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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 4:03 pm 
Congartulations :D Can't wait to here about it.

Yeah i recognize, what were u doing there? :P


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:09 pm 
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I've finally managed to get a shot at 200/2.8 sharp center and corner. What was the catch?
1. I had to try AF plus micro-adjustments several times to get the best possible focus and
2. I tilted the optical axis of the shot a little to the left
That in turn means:
- critical focus quality needs different micro-AF-adjustments for each focal length :cry:
- the lens has field curvature (at least) at 200mm: the point of sharpest focus in the corners is a little closer to the lens than in the center. The effect is strong enough to be clearly seen at f/2.8, but only when you shoot flat subjects perfectly perpendicular. So it is up to anybody's personal judgement how relevant this is. For me this is NOT the reason to send the lens back.

See for yourself, what this lens can achieve when you're lucky (click through image to access full-size version):
Image

To sum up a short liaison with this lens:
Nice potential, but cannot deliver due to varying degrees of front-/back-focus. Unfortunately :(

Will be interesting what Christian's copy delivers.

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Last edited by Thomas on Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:23 pm 
That's a welcome update, Thomas. I think my results resemble yours in some way.

What I first noticed, before anything else, was the serial number - mine's below 1000! Either I got one of the first batch or there haven't been a lot delivered so far.

I'll try to sum up my findings in a short form, with mixing positives and negatives with no special order. All tests done on my S5pro FW 1.11

- Center Performance at 200mm wide open is good, it seems to harmonize with the test results I have seen so far.

- The AF performance in low/bad light is unsure and slow. The AF seems to stop a bit before full focus and to stutter closer until final focus is achieved. Most of the time it is done acceptable fast, but you see it.

- The AF performance in low/bad light on a low contrast subject is atrocious. Worst case happend when I focused on a room plant in dimm bulb light, distance about 2.5m, 200mm setting: it stuttered around for about 10 seconds!! This is burned in my brain and will cause nightmares while I'm sleeping, I'm sure about that.

- the AF focus achieved is unreliable. It seems to tollerate a slight missfocus. That maybe a problem of the S5pro's AF system, it's not a D300. But my S5pro with the tamron will confirm a perfect focus and release the shutter in AF-S mode although there is a slight misfocus. I think I have found the AF problems seen in the dpreview test on the canon models.

I do not want to end my tests without pictures. But please bear in mind: i did not built up a professionel test setup because my intention was to detect clearly visible flaws and not nuances of resolution differences. Therefore, the pictures only indicate wether there is a problem which would be of interest for me or not. I shot a resolution target to se a clear misfocus, not to measure resolution. Therefore I used my old laser printer for printing the chart instead of my printer at work. The low resolution caused some pattern in the finer lines, so thats not the camera or lens but the pattern itself. But as I said before - its not about resolution in absolut terms, thats better handled by IMATEST e.g.

This is what a good focus looks like at about 10m distance, STD sharpening S5pro (very conservative):

Image

And that's what's not so unusual to get, the AF errors I spoke about (but that's one of the worse shots, albeit one of the first of the testing).

Image


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:55 pm 
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So what you gonna do, Christian?
Looks like the same old problems that I had...
Btw.: My serial number was just a little above 1000.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:37 pm 
It's a tough decision, that's for sure. And I don't need another soft decision to make the tough decision look even more tougher (excuse my Simpson imitation).

Honestly, as I'm writing this, the whole shipment is put together again and ready for return and refund. But i'm not closing the box with tape, yet. I'll have to make up my mind until tomorrow.

The problem is the lack of proper alternatives. Let's have a look whats available, summarized from my personal point of view:

- there is the original AF-D 80-200mm Nikon. It's discontinued, it's production has been stopped. Both facts have been confirmed by Nikon upon my personal asking. So getting it new is somehow not that easy anymore. Further, it suffers from near field focus problems at 200mm. Wide open performance at 200mm is also not up to todays standard, although it isn't that bad, probably like the sigma, maybe a bit better. The optical calculation is over 15 years old. Focusing is fast, thanks to a limiter function and a fast AF motor in camera. But it's still screwdrive with all it's problems (blacklash e.g.). And the aperture consists only of straight blades, which makes the bokeh not-so-nice once it's stopped down. On a positive side, it's build quality is - well - it's a tank.

- than there is the sigma. have a look what I said about it on the thread in the sigma devision. I haven't had a lot of luck in the lottery in my life, I don't see why that should change with sigma. Plus, your (Thomas) valid argument that the fair sample probably was tested and that this performance is accepted as standard. It wasn't bad at distances and with focal length below 200mm, but that's not the reason to by a 200mm zoom, is it?

- and we have the 70-200VR Nikon. Did I test it at photokina? You bet! Anything worth mentioning? Yes - it looked really awesome on the D300 I tested it on. Why not buying it? Money, and I don't need VR, and I don't want VR, actually. I would be perfectly happy if Nikon would offer the "old" 80-200mm AF-S(!) for 1000€ brand new, but that ain't going to happen and used ones are prone to defect AF modules, which cost a fortune to exchange.

- and finally, the Tamron. My bet is, the AF speed problems will disapear if I take out the lens into bright sunlight, or at least sunny daylight. I don't know what to expect about AF sureness in terms of hit ratio, but something tells me this will increase significantly as well. Overall contrast is raised when light intensity is raised as well. But the AF Module is clearly the weak part and the speed and sound cause something bothering in me: lack of confidence. If you have had an event where you relied on the AF system of your camera and when you return home you see, that all shots are OOF and there is not a chance to regain those shots, you're very picky when it comes to AF reliability.

Aaaaand the final question is: now, what to do? My guess is, I'll tape the box tomorrow morning and bring it to the mailman. We'll see.

Greetz
Christian


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:45 pm 
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Yeah, alternatives...
That's it, really!
I'm currently on the trip to rely on fixed focals. But that is only ok if you have the time to change lenses and you carry them with you.
So I'm perfectly happy with my Sigma 150/2.8 macro and my Nikon 105/2.8 macro. Or you skip the 105mm and get yourself a 85/1.8 which is light, small, (relatively) cheap, and sharp to complement a Sigma 150/2.8:
- you get macro
- you get low-light capabilities
- you get sharpness divine
- and it costs+weighs less than the Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VR

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:56 pm 
The 105VR is the lens I sold to finance the XX-200mm tele. It had an awesome image quality, nothing to criticise. But as you commented, I missed to much shots because I couldn't change my position as fast as the scene needed it. I wanted some more flexibility, the comfort of a zoom lens. And now I'm left with an empty space in my bag.

It's complaining on a high level, but goddamn... it's frustrating.

Oh, 0eyvind: I've been in Sweden on holiday, I've been there quite a few times. Great nature. I tried hard to press a visit to copenhavn into my shedule because I've been there only once and only for a few hours, but I failed again. Next year, hopefully!


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:28 am 
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For even more samples with this lens, just go to My Sport Photography Set on my flickr. :D All of the shot were taken with the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 and it dramatically grows in size every week...

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:04 am 
you could always get a 2nd job with nikon and get that 70-200 for 1000 (insert symbold here) :lol:

or some kinda retailer. thats what i did anywho.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:48 pm 
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It's just to inform you that I've shot a series of Siemens-stars with focus-optimization in live-view. That is in MF as I already told you that contrast-based AF in lv does not work on this target/under these conditions/whatever.
That in turn resulted in quite impressive test-charts center and corner.
But I didn't publish them up to now as I think this is "cheating" of a sort: The process of getting sharpest focus was laborious and the results when using AF are clearly worse than these results.
I just wanted to let you know that my testing confirmed that the results from some labs can't be trusted as they use methods that have no/little relevance to "normal" use of a lens. I find it quite interesting that ColorFoto in Germany now published the IQ achieved with AF as a percentage from the lab results. Looking at the Tamron 70-200/2.8 results that percentages (from worst to best AF result) read
@70mm: 25-98%
@120mm: 33-83%
@200mm: 44-99%

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Last edited by Thomas on Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:53 am 
I think I should tell the outcome of my story, maybe someone is interested to hear it.

I've seen the ColorFoto AF accuracy tests, too, like Thomas mentioned. So the experiences I made myself during my tests are somehow confirmed or at least, they sound familiar. As predicted, I sent it back for a refund because while the possible optical performance is probably the best on the market below 1000€, for me this can't compensate unreliability. But I haven't had a lot of luck with 3rd party lenses so far anyway.

That last fact could explain the decision I made a few days ago: I take my chances with a brand new Nikon AF-D 80-200mm F2.8. It arrived just three hours ago, so I'll pick it up after work - it's been sent to my parents so there's someone to receive the parcel, the company used DPD for shipping which do not deliver to parcel stations (those are run by DHL company). Oh, if Mr. Laing is watching this thread - I bought it in the UK, thank goes to the british crown ;-)

Reason was the result of the technical discussion I had with myself.

- It's discontinued, it's production has been stopped - but it has been the professional coice for over a decade, so while it's performance will be lower than the one of the new 70-200mm VR, it won't be bad. The problem of availability was solved, I found one new at stock.

- it suffers from near field focus problems at 200mm. But the issue is weaker at shorter focal lenghts + it starts to "disappear" while stopping down (it's actually rather compensated by other effects than disappearing, but you know what I mean), which for semi-macro work is necessary anyway. The smallest object I'm probably going to capture at 200mm/F2.8 from time to time is a face/portrait, so about 50cm in space if you include some free space around. That would make it necessary to keep a distance to the object significantly larger than the near field at which the problem occurs. In addition, if one keeps the focus limit switch activated all time, "extreme" near field focusing is deactivated and the danger to take shots in suboptimal lens performance range is reduced.

- I was guessing that "wide open performance at 200mm is also not up to todays standard, although it isn't that bad, probably like the sigma, maybe a bit better.". However I've seen ecellent performace of this lenson a D3 on flickr, so maybe it's pixel density dependent. This way, I'll have good cards using my S5pro, which I always use in 6MP mode. S5pro users know why.

- AF speed with limiter switch activated it pretty fast, although it relies on an internal AF motor. And best of all: it's confirmed to be spot on and very sure.

I'll give a final comment on this matter when I hold it in my hands.

Regards,
Christian


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:59 pm 
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Good to have some insight into your decision, Christian. Thanks for that and good luck with the 80-200mm.
If you have any remarks an your new lens, please open a new thread in the Nikon section!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:17 am 
Before I say anything about the Nikon lens, I have to relativise some things about my AF issues with the Tamron. And it goes like this: go to google.com, type in "Fuji S5 backfocus" and read for a few hours.
It looks like the variation of AF hits in my case are a result of a Fuji S5 problem. I do neither mean the AF pumping syndrom nor the total AF speed or the sureness with that final AF lock-on is achieved. But when positive AF is confirmed and the picture has a backfocus, it might not be Tamron's fault. And thats supported by the fact, that the nikon, altough focused on far distant targets (>>10m), does indeed very often cause a backfocused image. I guess it's an Multi Cam 1000 AF Module problem.

I'll open a dedicated thread fot the Nikon 80-200mm as suggested by Thomas when I have done some more field tests. So far just a foretaste: AF speed is very decent, with Limit Switch activated it is indeed fast! AF sureness is excellent, as expected.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:52 pm 
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See my excerpts from the latest ColorFoto lab tests on AF-reliability here. Some interesting results!

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