Lens review

Tamron SP AF 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO

29 July 2009
Arkadiusz Olech

10. Autofocus

As we’ve had mentioned before, because of its high utility for professional photographers the 70-200 mm f/2.8 class lenses constitute a prestigious category. Small wonder the manufacturers put inside the lenses everything what they have the best. The Nikkor 70-200 mm VR, the Canon L series lenses or the Sigma70-200 mm f/2.8 II are equipped in an ultrasonic autofocus mechanism. Although an USM or an HSM can be better or worse, in the case of the 70-200 mm class there are only the best motors and their work is always silent, quick and accurate.

The Tamron looks, unfortunately, like a Cinderella among its competitors. We get a typical, noisy “drill”, which would be perhaps considered quick for a “drill” but is simply no match for the Canon’s USM, the Nikkor’s SWM and also, the Sigma’s HSM motor.

What about the accuracy? Regrettably, the situation is not very rosy either. The focusing mechanism in such an instrument should be very accurate and the Tamron simply fails in this category. In studio, where there is no lack of lighting, the lens missed in 11% of all attempts and, after connecting to a converter, in 15% of all attempts. If it was an amateur class, we could have turned a blind eye but in the professional class, where the Tamron aspires to be placed, such a performance is unforgivable. Especially that, when we try to use it in a less favourable surroundings, the number of errors increases significantly. It concerns not only the cooperation with the Canon 20D body (which is, after all, not a professional camera) but also with the EOS 1D MkIII class camera, where the focusing mechanism “helps” the lens as much as it can.

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Fortunately, the lens didn’t have any backfocus of frontfocus tendencies.

Tamron SP AF 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO - Autofocus