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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:13 pm 
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Location: Chicago, IL USA
Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Lens: distortion really bad

I've been using a Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 lens on my Nikon D5000 as my primary lens since I first made the move to DSLR photography. While I really like the wide range it offers (I'm not one to want to carry around a bunch of lenses), the more I use it, the more the barrel (and other) distortions are really souring me on it.

A couple of points I'd like to hear comments on from those who care to do so:

[1] Is this sort of barrel distortion just par for the course for any lens with this large zoom range, or is Tamron particularly bad?

[2] The "auto-distortion control" on the Nikon doesn't work with the Tamron lens but I assume would with Nikon lenses. Does this feature work well?

[3] It would seem that the closest lens from Nikon would be their 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6. Is this the best choice for a general purpose lens? The zoom range is significantly less than the Tamron, which in an of itself I assume means much less distortion.

Just trying to decide if I want to give up the extra long zoom range for a better "one lens" solution.

Thanks for your thoughts


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:32 pm 
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Location: UK
In general, the longer the zoom range, the worse the distortion might be. Typically it is worse at the widest end. Following are the results for the two lenses as tested by Photozone. Negative is barrel distortion, positive is pincushion distortion.

For Tamron 18-270
18mm -3.9%
24mm -1.3%
50mm +1.4%
100mm +1.0%
200mm +0.8%
270mm +0.7%

For Nikon 18-200
18mm -4.1%
24mm -0.7%
50mm +1.4%
100mm +2.0%
200mm +1.2%

So over most of the focal range, the Nikon has higher distortion!

There are programs you can use to correct the distortion after the photo is taken.

Very roughly:
DxO optics: automatic if supported lens and camera combination - D5000 + Tamron 18-270 listed as supported
ptlens: check supported list but author will make profiles on request - Tamron 18-270 supported (not camera dependant)
Older Adobe Camera Raw: manual only (tweak distortion slider to taste)
Latest Adobe Camera Raw: supports lens profiles for correction - check support
None of the above are free, but ACR is available through Photoshop and Lightroom. There are probably many others I haven't mentioned that can do similar.

If the lens is ok other than the distortion, then look to the above or others to provide correction afterwards. If you want generally higher quality, then getting separate lenses for the range is something to consider.

_________________
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.


Last edited by popo on Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:37 pm 
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I also recommand DxO optics,it's amazing.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:58 am 
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Posts: 30
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Thanks, all, for your thoughts/suggestions. Totally appreciate it.

I'll check out some of the post-processing solutions for lens distortion. I'm also noticing a lot of overall muddiness/lack of sharpness to the lens.

Maybe I should stop blaming the lens and look inward....

:)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:40 am 
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On sharpness, it is a hard one to define without experience to compare with other lenses, but the 18-270 isn't the sharpest tool in the box on the long end. That was a significant reason I sold mine after using it for a year or so. But more in general, if it is good enough for the job, it doesn't need to be perfect everywhere.

_________________
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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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:45 pm 
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Posts: 4
Location: New Orleans, La. USA
I am very seriously about to buy this lens.

I am well torn by offerings of the "best walk around lens" I can buy.

Models of interest all have their brand's version of Cannon's IS.

I am using an EOS 50D...if that has any bearing on which I should choose.

New to DSLR and Semi-pro photo so coming from that aspect, liking the versitility till I get a little more down hole on what I like and want to shoot.

At this point I am into Portraits, and nighttime/lowlight photography. I also have an interest in some macro as well as wildlife (birds and things that bite you dont want to get too close too)

the models I am considering are as follows

Tam 18-270 VC
Sigma 18-200 OS
Sigma 18-250 OS
Canon 18-200 IS
and one I have heard is good for portrait work but is extremely heavy on both price and weight... Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM....But the only one wiht NO IS!

Please help.

Mr Laing I would appreciate you weighing in here. Also why do you never do video reviews or comprehensive reviews of the Tamerons or Sigmas? I love all your stuff and you had a huge input into helping me in getting started and what I bought. Thanks and keep up the good work!


G


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 3:49 pm 
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Nikon has a new 28-300 lens out which is supposedly very good. If you can miss the wideangle part, that would be something to consider.

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I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:14 pm 
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Location: New Orleans, La. USA
Im a Cannon user but thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:29 am 
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The Canon 28-300 isn't bad either, if you can ignore the price tag :)

I used to have the Tamron 18-270 on 50D too. Yes, it does give you a very generous zoom range in one lens, and even a degree of macro ability too, but I found the performance at the long end lacking. See earlier in the thread for more thoughts on it. If you can use more than one lens, that would give you better quality overall, but I guess that's hard to choose if you don't really know what you want.

_________________
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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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:55 pm 
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Posts: 850
Location: SE Texas
Cajunphotog, for what it's worth, my wife uses a Tamron 18-200mm Di II on the Nikon D300s she uses at work, where she takes many low-light shots, which includes macro work out to objects several blocks away. (crime/death scenes) This is equipment issued to her by a government entity.

Based on her satisfaction with her lens, I obtained a pre-owned Tamron 18-200mm Di II for Canons, and have very mixed feelings about its low-light performance. It needs much assistance from a flashlight for autofocusing, in my experience, lest the autofocus endlessly hunt. My wife tends to mostly use manual focus, for which she uses a flashlight, anyway. She is in no hurry, of course, as dead people are not going anywhere. I am also a public servant, with the newly added title of photographer, but am a first responder, and must often shoot photos of things moving about in low light, so I appreciate autofocus. I get better autofocusing results from Canon 18-55 kit lenses, than the Tamron, in low light! (They share a maximum aperture of 3.5 with the Tamrons under discussion.) One kit lens is the older, non-IS, and I just recently obtained a pre-owned one with IS. Notably, the Crime Scene Units working for the same agency as I are issued Canon 50D cameras, and in the field, they all seem to be content with the 18-55mm kit lens with IS, though they use a tripod most of the time, and keep the IS shut off.

To be clear, I use the 18-55 kit lenses with no filters, which lets more light into the camera, all else being equal. I generally do not need any type of filtering at night, and these lenses are cheap enough for me not to weep too much if I scratch a lens. I do have a UV filter on the Tamron, and it would probably perform better in low light if I removed the filter under such conditions. Of course, I am not advocating the kit lenses as being better, overall, than, a super-zoom, but within their limited zoom range, are not bad at all.

In daylight, however, on the hobby end of things, I really do like my Tamron, and have considered upgrading to the 18-270mm with VC for the times I want to carry just the one camera, and no extra lenses.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:01 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:50 am
Posts: 4
Location: New Orleans, La. USA
thanks all. I just purchased it yesterday but have been working ever since.

Having buyers remorse thinking I should hold out for the 70-200 F4 IS USM as supposed to be the industry standard for protrait and good with low light due to constant F4 thoughout. Pricetag is not as bad as 2.8 but that initial focal length of 70 on my cropped (50D) sensor. Seems as though I am not going to get very close.

What are your feelings here? I would appreciate a professional portrait photographers feel after lots of use if anyone is that?

Not sure what Im going to do keep or take back but need to make the decesion now.

The other thing is the Canon 17-55 IS USM seems to be the favorite upgrade from the kit lens and what I bet you would love REXGig except for the price tag. Supposedly the standard for protrait photographers. Cant get over that short focal length for that price. I guess I could go with the 17-85 version but not sure how that aligns with the quality and use of the 17-55 but would like feedback here as well.

Thanks in advance for any input Gang

All the best from Cajunland


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:55 pm
Posts: 850
Location: SE Texas
Cajunphotog, don't forget that Tamron makes 17-50mm Di II 2.8 lenses, both with and without VC, if portrait photography is a major goal. Sorry about not mentioning it earlier, as you have now already made the purchase of the 18-270mm, but photographing interesting wildlife will demand the greater zoom range out to 270mm, anyway.

By the way, my Dad was born in Crowley. I am very much Cajun/Acadian on the paternal side of the family.


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