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Tamron have announced a lightweight, high performance fast tele-zoom in the SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro and Ian Andrews was among the first to get his hands on one.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8: Specification
- Focal Length： 70-200mm
- Maximum Aperture： f/2.8
- Angle of View： 34°3′ ~ 12°3′
- Lens Construction: 18 elements/13 groups
- Minimum Focus Distance： 0.95m (entire zoom range)
- Maximum Magnification Ratio： 1:3.1 (at f=200mm, MFD=0.95m)
- Filter Diameter： Ø77mm
- Overall Length： 194.3mm＊
- Maximum Diameter： Ø89.5mm
- Weight： 1112.6g* (without tripod holder)
- Diaphragm Blades： 9 blades
- Minimum Aperture： f/32
- Standard Accessory： Flower-shaped lens hood
- Compatible Mounts： Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony
*values given are for Nikon AF-D cameras.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8: Build and handling
This optic is designed to compliment Tamron's excellent 28-75mm f/2.8 optic and sports a similar build standard with smooth movements of both zoom and focus rings in it's traditional twin ring design.
The forward focus ring has Tamron's push/pull AF/MF focus control, which does save fiddling for a switch on the side of the lens or on the camera and makes it easy to change from autofocus to the manual option. Some may say too easy, but I found the control weighted just about right.
A neat distance window occupies the area between the two control rings, marked in both metres and feet. The two rings take less than a quarter of a turn to cover their full range. A substantial tripod collar is provided and this is adjusted by a knurled knob that needs completely unscrewing to remove the collar. The supplied petal-shaped lens hood is reversible and deep enough to do it's job well and the centre-pinch cap is easy to remove/replace.
The lens is billed as lightweight and, for an f/2.8 lens of this focal length, it is. However it still weighs in at over a kilo without the tripod mount, attesting to the quality of build and the amount of good quality glass required in this type of optic.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8: Performance
Any lens entering the marketplace in this focal range is up against some very stiff opposition and this offering does manage to stand up well. Edge performance, on a lens that is designed for full frame sensors, stays close to that of the centre, and commendably so.
Slight softness, which is measurable but not so obvious to the eye, when the lens is used wide open, quickly sharpens up as the optic is closed down and the optimum is reached between f/5.6 in the middle of the zoom range to f/11 at the longest focal length.
There is little degradation as the focal length increases (another good sign) and good contrast is maintained throughout the focal range.
Chromatic aberration is so well controlled that there is little point in mentioning the phenomenon here. It is not detectable by eye and measurements are minimal, well within tolerances. The same can be said of the distortion control.
The one place where this lens is let down on the performance front is in the focusing speed. While it's no slouch, it's just not up to the same level as the sonic motors of the opposition and is certainly more audible. Tamron really do need to get themselves a sonic system.
70mm shot taken at f/2.8 1/1600second exposure.
200mm shot taken at f/2.8 1/1000second exposure.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8: Verdict
For the price, this lens represents excellent value for money which isn't unusual for Tamron. Available in all the main mounts, it makes an ideal alternative to the OEM offerings, especially if you can live with the slightly slower focusing. The AF/MF switchover is a boon and the close focusing ability, at just under a metre, is handy too.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8: Plus points
Nice build and weight
Excellent optical performance
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8: Minus points
Autofocus slightly slower than the opposition
The Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro will be available in the ePHOTOzine shop soon. In the meantime, take a look at other cool Tamron gear here.