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 Post subject: Old and new 28-300mm
PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:03 pm 
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(note: this is intended as an open discussion, which I will later rewrite as a comparative review of both once I get more data)

I picked up the AF Aspherical LD IF 28-300 macro f/3.5-6.3 (model 185D) off ebay a while ago. It is my favourite general outdoors lens as it has a reasonable amount of zoom while still capable of somewhat wide angles. I didn't pick the 18-250 since I didn't need the wide end so much, favouring the longer end.

That lens is the first one of it's type produced by Tamron back in 1999. They have updated it twice to the current model AF Aspherical XR Di LD IF 28-300 macro f/3.5-6.3 (model A061). The extra letters in the name indicate they have now added higher refractive index glass (XR) and given it the digital coating (Di). While there are plenty of reviews of the newer model, I couldn't find much at all on the older one.

The old one I have used on and off, and relatively the sharpness is a little worse at 300mm than at shorter. The question was always lurking in my mind though. Would the newer one give better images? Well, one way to answer that question, I bought it, and it arrived today.

The build of the two is considerably different. The old one is bigger and heavier, with a solid feel. The newer one is a bit smaller and feels more plasticy.

Only had time to do limited testing so far at 300mm at short range (~3m). This is due to lack of light outside so I performed it entirely indoors. I haven't totally ruled out AF accuracy problems as it struggles a bit with my lowly indoor lighting, but more often than not, I'd say the older lens is sharper and the colours seem a little richer. Newer doesn't necessarily mean better?

Oh, as a side effect of my test shots, with hood not fitted on either lens, I think the new one does seem to be a bit more resistant to flare.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:59 pm 
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In another series of tests, once again I confirmed the new lens is noticeably less sharp than the old one particularly over 200-300mm. Time to look up the return procedure and save up the rest for the Sony 70-300G I guess.

I'll put up pictures later. The sun is out for the first time in a while and I'm gonna try catching some IR and trees. :)

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:55 pm 
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Interesting test, popo!
You know that the design of the new version can still be better than your old one. But unfortunately you got a copy that has a decentering defect or focus probs and thus never can deliver the goods of the new design :(
Try to find out with a perfectly rectangular shot of a perfectly flat and finely tructured surface (or test-chart) whether your copy is decentred.

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:47 pm 
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Here are the images from earlier. I'd estimate the flower is maybe 10m away or a bit less. Left is old lens, right is new one. 100% crops. Taken tripod mounted, cable release. All are ISO100 f/6.3, shutter whatever the camera decides. The camera AF on the flower as shown in the 300mm pictures. BOTH lenses were backfocusing at shorter focal lengths, hence using the roofs in the background to help show maximum sharpness.

300mm
Image Image

200mm
Image Image

100mm
Image Image

50mm
Image Image

28mm
Image Image

Note I also tried tests at f/20 to largely eliminate focus accuracy, and I still got a visible difference between the two.

Thomas, I can try the test but I'm not sure what exactly I'm looking for. What would decentering look like?

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:51 pm 
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decentering shows up in different sharpness in different corners of a flat object. E.g. the centre and the upper left corner in good sharpness but the lower right corner visibly less sharp. OR the centre unsharp (due to focussing probs) but one or two corners much sharper.

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:53 pm 
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Decided to return the lens for refund regardless of if it is working perfectly or not. Will save up for some G class glass instead :)

Anyway, since I didn't use it much, I don't think it fair for me to do a full review but I will wrap up with some observations.

Image

Above pic shows them end on. The older lens on the left is much bigger, taking 72mm filter size whereas the newer lens takes 62mm filters.

Image

Side on fully retracted again the older lens is a bit bigger. Note the styling difference. The newer lens is similar in look and feel to other current Tamron lenses.

Image

The size difference remains when fully extended to 300mm.

In practice both are similar in handling function. A good twist is needed to extend the through the range. The focus ring travels a very short distance so not good for manual focus. There is a zoom lock to prevent movement when carrying.

What doesn't show in images is the feel. The newer lens is lighter, and feels much cheaper. The more visible external parts seem to be constructed out of plastic rather than metal.

I would say if I didn't already have the old sample for comparison, I would have kept and be happy with the new lens considering its price. Only because I had the old one for comparison does it seem to come up a bit short. The reduced size and weight would help for general usage. Better bet might be to see if you can get the older one used off ebay. Note there was one model released in between the two here.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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