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07-31-2013, 05:18 PM   #1
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Tamron 70-200mm 2.8, Did I get a bad copy?

I recently bought a Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 Macro Lens from Amazon Warehouse and finally got it in today. I haven't had much of a chance to go out and test it (its pouring rain ) but have been taking some shots inside. After looking at some test shots in detail the lens doesn't seem to be living up to its reputation. Images seem rather soft and in some cases I see some very apparent CA. The only lens I have thats in the same range of focal length is my DA 70mm, which I took a comparison photo which is attached. The DA 70 is on the left, the Tamron 70-200mm is on the right. Both images shot at ISO 400, 2.8, and 70mm and 100% crop. I'm not expecting the lens to really perform better than the DA 70 but I was hoping it would be somewhat close.

Should I keep the lens or send it back? I want to at least get outside in some daylight and try it out before I send it back but so far it looks to be rather disappointing.

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07-31-2013, 05:26 PM   #2
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Hard to say because the photos you posted you snipped your EXIF - I'm guessing this is at high ISO and handheld. Try a tripod and maybe a flash, or a "less tungsten" source of light - I dont have a K5 but i sure know how the Kr behaves wide open in low light in tungsten and I'm looking at it right now....
07-31-2013, 05:34 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
Hard to say because the photos you posted you snipped your EXIF - I'm guessing this is at high ISO and handheld. Try a tripod and maybe a flash, or a "less tungsten" source of light - I dont have a K5 but i sure know how the Kr behaves wide open in low light in tungsten and I'm looking at it right now....

I stated in my post that the photos were shot at ISO 400. They were shot hand held but I've tried shooting non-hand held and the results are the same.
07-31-2013, 05:36 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by TopherTheME Quote
my post that the photos were shot at ISO 400
Gah that would require reading... so at F2.8 and 400 ISO what was the shutter speed?

07-31-2013, 05:38 PM   #5
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Try to manual focus when zoomed in liveview. That will take AF out of the equation.
07-31-2013, 05:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TopherTheME Quote
I recently bought a Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 Macro Lens from Amazon Warehouse and finally got it in today. I haven't had much of a chance to go out and test it (its pouring rain )
You should've bought a DA*50-135 - it likes the rain!

You have to make some compromises when using a zoom - especially wide open. If it does OK at f/3.2 or f/3.5 then that's usually pretty good. However, even though I was kidding at first, I do think the DA*50-135 would be much stronger at the same settings. It's one of the best long zooms anyone makes - perhaps the best APS-C design (regardless of brand/mount).
07-31-2013, 06:19 PM   #7
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As suggested above try some tests with manual focus, or try it with LiveView to take the AF out of the equation, on a tripod. To be honest I would not be happy with those results if that's the best you get. But I don't think you have done enough testing to decide on sending it back yet.

If you have a camera that has the option you might look into AF fine tuning as well. Or send it off to Tamron for calibration. Or just send it back. Just listing the options

But more testing is needed for a good decision.
07-31-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
Try to manual focus when zoomed in liveview. That will take AF out of the equation.

The above shot was taken with manual focus for both lenses.


Perhaps my expectations for this lens were just too high? But judging by some of the sample photos I've seen this lens should be performing a lot better. It received a 9.7 for sharpness in the Pentax Forum review section. I would think it should be matching or exceeding the image quality of the DA 70mm in that respect.

I thought about getting the DA 50-135mm but I don't think it has enough reach for me. Ideally I would like up to 250mm but lenses in that range are outside my budget for a telephoto.

Hopefully the weather will clear up tomorrow and I can put the lens through its paces.

07-31-2013, 06:21 PM   #9
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The only way to test them is if you use low iso and a tripod and manual focus. Control the environment/shot as much as possible and let the lens be the only variable.
07-31-2013, 06:23 PM   #10
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The K5 tends to front-focus under tungsten light, so I would change lighting and check your calibration.
07-31-2013, 06:26 PM   #11
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-edit-
I just read the post where you said it was MF.
Nevermind...unless you are using the focus confirmation, then it would still apply.
07-31-2013, 06:26 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TopherTheME Quote
After looking at some test shots in detail the lens doesn't seem to be living up to its reputation.
That is not good for the 70-200, which should rival the 70. I'd give it a little outdoor use and see if it doesn't show improvement before sending it back.

There is a used one in the marketplace, though.
07-31-2013, 07:08 PM   #13
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I reviewed the test pictures I have taken using my Tamron. I don't have a comparison to a 70mm, but I do have a direct comparison with a 100mm D-FA Macro WR. The Tamron is defintely much softer at F2.8 than the DFA100, but stopped down just one stop the difference becomes much smaller, and the are very close at f/8. From what I recall of the DA 70mm it is very sharp wide open.

Try to stop down and see if the Tamron is still soft. Also make sure you don't need an AF adjustment. Mine is quite different than other lenses I have.

When I first got the Tamron I was comparing it to a DA 55-300mm, and the Tamron was comparable at F2.8 to the DA stopped down. Stopping down the Tamron blew the 55-300 away.

It is all relative, and I have been very happy with my Tamron. My grief is the size of it, and for that reason I dont use it that often. I do have a gap between my FA 77mm and my DA* 300mm, and I can't think of what to fill it with that would provide as good IQ at a (relatively) low cost so I'm keeping it....
07-31-2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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I have the Tamron 70-200 and I did have to do some focus calibration on my K20D and my K-5. Your 70-200 shot looks like it was front-focused to me (because the focus gets even worse toward the back of the bottle).

If you can't get outside, try the same thing with a ruler at 45 degrees. Then compare the two lenses with whatever part of the ruler is in focus and see if the sharpness compares.
07-31-2013, 08:19 PM   #15
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I just did a quick comparo. I shot these at 87mm by mistake, but not much different than 70. I did set ISO likewise at 400. Focused in Live View, but mine focuses pretty well in general. These were near min focus distance, maybe 3 1/2 feet. F4 is a big step up in quality, but I'd say mine is much sharper than yours at 2.8. If you want to mail me an empty mousse can, I'll shoot the same subject from the same distance and we can check for sure!

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Last edited by Kozlok; 07-31-2013 at 08:25 PM.
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