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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD IF

I've been living my childhood dream of owning the dSLR for almost 2 years and as I move deeper into photography, the more I learn about the limitations of the equipment. That's why I've been researching and always longing for a new lens to replace my standard stock kit lens of AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR that came together wtih the D90. The ultimate dream lens of Nikon user is always the incredible AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED, which is priced at RM6,688 but unfortunately it's out of my reach.

After a long research and consideration, finally I grab the cheaper option of Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD IF for a price of RM1,550 that's always in my wish list. I always tell people that the main reason for using a Nikon dSLR is only because of the range of incredible Nikkor lens that's available. If you are not planning to use Nikon lens, then no need to buy Nikon dSLR. I'm ashame to admit that I just join the group of people that I complain about.

My other enthusiast friends suggest me to move on with a cheaper option rather than waiting forever saving for the dream lens. As although the cheaper lens is not as superior as dream lens, it is still by any measure a much better lens than my kit lens. With my intention to move myself into professional level, I made this decision.

Here is my new un-box Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD IF lens. This lens is special made for DX camera and the 17-50mm range is effective 24-70mm after conversion.

The main reason I made this decision is because I've already decided that I love photography and I plan to upgrade to full frame in future. This 17-50mm lens will allow me to familiarise myself to the 24-70mm range in full frame camera. The superior quality of f/2.8 will also allow me to fulfill my current desire for my wish bokeh effect that will improve my photography quality tremendously. It will be one of my important step towards my plan of turning professional.

Opening up the box, the content is very generous. A good manual booklet, lens itself, lens front & rear cap, and lens hood. Basically everything you need for a lens is inside, except the pouch which I dont need.

Signature of the Tamron higher end lens model, a gold colour band around the barrel. Let's do a quick review of the physical built of the lens.

The cap provided is very good, better than Nikon in my opinion. It's center pinch design is very practical and useful. The focus ring is located too near to the front and with the hood reverse installed, it will block the control. This lens does not support full time overwrite on focus during autofocus setting, so it's not a big deal. The zoom ring is nicely rubberised and the built quality is very good. 17mm lock button is provided and printing of focus distance is available as well. The only complain would be the focus ring will turn when its focusing Annoying. The weight is only 430gram and it balance up very nicely with the D90 body. It's definitely lighter than the kit lens.

Moving on the quality and functional of the lens, there are a few regular complains moving around on the web. Let's look at what's the problem.

Being a third party manufacturer with a cheaper price tag, problems are unavoidable but is it serious?
1. Focus hunting issue. I personally have no problem with the focusing in bright area but once you move into darker object, the focus hunting is very real. As the focus ring will rotate during focusing, you will notice the focus ring will move forward and backward 1-2 times and it will adjust alittle again after you think it's done. It all happened in miliseconds, but it's enough to frustrate the professional. For that price, I can live with it by just waiting for the focus to settle down before clicking it.
2. High buzz sound during focusing. Tamron does not have a silent motor technology like Canon, Nikon or Sigma, so the high buzz motor sound during focusing makes you look like amateur in an event. It does not bother me though and the focusing speed is acceptable in my opinion.
3. Motor failure. Consulting many people and I think the problem relies on the turning focus ring during focusing. As the motor is an amateur design, any thing that stop the motor during it's focusing will actually daamge it. I do agree that it will damage the motor if your finger is place on the focus ring during focusing but it shoud not limited to only Tamron lens. Do that to any lens including Nikon, I'm sure the motor will protest as well. Question is only how soon.

Other than the 3 problems above, I think this Tamron lens left only advantages. Super sharp lens, minimal distortion, neutral colour, resistant to flare, light weight, and of course, the cheap price tag.

For whoever that's upgrading and have a limited budget, get this lens. For whoever considering to get a dSLR, buy only the body and get this lens as well. You will not regret it. I'm so happy now with its performance. The quality is killing me and I'm starting to explore the possibility with this new lens all over again. It's so exciting. Some shots taken with the new Tamron for your viewing pleasure.

Before closing, for those that have the budget, go get the Nikkor lens. I tested both, and the price do justify the difference. It's the matter of affordability, you will get what you pay for. However, the Tamron is a above class lens for that price tag.

Sunset view from my home.

Striking colour on sunset, I failed to capture the beauty of the nature.

Focus on the hand, and the bokeh on the laichi is crazy. Power of f/2.8.

Focusin on the M, again the bokeh power of f/2.8 is crazy.

Crazy bokeh again, exactly what I'm looking for. Beautiful.


dimzPhoto said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

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