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09-03-2009, 07:00 PM   #1
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Upgrade to Tamron 17-50mm from kit 18-55mm: worth the investment?

OK, so I'm quite happy with my lens selection price paid vs. quality at this time, given my camera body being a K100D super.

All the lenses I have I actually use (the K 30mm less often, but it's just such a beautiful lens when I use it that I can't give it up!). Can't hardly pry the tammy 90mm off the camera, and the 28-200mm Tamron is just the right cost/performance lens for me- I really don't find myself wishing for the 18-28mm range when walking around for a super zoom. From what I've read comparing the "sweet range" of the tammy/pentax 18-250 and the tammy 28-200 that I'm currently using, there aren't huge differences.

Anyways, that's beside the point of this thread.

I use the kit lens mostly when I want the wide end for scenery, or tight indoor shooting when I need the wide end.

I've been pleased with it's performance given that it was more or less "free" with the camera body at the time of purchase.

As such, I treat this focal length a bit as I do my primes, as something I use and need, but not all the time. So, I'm considering the best bang/buck upgrade path, and wanting other forum members experience.

I know all about the the 16-50mm DA*, and for the cost, I can't see that the extra 1mm will make that much of a difference in my life. As well, I know there is "spotty" quality control issues with this lens.

This all being said, I have read that the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is a very capable performer indeed. As well, I realize that at f/2.8, indoor shooting will be a tad bit easier (and it's a constant aperture).

I just want to know, in other users' opinions, does this lens really outshine sharpness/contrast/resolution of the kit 18-55mm? Basically, is forking out ~$350.00 going to be justified when comparing these two lenses?

Any/all opinions and experiences appreciated!

09-03-2009, 08:19 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by virgilr Quote
This all being said, I have read that the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is a very capable performer indeed. As well, I realize that at f/2.8, indoor shooting will be a tad bit easier (and it's a constant aperture).

I just want to know, in other users' opinions, does this lens really outshine sharpness/contrast/resolution of the kit 18-55mm? Basically, is forking out ~$350.00 going to be justified when comparing these two lenses?
If I were to give one unanimous answer it would be YES!

I shoot with a K100D also and I've noticed a huge difference in both sharpness/resolution from the first wedding I shot using the kit lens to the second one last week with the Tamron 17-50mm. I'm able to capture much more detail, the way I would expect the image to look. The images have more depth/three dimensional appearance. I found the contrast on the kit lens good as it was but the Image Quality just felt washed out and flat, perhaps due to lack of resolution, and this is the biggest reason to get the Tamron; less work editing/sharpening images.

Being able to stop down to a constant 2.8 is also great for low light or depth of field no matter the zoom range. The zoom and focus rings are definitely more stiff than the kit but something I don't really notice. It's perhaps the best kit replacement albeit much heavier.

I would not hesitate to buy the Tamron 17-50 again, the 28-75 isn't wide enough for my liking but I find the 70 range a more natural/what you actually see/view. I definitely would have missed shots if it wasn't for the needed 17-27mm range.

All that said, mine has an AF issue where it won't refocus constantly if half depressing the trigger. I bought it off a forum member so I doubt I have a warranty despite the 6year they offer new. It's not a well known issue but I've read people using Nikon/Canon saying the same and Tamron checked their lens saying it's fine. For now it's a piss-off meaning I'm left using MF if the lens decides to go to sleep on the job and I'm not sure if it always did it. AF will still work from shot to shot or occasionally refocus on the same object but generally gives up. The kit lens on the other hand will continue to lock on like an excited puppy.

Best of luck with your purchase! I'd recommend it for sure, 4 1/2 out of 5 stars only for the fact I have issues with my copy. If you can get one for $350 then buy me another also because these retail for $599-$679CDN

Last edited by F-Stop; 09-03-2009 at 08:25 PM.
09-04-2009, 07:33 AM   #3
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F-Stop: Thanks a ton for sharing your first-hand experience!

This will most likely be a gift for around the holidays- doing my research early this year..

In terms of price, it's actually ~419.00 CAD (379.00 USD) on Fleabay, shipped free from Prodigital 2000.

I'll be looking into it- want to just give myself that "quality" edge when I'm shooting in a more serious frame of mind (and want to change lenses!).
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