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11-25-2013, 03:09 PM   #1

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Tamron 70-300 - How's the semi-macro?

Hello everyone.

I've been looking at telephoto lenses recently, and found among them the Tamron 70-300 LD. Now, there are like 5 for sale locally in K mount, so I thought I'd ask here. What's the IQ like at 300mm, and in the macro mode? (I'm not into macro really, so this should cover my needs well.)

(Semi related: would I be better of going for a FA 100-300 4.7-5.8 (the silver one)? )

11-25-2013, 04:07 PM   #2
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There are at least 2 versions of that lens - the APO is more desirable, I guess.

It is a OK lens, but not great. The semi macro works only at the long end. The Pentax 55-300 has much better IQ (though no macro). Don't know anything about the 100-300. (My Sigma 70-300 suffered an aperture-blade death while sitting on the shelf after I got the 55-300 :-(

Sigma 70-300.

Last edited by SpecialK; 11-26-2013 at 12:24 PM.
11-25-2013, 08:19 PM   #3
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The older version that I used had 1:2 maximum magnification. You get some extra working distance because that happens at max zoom. But the whole lens is fully extended so balance is not ideal. I had a Tamron 52BB 90mm f2.5 macro at the time so I did some comparison shots. The zoom lens was OK at f8 to f13 in the center, but the 90mm was sharper even wide open and just got better. I thought the zoom might be useful if you didn't have anything else, but if you had any intention of close work, a lot of the 1:2 macro primes are inexpensive. The Pentax 50mm or 100mm f4, the Tamron 90/2.5, Sigma 90/2.8, or Cosina/Phoenix/Vivitar/Pentax 100/3.5 are all better.

(I prefer 1:2 magnification because going farther is just a bit more work than I like.)
11-25-2013, 11:23 PM   #4
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The quality of the macro shots is pretty good and the main reason I keep mine. The macro mode only works in the 200-300mm range. Since most of my macros are shot from a kayak or canoe, it works well for my needs and it's cheap enough where I don't worry too much about damaging it.
Some mating dragonflies from a couple of summers ago. Toughest problem is keeping it steady.

11-25-2013, 11:47 PM   #5
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It does alright. Mostly good because of the cheap price. Actually a lot of my favorite photos are from the lens, but that's because I end up using it more due to its versatility (long zoom and macro). I'd get something better if I could afford it though - been eyeing the Tamrom 90mm.

It does need to be at around f8 to get good sharpness. Here's a macro example:

and a 300mm example:

11-25-2013, 11:51 PM   #6
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The one I like is designated LD Di model number a17p. It is sharp and focuses quick so I use it over a pentax 55-300 for kids sports.
The macro is 1:2 and is good at a distance.
As reef tool says it inly works in 200-300 so it uses a tricky way of getting o the macro focus but you get used to it.
Biggest issue with it is it tends to purple fringe in high contrast situations.

Also FYI I had an older version with the smooth focus rings that was pretty crappy, stay away from that version.
11-26-2013, 12:52 AM   #7
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some Sigma 70-300mm DG OS examples

Recently taken at Botanic Gardens.
Approx 4 meters away, cropped.
Shallow DOF is obvious, when 300mm FL is used here. Flash used is AF-360FGZ -1 EV.
1/180sec & F5.6
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11-26-2013, 11:26 AM   #8
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I too have the Tammy LD Di model, it's so sharp I sometimes can't believe it. I don't have a problem with PF and it does OK in Macro mode but if I'm hunting bugs, I prefer the Tammy 90mm x 2.8. which also is incredibly sharp.

11-26-2013, 12:33 PM   #9

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Thanks a lot guys. Now I just need to determine how the 70-300 LD and FA 100-300 stack up.

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