Dvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1730 posts, RR: 11 Posted (4 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 9741 times:
A few weeks ago I purchased the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 lens to replace my trusty Minolta 70-210 f/4 (beercan) lens. The old f/4 was reliable but I found it was just not very good in high contrast situations wide open (blooming occurs). I've had my eye on the Tamron ever since it was announced back in February or so. Overall, the lens doesn't really disappoint.
On a Sony body, the lens' autofocus is driven by the in-body motor. On the a700, the motor is very fast and torquey, and the lens responds in kind. It does take a long time to rack back and forth from infinity to minimum distance (a focus limiter would have been very useful) but overall actually acquiring focus and tracking seems to be overall very good. For a Canon or Nikon user this is going to be a very tough decision to make, because while Canon and Nikon's f/2.8 options (with and without IS) cost quite a bit more, they do have rock solid ultrasonic motors. There is also no IS, which for a Sony or Pentax user is not a problem as they have in-body IS. There is also no full-time manual override, instead you pull the focus ring towards you to enable manual focus. It works well enough.
The actual optical results are very hard to argue with. I have a few shots in the queue from last week where I used it to watch some ground action at BDL. I was out at BOS today watching actual moving stuff and it worked very well. I've used it indoors for concert photography (along with strobes) and I've noticed that at 200mm f/2.8 at close distances the depth of field is so narrow that you really need to stop down to f/3.5 or f/4 to get someone's face in focus for instance. The lens is still sharp at f/2.8, though, and when the subject is far enough away (e.g. in your standard portraiture) the plane of focus issues are less of a problem. The lens is very sharp, has low aberrations (both distortion and vignetting on APS), has good background blur... overall an excellent performer.
It feels pretty tough even though parts of the lens barrel are made out of plastic. The tripod collar is easy to remove and feels pretty substantial. The lens hood is large and deep, though I wish it had a sliding window to adjust a polarizer. The lens is built to a price, and for a $699 entry price it had to cut a few corners (namely one section of the outer barrel made of plastic). It does come with a nice padded soft case.
The lens is a solid option for a 70-200 f/2.8 and if you don't feel like spending big bucks on OEM glass. For Canikon users it's a much harder decision to make as the in-lens motor is not as good as in-body options on the screw driven versions of the lens. I have not tried a teleconverter with it, but I'm sure a quality 1.4x will work well with it as the lens has sharpness to spare. Though I will mostly be using this lens for non-aviation purposes (where something lighter and more practical than the Bigma fits), it'll perform well if you're close enough that 300mm isn't necessary.
Dvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1730 posts, RR: 11 Reply 2, posted (4 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 9703 times:
I know you have an 80-200 HS and I don't think this lens is much of an upgrade over that, unless you really really want the other 10mm on the back end. Pretty much a definition of a lateral move. However you could sell the 80-200, buy a 70-200 new and use the leftover profit for something else as I know 80-200 HS still tend to go for about $1,000 USD on eBay.
FWIW, this lens would probably be a fantastic performer on the a900 (or the 5Dmk2 or D3X). Some day when I get a full frame (five years from now?) this baby will be waiting for it.
Here's a sample at f/4. Not very challenging, but it was behind glass and the amount of detail captured on the 100% was stunning. Very minimal sharpening was applied.
TopGun3 From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 246 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 9367 times:
Wow....very nice (and sharp) picture.
You are right....no point in getting 70-200mm when I got a 80-200mm.
I was always fond of Tamron equipment.
I'm seriously considering getting the Sony 70-400mm lens when it comes out. I'm thinking about selling my 70-300mm G SSM that I got in the summer to partially pay for it.
It is a nice lens, but not very well suited to spotting. I took some test shots of flowers and bugs at 300mm and they were beautiful...but aviation photos at 300mm seem to be a bit soft. Not sure why. For someone who is going from lesser lenses to the 70-300mm G SSM it might be OK, but for me to go from 80-200mm F2.8 & 300mm F2.8 prime to that one was a step down.
I had a chance to play with the 70-400mm Sony at a Photo show in Toronto and it felt very solid (metal vs. plastic). Took some hand-held shots indoors at 400mm and the quality was very acceptable. Can't wait to try it out on a sunny day outdoors.
Normally I wouldn't hesitate about buying a new toy like this, but recently I purchased a new SUV and my goal is to eliminate some debt ASAP. Don't want to live on borrowed money like rest of North America.
Dvincent From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1730 posts, RR: 11 Reply 4, posted (4 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 9303 times:
I'm eventually looking at the Sony 70-400G as well to replace my Bigma. There's a lot to like for it as an upgrade. Lighter, better focus, smaller, faster aperture... Unfortunately it probably won't be until next year for me (as I think I've bought my fill of photo stuff for the year already). But it's on my radar as well.
If you didn't have the 80-200 the Tamron would definitely be a buy. If only it had a supersonic motor, it would have been a 100% win. Tamron's got to get on that some day. Their optics are IMO superior to Sigma but Sigma has had HSM motors for quite some time now.