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Thread: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

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    Moderator nightwolf75's Avatar
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    Default Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    I'm not much of a WA lens user as I don't shoot much landscapes. The only "WA" lens I have is the Nikon AFS 17-35mm/f2.8... and that is not wide on my D300 due to the crop factor (equivalent to 25.5mm to 52.5mm on 35mm format).

    But, thanks to Tamron, the new Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 lens was made available for me to test. This lens was announced in PMA 08, and you can read all you want about the nitty-gritty here in DPreview.

    Tamron has an earlier WA lens - the Tamron SP AF 11-18mm/f4.5-5.6 Di II LD. From the way I read it in their promotional brochures, it seems this 10-24mm is a replacement for it. Not a bad option, IMO, cos I always thought the 11-18mm was a little slow at f4.5-5.6 anyway. For those who want to know how the earlier WA lenses stack up against each other (at least for the nikon-users), please refer to this.

    Here are some impressions of mine about the lens. This is not a scientific review. And I don't want to pretend to be as exhaustive as Phil Askey. If you want something more scientific, you'll have to wait for DPreview.

    #1 - How the lens look on my D300.



    The lens itself is pretty lightweight and compact. I've used/owned 2 Tamron lenses before (the 90mm macro and the 28-75mm/f2.8). If you are familiar with Tamron lens construction, the built of the 10-24mm is roughly similar - mainly plastic body with a metal lens mount. It is, as some online reviewers said of other Tamron lens, functional.

    #2 - Exterior of lens



    As mentioned, it has a metal lens mount. The only other button it has on the body is the M/AF button.



    A simple distance scale is also available. As you can see, it can close-focus to 0.24m (not macro).



    Fully extended. As you can see, it still maintains its compact size. Its 77mm front element is non-rotating, a boon for those using polarizing filters or GNDs.

    #3 - 10-24mm vs 17-35mm in size



    This is how the 2 lenses compare in sizes.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Moderator nightwolf75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    According to the brochures and tech specs, the 10-24mm employs some specialised lens elements to reduce barrel distortion. This is one of the main reason why I prefer not to use WA lenses as I don't want to spend too much time correcting the distortion in CS. However, I do acknowledge that distortion is inevitable for WA lenses like the Tamron.

    To test the distortion, I stuck a piece of graph paper onto the wall and took a pic of @ 10mm/f8 with my camera on a tripod (unless otherwise stated, all shots are taken with the camera on a manfrotto 190 tripod and benro ballhead). The pic is straight from camera, resized in PSE7. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized pic. The exif is also available. Be patient as it is a 5MB file...



    From the way I see it, there is some distortion around the edges of the frame. Plus, from my monitor, there is also some light fall-off. The distortion is actually not as bad as I thought it will be. And, the vignetting, as I've found out later, can be quite useful for landscape shooting!

    I went online to find a resolution chart and printed it up onto A4 photo paper. Took a shot at 10mm and 24mm. Again, please click on image for full-size files and the exif are all available. (Again, this is not scientific. It is my way of satisfying my curiosity).

    10mm



    24mm



    IMO, not too bad. I can actually read until font-size 4 on my monitor at full-size. And, that is along the edge
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Moderator nightwolf75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    I took it out to Kranji War Memorial to see how it will work in the field. First up, the lens flare test. For this, I left the 10-24mm's flower-petal lens hood at home.



    With the sun coming in from an angle, I must say there is almost no flare that I can see even without the lens hood.

    Next, the CA test (took a page out from DPreview). It just so happened that there is a mature tree at the entrance. So, I took a pic of the branches with the sun directly shining through them.



    When I was reviewing it at 100% on my home monitor, I do not see much CA. Maybe just a hint of it in the deeper shadows. However, I suspect if I were to print up this shot to 8R, it won't show. For super-big enlargements, perhaps a little PS is needed.

    10mm Perspective of lens



    24mm Perspective of lens



    The 10mm view is truly amazing for me. On the D300, it provided an equivalent view of 15mm on 35mm-format. The slight curve in the picture is due to the ground that I was on; it is a slope. The D300 was on a tripod. However, I find the slight curve gives the pic a different feel to it. I've been back to the War Memorial on an annual basis to shoot, and the Tamron lens gave me a different look to the same place.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    Another reason why I seldom use WA lenses is because most of them are variable aperture lenses (with exceptions like the tokina 12-24mm/f4. I know that Tamron has the 17-50mm/f2.8, but this is not WA). I do prefer to use fixed-aperture lens.

    How is the bokeh like?

    10mm/f3.5



    24mm/f4.5



    In my opinion, it is actually quite pleasing as the out-of-focus areas do not appear too harsh or unnatural. These 2 pics also demonstrate the close-focusing ability of the lens.

    What about the AF speed? The 10-24mm has a built-in motor, which makes this usable on the D40/40x/60 bodies which do not have a built-in AF motor in the body. This makes the 10-24mm highly attractive to these users as they do not need to get the hugely more expensive AFS 12-24mm.

    After using it, I find that the AF speed, when used on my D300, is a little on the sluggish side comparing with the AFS motor. It won't win any speed records if you want to shoot sports with it. Then again, you probably won't be using it for sports. For static/slow moving subjects, this lens is more than enough for most purposes.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Moderator nightwolf75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    The closest equivalent to the Tamron is the Nikon AFS 12-24mm/f4. The Tamron, in this aspect, is 2mm wider while being slightly faster at the wide, and sacrificing the speed at the tele. IMO, this is reasonable as I gain 2mm more. Nikon doesn't have a DX format lens that is equivalent to the Tamron. The only closest equivalent to the Tamron is the Canon EFS 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM (but only usable on EFS-capable bodies like the 300D/350D). I think Nikon architecture/landscape shooters might be quite happy to see this Tamron lens, if they need that extra 2mm.

    Thanks to TK Foto, I was able to 'kidnap' the Nikon 12-24mm and the Tokina 11-16mm to do a comparison. Let's get this out of the way - (a) yes, the prices are different... way different, and (b) yes, tokina is 11-16mm, which puts it somewhere in between the 2. So, why do I want to compare them? Because they are there in the shop.

    I'll just post 3 pics from the lens at their tele ends. You can download the original files here, here and here. (right click and save as) Be patient as the files are pretty big.

    Tamron @ 24mm



    Tokina @ 16mm



    Nikon @ 24mm



    All the pics were taken from the same spot with the camera on my manfrotto 190. To me, the Nikon 12-24 colours seem richer straight from the camera. The Tamron is not that far behind, but the Tokina seems the most faded. (Yes, not the most scientific of tests.)

    When it comes to the ability to render details, at 100% view on PSE7, the 'OCBC' sign for the Nikon 12-24mm is 'clearer' to me than the Tamron. There is no point comparing them with the Tokina because I have to go up to 200% before I can even see the sign and by then, the jaggies have appeared.

    IMO, of course, if money is no object, the Nikon 12-24 is the best of the lot. But, if budget is the concern, the Tamron is quite value-for-money in terms of $/performance. The Tokina is included in the comparison for those who wants a WA constant aperture lens for low-light use (something which I won't consider for either the Nikon or Tamron personally), if you don't mind sacrificing a bit of range for the f2.8.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    It also offers an interesting perspective for a portrait shooter like myself - probably you will guess by now I don't normally shoot people with a WA! Here's a snap of my kids with the 10-24mm at dinner time.



    My girl pretending to drive with the Tamron lens cap.



    And the best thing I like about using this lens? I can finally take a panorama shot using fewer overlapping frames! Here's a sample, taken with 5 overlapping frames. I stitched it in Canon PhotoStitching software and touched up using Color EFex Pro 3.0. Please think twice before clicking on image as the original image is pretty darn big...




    Overall impression of the lens: It is actually quite a good bang-for-buck WA lens on the DX format, if the Nikon AFS 12-24mm/f4 is not your cup of tea. Apart from the AF speed being a bit slow, and the lens body construction is a tad too plasticky for my liking, there is very little not to like about this lens. The image quality is good, and it is compact enough to be carried about without too much of a strain.

    Now, if only I don't have to return the lens...


    ***The above review and comments are strictly my opinions and does not reflect CS' opinions on this product.***
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    Quote Originally Posted by nightwolf75 View Post
    It also offers an interesting perspective for a portrait shooter like myself - probably you will guess by now I don't normally shoot people with a WA! Here's a snap of my kids with the 10-24mm at dinner time.

    My girl pretending to drive with the Tamron lens cap.

    And the best thing I like about using this lens? I can finally take a panorama shot using fewer overlapping frames! Here's a sample, taken with 5 overlapping frames. I stitched it in Canon PhotoStitching software and touched up using Color EFex Pro 3.0. Please think twice before clicking on image as the original image is pretty darn big...




    Overall impression of the lens: It is actually quite a good bang-for-buck WA lens on the DX format, if the Nikon AFS 12-24mm/f4 is not your cup of tea. Apart from the AF speed being a bit slow, and the lens body construction is a tad too plasticky for my liking, there is very little not to like about this lens. The image quality is good, and it is compact enough to be carried about without too much of a strain.

    Now, if only I don't have to return the lens...


    ***The above review and comments are strictly my opinions and does not reflect CS' opinions on this product.***
    Impressive stiching I tot it can't be done..hehee. May I know at which range (10-24mm) it was done and each pic taken at any fix angle / degree? Thx
    Last edited by cobi; 14th March 2009 at 11:38 PM.
    ............ooOOoooOOOOooOOOoooo .......

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    Moderator nightwolf75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    Quote Originally Posted by cobi View Post
    Impressive stiching I tot it can't be done..hehee. May I know at which range (10-24mm) it was done and each pic taken at any fix angle / degree? Thx
    at the 10mm end. IIRC, it was shot at f8.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    where are the test photos?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    Wow! im really impressed by your photos. They're great.

    pret auto

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    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    hi nightwolf75,

    by any chance did you have the opportunity to compare the Tamron 10-24 against the Tokina 12-24 f/4?

    The Tamron certainly looks a lot more simply-made, but I'm not too fussy about that, as long as the price is attractive.
    What concerns me most is that sharpness seems to be rated fairly poorly at large apertures. The Tokina seems to garner better reviews in DPReview generally.
    The sharpness of your test photos seem quite all right though.

    Have not enquired about the price of the tokina at the stores. MS Colour is selling the Tammy 10-24 for $820 incl GST.
    I would assume that the Tokina costs slightly more, but should be cheaper than its brother, the 11-16 f/2.8 which is going for about 1K or thereabouts, am I right?
    Exploring! :)

  12. #12

    Default Re: Review of Tamron SP AF 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 DiII (Nikon mount)

    anyone got any idea if this lens is available in Singapore for Pentax?

    i went to MS and was told that agent never bring it in.

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