I have one of the older model (A16N) Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 for Nikon. I like the lens for its value even though it does have a flaw related to FLASH photography in TTL-BL mode. Lately, Tamron has announced update to this lens with a built-in AF motor.

A vendor in Malaysia has received the lens and posted a short review on PhotoMalaysia. In summary, the new version has:

  • No screw drive hole for AF. AF motor is now built-in. This makes the lens compatible with Nikon D40, D40x, and the new D60 DSLR cameras.
  • AF/MF switch. It is no longer needed to set the focus mode on camera. I doubt it can do focus override (typically only on AF-S lens) though.
  • Smoother but much lower AF. I hope it can provide more precise auto-focus and the accurate distance information to the camera so the old problem can be avoided.
Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Lens on March 4th, 2008. 1 Comment.

Once a very popular lens selling even above MSRP not too long ago, the Nikon AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED has lost its charm somewhat. I guess the demands drop as most people who wanted it already got it. It can now be easily found at most photography equipment places for less than MSRP.

It appears that DPReview just started doing lens reviews but I am a little surprised to see the review of this lens coming from DPReview at this time (two years after its release), when many people are waiting for an already-late Nikon D300 review.

Based on the review, the lens is “about making some optical compromises to provide the broadest possible range in a single lens”. It is “nothing more than an expensive snapshot lens”, and it is for “he photographer who wants to shoot a little bit of everything and not have to change lenses”. I guess that’s quite accurate.

For reference, here are some other reviews of this lens:

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Lens on February 26th, 2008. No Comments.

According to DPReview, Tamron announced the SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro at PMA 2008. It seems to be an interesting addition to the camp of Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro and Tokina AT-X 828 AF Pro 80-200mm f/2.8 as a low cost alternative to the expensive OEM counterparts. Although not mentioned in the DPReview coverage, the Nikon mount version will have a built-in auto focus motor so it works on all Nikon DSLR cameras including D40/D40X/D60, which do not have in-body AF motor. Quoting from the product overview from Tamron:

While overall dimensions are confined to the absolute minimum, the new SP AF70-200mm F/2.8 zoom lens is packed with features that allow stress-free photography: a versatile MFD of just 37.4″ over the entire zoom range; best-in-class maximum macro magnification ratio of 1:3.1 at f=200mm; and an advantageous internal focusing (IF) system. The new tele-zoom lens covers a desirable focal length range of 70mm medium telephoto to 200mm telephoto when mounted on full-size format SLR cameras and a focal length range from 109mm to 310mm* ultra telephoto when mounted on a DSLR camera with an APS-C sized imager.

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Lens on February 7th, 2008. No Comments.

Being a owner of five quality Sigma EX lenses, I am happy and impressed with the latest Sigma lenses announcements at PMA 08. The gigantic green beast Sigma 200-500 f/2.8 EX DG is a showcase of Sigma’s achievement in the photography lens market. Labeled as the “ultimate wildlife lens”, APO 200-500 f.2.8 is “the world’s first lens to offer an f/2.8 aperture at 500mm focal length”. It was actually displayed at PMA 2007 as prototype. Read More…

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Lens on January 31st, 2008. No Comments.

Tamron just announced at PMA 2008 three new lenses with built-in AF motor for Nikon mount SLRs. This is a great news for users of Nikon D40(x) and future users of the newly announced D60, which do not have a AF motor in the camera. The press release is posted at Tamron USA website with the specifications.

  • AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II (model A14NII)
  • SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II (model A16NII)
  • 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di (model A17NII)

The first two are designed for cameras with APS-C sized (DX) sensors (labeled as “Di II” lens) and the last one also works for camera with full frame (FX) sensor. No word on availability yet.

Previously, Tamron announced AF18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro with built-In auto focus motor for Nikon. Sigma also has a similar 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC with a built-in motor for Nikon.

Many have seen over-exposure problems with the 17-50 f/2.8 in TTL-BL flash mode that might be a design flaw. I hope this new version brings a fix to it.

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Lens on January 30th, 2008. No Comments.

Sigma recently updated its 18-200mm super zoom lens to be D40/D40x friendly with a built-in auto focus motor. The press release states,

Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of the new 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC for Nikon. This high zoom ratio lens, designed exclusively for digital SLR cameras, covers wide angle to telephoto focal lengths. The built-in motor is capable of autofocusing with all Nikon DSLR cameras. Two SLD (Special Low Dispersion) lenses and two Aspherical glass elements provide excellent correction for all types of aberration. Sigma’s super multi-layer coating reduces flare and ghosting and provides high image quality throughout the zoom range. The compact and lightweight construction of 70mm (2.8″) in diameter, 75.6mm (3.0″) in length and 395g (13.9oz) makes it ideal for field work. This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 45cm (17.7″) and a maximum magnification of 1:4.4. An inner focusing system also eliminates front lens rotation, making this lens particularly suitable for using the petal lens hood and circular polarizing filters. A zoom lock switch mechanism is provided to prevent the lens from creeping due to its own weight.

This is apparently not a professional grade lens (lack of the EX label), but it should a good candidate for people who are looking for a light weight super zoom intended for walk-around and travel lens. For people who wants more reach, the Tamron AF18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro, which also has a built-in AF motor and is D40/D40x friendly, is also worth considering.

Sigma actually has four different 18-200mm zoom lenses. If you are confused by the Sigma’s lens offerings, you may want to check out its complete lens line-up.

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Lens on December 22nd, 2007. No Comments.

This new lens (Model A18N II)  is described as “a lightweight, compact and ultra high power (13.9X !) zoom lens designed exclusively for digital SLR cameras with APS-C sized image sensors with a built-in motor for Nikon”. It will be available in Japan starting December 13, 2007.

This is an especially good news for Nikon D40 and D40X users who have been limited by lens choices because Nikon has removed the AF motor from these cameras. As a result, only AF-S lens can be used on D40/40X.  With the release of this lens, Tamron apparently is trying to grab a piece of the market even though Nikon has extensive offerings in the low-end AF-S zooms. Read More…

Posted in Lens on December 4th, 2007. No Comments.
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

Nikon announced the introduction of the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR, a new DX-NIKKOR zoom lens with built-in Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and Vibration Reduction (VR). This is the update to the original non-VR version. This lens is for people just getting started with Nikon digital SLR camera. It may get bundled as a “kit lens” with Nikon digital SLR cameras in the future.

Certainly this is a welcome update to the consumer grade lens. For people not familiar with vibration reduction (VR) or image stabilization (IS) in Canon’s term, the VR function helps to minimizes the chance of getting blurry images caused by camera shake, providing the ability to shoot at shutter speeds much slower (up to three stops, or 8 times, with this lens) than would otherwise be possible. This is especially helpful for handhold shooting in low light situations such as dusk or at night, or poorly lit interiors. It is also helpful when shooting from a vibrating platform such as a moving boat or vehicle. Unlike in-camera VR available in many other DSLRs, in-lens VR like this also produces a stable viewfinder image. This makes framing and composition much more comfortable and accurate. Read More…

Posted in Digital SLR Cameras, Lens on November 20th, 2007. No Comments.
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