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Old December 4th, 2009, 03:24 PM   #1
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Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 notes

I thought I'd try out the Tamron 15-50mm f2.8 lens since it's now become available the past few days.

I can offer a brief comparison of the Tamron to the Canon 15-55mm f2.8 since that is the logical comparison for use on the 7D.

It is like the Canon - an S size lens that only works on APS-C chips. It is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Canon. It is noisier when it is auto-focusing. The focus ring is way out in front of the zoom ring (opposite of the Canon) and you have to move the lever to MF from AF to go manual and move the ring with ease. It will turn in AF setting, but it makes noise and is hard to turn. The Canon moves with ease and better friction with either MF or AF setting. Lastly, the focus is Nikon-centric rather than Canon-centric in that infinity is achieved in a clockwise direction rather than the Canon counter-clockwise rotation. For those of us who have been using Canon and Fujinon broadcast lenses for decades, this is a big deal - but less so for people who are more Nikon lens-centric.

Tamron calls their version of Image Stabilization - Vibration Compensation (VC) and in a few simple tests it looked like it performs as well as the Canon in this area.

Lastly, I did receive a camera body error message in one still exposure mode that told me to clean the lens contacts, but I was unable to duplicate this error any other time.

So I will be returning it and keeping the Canon 17-55mm even though it is about 1/3 more $$.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bruce Schultz View Post
I thought I'd try out the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 VC lens since it's now become available the past few days.
Thanks for the review. The focus ring friction on my Tamron 17-50 (non-VC) is also too loose; sounds like they haven't improved it. Aside from that difference in friction, did you notice any other significant focus differences? Do they have a similar amount of throw (total rotation in degrees)? Breathing and/or parfocality?
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Old December 4th, 2009, 11:54 PM   #3
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I got one of the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 VC right after I got my 7D. Tamron had a good reputation for an excellent lens at a bargain for the non-VC model and I think the VC model, which I have, matches these reviews. I think the Tamron is well built, quality lens with a good image, and apparently it is parfocal throughout the zoom range.

However, one thing that you need to do with 7D video is to focus using the manual focus ring, you just can't use AF all the time, and if you wanted to do a rack focus, you'd need to manually focus.

Unfortunately, the Tamron's manual focusing ring is toy-like. It's got a really short travel, and at least mine is sticky. This makes getting a fine manual focus, if not impossible, much more difficult and fiddly than it should be.

Because of this I recently ordered the Canon 17-55mm 2.8 and just tried it out tonight for the first time in a live situation (a woman's choral group). I was manual the whole time and it was quite easy as the manual focus as the Canon's focus ring's travel is relatively long and the action is smooth -well, at last it's not sticky.

I really, really wanted to like the Tamron, and I think for still shooters who use AF it's a fine lens, and 2/3 the price of the Canon, however for me, I need more precise manual focus capability and so I'm keeping the Canon and the Tamron's going to be returned.
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Old December 5th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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I have Tamron (VC Version) and I probably agree with all your comments.
It is great lens for stills, but for not for video. Doesn't have full-time manual focus. However I'm keeping it for stills and just god Sigma 30mm 1.4 for video - absolutely amazing lens with 1.4 aperture makes it great!
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Old December 5th, 2009, 11:06 PM   #5
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I own a Tamron 17-50 and I have no issue at all with the focus ring, it's almost perfectly smooth and is extremely easy to nail focus with. Maybe need to try a few of them out before you buy, I hear their QC isn't the best.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 09:37 AM   #6
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I had the 17-50 for the D90 and picked it up as my first lens for the 7D last week. It's a pretty lens for the price. We shot with it on Friday with a follow focus and it did well. The extra room past infinity can stink though. With it being a 2.8 it did well giving us what we needed without too much worry about being in focus.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 03:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Adrinn Chellton View Post
I own a Tamron 17-50 and I have no issue at all with the focus ring, it's almost perfectly smooth and is extremely easy to nail focus with. Maybe need to try a few of them out before you buy, I hear their QC isn't the best.
Hi Adrinn,

Can you please verify... the other poster meant focusing while the lens is still in Auto focus.. are you saying that you can focus smoothly manually while the lens is still in the auto focus position? This would be good to know... My first cheapo canon 17-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens was grindy to manually focus while in auto but I recently bought the expensinve 17-55mm f2.8 canon and it is smoothe to manually focus while still in auto.

Thanks for any info..

Cheers,
Scott
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Old December 21st, 2009, 07:32 AM   #8
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The Tamron lens can't be manually focused while in AF mode, well you can, but it really doesn't like it. You are fighting the motors the entire time. I have one love it and rarely use the auto mode. Canon's auto focus is far better, but the Tamron glass hangs with it for picture quality.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 12:14 PM   #9
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I'm confused, why would you want to manually focus while the lens is in Auto focus?

It isn't easy to focus my Canon lens easily while in auto focus either. It alway wants to go back to the focus it had.

Am I missing something?
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Old December 21st, 2009, 01:46 PM   #10
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Chuck, canon usm lens are 'full time manual' meaning you can manually focus even though the switch is in AF mode.
Most 3rd party do or do not have this ability (some sigma have there own version called HSM).

I think Jerry is saying that the Tamron lens does not have the usm equivalence, and he uses his lens for video, which is why he has to switch it to MF so he can manually pull focus.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 01:58 PM   #11
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I'm new to the "still" side of the 7D, I pretty much only use it for video and there would be very few, if any, times that I would even consider auto focus. I'm kind of myopic in my understanding so I didn't even consider why this would even be necessary.

Thanks for the clarification.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 05:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Scott Shama View Post
Hi Adrinn,

Can you please verify... the other poster meant focusing while the lens is still in Auto focus.. are you saying that you can focus smoothly manually while the lens is still in the auto focus position? This would be good to know... My first cheapo canon 17-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens was grindy to manually focus while in auto but I recently bought the expensinve 17-55mm f2.8 canon and it is smoothe to manually focus while still in auto.

Thanks for any info..

Cheers,
Scott
I guess I misread that, I meant the focus ring on my lens, while it does have a fairly short throw, doesn't have issues with stickiness in manual mode like some people have reported.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 08:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Chuck Spaulding View Post
I'm new to the "still" side of the 7D, I pretty much only use it for video and there would be very few, if any, times that I would even consider auto focus. I'm kind of myopic in my understanding so I didn't even consider why this would even be necessary.

Thanks for the clarification.
The auto focus seems good to me in video and does actually work while shooting video with the 7d.. not as well as my normal video cameras but it will auto focus by half depressing the shutter release while recording. As far as why I would want fulltime manual while in auto.. I do run and gun shooting and sometimes hit the af before recording to get in the ball park then fine tune while recording.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 05:23 PM   #14
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I was at a camera store looking at this 17-50 Tamron lens today and comparing it to the 16-50mm 2.8 Tokina. I couldn't decide because I've never gone with a Tokina. Does anyone have that experience in comparing the two lenses?
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 06:16 PM   #15
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I have heard good things about the Tokina 11-16MM and have one on order, doesn't help answer you question though.

I have the Tamron 17-50MM f/2.8 which I am exchanging for the same model with VC [vibration control] their version of IS [image stabilization]. I shoot a lot of handheld and found that the IS makes a big difference at the 50MM end of the lens. I wouldn't choose the Tokina unless it has IS if like me you do a lot of handheld work.

I also have a manual 85MM lens which is great, again no IS and it is very sensitive to any movement, I find it challenging to get good camera moves even using a 501 fluid head.
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