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Archive 2012 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review
  
 
snapsy
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p.1 #1 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


Received my 2nd copy, which has only a 1/2 stop miscalibration on the aperture lever vs a full stop on my first copy.

* VC "break-in" issue and "fix" *
Both copies exhibited an out-of-box phenomena where the vibration-control doesn't work properly initially. The symptom was two-fold: 1) When the VC first engages the images shifts dramatically, much more than the typical Tamron-VC shift and certainly more than a Nikon VR lens. There is an initial large shift followed a few quick shorter shits. It takes about a second before the shifting stops. 2) The VC doesn't actually yield any stabilization when it exhibits symptom #1. Photos taken with VC on are just as-blurry and many times more blurry than with VC off. It appears the large shift that occurs when VC is engaged is leaves the floating element positioned so that it can't supply any stabilization.

On my first copy the lens exhibited the above symptoms for the first hour and then suddenly the symptom disappeared and the VC started working as advertised. I surmised the VC elements must have needed some nudging to either wear-in or position them correctly. Just a wild guess at this point. When I realized the second copy had the same issue even after 15 minutes of use I expedited this "wear in" by entering Live View on my D800, which has full-time AF and so the VC stays engaged. I let the IS stay on for about two minutes, after which the VC worked properly.

Once the VC is working properly, I'm able to achieve sharp photos down to 1/10 hand-held on both my D800 and D3s about 70% of the time @ 70mm. On my D5100 I can achieve sharp photos at the same percentage at 1/10 as well, even though the effective focal length is .5x more. The lens is rated at 4-stops of VC but that would mean 1/4 second on FF, which becomes too slow without some type of physical support, like leaning against a wall.

* Miscalibrated aperture lever *
My second copy is off by 1/2 stop, so that f/4.0 is actually f/3.3 in terms of light/DOF. You can read more about my experience with this on my first copy here: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=42138310

* Decentered *
My second copy exhibits moderate decentering, with the extreme left edge much sharper than the right. The two edges become equal at about f/5.6 (which is really f/4.8 when you account for the aperture miscalibration). Oddly at f/.8 the right side becomes sharper than the left. This decentering was noticed at 70mm. If this copy acts like other mid-range zooms, I expect the decentering may flip to the other side at the wide end, though I haven't checked this yet. The decentering is worst at MFD distances but luckily improves at mid-range distances.

Decentering at near distance:






Decentering at middle distances:






* IQ *
My second copy is extremely sharp at all focal lengths, much more so than my first copy. Even at f/2.8 there is an abundance of detail and contrast. Lens is sharp edge-to-edge at f/5.6 and above. There is some CA/fringing, even up to f/5.6, depending on the scene. IQ is a bit less at MFD vs middle-to-infinity focus distances. Flare control seems decent. Bokeh is a bit nervous and lens suffers from the previously-reported "onion bokeh" effect of concentric circles for OOF highlights.

* AF *
AF speed is very fast, just a click off the Nikon 24-70. Focus appears accurate thus far - my 2nd copy tuned at 0 on both my D800 and D3s.

* Sample photos *
Here are some sample photos, on both the D800 and D3s. All were shot raw and sharpened in two passes (raw + large-radius USM in CS5). Full-sized images are available in the gallery, and EXIF is maintained. All of the D3s images were indoors at very low shutter speeds. I expect to add more images in the coming week.

http://horshack.smugmug.com/Category/Tamron-24-70-Review/25479188_jTFjgq#!i=2099113768&k=kpbBFFT

* Conclusion *
The lens has sample variation/new-model teething problems but if you can find a copy with only a slight aperture calibration error, "break-in" the VC, and get a sharp copy...the hassle IMO is very much worth it.



Sep 20, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Jammy Straub
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p.1 #2 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


Wow, that really makes me want to buy one... ... ... Not.


Sep 20, 2012 at 08:49 PM
vchowdhary
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p.1 #3 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


Always very detailed and lot of data points for any conclusions from Snapsy.

I'm interested in this lens, but the price point is just a bit high for me currently



Sep 20, 2012 at 09:24 PM
EB-1
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p.1 #4 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


Yikes that is a bad one. My Tamron 24-70/2.8 VC (Canon EF) was more closely symmetrical, but not optically overwhelming. However, a good copy is such a unique lens and sufficient for many purposes. There is no other 24-70 lens with f/2.8 and image stabilization.

EBH



Sep 21, 2012 at 12:03 AM
snapsy
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p.1 #5 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


EB-1 wrote:
Yikes that is a bad one. My Tamron 24-70/2.8 VC (Canon EF) was more closely symmetrical, but not optically overwhelming. However, a good copy is such a unique lens and sufficient for many purposes. There is no other 24-70 lens with f/2.8 and image stabilization.


Yeah, I accepted the decentering because this copy is otherwise very sharp, much sharper than the first copy I had.



Sep 21, 2012 at 12:29 AM
gugs
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p.1 #6 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


Jammy Straub wrote:
Wow, that really makes me want to buy one... ... ... Not.

+100

Guy



Sep 21, 2012 at 06:15 AM
snapsy
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p.1 #7 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


I took some better samples today. Here's the gallery, all with the D800, hand-held, and @ f/2.8. All processed heavily in LR4, including extensive sharpening. I've enabled the full 36MP images for viewing, and EXIF is intact.
New Gallery



Sep 30, 2012 at 05:25 AM
 

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drbabz
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p.1 #8 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


i think this sentence nicely summed it up:

"There is an initial large shift followed a few quick shorter shits"



Sep 30, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Airphoto
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p.1 #9 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


IT is really amazing that for $1300 Tamron has such quality issues. I think i need to let the dust settle and look again


Oct 25, 2012 at 02:45 PM
MackDaddy1962
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p.1 #10 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


drbabz wrote:
i think this sentence nicely summed it up:

"There is an initial large shift followed a few quick shorter shits"


Lol!!

Agreed... pass for now. Although the Tammy VC is enticing, I'll keep my Siggy HSM for now.

PS - No disrespect Snapsy. Thanks for taking the time to test, and give great evaluation for us!



Oct 25, 2012 at 04:09 PM
NathanHamler
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p.1 #11 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


Prob would make a good video only lens, where the perceived sharpness is less in the final product...and where the VC is constantly engaged vs clicking on and off like with stills...


Oct 26, 2012 at 03:53 PM
geniousc
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p.1 #12 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


I had focusing problems with my first copy and returned it. The second one is incredible and right up with primes. I own a LOT of lenses. I didn't have exposure problems with either one nor did I notice any break-in period. Maybe it was just my technique.

gene



Oct 27, 2012 at 12:28 AM
jsbeith
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p.1 #13 · Quick Tamron 24-70VC review


geniousc wrote:
I had focusing problems with my first copy and returned it. The second one is incredible and right up with primes. I own a LOT of lenses. I didn't have exposure problems with either one nor did I notice any break-in period. Maybe it was just my technique.

gene


Same here. I returned my first one which was incredibly soft across the whole image. My second copy is a keeper!

Scott



Oct 31, 2012 at 12:03 AM





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