Here’s my test of the new Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 A01, for Canon EF mount, held mount-to-mount in front of my Sony Alpha 700. All shots at ISO1600, Aperture Priority (not that it would’ve made any difference since I had no way of controlling the aperture.) Lens focused to infinity, but its focus would actually be somewhere around 1.3 meters because the lens is too far from the sensor plane and thus has a extension tube effect.
Due to this, the lens being at infinity, the lens may actually be sharper due to it being at infinity with an “extension tube” rather than actual internal focus element movement.
1/125s. My immediate first impression was WOW! This is a contrasty lens. Bokeh is pretty well done in some cases. This shot was brightened on his face though; no sharpening applied. Had I flashed him, the lens would show immense potential.
1/80s. Out-of-focus bokeh test.
1/80s. Brightline bokeh test.
1/50s. It handles lower-contrast nearby subjects nicely, with a certain glow about them. There’s a tinge of LCA but it is done pleasantly, familiar to Minolta lenses I have.
1/160s. Busy backgrounds may be tricky, but I’ve seen worse out of F1.2 lenses.
1/100s. I love the green LCA behind the lens. However the front purplish LCA is almost never as welcome as its green counterpart. Some other lenses have reddish instead of magentaish front LCA, which I prefer.
1/60s. OOF text test.
1/60s. Oops, minor flare due to light leakage from handheld lens mounting. Still, it retains texture well.
I honestly am not a fan of 100% crops, there are other things about a lens to worry about… like the whole picture! Here’s a 100% crop anyway. Brightened as well. Sharp enough for me? You bet.
I love the weight of 1150 grams without the tripod mount. It’s very well balanced! I like how it looks like a giant lightsaber… or an oversized Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro.
Some have said that this lens focuses slowly for the Canon mount. Tamron puts a motor inside the Canon version. However, the Sony Alpha mount version will be screw-driven (since Tamron hasn’t figured out SSM) so it MAY focus faster (and even faster if future bodies have stronger focus screw drives.)
Oh, and Super SteadyShot will help.
Likewise for the Pentax version – their Anti-Shake will help loads.
Note that the shutter speeds I posted are of almost no relevance – I don’t even remember what focal lengths I shot each picture at! Some people have the capability to tell focal lengths by the perspective of the picture so consult one of them.
The Tamron’s minimum focusing distance of 0.95 meters is amazing – it gets you to 1:3.1 magnification, a record-breaking magnification for a 70-200mm F2.8 lens. Meanwhile, the Sony 70-200mm F2.8G SSM does 1.2 meters, the Minolta 70-210mm F4 beercan does 1.1 meters, the Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM does 1.5 meters.
Now there’s gonna be somebody who complains that there are no hot chicks in any of these pictures. Well sir I say, bring your own model to the shop and test the lens on her.