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james

Tamron 70-200 f2.8 Macro

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Hi Gang,

 

I'm thinking of getting this lens for my upcoming trip to the Phils:

 

tamron70200-001.jpg

 

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0802/08020701tamron70200.asp

 

I think I'll be able to fit the lens in my multi-port and be able to zoom and focus underwater. The lens have a minimum focus distance of 30" but I think it will work well with a +1 or +2 diopter fitted.

 

What are your thoughts? The lens is just now coming available at $700.

 

I'd like something more versatile than my Canon 100mm or Sigma 150mm

 

Cheers

James

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I thought you had already done this? I was hoping you'd have the answer already! :lol:

 

DPReview lists closest focus as 0.95m. It's better than Canon's 1.2m or 1.5m but it would be a lot better if it could do 1:2 rather than just 1:3. I'm interested to know if it's full time MF override. The dpreview blurb wasn't totally clear. It doesn't appear to have the clutch mechanism so that's promising. That large front element may be a problem for some macro ports.

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Mine is on the way - I'll let you know. The front filter ring is 77mm - which is good and bad.

 

Cheers

James

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This lens does appear to have a focus clutch. It may be hard to switch between MF and AF underwater without a special port.

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No problem - I shoot in AF all the time now and use the star button to lock -- then get fine focus by moving in and out. The AF on the 1D series is really sweet - and with an F2.8 lens, I have high hopes.

 

Cheers

James

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whats the min focus on your 70-180 Craig? 30" sounds like a lot to me James, let us know what you can get it down to with the diopter action

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What's the idea of using this lens if it can't do macro; fish portraits?

I know Craig likes this lens range, what's the real utility?

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It's supposed to be a MACRO lens - so I'd think it can do macro :-) If the MFD is 30" then it's about 22" from the tip of the lens or so. That's a bit far IMO - but if you add a +1 you'd probably get an MFD of about 10" from the lens tip - which isn't too bad. With a +2 you could probably get right on top of a critter.

 

The point of a lens like this is to be able to photograph subjects from the size of a matchbox up to the size of a decent sized fish, on the same dive. In a perfect world it would be like having a 60mm and a 200mm Nikkor on the same dive. But because of these macro zoom lenses it's like having a 45mm and a 105mm on the same dive.

 

Cheers

James

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The working distance of the 70-180 varies but it gets under 5" in the middle of its focal length. At the 180mm end, its effective focal length shortens to around 100mm at close focus. It is capable of 3:4 at 180mm. With diopters it responds well and can get to 1:1 or even better.

 

With the 70-180 you can get nearly all the fish portraits of a 60, most of the reach of a 200 for shy subjects, and much of the magnification at close distances of a 105. Not as good as any of those lenses for their intended purpose but you get all of them on the same dive. Image quality is great, too, but autofocus sucks.

 

Because of the focus range limitations of the Tamron, the trick will be for James to figure out how to focus close enough while still maintaining enough flexibility to reach those shy creatures and shoot the larger subjects. Without being able to shoot fish portraits, there's not much to argue for the zoom over simply using a 100 or 150. I believe he will need to fix a +1 and use a macromate or Inon wet diopter. Trouble with that is that I'd hate to have to combine 200mm, a wet diopter, and autofocus. :D

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Ah James, what exactly are you going to shoot with a 200 macro lens? The eyeballs of a wunderpus? :D

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From my estimates, the minimum working distance of this lens in air without a diopter is about 30 inches. The focus range with a +1 will vary between 32 inches and about 13.5 in air. Best magnification with a +1 will be about 4:7 resulting in a field width of 62.5 mm for full frame. A wet diopter would get you into the closer ranges. Remember that water distances are longer than air ones (though magnification is the same).

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James,

 

This looks like a good stand in for your old Nikon 70-180mm macro. It reaches the same 1:1.3 magnification with newer technology and a faster aperture. The aperture is faster so focusing should be faster. It doesn't focus as close however, as it gets to 1:1.3 at 200 instead of 180. A Canon 500D comes in 77mm thread so it should get to ~1:1 with a diopter alone. Things to consider: does the lens extend during zooming? Will it fit in a macro port without vingetting? Is the tripod collar removable?

 

Keeping it steady at 200mm + diopter will be the biggest difficulty I think. But if you don't like it you can always go back to 70mm if you want. 200mm may not be too bad on FF, 105mm with a diopter is challenging for me on DX.

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This lens does 1:3.1, not 1:1.3 like the 70-180 does. The larger aperture itself makes the lens slower to focus, not faster, although it's likely faster than the 70-180 for other reasons. Using a Canon 500D will limit farthest focus to 0.5 meters or a maximum working distance of 12 inches. In my opinion, such a maximum distance ruins the lens's ability to take full advantage of its wide and long focal lengths. The reason to have the lens in the first place is to get a powerful macro capability while retaining the wider perspective for fish portraits. With a working distance of 12" at most, that is not practical.

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oops in a moment of dislexia I must have misread the specs. 1:3 really isn't macro. It could work at the long end, but wouldn't be as useful as a prime macro lens. With a diopter, 1/2 meter focusing would be too restrictive.

 

I think you're better off switching back to Nikon and getting your 70-180 back. Now that Nikon has FX you can switch back.

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Hi James,

I am also very interested in this lense.

Could you please keep the forum updated with your trials and results,

Thanks in advance,

Bruce...

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Sure Bruce,

 

The lens just became available for Canon mount at B&H this week. I bought mine last week from a small shop but it hasn't arrived yet.

 

Cheers

James

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OK, I got my lens and tried it out today. Here are some sample pix:

 

70mm w/ no diopter - All shots taken w/ lens at close focus:

 

70nodiopter.jpg

 

200mm w/ no diopter:

 

200nodiopter.jpg

 

70mm w/ +2 B+W diopter:

 

70diopter.jpg

 

200mm w/ +2 B+W diopter:

 

200diopter2.jpg

 

So the lens performs as advertised, yielding 1:3.1 macro at close focus w/ no diopter fitted. The sharpness is VERY good. The ruler is about 30" from the lens tip, which is a bit far for underwater macro.

 

Also, as you can see, the lens performs poorly with the +2 diopter at 200mm - smearing out the corners a lot :-( So - next stop is the Sigma 70-200 macro

 

Cheers

James

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The performance looks good without the diopter. If the goal is flexible fish portraits 10cm isn't too bad. 30" might hurt your sharpness however.

 

There is quite a lot of distortion in all these pics however. Maybe this is to be expected with the zoom. This will be less appearent when photographing nudis rather than rulers. I don't expect you will see many rulers you want to shoot on your dives :D

 

I'm not suprised at the performance with the B+W diopter. Its fairly low quality and not an acromat. I would try it with a Canon 500D diopter. Its an acromat and it comes in 77mm as you need it. I'll bet the performance is better. Do you need the diopter all the time? Maybe a Woody's instead? I like my 6T on my 105VR, but if the goal is flexibility maybe a wet diopter is the trick?

 

How was AF performance?

 

Maybe its better to stick with a 100 mm macro and add the TC when necessary?

Edited by UWphotoNewbie

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I agree with you and Chris - that performance is very poor in the corners with the dioptre and that is before you have got it behind a port and shot through all that water. I think that the flexibility of this zoom will not be worth the other short-comings of this lens over a standard macro lens. I have never found using fixed focus macro lenses particularly restrictive.

 

Alex

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Hi James,

 

Any chance of an update?

I've been pulling my hair out trying to find a zoom for my Nikon APS-C sensor.

I'm looking at the zoom range of this lens BUT, in a 'digital format' lens...

Anyone with any ideas, or any new arrivals on the block?

 

Please, please, pretty please... :D

 

Bruce...

Edited by bruceterrill

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Hi Bruce,

 

Well - It is not an acceptable lens when used with the B+W +2 diopter. I still want to try it w/ a 77mm 500D and a +1 B+W and see how it does. If it's not good, then it's going back and I'll try the Sigma.

 

It's a shame really because it's a really sharp and well made lens for topsides use.

 

Cheers

James

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Bruce,

 

Why do you want a digital format lens? I think the trend has been to make full-frame lenses for professional use on the long end. For long lenses (with narrow FOV) there isn't much to be gained in making them for cropped sensors. Only the superzooms (18-200mm) have had to resort to DX projection. I don't think that any of the superzooms will be suitable for UW use anyway. I use the 18-200mm most of the time topside however.

 

I still think that looking for a used 70-180mm macro would be your best shot. That was a great lens--particularly if you can get a focus port for it. I wonder how auto-focusing would be on a D3 with its faster motors and wider image circle?

Edited by UWphotoNewbie

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Guys, I have some good news. I am able to use the zoom and focus in my Seacam housing by using the systemport for focus and a 100mm macro lens focus gear for zoom. I had to put some small shims under the focus gear to get it tight but it works.

 

The gear in the systemport basically bites right onto the focus ring on the Tamron lens. I slid the gear all the way out by loosening the set screw and sliding it out - however, the gear still pushes the lens slightly off center in the port. I think if I file the gear teeth down a bit, it won't be so bad - but I'm not sure if I even need to.

 

I can also just take that gear off to use the lens in autofocus w/ my normal macro port which seems to work as well - but I might want to add a lens support under the end of the lens (maybe a small piece of sponge) because it's pretty long and heavy.

 

I've got a 500D in hand to try, so will report back if this works better as a diopter.

 

Cheers

James

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Hi James,

 

That's very good news about the tidy fit in the housing, BUT,

 

I would love to see some success with the diopters... :D

 

Don't dilly-dally, the world awaits with baited breath for the results of your experiments... :)

Well at least I'm hanging out for a good result...

 

Bruce...

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OK - the performance is GREATLY enhanced when used with the 500D (+2) diopter from Canon.

 

Here are the samples:

 

500d-70mm.jpg

70mm

 

 

500d-200mm.jpg

200mm

 

 

With the lens set at close focus and using the 500D, you get about 6" working distance from the front of the lens - just about perfect! AF seemed to work pretty well.

 

You can read the ruler and see that the lens does 1:1.25 to 1:3.4 magnification. There is very little CA. This looks great - I'm taking it on my next trip!

 

Cheers

James

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