Original or Third Party / by brasscollective

Recently Digitalrev came out with a Tamron vs Canon 70-200 video. 

Thought it might be a good time to discuss about third party lenses and adapters. 


Thought as much shit I might talk about Canon bodies, their "L" lenses are of another level. 

Not the crap like 24-105mm f4 or 70-200mm f4, those are probably named "L" because they wanna cash in as a package for 5D Mark III and 6D's package kit that time. 

But stuff which they are famous for.

The 85mm f1.2.

The 135mm f2. My personal favourite, this is the most beautiful thing Canon ever produced.

The 100mm f2.8 IS Macro. 

The 70-200mm f2.8. 

The 16-35mm f2.8.

Practically the "L" series they came out with during late 2000.

Now we see from the most used focal zoom range.

The 24-70 f2.8 II. Undisputedly the best performer in this zoom focal length and constant aperture, and sharpness unmatched by any contenders in the market. Closest dude to come to it will be the Nikkor 24-70, since they are the flagship 24-70 of their respective brands, they are constantly being matched up against each other. 

But since they are different mounts, one can never get the similar results. 

It's hard to say the same for third party lenses though. 

Sigma, Tamron, Tokina. These three were basically fighting for a share in the market until Sigma decided to invest into the new lenses system(Art, Contemporary and Sports), and is now the current leader in the third party sector. It's all about the rebranding, Sigma did great in that.

Sigma's legacy in cameras went back eons when they were still in SLRs business, but it wasn't too popular. I'm not sure, I wasn't born during that time, it was only after researching then I found out a little bit about their history. 

I don't really need to introduce them, since they took the sweet cake of media after challenging Zeiss in the 50mm 1.4 best contender spot for price with their own 50mm f1.4 Art. 

For 1/4 of the Zeiss' price and with AF(Zeiss' top lenses don't have AF, unlike the ones they did for Sony), they totally made an enemy with Zeiss. It's a interesting company, really. 

I own a DSLR from Sigma, the SD1, and it's a very weird relationship. It's probably the only camera that can fight D810 in terms of details, but the buffer time is almost twice as much. Really a portrait lenses, not much use in the practical world, street photography no-no. 

Their 24-70 is $900 USD, which is $1100 cheaper than the Canon's flagship, but it really loses alot in terms of resolution and focusing speed. I didn't have a very good experience with it. Very nicely built, but you get what you paid for. 

What I'm really looking at is their 24-70mm f2 OS Art lenses. Sigma CEO stated in the previous year that they wanna complete this lenses in 2015, but frankly speaking, to create a constant f2 for a full frame camera is not something of this generation. 

My guess is they will take another 3-4 years before they can release this with a decent price to fight with Canon's 24-70. Still looking very much to that though, that could be one lenses to rule them all.


Next up let's talk about Tokina.  I own one 28-70mm f2.6-2.8(although I've never seen the 2.6 even on my widest, not sure about what's going on). 

They don't have a contender for the 24-70 yet, well not that they don't have but they have been saying it since start of 2014 and it only just released a Nikon version http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1084645-REG/tokina_at_x_24_70mm_f_2_8_pro.html and it's not even available yet. 

But the 28-70 is a gem. For the price that is. 

It's probably one of the oldest lenses I have in my arsenal, I think it dated back to 90s.

Focusing is noisy, it's heavy like a brick(they said it was light during reviews, but that was 30 years ago), and I felt cheated with the f2.6. 

But, there's always a reason why I like old lenses. 

Back in the past, they don't skip on quality, the Tamron 28-70 was built to withstand knocks. 

I dropped it twice in my homestay house in Japan, really bad bad accident. Although it wasn't cold hard ground, but it was still a drop. The lenses just worked exactly the same, though I thought AF will be faster but nope fat dreams. 

Secondly is the "teeth". 

I use follow focus, and current era lenses all have no teeth, which is the gear to rotate focus. The Tokina has this 0.3 or 0.5mm of "teeth", which I could easily mount my follow focus on it. 

Don't ask me why, I really don't know how come Tokina has that on the focus rim. I do know that Tokina has a Cinema ATX lenses department, it could be that they wanna have that as a feature on their lenses. It works great for me, and now I'm wondering why other brands can't do the same for their lenses too. 

There's ways to go around this, using the gear belt to wrap around the lenses' focus rim, but in my previous company we have this issue with Samyang lenses infinity going haywire because of the gear belt thingy, as said by the lenses repairman.


Lastly, I personally tried this lenses twice on loan. 

The Tamron 24-70mm DI USD VC. 

For me, it's the best 24-70mm in the market, for that price. 

It's also the only 24-70 with stabilizer at 2 stops, unless Sigma comes with their 24-70 soon. 


Yep, that is all. 

For me, the most decent performer are definitely the prime lenses, but since I'm doing video and shorts most of the time, manual lenses work better in that sense. 

I love the Samyang Cine lenses, they are really the best for their price, without the electronics. 

Means no EXIF data, sometimes your camera goes kuku(you get no lens attached sign pretty much), can't work much for photos and so and so on. 

But in reality you're really just paying for the glass and workmanship. 

And of course legacy lenses like Leica R and m42 lenses, those are considered God status. 

But then again, it's what in your budget that works for you. 

Lenses are more worthwhile to invest in, because they depreciate much much slower than camera bodies. 

For me now, my poison are the legacy and Samyang lenses. 


- Henry