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Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro Review RSS Feed

Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro

Sharpness 
 9.6
Aberrations 
 9.0
Bokeh 
 9.2
Handling 
 8.3
Value 
 9.7
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85 295,821 Fri May 14, 2021
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $647.23 9.28
Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro
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Description:

The Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro Lens is a telephoto zoom lens with a large maximum aperture of F2.8 throughout the zoom range. It focuses down to just 3.1' (0.95 m) throughout its entire zoom range, with a maximum macro magnification ratio of 1:3.1 at  the 200mm. end.


Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD [IF] Macro
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 9 blades
Optics
18 elements, 13 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F2.8
Min. Aperture
F32
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
No
Min. Focus
95 cm
Max. Magnification
0.32x
Filter Size
77 mm
Internal Focus
Yes
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 22-8 ° / 18.5-6 °
Full frame: 34-12 ° / 29-10 °
Hood
Included
Case
Included
Lens Cap
Included
Coating
Multi-coated
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Tripod Mount
Diam x Length
89.5x194 mm (3.5x7.6 in.)
Weight
1150 g (40.6 oz.)
Production Years
2008 to 2018
Pricing
$769 USD current price
Engraved Name
Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD [IF] Macro
Product Code
A001
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review

Price History:



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Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2009
Location: East Bay Area, CA
Posts: 6,375

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 2, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $769.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: great IQ, bokeh, f/2.8
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    Camera Used: K3II   

In short, I am amazed at the quality of the images from this lens, at this price. Sure, there are faster sharper teles, but not in this price range. I am also impressed with the bright colors, especially the blues from this lens. Contrast is very good and overall ease of use is good. At f/2.8 it is somewhat soft, as one might expect, but clicked down to 4.0, it sharpens up beautifully.

My first copy was front focusing at short range and back focusing at distant ranges, pretty much across the focal lengths. I returned it for a new replacement which is perfectly dialed in and requires no further adjustment.

It is a big lens but no bigger than the other 2.8 lenses in this range. I had rented both the Pentax DA*200/2.8 as well as the DA*50-135/2.8 in the past and those did not outperform the Tamron in image quality, in fact, i liked the sharpness, bokeh, and colors of the tamron better.

I am a satisfied customer.

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New Member

Registered: September, 2015
Posts: 16

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 9, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp, nice bokeh, less CR than other lenses I have
Cons: Manual focus clutch, loud fucusing, rear lens cap, low contrast/softer at 200/f2.8, tripod mount
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-r and K-5 II   

INTRO:
Before this lens I used Pentax DAL 50-200 mm f4-5.6 with my K-r. Size and weight change is huge with this Tamron 70-200. Holding that weight steady is something I must get used to. My first shots at 200 mm in low light was disappointment. If I can get steady shot with plastic lens at 1/15 I can't at 1/60 with this Tamron. But truth is K-r have poor stabilisation which sometimes hurt more than help. True when recording handheld video with this Tamron, I get better result if stabilisation is off (not so with plastic Pentax lenses).

IMAGE QUALITY:
Lens gives very sharp image, if focused right. Bokeh is nice, but can be nervous a little if subject is close to some tree. I love the image by all aspects from 70-135 mm at any aperture. But over 135 it become soft when fully open with weaker contrast and blured edges on contrasty elements. On target like newspaper, Pentax plastic lens would be sharper, more contrasty. But than if Tamron is stopped down to same f5.6, it is much sharper than Pentax lens. This softness is only visible if tree with thin branches is pictured at f2.8 against bright sky. But on human face, it makes nice and soft skin. So not as bad as it seems at first sight.

AUTO FOCUSING:
Lound, but not louder than other Pentax lenses that I have. This lens hunt focus a little, but again not worse than DAL 50-200. Focusing is just about the same in every aspect as DAL 50-200. It seems as "kit lens" performance with PRO level of image quality and build quality somewhere in between. Lens have accurate focus with my K-r - no correction needed. Outdoor with decent light gives high ratio of succesfull focused images. But if subject moves randomly (my kids...) Tamron + K-r can have some troubles focusing right.

Somehow my copy does not focus in live view either: Tested on Kr and K-5 II.

MANUAL FOCUSING:
It is very hard due to only 90 degrees of ring turning. At 200mm only slight touch of ring change focus vastly. Ring is very sensitive. It can be done though but with great amount of "hunting". My wife get bored and kids impatient until I "catch" manual focus, and redo shots many time. I would not want to focus manual on wedding with this Tamron (as with my other plastic KIT lenses).

Tamron + Pentax K-r VERDICT:
This basic and old camera have it's own focusing limitation so Tamron 70-200 can't improve much over kit DAL 50-200 in sufficent light. I can't see much benefit over KIT lens, regarding handling and even image quality if light is ok. Real benefit is wider aperture, thus greater bokeh, which gives that "professional look" to wedding photos. What is worth is when light is not sufficent, Tamron can focus in less light and overall gives better results with more successfull shots. Especially coupled with external flash gives great results and focuses right. I would bought and keep this lens even with K-r camera only and would use it when payed project would arise. For capturing my kids I'll keep small plastic lenses one on my K-r.

I must mention that Pentax K-r have bad pedigree of front focusing under yellow, low light. Tamron can not solve this.

HANDLING - the bad:
I just started to hate three things of this lens straight from testing it in the store:

1) manual focusing clutch - it's impossible and useless.
2) lens tripod mount - gets in the way
3) Rear lens cap - it's impossible

manual focus clutch:
First camera must be on MF, than focusing ring must be pulled back. It makes loud smack sound and just like unsynchronized gearbox in the car it doesnt engage if gears are not aligned. So several atempts with slight turning the ring is needed. Pointless to say you move focus by that. But disengaging is even louder with sound as one would crack thick plastic slat.

SOLUTION to overcome impossible manual clutch:
a) I can leave it on manual all the time*, since all my plastic KIT lenses have fixed manual ring, and I'm used they rotate during AF. So it works as other lenses. I'm mostly holding this Tamron by having palm under zoom ring, but for doing that my second annoyance (tripod mount) must be removed.
b) I can have quickshift with any lense without switching camera to MF. I just press lens release button on camera (thanks to this forum) with my righthand ring finger. AF screw dissengages. Than I do my manual focus and I release the button again.

*Some says that leaving focus ring always in manual position can make unnecessary stress to AF motor. Indeed focus gear inertia of this Tamron lens is much higher than on any Pentax plastic lens. While K-5 II's autofocusing works OK, I rarely manual focus and focus ring is now rather dissengaged.

lens tripod mount
The tripod mount foot is far too close to the lens that would make holding in between possible. I see other lenses have much bigger foot with larger distance away from lens. If Pentax K-5 II have battery grip mounted it will not stand on mount and will tip on the lens. Not good. Same reason prevents holding the lens by the foot. Canon and Nikon have better solution, not to mention new FF Pentax 70-200. Even worse is the big screw at the side pointing upwards. Removing the ring saves me 175 g of weight and makes better grip handheld. When shooting with tripod, It's ok.

rear lens cap:
For unknown reason Tamron decided that their rear lens cap must be taken very seriously when attaching. So each time I want to put cap back on lens rear, I must find white dot on lens and marking on the cap and carefully align them together. As cap only fits in exact ONE position - with 1mm tolerance. Original Pentax cap costed far less than my nerves (8 EUR).

HANDLING - the good:
In body focus motor is strong, so focusing is not slow and I can live with it. With K-r focusing speed and accuracy is not the best. But with K-5 II there is little to none problems. It gives nearly 100% accurately focused shots, both in good or low light, regardless of color. It only struggles a bit with moving target - let say my kids playing football, and they are running toward me. But we know this already - Pentax never was sport champion, and this Tamron can't fix that.

Regarding AF speed, I must mention my Sigma 18-35 f1.8. While almost silent, the focus speed is only negligible better than plastic Pentax KIT lense DAL 18-55. Than Tamron's AF speed is same as speed of KIT DAL 50-200. So it must be camera not lense(s).

The Tamron 70-200 is front heavy. Centre of gravity is where fucus ring begins. That means holding it straight will cause fatigue with small camera like K-r. But With K-5 II with battrey grip, it works much better.

Zoom ring is sticky and with too little damping. It is on par with Pentax kit lenses. It gets job done, but I do not like it for video, because zooming is jumpy. Focus ring is smooth, but only marginally stiffer than kit lenses. And when engaged in manual focus it grinds like some gear would scrub on housing.

Front cap is good. It is easy to remove or replace the cap even if lens hood is attached - which is huge. You can place it blindly and it will stick to the lense. I wish the rear one would be more like it.

Lens bag is very good and practical. It's similar but more basic design as "thinktank" lens pouches. But instead of having attachment for the belt, it have rather short brace for carriing as handbag. I do prefer belt attachment though. So as was with Sigma's pouch I didn't save here neither. Being included or not, I must buy proper thirdparty pouch.

With Pentax K-5 II:
Great companions. Almost perfect focusing in any condition, great IQ, fast focusing, almost good tracking of moving targets (sorry Pentax: New K-3 II is allegedly good, but excelent is none Pentax yet).

FINAL VERDICT:
I bought this lens much because of reading this forum. So many thanks to all contributors. I hope my review would help someone too. I love this lens after some testing with various sotuations on my K-r and K-5 II. I'm confident to work on some live event with this lens, like commemoration, celebration, anniversary, wedding. Even for predictable sports. If I managed to work before with my K-r and DAL 50-200, than armed with Tamron 70-200 f2.8 on K-5 II, will do even better. At F4 is sharp at any lenght. Up to 135mm is very sharp already at f2.8, and regardless of camera it returns more sucessfull shots than cheaper plastic lens. I do not plan to sell it in near future, since there is no viable alternative.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2016
Posts: 18

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $420.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, minimum focus distance, AF performance, cost
Cons: clunky manual-focusing, slightly soft at 200/2.8
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 6    Handling: 4    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-3   

I bought this lens because I wasn't getting as much reach out of my 50-135/2.8 as I had hoped for. I looked at the legacy Pentax FA 80-200, the Sigma 70-200, and the Tamron 70-200, and, overall, I think I made the right decision for my use. WARNING: This review contains Canon L-series comparisons.

The Pentax-mount Tammy is probably the most economical 70-200/2.8 you'll find, as it doesn't have IS or an in-lens AF motor -- it's also a design that's been on the market for a while now, so there's a ton of them floating around used.

It has a solid construction blending metal and plastic where appropriate, and I feel like it's going to be able to handle as much of a beating as those funny-looking white lenses with the red ring.

Speaking of that, I sort of got spoiled shooting for my school newspaper, where I had 24/7 access to L-glass -- specifically 70-200/2.8s, 300/2.8s, 400/2.8s. That was several years ago, and since then, I've missed having long, fast glass that "just works" at all apertures and focal lengths. The Tamron 70-200 definitely fits in that category, with respect to optical performance. This lens is tack-sharp in the center, even wide-open, at all focal lengths except toward the extreme of the 200mm mark.

People mention the 200/2.8 center softness of the lens, but I think it's more of a contrast issue than a softness issue. Pushing up local and global contrast adjustments in images off of this lens make the frame look fairly snappy at 200/2.8. Stopping down just a hair -- say f/3.5 -- really cleans up the center softness/contrast issue, and at f/4, the entire frame's sharpness is completely usable across all zoom lengths. I don't think there's much room to improve sharpness after that, but at f/5.6-f/8, I noticed the contrast of the images really deepens considerably.

The bokeh is... well, different. You know the buttery-smooth bokeh from those classic Pentax long primes? Yeah, you're not going to get that with this lens (or any other 70-200/2.8 I've worked with). Specular highlights are crispy. Low-contrast areas are velvety and smooth. With this lens, if you want your background to look like butter, you have to be really careful about point light sources. Having said that, under controlled lighting, you'll get bokeh comparable to a Pentax prime.

It relies on screw-drive AF, and on my K-3, the autofocus of the lens performs as fast as -- maybe even faster than -- my 50-135/2.8's SDM autofocus. End-to-end focus travel is super snappy, with just a bit of hunting in lower-light conditions.

The manual focus on this lens is essentially unusable to me. You're not going to tap the focus ring to clean up a bad AF hit, since there's no quick-shift focus on this lens. To go from AF to MF, you need to turn the dial on your camera body to MF, and you have to click the focus ring back to engage it. I suppose you can leave the focus ring engaged, saving a step when you need to manually-focus, but this will probably reduce AF speed -- not to mention, the focus ring will spin around while the AF system is running. Very silly indeed, but again, this lens is quite a bit cheaper than the Sigma/Pentax versions, and offers incredible optical quality.

Speaking of focus, the Tamron has a bit of focus-breathing that reduces its 200mm focal length down a bit when focused at extremely close subjects. The Canon 70-200/2.8 is famous for having the opposite problem. This means the effective FOV may be quite a bit wider than you're expecting when shooting close subjects.

In the class of 70-200/2.8 zooms, the Tammy is not particularly heavy nor lightweight. It feels about as heavy as the Canon L-series one. I have absolutely no problems hand-holding it, but I *do* notice that when I pick up my Pentax 50-135/2.8 after shooting with the Tammy all day, I feel like I'm holding one of those tiny Limited primes. Do not underestimate the weight of this thing if you're used to shooting with short primes.

Last but not least, this lens deserves praise for its close-focus abilities. When mounted on a crop-body, this lens is essentially a 1:2 macro lens, which -- at 200/2.8 -- is super useful for killing noisy backgrounds and respecting the personal space of whatever tiny things you'd like to photograph (wasps? scary spiders?).
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Northern Michigan
Posts: 4,834

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 11, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $640.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Great lens for the price
Cons: Auto focus not always reliable
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-5iis   

I bought this lens primarily for photography work I do at the local zoo. I use it for event shooting at the zoo and when I need a slighter wider FOV than is provided by my DA* 300. I would have preferred the DA* 60-250, for the WR, the SDM, and the Pentax colors; but I couldn't justify paying the DA* price for a lens that covers a focal range I don't use all that often.

In terms of optical quality, this is a very good lens. DA* glass may be a tad sharper, a tad contrastier, with better color rendition (particularly of light blues and light greens), but the differences are subtle and often it requires a practiced eye to tell images from high end Pentax lens and this one apart. And this lens performs very well at all focal lengths, even wide open. It's possible, as some have suggested, that it might be slightly less sharp wide open at 200mm, but honestly, I'm not seeing anything significant. The real problem wide open at 200mm is the narrow depth of field, which means you have to absolutely nail the focus if you want the shot to be sharp. Unfortunately, AF may be the principle weakness of this lens. In good light, when focused on a contrasty subject, it's reliable most of the time. In poorer light, with less contrasty subject matter, reliability can diminish. Of course, the same can be said of nearly any lens. However, I find that my DA* 300 focuses more reliably than the Tamron. It's not necessarily a problem when shooting static subjects, where you can refocus and take multiple shots; but it can be a problem with things that are moving. Because of these AF weaknesses, this is not a lens I would recommend for sports or action photography.

Build quality of the lens is nothing special, but good enough for most purposes (it's not WR, of course). Yes, there is a fair amount of plastic; but I suspect the plastic is mostly on the outer shell. The mount is metal and I suspect the basic frame is metal as well. This lens contains quite a bit of glass and is heavy, despite the plastic outer shell.

There is no quick shift with this lens, or an MF switch. You have to change to MF on your Pentax camera and then shift the large focusing ring. So quick changes from AF to MF are challenging with this lens.

For static subjects, whether portraits, animals, or even landscapes, you won't find a better K-Mount lens covering the 70-200mm focal range at the Tamron price.

Below are some sample images.

Landscape at 107mm, f8:



@ 70mm, f4:



@ 115mm, f3.5:



@ 140mm, f3.5



@ 200mm, f2.8



Addendum:

I've had the opportunity to use the lens on a full-frame camera. It works very fine on the larger sensor as well. I haven't taken any wide open shots (the DOF is pretty narrow), but stopped down the lens is sharp edge to edge.

With the K-1:

@100mm, f16

   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2009
Location: Varaždin, Croatia, Europe
Posts: 295

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 14, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp, very nice bokeh, light (1,1kg)
Cons: focus hunting, wish it were made of more metal
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 7    Value: 10   

I was deciding between DA*50-135, sigma 70-200/2.8 and this. Found it used localy and it had the aperture already replaced so I didn't hesitate much. The aperture tends to get stuck at f/2.8 on most of these Tammys as I've read.

It's a big lens but that's normal for its range and aperture. I usually leave the tripod collar mounted as it balances nicely in my hand.

The image quality is very good starting from f/2.8 and it only gets better. Colors are a bit on the cold side which is specific for Tamron lenses, but that can be easily worked out in PP. Bokeh is smooth, especially for a zoom lens. It has a 9 bladed aperture so that helps

The negative sides are focus hunting which occures sometimes (on several different cameras) and build materials. I wish the whole outer barrel were made of metal, not just the part closest to the mount where the tripod ring is mounted. But I suppose at the price, you can't expect more

Here's a test shot; wide open, only adjusted exposure in PP


This one is at about f5.6 and 200mm:
   
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 723

4 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 1, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $730.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp! beautiful bokeh, true color, fast AF
Cons: monster size (but for 2.8, a light lens)

As so many others have said, this lens is a fantastic lens by any definition - especially for the money. Sharp as a tack from 3.2, it's even really sharp at 2.8 - it just gets sharper even slightly stopped down.

Gorgeous true color, saturated, neither too warm nor too cool. Of the 3rd party lenses I've had, it's the only non-Pentax lens whose color I truly like. I never find myself adjusting my colors in PP.

Amazing micro-contrast for a zoom, almost as good as the DA Limited lenses. I miss my DA70mm for it's pixie dust, but the 70-200 is about its equal in every other way (my DA70 was sharper at 2.4 than the 70-200 at 2.8...but it's really that special mysterious pop that separates the DA70 from everything else at this focal length).

The lens is well balanced and easy to hold. Zoom is smooth & never creeps. The focus ring has a long enough through for easy fine tuning in manual, but focuses plenty snappy in AF. I'm shooting with a K-x and the AF on this lens is fast & accurate, no hunting problems at all. Lens feels solid, a good mix of metal and plastic. The hood is a huge hunk of plastic that locks on solidly - I never worry about my front element, cause that hood will protect the lens against anything I may run into when I forget I've got a foot of lens sticking off the front of my camera :P

I see very slightly purple fringing wide open with high contrast, but it's really slight and only wide open. I *hate* PF, so trust me when I say it's very very minor

I bought this lens to shoot a wedding (for which it was invaluable - a perfect application for it), and it's just been a stellar performer at everything I've turned it towards since - portraits, semi-macro spider shots, baby mountain goats & mountain flowers


200mm f/3.5


200mm f/3.5 ISO 200


200mm f/2.8 ISO 200


70mm f/3.2 ISO 800


200mm f/2.8


200mm f/3.2
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Stockholm
Posts: 1,527

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 9, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Very sharp, Internal zoom, nice bokeh
Cons: Auto-/Manual focus switching, heavy
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3 and K-5II   

Excellent value for the money. The lens really surpriced me beeing very sharp wide open and excellent from 3.5 on. It has screw drive auto focus and therefor works best on the K-3. AF is quite fast with just a bit of hunting occasionally but no more than any of the other lenses I own.
Unfortunately you can't fine tune focus if you have auto focus activated. In order to use manual focus it has to be set on booth camera and lens wich renders it practically useless for fine tuning. Over all it's a great lens

Some examples:

170 mm f 2.8



200 mm f 3.5
   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2009
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Posts: 2,117

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $560.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Superb IQ (even at f2.8), nice bokeh, high value for money
Cons: No AF in K-5 Liveview (K-1 ok), manual focus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5, K-1   

This is great value for money lens. It has some really nice glass in it and I have found the build quality to be good (but don't expect Limited series quality).

I have only had the lens out for 4 sessions so far (will post an update later). I find that although it out performs my other glass in the 70-200 focal range (exception: DA70), it is fairly large and you need to be on a photographic mission (as opposed to casual photography). That said its a joy to have when you need it.

I find phase detect AF perfectly fine. Its fast enough for most uses and accuracy has been very good for me. However my copy won't focus in Liveview at all. Although not a show stopper at all for me.
The one thing that, I wish was better (and stops the lens being a 10) is the manual focus. No so much the clutch mechanism but more importantly I find it manual focus too sensitive / touchy. In fact with a good quality 2x adapter on for photos of the moon, I find it nearly impossible to get optimum focus. This is the only reason I made handling a 7 (otherwise handling is good).

Update: Now I have a K-1 and I am finding that this Tammy likes the K-1 more than the K-5. Comparative to K-5, shallower depth of field is available and autofocus in LV now works! Will post some more K-1 samples soon. Also handling is somewhat better balanced on K-1 so have upgraded my rating there.

Here are some initial samples.
1. f2.8:2. f4:3. K1 - F2.8:
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Mission, B.C.
Posts: 165

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 16, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $780.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, minimum focusing distance, price
Cons: Weight/size, manual focus, noise
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 6    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

This lens is, without a doubt, my favourite telephoto zoom I've had the pleasure to use. I rented the 50-135 before I bought this, and found it to have better colours and arguably more pleasing backgrounds (and also it feels like it's less than half the size), but I found it to be slow as molasses to focus. The Tamron is a heck of a lot louder, but it focuses quickly and accurately on the K-3. The lack of a tripod collar on the 50-135 is also an annoyance (I like to shoot on a monopod, and the tripod collar makes it really easy to switch from landscape to portrait). The Tamron also has a shorter minimum focusing distance, which really appealed to me given my love for getting right up close and personal with my subjects while using a telephoto. IQ is pretty stellar; good wide open and nearly unbelievable at f4.

The only real complaint I have with the lens is the manual focus clutch system the Tamron implements, which is an ergonomic nightmare. To change from auto focus to manual, you have to not only flick the switch on the body, but also grab the focusing ring on the lens and pull it back. This two-step process might be forgivable, but the clutch mechanism is sometimes tricky, and it can take a little finesse to get it to disengage, which slows the whole process to a crawl. Even worse, disengaging the clutch moves the focus, so you have to start from scratch focusing. That being said, I'm sure that with practice the process will get easier, but every time I go through it I appreciate quick shift a little more.

Overall this lens is just about perfect for a budget 70-200. Silent focusing would be nice to have in some scenarios, but for the most part the screw drive is fine, and as I said it's fast and accurate. The manual focus clutch really sucks, there's no point sugar coating it, and I have to wonder why it was engineered that way, but other than that one sticky point I'd have no issues recommending this lens to anyone.
   
Junior Member

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Brwinow, Mazovia, Poland
Posts: 46

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $830.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness and bokeh quality, build, attractive price
Cons: Purple fringing happens often
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-5   

I fell in love with this lens once I got it in my hands. What bought me first was sharpness and perfect bokeh. At the time I stay at home, not much chance to go outdoors, and squirrels and birds on my homestead appear to hide. Luckily, I had the chance to take two portrait sessions at my terrace. Faces, clothes: all are rendered perfectly with great colour and "3D feel". I do love the bokeh!

I was afraid of handling. No worries. As long as you can take pictures using a telephoto lens, no problems with camera shake. The lens is perfectly balanced in my opinion and handles very well.

Yes, the AF happens to miss the subject if you don't point exactly at the chosen point. Yes, switching to MF is a little bit weird but it is not a primary worry for a Pentaxian.

What is some point is the fact I could generate a big deal of purple fringing in situations I would have not expected that. A portrait session with a dark suit and white shirt: Always fringing where the suit met the shirt. An outdoor food photo which I often do: the edge of white plate against dark flora of my place: Purple fringing. Not that it is hard to correct in Lightroom, on opposite, it is very easy but I just only want to say: Purple fringing was the only negative point for me.

Overall, I have great expectations towards this lens. We'll see when the bicycle season really starts in my country...

All samples on K-5.

122.5mm, f/5.6


115mm, f/4.5


140mm, f/4.5


77.5mm, f/2.8


82.5mm, f/4


70mm, f/2.8



92.5mm, f/4 (bokeh!)


200mm, f/5.6, crop 30%


Macro test, Tungsten 500W. Distance=0.95m, f/8. Focal lenghts: 70, 87.5, 100, 130, 160, 200mm.


Taken a while ago... 200mm, f/4.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2011
Location: New York City
Posts: 5,632

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 8, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, beautiful bokeh, very nice colours, smallest of the 70-200s, good build quality
Cons: Still heavy, noisy AF, seems to be a dust magnet, AF-MF switch system is stupid
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 10   

I personally believe this is the best of the 70-200s, even when taking into account Canon's L 70-200 V2. This lens, priced at $700 retail, beats out everything except the Canon lenses in sharpness. The picture quality is quite astounding, and the colour rendition is very good (slightly warm). I really enjoy using this lens on my k-x (which seems like quite the mismatch in size) and practically use it as my daily walking lens (at least until I get a 17-50).

Picture quality:
Again, I cannot rave enough about this lens for sharpness - at F2.8, it beats out my 90mm macro lens. At F8, they're about even, but I still feel that the 70-200 is sharper. Seeing test comparisons between the Tamron and the Sigma, the Tamron beats out the Sigma everywhere at every aperture except at 135mm F2.8.

Chromatic aberrations with this lens is very well controlled. I barely get any PF or CA in high-contrast areas except maybe at F2.8. At F5.6, it's clear as crystal in any high-contrast border.

The lens performs better it seems at 200mm than 70mm, with it's weakest focal length at 135mm. Fortunately for me, I got this lens to go to 200, and to pull back to 70 for close portraits.

Autofocus:
Not the forte of this lens. The MF-AF lens switch function is useless - when you switch from AF to MF, you more than likely changed the focus by a bit, so it's not a quick-shift system. I personally leave it on MF mode and let the focusing ring spin while focusing. The focus throw of the lens isn't huge, so it's not that easy to manual focus this lens - especially if you are hand holding it. It uses the screw drive motor in the k-x, so at least it's better than the mini-motor that Canon and Nikon get in tihs lens.

The AF is relatively loud - not something I would take to a wedding or the church, but in practically any other event you can't hear it. There is a tendency for this lens to try to focus and slowly grind it's way into perfect focus - it does this especially in low-light conditions. I can shoot sport with this lens, but it takes some practice and I can't say I can shoot it with a good success rate.

Handling/build:
The lens is pretty well build - the body is a nice solid plastic without the plastic feel. The tripod ring I believe is metal - it feels like it anyways. The entire body is pretty weighty, but is supposed to be 70% lighter than the Sigma and the Pentax 80-200. The huge petal hood is nice, with the ribbing inside to absorb additional stray light. The lens is not weather sealed, and I think some dust has already gotten in (a nice speck can be seen on mine on the inside) - so try to take care of it in a dusty environment. The zoom ring feels very smooth throughout - I keep playing with it, which I guess is partly the reason why I get dust inside!

No aperture ring, as it is one of the DI lenses from Tamron (Digital something). Tripod mount is easy to adjust. The plastic body feels very nice, and the bayonet is metal.

Overall:
I would definitely suggest this lens to anyone who needs a 70-200 F2.8 for general use. It does amazing portraits, very sharp shots of wildlife, beautifully renditioned pictures of flora, and at 2.8, I can go into concerts and sport events and get everything.

Sample Pictures:
I have uploaded full-size shots onto flicker, so you can pixel peep if you want.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jindesu/6281466575/sizes/z/in/photostream/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jindesu/6281980698/sizes/z/in/photostream/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jindesu/6281465105/sizes/z/in/photostream/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jindesu/6203525265/sizes/z/in/photostream/
   
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2009
Posts: 134

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 20, 2010 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: good quality glass
Cons: heavy

I really like this Tammy and I use it for Outdoor photography

With the K20D ít has a good balance for handheld shots; e.g these ones all handheld (Iso 640):
















cheers Marcel
   
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2015
Location: South West UK
Posts: 1,493

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 22, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $420.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ
Cons: Silly AF Clutch
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K-3II   

Wow.
Fantastic value. Extremely good lens, optically.
I use this lens a lot for dog photography, it's perfect for long range action candids and narrow DoF portraits while being able to stand back, out of their 'zone of interest'. Also fantastic for head and shoulders portraits, but you'd need to be in the next county for a full length shot. Also useful for garden birds and not-too-distant, not-too-speedy, sports work.
AF is fairly fast and accurate on my K-3II although it was a little disappointing on my old K-50. It is screwdrive, so is a bit noisy compared to a DC/SDM type...not that bad though.
Enough has already been said about the AF clutch switch - just silly, but you do get used to it and you're not likely to be switching that often to be too much of a problem.
All in all, for the price you are hard pushed to fault this lens.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: December, 2008
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 410

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 14, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: sharp wide open.
Cons: handling with tripod col.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: K3 and K5   

This is a great lens for concert and event shooting. It has a great range and is fast at a constant f2.8 Since it is very sharp, I do not hesitate to shoot wide open...

Event shoot is very demanding. I shoot my daughters marching band in daylight and under night lighting. Under lighting I need to shoot wide open and need to push out to 200mm quite often. The lens never fails to deliver on IQ. Given the action of a marching band, and my need to move from subject to subject, I put a lot of demand on the AF system. In most cases I hit but there are some misses.
It is a noisy AF system, but for the price it is fine.

I want to go back to IQ. The IQ wide open is impressive, and It seems to meet the demands of the k3 with 24Mpixels without an AA.
I find little CA and post processing for CA, or other aberrations, is not necessary. I find the IQ on par with the DA 50-135.

The price is great as well.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Posts: 794

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 11, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, fast, sharp
Cons: heavy, not wr
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

So far this is my favorite lens for portraits, sharp, good AF, great bokeh... and the price.. the price is amazing for the images and IQ that this lense can bring. Cant wait to use this with a FF camera and see the potential. Pentax 70-200 f2.8 will have to be awsome in order to beat this lens, specially if it comes kind of expensive because for the price and image quality, this Tamron is great.




Add Review of Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro



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