First impressions of Tamron 18-200

Started Dec 24, 2011 | Discussions thread
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RicksAstro
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First impressions of Tamron 18-200
Dec 24, 2011

Have had a day to play around a little with the Tamron 18-200 and compare it to the Sony 18-200. I'll upload some pictures later...Christmas, you know

The build quality is great. Every bit as good as the Sony. It looks significantly smaller and better proportioned with the 5N, even though it's dimensions don't suggest it. It's smaller diameter is what really makes it look less obnoxious. I really hate the way the Sony 18-200 looks, but the Tarmon looks nice IMO.

IQ: At 18mm, the center sharpness is similar to the Sony if not a tiny bit less sharp. The corners are significantly sharper, though. It does have quite a bit more lateral CA (which is easily correctable) and purple/blue fringing at high contrast areas than the Sony.

At 200, the situation is similar. Generally the Sony center is slightly sharper at it's best, but the VR of the Tamron seems to be a little more consistently effective for lower shutter speeds. Same situation with CA on the Tamron. Also, the Tamron can sometimes exhibit a kind of CA even at the center of the image which is not correctable. I possibly attribute this to VR, as sometimes it's there, sometimes not. You have to be looking at 100% at very high contrast areas to notice. The Sony can do this a little as well.

Note that the camera will correct the lateral CA in JPG for the Sony and does not (nor probably ever will) for the Tamron...a big factor if you're a JPG shooter. I shoot RAW, so have to correct both.

OSS/VR - this one's a tough one...The Tamron has more "snap" effect to the VR. When it lock in, it seems to stay better. The Sony can drift a little more. Both effective, but I'd give a slight advantage for stills to the Tamron.

For Video, the "snap" effect of the Tamron is slightly less desirable than Sony's active OSS, making slightly less smooth camera holding. Both are quite silent for focusing and VR/OSS while recording

I'm still undecided for now. If it weren't for the looks/size, I'd say the Sony is a better overall lens for general still and video use. They are both a compromise. Since I bought the Sony used, I actually paid more for the Tamron.

I'll decide in the next week or so, and will post some full res pictures soon.

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