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Tamron Lens Question

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Catz, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. I saw this lens at Ritz and wanted to know if anyone has had experience with this lens and what you thought of it. I also wanted to know if it will accept the Nikon Teleconverter to make it 1000 mm and which one should I get. See I need a long lens reach for the Merritt trip in Feb to take shots of birds.

    If no one has had experience with this lens, maybe you can recommend another one for me beside the Nikon one which I can't afford right now.

    Thanks everyone for any help you can give me.

  2. cknight


    May 2, 2005
    Madison, AL
    I don't know anything about the Tamron, but here are a few more ideas...

    Sigma has a few new ones out that go to 400 or 500mm.


    I'm not sure how a TC would work with these lenses. It might function, but I'm not sure well AF would work with the reduction in light.
  3. To add to the mix (can't comment on the Tamron) but there's also the Bigma (Sigma 50-500) that isn't too bad. Flew used to own one.

    Have you checked www.keh.com? You might be able to pick up a used 300/f4, either AF-s or AF, for about the same money. Even without a teleconverter, you'd be ok with that focal length on a D2x.
  4. Melissa,
    I have owned the manual version of this lens, and therefore I suspect the new Tamron 200-500 is very sharp. However, teleconverters are not extremely useful for any big slow lens. IMHO Typically, f/4.0 is the limit for fast focus. I currently have the Bigma (Sigma 50-500mm) and teleconverters offer little or no benefit over simply cropping. Also, it helps to shoot at f/8 or more, because it's just not sharp wide open. I suspect the Tamron is as good as the Bigma at 500mm, could be better, could be worse. I'd like to know the answer to this also.
  5. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    I find the Sigma 50-500 works very well with the 1.4 - very little degradation. The 2.0 is useable in good light - not as good as the basic lens or with the 1.4 but useable if you need the picture. Agree that f8 gets better results. See http://www.pbase.com/donald_09 for a sample of the lens alone and one with the 2.0 attached. The exposures were made on a very gray day off the deck of my house.
  6. I stick by my analysis of my particular Sigma lens. I find it interesting that many tests are made of lenses, but are generally only made on samples of one lens. There can be some variation in quality from lens to lens, as in any product. I had a Nikon 300 f/4.0 lens once that was not sharp at all, whereas almost all are sharp. Anyway, I'm skeptical of any lens test for this reason. I have known of photographers who would order multiple lens of the same model, test them, pick the best and send the rest back. The bottom line is that I, like most of us, have only tested single lenses. It's only thru the reporting from several photographers, or a more scientifically constructed test of a number of lenses, can we get a statistically significant assessment of lens quality. In this way, over time, lens develop reputations. But you still could get a 'lemon'. Lens quality is also relative. Side-by-side tests under the same conditions offers the best assessment for most of us. I once owned a Tokina 150-500mm f/5.6 which I thought was sharp until I bought a Nikkor 400mm f/3.5. All that said, I really like my Bigma 50-500, but if I specialized in birds/wildlife I would prefer a big fast Nikon prime or the 200-400 VR. If your looking for a compromise, lower cost alternative the Bigma or the Tamron are likely among the best choices. If you want fast focus using a teleconverter on a 500mm, I think you need a much faster lens. IMHO.
  7. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Melissa :

    Like anything with lenses, this one will be a compromise. You'll get pretty good reach and zoom flexibility, lose a bit on the speed of the glass, especially at the long end, and probably be a bit less sharp than the alternatives suggested. OTOH, it'll cost one heckuva lot less than a Nikon 200-400mm AFS/VR or any of the primes.

    If it's anything like most tele-zooms, the sharpness will improve a bit with stopping down from wide open aperture.

    < shrug >

    The real question is if you're willing to accept the compromises. And make no mistake, there are always compromises with lenses. I have a 200-400mm AFS/VR, and as much as I love the lens, I know that I could do other things with other lenses. However, for me, the compromises, including the price, are worth it. It's given me reach, flexibility, sharpness, and allows me to travel with such a lens in my backpack.

    Think really really hard about why you want the reach, the zoom, how much you want to spend etc. Amongst all of the lens lust and excitement here in the Cafe, we have highly knowledgeable people who will tell you that the lens is far less important than the photographer and her instincts and training. For all the big immense fast sexy (über-expensive) glass discussed here, we have people like Janet Zinn doing remarkable photography with the often demeaned 80-400mm VR (which is only "less expensive" when compared with a 500mm f/4 AFS-II, after all).

    How is this ? Well, repeating, it's the photographer that determines the shots.

    Melissa, if we were in the same area, I'd bring over my 200-400mm and let you shoot with it for a day for comparison. Most people find it heavy and unwieldy, virtually mandating shooting with a tripod all the time. I shoot it handheld mostly, but that's me. I was striding through marshes last week next to a slough in Texas brandishing the lens to photograph roseate spoonbills, and a tripod just wasn't in the equation for me (it would have sunk in the mud and water, not to mention tangling me up in marsh grasses as I followed the grazing flock). You might or might not want to shoot in those circumstances, using the lens that I like, mud to your chin, and lens above the water (metaphorically speaking, of course, as people who know me well will tell you that I rarely get down 'n' dirty to shoot :rolleyes:  ). I'd loan you anything that I have to help you decide, but I don't have the lens that you've mentioned.

    As an alternative to borrowing the lens from a Cafe member or a friend, I very very strongly suggest finding a store with the lens you're interested in and shooting with it on your camera body for a good half-hour in the store. Don't worry, if it's a serious store, they can handle this. Go home and look at the photographs you took, and seriously think if you want to shoot with this lens every day. TOLady (Sandi) tried my 200-400mm on a shoot, and decided that it wasn't the lens for her. It's a lot cheaper alternative to buying and selling the lens for tests...

    At the end of the day, the "best" lens and "best" camera are the ones that you pick up with joy and shoot to get photos you like. All of the sturm und drang about brands, price, and features discussed in the online fora is meaningless compared with what works well for you.

    IMNSHO, anyway. :wink:

    John P.
  8. Melissa,
    John P. makes many good points. My gut feeling is that you would like a lens like the Tamron 200-500mm Di lens. Whatever you buy, practice with it before your trip to learn how best to use it. If you 'Google' for reviews you will find stuff like the following review:

  9. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  10. I want to thank everyone for their views. Now I have to make a decision. You all are so wonderful for answering my question.
  11. Melissa, I saw this lens in our local Pro store a few months ago and asked them to mount it on a D2H for me. Knowing it is a lens without an internal motor, you want the 2(H/X) to drive it, and even so, it f...o...c...u....s...e...s r...e...a...l...l...y slowly. Did I say "slow", I mean REALLY slow. I had an older version, sort of, from Tamron which was AF as well, and what you lose with this lens is both the speed of focus as well as the aperture. If it were I, I'd be looking long and hard at the 300 f4 + TC route as well. I am sure you can find, or modify, TC's that will work with this lens, but say bye-bye to AF when you do. The only downside to the 300f4 + TC combo is that you lose the zoom-a-bility, but I think that what you would gain for that would be well worth it. You won't get quite the reach, but given the "cropability" of the D2X an "effective" 6mp 1000mm is quite achievable with the 300 f4 combo.

    I will also guarantee you that your frustration level from not being able to focus quickly enough will not exist with the Nikon combo, but will drive you nuts with the Tamron. Heck, I went the Tamron "slow boat" route myself for a long time, and look what it did to me..to me....to me........to me.........:wink:
  12. eyeoutwest

    eyeoutwest Guest

    I have this lens. It comes in handy to really pull your subject in close. Best shots are with a tripod but I have gotten great shots hand held to. My "Hubble" (Tamron 200-500) has spent many miles in the back of my motorcycle with no problems. (durable) A great lens for Yellowstone! I hope this helps. Dan... Oh ya and with the included lens hood it really looks like a bazooka!
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