Learn From My Stubbornness - "Lateral" Lens Change Wasn't Worth The Headache

Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,797
Location
Central Ohio
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Andrew
I know this post is long, so if you don't want to go through the journey with me and want a bottom line...

So Bottom Line:
Sometimes it doesn't pay to be "cheap" or try and save a few bucks. If you need to upgrade, just do it! Please learn from my mistake!

Now, jump to the bottom of the post to see the images or continue reading below for my diatribe! lol :)

For those that do not know, I shoot Nikon as my primary system. Currently using the D500 and Z6 as the workhorses.

I've used the generation 1 Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC lens for many years, starting back on the D300 and all the way up through today.

The big issue I had was the Tamron's incompatibility with the Z6/FTZ. It would work correctly sometimes, but would often miss focus or rack focus quite a bit.

I had many options in my mind to chose on how to resolve.
  • Contact Tamron about the potential of updating the G1 lens
  • get a Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR and sell the Tamron to fund a "lateral" lens
  • sell the Tamron and upgrade to the Nikon 70-200 VR II or newer yet "E" version
  • sell the G1 version and upgrade to the G2, now that it had a firmware update to be compatible with the Z6.
Never wanting to spend more money than I need to, I thought that trying to see what Tamron would say about sending in the G1 would be an option. Support responded and stated that there are no plans on updating the G1.

So, I look at the next options, and cost wise - the VR II and newer "E" version of the Nikon lenses were more than I wanted to spend, even used. I look to the original Nikon VR.

Local store had a few copies. In store, from some preliminary testing, copy A worked fine. Traded the Tamron in and paid the difference, which was minimal.

I had an opportunity to shoot with the lens at an event within a few days of purchase. Sharpness of the lens is acceptable. Not as good as the Tamron I traded, but issues are pixel peeping level and not something that clients would have noticed. Issue comes in with focusing.

Depending on God knows what, the AF would just refuse to go either from back button or shutter half press and it was intermittent. The only way it would fire back up is by power cycling the camera or grabbing the MF ring and nudging it slightly.

I thought it might be a potential Z6 compatibility issue - test the lens on the D500 and the Df. Same issue on those bodies.

OK, so that one lens is going back. Reported the issue to the store associate. They get me another used copy of the Nikon 70-200. I do much more strenuous testing in the store of AF. This one showed no signs of AF issues. Shaprness/IQ appears to be the same.

I have a busy week and do not have a chance to test out the lens for 7 days.

All appears to be well with the lens, until I start trying to shoot images that are at 200mm and infinity focus. Damn it....no matter the shutter speed(1/320 to 1/1/000) or aperture(f/2.8 through f/8) on the D500 the focus is off or the IQ is just plain trash. totally unacceptable.

Possibly an issue with AF Fine Tune...so I give that a try on the D500....no matter what I do, I cannot get the thing to sharpen to an acceptable level.

So, in my head, I know that I made a mistake. I asked my wife to kick my ar$e for me, since I can't get my foot/leg to bend in that direction.

I take this lens back, and go with the Tamron G2 and TAP-In Console, brand new.

Luckily for me, I think the old saying that God looks over fools and small children is true.
The camera store was running some specials and Tamron had a $200 instant rebate on the G2.

I pay the small difference on a new G2 and immediately head over to the Columbus Zoo with the D500 and just the 70-200.

Not only is this lens a superb performer, it was so new from Tamron that it already had the Version 2 firmware pre-installed, so should be good to go with the Z6.

First thing I notice on the D500 is that the AF is spot on from the get go at all apertures and all focal lengths. It is indeed one of the sharpest lenses I've used for Nikon. Wide open at f/2.8 is even better than the Tamron G1 I traded. To say that I am super happy with this lens is an understatement, even just from the 3 hours I spent testing it to death.

I also spent about an hour using the new lens on the Z6 and had no issues whatsoever.

So Bottom Line:
Sometimes it doesn't pay to be "cheap" or try and save a few bucks. If you need to upgrade, just do it! Please learn from my mistake!

Now, images!

Disclaimer: Any images that are of reptiles or primates were shot through dirty glass. Bird images had no barrier between myself and the subject.

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Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
2,503
Location
Jupiter, FL
Real Name
Andy
Love the images!

And I admit to having gone down the path of half-measures too many times. So much better to just buy the right tool and spend time making photos rather than struggling with gear imperfections.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Messages
15,540
Location
Los Angeles, USA
The 70-200mm 2.8 VR I is a good lens, but it's getting long in the tooth and there are lots of old copies floating around that probably need a CLA. You could of also bought a 70-200 2.8 VR-II and I think most clean copies floating around are still quite solid. In fact I just bought a used one online recently and it's flawless. Tried it both on my D750 and a Z6 with no issues. Though my 300mm PF has the better VR between the two.

The Tamron looks good though and congrats on the purchase!
 
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
205
Location
NC, USA
Real Name
Aaron
I bought a G2 recently also. I sold my previous copy before getting the Z6 since there wasn’t a firmware update timeline at the time. Needing a fast telephoto recently, I barely hesitated before returning to a Tamron. Its a killer lens at a reasonable price!

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NCV

Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Messages
531
Location
Italy
Real Name
Nigel
I think going for a second best solution is a common mistake when buying expensive photo gear. None of us have an infinite pot of cash for photo gear.

A similar problem has arisen with my newish Nikon 28PC that I picked up for €200. I have found this lens so nice to work with that I am looking at the more modern Nikon 24.
 

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