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07-01-2016, 02:37 AM   #1
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Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 on the K-1

Soon I will be getting myself a K-1 and whilst I will initially be getting the Pentax 28-105mm to go with it, I would also like a fast 70-200mm at some point as well. Since the Pentax FA* 70-200mm is far out of my price range it's not funny and Sigma no longer do their 70-200mm in K-Mount flavour, that pretty much leaves just the Tamron glass for me.

So, questions:

1) Has anyone tried it on a K-1 and what where your conclusions?

2) Given the decidedly mixed reviews I've seen (albeit in many cases from several years ago) is this lens actually any good full stop?

07-01-2016, 03:30 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Hi Mike. I haven't tried it on a K-1, so I can't answer question 1, but hopefully I can help with question 2...

My first copy of this lens had significant front-focusing issues, so I sent that back for replacement. The new copy also front-focuses, requiring -10 AF fine adjustment on my K-3 (my Pentax HD Limited prime lenses require zero adjustment, my Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 requires -4) - however, at that setting it focuses accurately, with one exception... at the longer end (especially 200mm), it still front focuses somewhat at very short distances (2 - 3 metres or thereabouts), but this is only an issue at f/2.8 or so where the depth of field is very shallow. That idiosyncrasy appears to be normal, as another member of our forums sent his copy to Tamron for calibration, and this is exactly how his lens performs following that work. I may still send mine in for calibration too, just to make sure it is as good as it can possibly be on my K-3.

On the subject of general performance... Auto focus is reasonably quick and usually accurate, both in AF-S and AF-C modes. It has the screw drive noise during AF, but is by no means loud. Sharpness at f/2.8 is "ok" (with noticeable softness) but I would really recommend stopping down to f/3.5 - f/4 for generally useable results, and f/5.6 onwards for the best results (by comparison, I have a later model Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 USD in Sony A mount, which is rather decent wide open).

All things considered, I'd say it's a very good lens but not without its quirks - however, when you consider the price, it's something of a bargain. I would recommend that you buy from an authorised dealer so that you can get your lens calibrated free of charge (if required), and avail yourself of the 5 year warranty.

I hope this helps

Last edited by BigMackCam; 07-01-2016 at 03:39 AM.
07-01-2016, 03:36 AM - 1 Like   #3
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The Tamron 70-200 f2.8 is the only non Pentax branded lens in my collections. In my opinion it a very good overall lens. It is very sharp. The major draw back is that it's slow focusing and some time hunts in low contrast situations. It's not good for fast action, but it's very good for portrait work with the exception of the focus breathing (it's not a full 200mm when focusing on close subjects). However, focus breathing is common to most 70-200mm lens with the exception of Canon 70-200 f2.8. If you can live with the slower performance of the Tamron it's well worth the cost saving of the other options for the K-1.

The 28-105 is super sharp all the way through the range at f5.6. It is very lightweight and compact making it an excellent walk around lens.
07-01-2016, 03:42 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote

All things considered, I'd say it's a very good lens but not without its quirks - however, when you consider the price, it's something of a bargain. I would recommend that you buy from an authorised dealer so that you can get your lens calibrated free of charge (if required), and avail yourself of the 5 year warranty.

I hope this helps
Thanks Mike, that is very helpful. The one thing that has put me off this lens is that it's screw drive, but I guess for the price that is only to be expected!

---------- Post added 07-01-16 at 11:47 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by fwbigd Quote
The Tamron 70-200 f2.8 is the only non Pentax branded lens in my collections. In my opinion it a very good overall lens. It is very sharp. The major draw back is that it's slow focusing and some time hunts in low contrast situations. It's not good for fast action, but it's very good for portrait work with the exception of the focus breathing (it's not a full 200mm when focusing on close subjects). However, focus breathing is common to most 70-200mm lens with the exception of Canon 70-200 f2.8. If you can live with the slower performance of the Tamron it's well worth the cost saving of the other options for the K-1.

The 28-105 is super sharp all the way through the range at f5.6. It is very lightweight and compact making it an excellent walk around lens.
Thanks Darryl, that's very encouraging. It's also nice to hear good things about the 28-105mm - I'd love to pair my new K-1 with the 24-70mm f2.8 but sadly my budget won't stretch that far it's good to know I shan't be compromising too much!

07-01-2016, 03:51 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikePlunkett Quote
The one thing that has put me off this lens is that it's screw drive, but I guess for the price that is only to be expected!
If that's your only real concern, then I think you'd be very pleased with it. The noise really isn't bad at all. If I was being picky, I'd have liked slightly better performance wide open, especially at the long end, but it's good enough at f/4 that I really can't complain given the price
07-01-2016, 05:27 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikePlunkett Quote
Soon I will be getting myself a K-1 and whilst I will initially be getting the Pentax 28-105mm to go with it, I would also like a fast 70-200mm at some point as well. Since the Pentax FA* 70-200mm is far out of my price range it's not funny and Sigma no longer do their 70-200mm in K-Mount flavour, that pretty much leaves just the Tamron glass for me.

So, questions:

1) Has anyone tried it on a K-1 and what where your conclusions?

2) Given the decidedly mixed reviews I've seen (albeit in many cases from several years ago) is this lens actually any good full stop?
Hi Mike,

I have owned the Tamron for about a year now. It was excellent on my K3 and it is just as good if not better on my K1. As others have mentioned, focusing is not fast enough for sports photography. It does perform but for me, its miss rate is on the high side. It is a little soft at f2.8 but perfectly usable. Shoot it at f3.5-f4 and beyond and it is as sharp as any lens I have ever shot with including my macro or FA limited lenses. It is a winner regardless of the price. It is a no brainer when you consider the price. Remember that it is heavy, then again all 70-200 f2.8 lenses are heavy.

I bought one feating that Tamron might stop making it. If Tamron decides to pull the plug on the 70-200, the only other option is the almost 3-times higher priced Pentax. That is why I got one and I am glad I did.
07-01-2016, 06:07 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Works great on my K1, sharp, fast to focus even though my house windows on deer, but is not silent because it is screw drive.
07-01-2016, 06:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by btnapa Quote
Hi Mike,

I have owned the Tamron for about a year now. It was excellent on my K3 and it is just as good if not better on my K1. As others have mentioned, focusing is not fast enough for sports photography. It does perform but for me, its miss rate is on the high side. It is a little soft at f2.8 but perfectly usable. Shoot it at f3.5-f4 and beyond and it is as sharp as any lens I have ever shot with including my macro or FA limited lenses. It is a winner regardless of the price. It is a no brainer when you consider the price. Remember that it is heavy, then again all 70-200 f2.8 lenses are heavy.

I bought one feating that Tamron might stop making it. If Tamron decides to pull the plug on the 70-200, the only other option is the almost 3-times higher priced Pentax. That is why I got one and I am glad I did.
Thank you, that's exactly the sort of information I was looking for! I hope Tamron do keep making this lens for Pentax as an affordable fast 70-200mm is always going to have a market. I was very sad to see Sigma stop doing the K-mount variant of theirs as I had the Olympus version for my old E-30 4/3rds DSLR and that was a stunning lens.

---------- Post added 07-01-16 at 02:12 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
Works great on my K1, sharp, fast to focus even though my house windows on deer, but is not silent because it is screw drive.
Thank you! Very nice to know - I often shoot through windows too trying to capture the birds in my garden and it would be nice to have something a bit lighter and more manoeuvrable than my Sigma 150-500mm available

07-01-2016, 06:20 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Focusing using live view doesn't work though, at least not on my K5 if I recall correctly.
07-01-2016, 06:27 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
Focusing using live view doesn't work though, at least not on my K5 if I recall correctly.
Ooh, yes... forgot to mention that... LiveView doesn't work on my K-3 or K-3II. Not sure about the K-1. That said, for my purposes it's not a problem...
07-01-2016, 06:34 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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just thought I would pitch in with my thoughts on the 70-200 f2.8 tamron - I use mine with both a K3 and K5 and purchased mine secondhand, it's one of my favourite lenses and never fails to deliver. For those who say it's not fast focusing enough for sports, I use mine a lot for motorsport and in this image the mercedes was doing close to 180mph coming towards me and the focus seemed to cope ok...(plenty more motorsport shots on my Flickr page shot with this lens)



another thing this lens can do is good portraits and close up stuff too...





just my thoughts on this lens.....
07-01-2016, 06:35 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Ooh, yes... forgot to mention that... LiveView doesn't work on my K-3 or K-3II. Not sure about the K-1. That said, for my purposes it's not a problem...
That's...curious! Not really a big deal for me though, don't think I've ever used LiveView on my K-5!
07-01-2016, 06:47 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I also have the Tamron 70-200 f2.8. I think I have had mine for 3 years or so now. One of the best buys for the money if you re getting a new lens. I use it mainly as a manual focus lens if I am close as I want to insure what I want in focus is in focus. As a looooooooooooooong time SLR owner, manual focus is not a big deal for me. All in the technique. I also have the 28-105 lens that just came out. Very nice lens. Focus is great on my K1 too. I haven't tried it on any of my ASPc cameras but it can only be better there.

Of the 5 lenses I have purchased in the 4 years since I joined this site the only lens that has not performed well is the 55-300. It is sharp stopped down a bit but it does not seem to know how to lock focus on any subject at all. Constantly hunting. Same thing on my K5, K5-IIs, K3 and K1. Others have commented about this on PF too. Since I got it a few months ago when B&H had a great deal on it I will live with it and use it mostly as a manual focus lens. It is too darn convenient and weather resistant so it stays in my bag.
07-01-2016, 08:19 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I have a K-1 and the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 and they work great together.

Main points:

Lens minuses compared to more modern offerings:
-Screw drive noisy compared to modern drives.
-AF/MF on lens clutch redundant w/ on body AF/MF switch.
-Not weather sealed.

Lens pluses:
-Cost me $525 used and is only $769 new.
-Sharp as a tack
-Wonderful colors.
-The bokeh is very pleasing to my eye.
-No impact on IQ, but I find it to be a handsome lens, especially with the hood attached.
-Relatively light for this lens spec.
-Comes with a hood and a very nice padded carrying bag.
-Cost me $525 used… you get the point.

First three pics here are with the K-1 and the ones after are from when I used it with the K-3ii.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ericlwoods/albums/72157659304603325

Last edited by BigMackCam; 07-01-2016 at 08:39 AM. Reason: Removed blog link
07-01-2016, 09:53 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I don't have a problem with focus speed either on these dogs running 30+ mph
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