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tamron 17-50 focus speed on d80

Allan Chen , Mar 11, 2007; 01:50 p.m.


So I, like many, am torn between the tamron 17-50 and nikon 17-55. After this wedding season, I can afford the 17-55, but it'll hurt :-).

I've read the reviews of the 17-50. But what about focusing speed, specfically on the d80? I know it's not an AFS lens, but nothing abnormal of note? I will have to spend some time thinking about it, obviously, but am looking for anything weird.

thanks, allan


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Elliot Bernstein , Mar 11, 2007; 03:08 p.m.

If you were shooting for yourself for fun, I would suggest you get the Tamron if money was an issue. As you are using it for weddings where you are getting paid for your work, stick with the Nikon lens. You need the best. Your clients deserve the best. Charge a little bit more on a couple of weddings and the extra cost of the lens will be paid for. It will last you a lifetime and give you the kind of results you expect. Averaged out for the number of years you own it or the number of events you shoot with it, the extra cost is minimal.

Mark Evans , Mar 11, 2007; 02:42 p.m.

I am not making a strong recommendation here, but I am suggesting that you look at a few lens reviews if you are unsure. eg http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/1855.htm. This is a very reasonably priced lens ( in the range you are thinking of ) and although some people tend to rubbish any lens that doesnt cost a fortune, This kit lens is worth a look. At 55 mm it actually outperforms the expensive 17-55. If you can easilly afford the more expensive then do it. But if your money is tight then maybe think about something more affordable. After all you never know what can happen. It is good to keep some money in reserve for those little emergencies which can arise from time to time. Just my $0.02

Peter Hamm , Mar 11, 2007; 03:46 p.m.


Allen needs a fast pro lens if he's going to shoot weddings professionally. The 18-55 won't cut it. WAY too slow at the long end.

Get the Nikon. You'll sell it someday for near what you paid for it, that is decidedly NOT true of third-party lenses.

Bill Keane , Mar 11, 2007; 06:45 p.m.

The Tamron at 2.8 across the range is fairly fast, and it focusses quickly as well. It has tested out with some of the highest MTF figures ever recorded in this type of lens. It's very solid, but not like a brick. PhotoZone has a full review...

I love mine. It's very solid. It's not a Nikon. The resale won't be as good. Will the clients be moved to say, "Love this picture, but the sharpness is off."? No. I just blew up a portrait of my daughter to 10X15 and it's beautiful. It could go a whole lot larger. How many wedding photos get significantly enlarged (10X15; 16X20)anyway? Even so, the Tamron will handle this easily.

I will say a few times before cleaning the contacts my Tamron caused an F-- warning. But that's history.

All things considered, I think the Tamron is a great buy.

Allan Chen , Mar 11, 2007; 08:34 p.m.

Thanks for the input.

Still a tough call. I will try them both out at the store for focusing speed and see how it goes. I am very impressed with the results from the 17-50, and while I _know_ the Nikon is stellar, I don't care that much about resale value and if the focusing is even close then I see no reason to spend that much on the Nikon.

It gives me money to get, say, a 2nd SB800 or put towards another D80...or maybe a D200.


Markus Arike , Mar 11, 2007; 07:47 p.m.

I went through the same dilemna recently and chose the Nikon. The lens is everything you could want - fast, quiet focussing, metal lens barrel, nice locking lens hood, good sharpness wide-open, nice bokeh with its 9-blade rounded aperture.

The Tamron - the only third party lens I've ever purchased was the Tamron 28-75 2.8 back when that lens was getting the kind of good press that the 17-50 2.8 is currently getting. I ended up selling it as it wasn't as sharp as I needed it to be at f2.8. I'm not sure of the 17-50's performance wide-open, but for weddings/low-light events that could be a factor.

As far as Nikon's 18-55 mentioned, looks good for the money but it's too slow.

Regarding lens reviews, I'd look at PhotoZone rather than Ken Rockwell's site. Here is Mr. Rockwell, boasting about not using lenshoods: "Optional HB-33 bayonet hood not included. I'd never use it, so forget about it." Can you imagine telling newbie photographers who read your website to forget about using lenshoods? I don't get it.

As far as focussing speed, the Tamron 28-75 that I had focussed fast enough, but slightly noisy, not near silent like the AF-S lens.

Lastly, Bill's point about the lens contacts, and F-- warning with the 3rd party lens: There's something to be said for 100% compatability that a genuine Nikkor provides.

Allan Chen , Mar 12, 2007; 12:11 a.m.


I hear you, and those are the reasons why I'm still thinking about the Nikon. The 17-50, by the way, is supposed to be as about as sharp at almost all apertures as they come. One of the best Tamron has made. Photozone actually rates it as almost off-the-chart, actually. However, that's not my fear. My concerns are, indeed, about the benefits of AFS, the silent focusing, the build quality, etc.

I'm still trying to figure it out. We'll see.


Bill Keane , Mar 11, 2007; 11:25 p.m.

Nothing like checking it out in the store. The focussing on the Tamron is much quieter than the shutter on the D80. I couldn't afford the competing Nikon glass anyway, but I used the Photozone to find/compare/purchase the Tamron. I always use the locking petal style hood that comes standard. Not that it matters, but my Tamron is made in Japan.

Janet W , Mar 12, 2007; 12:09 a.m.

I purchased a Tamron 17-50mm last summer, since I did not want to buy and tote the weighty 17-55mm nikon around. The particular Tamron lens I got was not crystal clear at anything other than 50mm, and the edge sharpness left an awful lot to be desired. On the other hand, the color was beautiful, and it focused close enough to objects to give some macro capabilities without swapping lenses. I very badly wanted it to work, but in the end I returned it, and am still looking for the right lens for me.

My two cents: If you don't mind the weight of the 17-55mm, and it's in the budget, that's the lens you should get, especially if you are doing wedding photos with it also.

If you decide to go with the Tamron, you must try a few samples to make sure you get a good one.


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