Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens

Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens with Built in Motor for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras – Product Description:

Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens This exciting new high-speed, high-performance F/2.8 telephoto zoom for full-frame and APS-C format SLRs delivers outstanding imaging performance in a remarkably convenient package plus best close-focusing ability in its class down to 0.95m (37.4″) (1:3.1 at 200mm) throughout the range. Its wide aperture permits the use of faster shutter speeds in any light, and the effective use of shallow depth-of-field to achieve dramatic pictorial effects. The ultimate in reach, speed, and performance for dual SLR formats.

Product Features :

  • Fast f 2.8 telephoto zoom
  • Excellent macro magnification of 1:3.1
  • Includes case and lens hood
  • Removable lightweight Tripod Holder
  • 6 year manufacturers warranty

Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens – Review:

AMRON VS. IT’S MAIN COMPETITORS!

I was doing my research prior to buying this lens for couple of weeks. I read everything I could find on the internet about this lens as well as it’s competitors.

First, let me provide you with quick summary of my findings:

1. Major competitors for this lens are:

a. Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 OS. This lens is very sharp according to all reviews I read. It has fast and precise auto focus, high quality image stabilization. This is clearly the best lens out there. The negative side is cost (3 times as much as Tamron!) and watch out for defective lens (quality control issues). Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S NIKKOR Lens For Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

b. Sigma 70-200mm f2.8. This version doesn’t have image stabilizer. Compare to Tamron it has faster focus but lower quality glass. Image resolution is significantly lower and shows worse results with teleconverters then you get with Tamron. There are some complains about focus motor goes bad and coating of the lens is easy to scratch. I also want to mention that tests showed slight color cast with Sigma lens. There is a new version available for pre-order that has image stabilization. Nobody tested this new version yet, also cost went up 2 times! Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG HSM II Macro Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

c. Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 – No Image Stabilization. This lens received good feedback from user community and from pros. Resolution is good but not as sharp as Tamron. Cost is about 50% more. There are number of complains about quality of manual/auto focus switch that breaks by it-self. Cost of repair is about $300 to $400 (don’t remember exact number). Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

2. Now lets talk about Tamron 70-200mm for Nikon. I got this lens 2 days ago and shot lots of subjects and test charts to calibrate focus and evaluate performance.

a. Focus speed – This is THE MOST common complain about this lens. The focus motor on this lens is faster then screwdriver used on 50mm 1.8 prime, but not even close to Nikkor 16-85mm VR. It’s not fast but acceptable in most situations. I usually track my subject for a little while before pulling trigger, so speed should not be a problem. Sometimes this lens takes a while to focus (like 2 seconds). It happens when room has low lights or subject doesn’t have contrast edge. Tip: release shutter and press again and it will focus way quicker second time. Focusing performance is fine with flashlight focus assist lamp. I feel that focus is not great, but acceptable sacrifice for high quality glass and lower cost.

b. Resolution – I was concerned with results from dpreview that showed major degradation in sharpness at 135mm f2.8. I’m happy to report that it’s not a case with my sample. Resolution is very good from 70-170mm and goes somewhat softer by 200mm at f2.8 aperture. Stopping down to f3.2 from f2.8 increases resolution significantly for entire zoom range. Note: 3.2 vs. 2.8 is only 1/3 EV stop. The sweet aperture spot for my sample is f3.5 to f8. I got very decent results from f3.2 to f16. In general, sharpness in sweet spot is the same as my prime 50mm f1.8 lens at f4.0 aperture (the sharpest aperture for this lens).

c. Contrast – somewhat low at f2.8 but is fine by f3.2 aperture setting.

d. Manual Focus – I liked clutch type focus ring. If you pull focus ring toward camera body it goes to manual focus, push it outside and auto focus is engaged. It’s fast and easy. Try it couple of times and it feels natural to use. However, it’s not easy to focus at 200mm 2.8. Depth of field is extremely shallow and any minor errors are very easy to see.

e. Macro performance – Tamron is the only lens out of all listed that offers you reasonable macro performance. Sigma and Nikon can’t focus as close as Tamron can.

f. Calibration results – lens had front focus which I was able to correct using Nikon D300 lens adjustment settings.

Couple of words about Image stabilization. Image Stabilization allows you to use slower shutter speed by an average of 3 EV stops. Let’s say you can make sharp picture without image stabilization at 1/200s with 200mm zoom.Image stabilization would allow you to make similar sharp image at 1/25s 200mm. Image stabilization works great with static objects, but doesn’t help with moving objects. You need shutter speed faster then 1/200s to avoid blurry pictures.

Conclusion: I feel that this lens is a good choice for people who want high quality pictures and don’t want to spend $2,000. Professionals may want to go all the way up to Nikon 70-200mm. Tamron has awesome optics, good quality construction, acceptable autofocus and reasonable price.

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