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06-04-2008, 09:24 PM   #1
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Tamron 17-50 vs DA*16-50 Throwdown!

Ok the title is a bit overblown, but I got your attention

I got my Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II today and I thought I would share some of my experiences with it. Some of you may know that I ordered this lens after having the bad decentering problems with my DA* 16-50. I am sending the DA* 16-50 back for a refund.

It wouldn’t be fair for me to compare pics between the Tamron and a defective 16-50, so I’ll comment on what I like about the Tamron 17-50:

Size: Shorter, narrower and lighter than the 16-50. This means I can actually use the built in flash with the Tamron. I could not detect any lens shadow even at the widest setting. This was something I was disappointed about with the 16-50 because the lens shadow was pretty extreme from 16mm out to about 35mm. I don’t use built-in flash much except for fill, but even in fill you can see interference. And sometimes, you just need flash, and if this lens is to be my baseline lens, I don’t want to always have to go put on my AF360FGZ flash to get a quick snapshot.

Build: The Tamron feels very sturdy and is built “tight.” No lens creep whatsoever (nor was there creep in the 16-50. The 16-50 is very well built as well.) I don’t even need the zoom lock at all. In fact the zoom and focus are well damped. Also, there is no play whatsoever in the extension tube, even when at a maximum. I also prefer the single tube extension of the Tamron to the double tube of the 16-50. There is no “hesitation” in the zoom due to the engaging of the second tube. It is consistent throughout.

Ergonomics: I much prefer the zoom ring on the Tamron. It is wider, and in a more convenient location (away from the body more) than the 16-50. I found the zoom on the 16-50 to be relatively uncomfortable since I had to spin the ring that is smaller and closer to the body under the flash overhang. This can be especially annoying when using the grip, and/or taking vertical shots. I would guess that most people with a zoom lens use the zoom ring much more frequently than the focus ring. For the life of me I don’t know why Pentax (Tokina) made the zoom ring small and closer to the body and the focus ring huge on the 16-50. Maybe for a macro prime, but why on a baseline, kit-upgrade, AF zoom?

Focus speed and sound: Focus is very fast and accurate. I did not notice it to be any slower at all. Sound is typical.

Support: Tamron has a 6-year warrantee.

IQ: Excellent. In fact I compared it with the DA* 50-135 (at 50mm) and the FA50/1.4. To see any difference at all, you need to view at 100% crop and wide open. The differences were not significant enough at this point for me to take time to make the crops and post them.

I am not writing this to criticize the 16-50. I am sure that if one gets a good copy it is a great lens. Some people here have shown fabulous shots with it. I love all my Pentax glass. I just think that in my case, things worked out for the better because after using both lenses, I really prefer the Tamron! Weather sealing and SDM to me are not worth it to lose all the other advantages I outlined above for this particular lens choice.

OK, I am done buying lenses for a while…

UPDATED: test pics below in post #15


Last edited by PentaxPoke; 06-05-2008 at 05:00 PM.
06-04-2008, 10:46 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
...OK, I am done buying lenses for a while…
Riiiight...
06-04-2008, 11:48 PM   #3
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Good to hear ... can you post some shots from the Tammy ... I am interested in seeing what it is like ... I wouldn't mind getting the 17-50mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 from Tamron as well.
06-04-2008, 11:50 PM   #4
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ah haaa...."done buying lenses for awhile " are we ?? :ugh:

Earmark this statement for future reference.

Look forward to seeing many shots from the tammy.
Cheers.

06-05-2008, 04:10 AM   #5
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(The Tamron)

Personally I'd be happy with either lens.
06-05-2008, 05:04 AM   #6
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So my question is, should I consider trading in my Sigma 24-70 f2.8 for the Tammy 17-50? Also where do you find it for Pentax everywhere I've looked so for I only find this lens for the "other" brands..
06-05-2008, 05:08 AM   #7
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Got mine from Japan via ebay... not sure I'd advise the same in case of a bad copy, but take a good look at the seller's feedback if you ever considered that route...
06-05-2008, 05:28 AM   #8
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Nice shot. The perspective lines work well with the curved metal around the flower pot. Thanks for sharing that.

06-05-2008, 07:05 AM   #9
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I bought mine at B&H. I'll see if I can't go out and take a couple of snaps today with the lens to post.
06-05-2008, 07:16 AM   #10
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I've heard C***N users rave about this lens for a long time. Looks like you got a great one. My 16-50 started sweating a little after seeing your post..
06-05-2008, 07:45 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
I got my Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II today and I thought I would share some of my experiences with it.…
Congratulations! As with you, I'm not totally satisfied with my 16-50. If you get a chance...I'd really, really, really like to see a couple of your "test" shots with the Tamron wide open at f/2.8. Something "busy" with a lot of detail throughout the scene, especially the two outer edges. Please, please.

If I like what you post, I'll order the Tamron right away and dump the "DA*" piece-of-trash lens.
06-05-2008, 07:53 AM   #12
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Thanks for the review PentaxPoke... Point taken!

Cheers!
06-05-2008, 01:23 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by volosong Quote
Congratulations! If you get a chance...I'd really, really, really like to see a couple of your "test" shots with the Tamron wide open at f/2.8. Something "busy" with a lot of detail throughout the scene, especially the two outer edges. Please, please.

If I like what you post, I'll order the Tamron right away and dump the "DA*" piece-of-trash lens.
OK you talked me into it. I'll post something when I get home this evening.
06-05-2008, 01:28 PM   #14
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Hey if you don't like it, you can always give it to me. I'll give you a Holga in return.
06-05-2008, 04:52 PM   #15
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OK as requested, test shots are here. Almost all are forced wide open at f2.8 (worst case for sharpness, vignetting, etc). A couple are at f4. Tests are at both extreme ends of the zoom as well. Lots of contrast, lots of detail in the pics.

This lens is great! It is sharp everywhere. Click on the "original size" for each picture if you really want to see how good it is.

Oh yeah, BONUS points if you can tell me the buildings,or where these were taken.

Tamron 17-50 Test shots - a set on Flickr

Last edited by PentaxPoke; 06-05-2008 at 05:06 PM.
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