Tamron SP AF 200-500mm 5-6.3 Di LD IF Review

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Tamron SP AF 200-500mm 5-6.3 Di LD IF Review

Postby Thomas » Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:32 pm

I just ordered the above lens, to test it thoroughly. It got pretty good ratings here on a 8MPix Canon, but as you can see from the review, that was Klaus' second lens directly from Tamron, so the first copy must have been so-so.
It unfortunately has no IS, but that is my own dumb fault, as I didn't buy a camera with in-body-IS :?
The latest ColorFoto test choose to ignore the lens, so now I have to see for myself.
I'll compare it to Nikon's own VR 80-400mm here which is ripe for an update now but still is the only "affordable" alternativ from Nikon on the long end (@ 1450€), the Tokina 80-400mm and the Tamron SP 500mm.
I'll keep you posted!
Last edited by Thomas on Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:21 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Tamron SP AF 200-500mm 5-6.3 Di LD IF Review: Fact Sheet

Postby Thomas » Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:08 pm

Here are the main facts from the catalog:
Size: 93.5x227mm = it cramps 500mm into this? Not bad! :)
Weight: 1237g = the lightest 500mm lens, very good :D
The lens is even lighter than most 400mm fixed-focals or zooms, with the only exception being the Tokina AT-XD 80-400mm 4.5-5.6!
(both size and weight still are in another league than my 500mm mirror-lens or the Sony AF 500mm 8.0 Reflex which are shorter at around 10cm and weigh only 600g :( )
Optics: 13 elements in 10 groups incl. 2 LD element :?
Closest focus distance/max.magnification: 2.5m @ 500mm / 1:5.0 (I'll test this!) :?
Filter-thread: 86mm = very large (very expensive) :(
No IS :cry: :cry: :cry:
AF = the lens is not useable for D40/x-owners :cry:
Tripod collar = standard, plus it is removable :)
Ah, and it covers FF-sensors, like all tele-lenses except Oly :)
Last edited by Thomas on Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tamron SP AF 200-500mm 5-6.3 Di LD IF Review

Postby Thomas » Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:23 pm

Now on to some testing!

First the inevitable tree-shot, this time a fir. Using a tripod to eliminate any shake. To make things quite clear, I just show you the 350mm/f11 shot in toto and then some centre-crops at 100%. I didn't bother to mark where exactly the crops were from, because it doesn't matter: most crops at different focal-length and (naturally) at wider apertures or from the borders were not much better than the ones I present here :cry:
Image
The following crops are at 350mm/f11, 200mm/f11 and 500mm/f11, the latter being clearly the softest.
Image Image Image
Looking at these crops I'd say: I could have done better with my 18-200mm by magnifying the respective area with software. But I didn't do the comparison.

But I did some shots of the famous Siemens-star and another one that is comparable across all the tested tele-lenses.
I'll present here a 410/f8-shot at close distance (magnification almost 1:10) plus 100% crop. This shows a 12mm grey disk in the middle, at least on my monitor. These grey disks are comparable across my lens-tests and the diameter is directly proportional to the resolution of the lens.
Image Image
B.t.w.: Maximum magnification of this lens was measured 1:5.0 @ 2.5m.

And a 400/f8-shot from far away plus 100% crop (near centre).
Image Image

Conclusion:
Would I buy this lens? Never! That's simply too unsharp for my liking. I'll stay with my Tamron 500mm mirror-lens, until Nikon comes up with a renovated version of the VR 80-400mm. But still, there is one shot that I like with this lens (and where you can evaluate ghosting and flare):
Image

I was quite disasappointed and stopped testing pretty fast :(
And I thought that building a good-IQ 2.5x tele-zoom was easy...
Last edited by Thomas on Sun May 09, 2010 12:47 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Tamron SP AF 200-500mm 5-6.3 Di LD IF Review

Postby Thomas » Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:44 pm

Btw.: Klaus Schroiff's test here placed this lens in the "very good" range at 400mm, but only the second sample, supplied by Tamron Europe. Unfortunately Klaus doesn't show the results from the first lens.
Another case of a bad quality sample? Look also at the following shot in its full glory. In my view there is no single sharp grain of sand on the right side of the pic (compare to the left side!) :(
Image
Last edited by Thomas on Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Tamron SP AF 200-500mm 5-6.3 Di LD IF Review

Postby Gordon Laing » Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:52 pm

Hi Thomas, nice tests - shame it didn't deliver the goods... are you thinking of trying the Sigma 50-500mm?
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Tamron SP AF 200-500mm 5-6.3 Di LD IF Review

Postby Thomas » Fri Sep 14, 2007 5:15 am

Gordon wrote:thinking of trying the Sigma 50-500mm?

Nope! That lens is definitely too heavy/bulky for me and I didn't see any other tests, that would entice me in doing so. Perhaps the Sigma 80-400 OS (=IS)...
But honestly, after my test of the longs two things came out consistently:
- The Nikkor had the superior optical formula
- I'd never buy a tele-zoom without IS
And personally my urge to get an "automatic" ultra-long has diminished quite a lot after this test! I'll stay with my 500mm Tamron mirror for the time being. That is a lens you can carry around all day!
If I go FF/FX and if Nikon updates their VR 80-400 I'll think about that lens again. Or perhaps the Nikkor VR 70-300mm if your test comes out positive, Gordon...
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