The Tamron is too large IMO and AF isn't any faster than the 100-300 APO on the A77, only silent. I only tried it briefly, but I would say that IQ is similar.

I'll stick to my 100-300 APO D based on your observations and the rest of my lineup.

Ditto for me. The CZ 16-80 with the 100-300 APO D make a great travel kit (along with my 35/1.8 for night shots). All the 70-300s are too large and bulky to suit my travel purposes.

If I need more speed and image quality, I turn to my M 135/2.8 and my M 200/2.8 APO G HS along with a 1.4x TC to get me close to 300mm.

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OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
The Tamron is here... How they stack up.
1

No real meaningful tests yet - just physical observations.

The Tamron 70-300 is noticibly heavier and larger in dimensions.

Both the Sony 55-300 and Tamron 70-300 are made in China

As expected, the Tamron is whisper silent, but the focus is not as mind blowing as I thought compared to the Sony - but yes it is quicker.

Zoom is a little stiffer on the Tamron

A57 feels a little unbalanced with the Tamron attached.

A57 feels much more balanced with the Minolta or Sony attached

Here are some comparison shots of how they stack up in size next to each other.

That is all for now - time to test the performance of the Tamron against the Minolta and Sony.

Jeff

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Sony A57, Sony 18-135, Tamron 60 f2, Sigma 50-150 f2.8, Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5 (Circa 1988), Minolta 100-300 APO D

 jcurtistx's gear list:jcurtistx's gear list
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OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
The Tamron is here - how they stack up...

So the Tamron 70-300 USD arrived today.  I have not had a chance to test the performance of optical quality yet, but I can speak to the initial physical look and feel compared to the Minotla 100-300 APO D and Sony 55-300 SAM.

The Tamron is noticibly heavier and fatter

The A57 feels a little unbalanced with the Tamron attached compared to the other two lenses

The Tamron does seem to focus faster at first glance than the Sony, but not as much as I thought it would

Build quality is comparable in my view

The Sony and the Tamron are made in China.

Here are some photos of the lenses for comparison in size.

Now I just need to shoot with it to see what I think of the Tamron compared to the other two.

Jeff

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Sony A57, Sony 18-135, Tamron 60 f2, Sigma 50-150 f2.8, Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5 (Circa 1988), Minolta 100-300 APO D

 jcurtistx's gear list:jcurtistx's gear list
Panasonic ZS100 Sony a6000 Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN Art Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +1 more
OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
The Tamron is here - how they stack up...
1

So the Tamron 70-300 USD arrived today.  I have not had a chance to test the performance of optical quality yet, but I can speak to the initial physical look and feel compared to the Minotla 100-300 APO D and Sony 55-300 SAM.

The Tamron is noticibly heavier and fatter

The A57 feels a little unbalanced with the Tamron attached compared to the other two lenses

The Tamron does seem to focus faster at first glance than the Sony, but not as much as I thought it would

Build quality is comparable in my view

The Sony and the Tamron are made in China.

Here are some photos of the lenses for comparison in size.

Now I just need to shoot with it to see what I think of the Tamron compared to the other two.

Jeff

Fully Retracted - Tamron 70-300 USD, Sony 55-300 SAM, Minolta 100-300 APO D

Fully Extended - Tamron 70-300 USD, Sony 55-300 SAM, Minolta 100-300 APO D

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Sony A57, Sony 18-135, Tamron 60 f2, Sigma 50-150 f2.8, Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5 (Circa 1988), Minolta 100-300 APO D

 jcurtistx's gear list:jcurtistx's gear list
Panasonic ZS100 Sony a6000 Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN Art Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +1 more
OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
Re: The Tamron is here - how they stack up...

So I had a chance to take the 55-300 and 70-300 to the park tonight for some shooting between swinging my 2 year old and action around the park.  To my surprise in real world use - not testing just to test, the Sony did quite well.  It was later in the day so light was not too great, but nothing about either lens really made me say either was significantly better than the other.  One thing I have noted is I like the colors on the Sony a little better than the Minolta and also Tamron.  I will say the more I use the Sony the more I actually like it more than the Minolta.  I am not sure what exactly it is that keeps me drawn to it, but I think it may be the handling and colors.

The Tamron is  a full frame lens so it is bigger in every dimension - a negative for me.  I need some more time with the Tamron, but I think I am leaning towards the Sony a little.  It is easy to get fixated on one deficiency and really try to exploit that feature (focus speed on the Sony for example).  In real world use, the focus speed on the Sony may not be as bad as I had initially thought.  I have not had enough time with the Tamron to judge if it is really better than the Sony in my situation.

More to come...

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stefan662 New Member • Posts: 8
Re: The Tamron is here - how they stack up...
1

I have the Tamron 18-270 PZD and now the Sony 55-300. IQ wise the Sony is much better at all focus lengths.

Here are 3 sample shots @ 100mm with the Sony and Tamron aperture open and the Sony 100/2.8 Macro at f4.5. Shots are jpeg ooc in full res (24mp from A65).

Sony 55-300

Tamron 18-270 PZD

Sony 100/2.8 Macro

OP jcurtistx Regular Member • Posts: 462
What do you think of the focus speed?

I have seen it has some trouble tracking moving subjects, but not a problem  with say someone throwing a football in place.  Tracking a biker or a child running towards or away Sony has trouble keeping up.  But for that, I have the Sigma 50-150 HSM f/2.8.

In more shooting last night the optics are close to the Tamron 70-300 USD.  Moon shots under extreme cropping showed a very small amount of more detail on the Tamron.

The size of the Sony and great optics is leaning me towards it over the Tamron most other things being equal. I think my Minolta 100-300 APO D  is on the way out.

Jeff

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Sony A57, Sony 18-135, Tamron 60 f2, Sigma 50-150 f2.8, Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5 (Circa 1988), Minolta 100-300 APO D

 jcurtistx's gear list:jcurtistx's gear list
Panasonic ZS100 Sony a6000 Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN Art Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +1 more
Setter Dog Veteran Member • Posts: 5,635
Re: What do you think of the focus speed?

jcurtistx wrote:

The size of the Sony and great optics is leaning me towards it over the Tamron most other things being equal. I think my Minolta 100-300 APO D  is on the way out.

Jeff

Jeff,...I'm closely following your decision making process on these lenses. I convince myself that I don't want to shoot 300mm without IS in the lens, as in Sigma. Then I use my  Sony 18-135mm and realize that size and balance also are important to me.

It seems to me that with these 300mm lenses, there is no free lunch. Every lens compromises in one way or another. The Sigma 70-300mm with lens IS is a choice I could live with, I suppose, but I'm hanging in awhile as you make more reports on the Sony 55-300mm. I like the fact that several members are reporting excellent IQ at the long end.

Thanks for your good reporting!

Jack

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