Tamron toy

I’m not very self-indulgent. I don’t spend a lot of money on my photography. This is just as well considering the results. It seems when I do fork over the big bucks the results are disappointing, and when I purchase something for mere pocket change it’s much more rewarding. Sort of the opposite of what should be expected.

When I bought the latest indulgence I truly believed it would be an asset. For one thing, Tamron is a venerable name in lenses. For another the specs seemed good, especially the wide focal length range which gets around the need to lens-swap on the Canon at 55mm. That was annoying.

On the downside, the lens lists for crazy money and there is apparently no support from Tamron in this country; the equipment is considered “gray market” and if something goes wrong they won’t fix it even at your expense. Not encouraging.

So when I came across a used one for half price I figured it was worth a shot. Short form: nope, it wasn’t.

Pros: short, light weight, easy to handle with a good zoom range of 18-200mm.

Cons: slow to focus, poor low-light focus performance, and it’s not very sharp.

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Small fry with the Tamron. It’s blurry, no matter how you slice it.
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Small fry with the Canon 55-250mm. Significantly sharper.
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Small fry with the Nikon P610. Makes the Canon lens look poor and the Tamron look awful.
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Tamron at full 200mm. Significant and inconsistent vignetting. Also the shorter focal length makes one yearn for the ‘missing’ 50mm.

So what is the lens good for? Anything? Well it’s not bad for average picture taking of general scenes.

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When sharpness isn’t important, it’s fine.
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Female common merganser and her brood, watching the sunset. This would have been much better with the Canon lens, but there was no time to swap (why I like the vast range of the Nikon).
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The sunset they were watching.

For the record, I’ve made three photographic purchases in the past two years which I regret: the Nikon W100, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS60, and this Tamron 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC. They all could have been great, but disappointed for the same reason: lack of sharpness in the lens.

I am now loath to make any more purchases at all, for any amount of money. It’s a shame too because I think I found a replacement for the ailing Nikon P610: a Sony DSC-HX300/B for <$300. Other options are well over that (like a used P610 for more than mine cost new). I’m not keen on buying any more lenses for the Canon either, as it seems ‘affordable’ is a synonym for ‘low quality’. It would be worse if I shelled out for the top dollar glass and was still disappointed.

I’m not trusting new equipment right now.

 

4 thoughts on “Tamron toy

  1. Thanks for this post, Marc. It validates what I’ve thought all along – you don’t need to buy the most expensive equipment to take good photos. Of course, I have never bought any expensive equipment, but there has been a range in prices – and I always feel a little guilty when the best photo I take is one I’ve shot with the cheap little point-and-shoot my kids gave me for Christmas many years ago. If my photos are going to be so-so no matter what camera I use, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense for me to invest in anything further than what I already have.

    Like

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