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136 of 139 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2005
Style Name: For Canon DSLR CamerasVerified Purchase
This new lens, part of the Di (designed for digital) initiative from Tamron is very well built - light and balances well in hand.

It compares nicely with much more costlier Canon 100-400 L IS and compliments perfectly 70-200 type of lenses to extend telephoto reach to incredible 800mm on 1.6x crop camera.

Very sharp even wide-open from 200mm to 400mm it starts to slightly lose its edge at 500mm but still is very respectable. AF is quick and not very noisy. The lens can be hand-hold in broad daylight but is best used either with monopod or a good tripod (especially if you shoot in dusk conditions). Attaching optional 1.4x extender would allow to bring subjects up to 24 times closer compared to bare eyesight and still get a very high quality shot.

From the drawbacks there is slight lack of contrast comparing to 'L' (professional) lenses from Canon and slow F/6.3 apperture at the tele-end, making AF sometimes difficult with cameras that are not designed for AF after F/5.6 (such as 20D or Digital Rebel). Putting extender or/and Polarizer filter on lens would cut light that reaches the camera another 2-3 times, making this lens very slow and forcing Manual Focusing. So if you need the speed at such extreme reach, better consider prime (non-zoom) lenses.

The filter size is 86mm making finding an affordable quality filter for this lens a practical impossibility. But if you do manage to get a decent polarizer filter, using it would be much simplier then with any other large lenses due to included filter attachment ring. With any other lens the hood would be blocking access to the filter but thanks to this simple gadget, Tamron 200-500 can be used successfully with both filter and hood on.
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99 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2008
Style Name: For Nikon DSLR CamerasVerified Purchase
I got this lens in the same set of purchases when I moved up from a Nikon D80 to a D300. So naturally, I tried it out on both before I sold the D80. Four stars on the D80; five on the D300. What CA I saw on the D80 images disappeared on the images from the D300 - the D300 automatically corrected the CA. This is why I say I think it will "improve" with age - the bodies will continually get better, and compensate for minor flaws.

But in its own right, this lens is a significant value. Not only in price, but in utility. I had to ask myself if I would really use a lens in this range enough to want to hump it around (yes), if I really needed a fast lens in the 200-500mm range (no), or practically, if I could afford same (no). I decided I didn't want to deal with the weight and bulk of a multi-thousand-dollar fast pro lens, and I certainly had better places to put my already out-of-control photography spending in relation to what would be my least used lens.

Since I wanted this lens primarily for cruise side trips (whales, bears, bridges, foilage, etc) which usually take place during the middle of the day with lots of light, convenience/cost was much more important than sophistication. I didn't need low light capability for sunrise/sunset landscapes, or to be sure to capture that one rare bird that only ventures out in the evening twilight. Further, portability was important. So, even though it's still the biggest space hog in the backpack along with four other lenses, all of which I use more than this one, the weight/bulk/cost to functionality ratio of this lens is still very acceptable to me. One other thing - it comes with a high quality, very usable, padded case of its own if you don't have a dedicated photo backpack.

Advice? Use it on at least a monopod. Even though it's light enough to be shot handheld, the images are highly dependent on good support.

One small negative. I've not found software yet which will automatically correct its barrel/pincushion distortion at various focal lengths. Neither PTLens nor DXO have it in their databases, and I've not seen the compensation factors published for Photoshop. While I am good enough to plug in factors that somebody smarter than me has figured out, I am not good enough to figure out those factors myself. So if any readers here ever find them/figure them out, could you share?
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79 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2007
Style Name: For Canon DSLR Cameras
I could give it a 4 stars, but I decide to add one more to offset another reviewer's 1 star, which I think is not fair. I've used this lens for several months and very happy about its performance -- Well-taken bird pictures are good enough for at least 11X14 prints.

I'm providing some technical tips here for long end (500mm) use --

* Use a (light) monopod, which could save some treasure at 1/100 sec. On the other hand, even at 1/1000 sec, monopod still could help sharpness sometimes;

* If light is ok, use f8, which is significantly better than wide open at 500mm and may reach the top of this lens;

* Make good use of the light weight and 2.5m focus distance, approach the objects -- it's the key to get great bird pictures, although 500mm is also important;

* Don't use teleconvert -- I found even 1.4X Kenko Pro 300 makes the image soft. Croping is better for this lens.

You pay $800 for this 500mm. If you use it correctly, you will get more than what you pay for.
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91 of 100 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 16, 2008
Style Name: For Canon DSLR Cameras
See Nov 2008 Updates below for comparison between this lens and my new Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS

Pros:

Relatively light
Great bang for the buck
Pretty sharp at F/7.1 @ 500mm
Small size when zoomed to 200mm
Nice tripod mount that allows you to rotate the camera and lens

Cons:

Slow autofocus
No Image Stabilization
Cheap plastic build and feel
Slow max aperture especially at 500mm
Works best at long zoom settings on a tripod
Not as sharp as my Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS Zoom lens

I wanted more reach to photograph birds and the moon using my Canon 40D so I borrowed this lens for a few weeks from a friend while he borrows my Canon 70-200 F/2.8 L.

The first things you notice are it's pretty light and long especially when extended to 500mm with an even longer hood attached out past that. The hood seemed a little flimsy but attached firmly and stayed in place throughout shooting so I have no complaints about it.

My first shots were of the moon at 500mm hand held on manual mode at ISO 400 1/800th second at F/7.1. I was very pleased with how sharp and what great contrast this lens produced when I got back inside and downloaded to my Mac.

When attached to my monopod or tripod I liked the built in lens tripod mount as it easily allows you to rotate the camera and lens together easily without having to change settings on your tripod. I used this lens mainly on a monopod while shooting birds and this worked really well. I mainly used the lens at 500mm where it seemed really sharp at F/7.1 but pretty sharp wide open as well. Will try some more shots at shorter ranges and post later.

Conclusion:

If you are in the market for a 500mm lens especially one that's a zoom and in this price range and you don't need the speed of a faster lens then this may be the lens for you. I recently purchased a new Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS Zoom lens and find it much more useful especially since I am not tied to a tripod because of the freedom of the Image Stablizier. If you can afford it get the Canon 100-400 if you are on a budget and you don't mind using a tripod and having images that are softer then get the Tamron.

6-29-2008 Update

Despite being a really sharp lens, and a versatile one, there area several other things that make a lens a pleasure to use.

1. Fast auto-focus, this lens doesn't have it. After awhile of trading my Canon L lens back and forth with this one there's just too much I miss especially birds in flight. With a Canon L it's a snap.

2. Fast aperture, F/4 maybe I could put up with but when you get above F/5.6 you are getting into really slow territory.

I thought about getting a Canon 400mm F/5.6 L but this may be just a little too slow. I think I will continue to save up for the Canon 300 F/2.8 L. I know it's in another league from this lens, but I just can't give up the even better quality, fast aperture and lightening fast auto-focus. I'll buy a 2x multiplier to get out there further.

11-5-2008 Update:

I just bought a new Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L IS Zoom lens and there is just no comparison, The Canon 100-400 just blows away the Tamron lens in all areas except for reach which is another 100mm on the Tamron. I compared my old tripod mounted test photos with the Canon 100-400 test photos using the same settings and the 100-400 is shaper has better contrast and most importantly has image stabilization which allows me to use a much slower shutter speed and still get great sharp photos. The auto focus on the Canon is also faster.

11-14-2008 Update:

It was a full moon the last two nights perfect for taking my best shot of the moon with my new Canon 100-400 F/4.5 - F/5.6 IS L lens. I wanted to compare the best moon shot I got with the Tamron 200-500mm with my new Canon lens. The moon was full and night clear and I took a hand held shot at 1/400s F/7.1 ISO 100 with the Canon 40D same camera I used with the Tamron test. I then downloaded and processed the Raw photo using the same settings I used for the best moon shot I ever got with the Tamron.

Results: The Canon 100-400 had enough resolving power and was sharp enough where I could actually zoom in enough on the moon shot taken with the Tamron 200-500mm at 500mm and it was slightly better. The shots at 400mm with the Tamron were a step down from the 400mm shot with the Canon 100-400.

The other thing I noticed after looking through the directory with all the daytime Tamron 200-500mm vs the Canon 100-400 was how many shots I got with the Canon 100-400 lens that would not be possible with the Tamron because the Tamron has no Image Stabilizer and the Tamron focused much more slowly. The Tamron is more of a tripod bird perched on a branch lens the Canon 100-400 I can actually do bird in flight photos!

Verdict:

If you are on a budget and don't mind shooting from a tripod at motionless or near motionless subjects the Tarmon 200-500 can do, but... if you have the money at all you need to get the Canon 100-400 you will be getting more shots and with more resolving power even though the Canon is 100mm shorter.

Lenses I currently own:

Canon EF-S 17-55 F/2.8 IS Ultra sharp, great colors, great low light, poor zoom action
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Rebel XTi Kit lens Muddy, slow, pile of junk
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 L Fantastic colors, sharp zoomed 17 to 24mm, ultra smooth zoom action, light weight
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L Fantastic colors and contrast, sharp zoomed 40 to 70mm, zoom a little stiff at first, heavy, repair prone!
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Good budget portrait lens, light weight, disposable, sharp from F/2.5
Canon EF 85mm F/1.2 L II The best portrait lens for female and children clients, buttery smooth Bokeh, heavy and expensive it shares sharpness with 135mm
Canon EF 135mm F/2.0 L The best portrait lens for males and tied with Canon 85mm F 1/.2 for sharpest lens I own, buttery smooth Bokeh
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L fantastic colors, sharp for a zoom, very versatile ego boosting and attention getting and heavy! My favorite zoom lens!!!
Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L great IS, super colors, sharp for a zoom, extremely versatile, variable Bokeh, even more ego boosting and attention getting when extended and 400mm reach!!
My next lens purchase I'm saving for right now: _Canon EF 300mm F/2.8 IS L the finest lens ever
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2011
Style Name: For Nikon DSLR Cameras
Lets start this review by stating the obvious, this is not a 500mm prime lens costing about 10K, this is a decent lens with great range for under 1K. It is silly to start comparing this lens to others that cost 6 to 10 times as much money.

I am using this lens on a Nikon D7000. I have read other reviews about the slow focus speed but I am not seeing that on my camera body. It focuses fast and adjusts rapidly using the continous mode. Focus speeds have as much to do with the camera body you are using as it does the lens itself. This lens does not have the internal focus motor so it will not work on cameras that do not support this such as the D5000.

The pictures I have got are very sharp up to about 400mm. The image quality suffers a little from there to 500mm. It is something I can live with and the images are still usable but get a little soft. Up to 400mm this lens is very sharp. For wildlife this lens works great and you can get shots you would have otherwise missed because of the reach.

It is a fairly slow lens but I have found that it does not get into the 6.3 range until you pass the 400mm mark. I bump my ISO to 800 or so and have no problem getting crisp images handheld. I normally shoot on a monopod because I am shooting wildlife and mostly in the wait and shoot mode and this lens gets heavy.

With the hood on and zoomed to 500mm this lens is long, very long. With the hood off and the zoom returned it is a short lens. One of the things I do not care for is how many rotations of the zoom ring you have to turn to go from 200-500. The Sigma is much quicker.

This lens does not have Image Stabilization which would have been nice but would probably add another couple hundred dollars and weight to it. It does come in a very nice padded case and features a filter ring that can be adjusted with the hood on. Filters are 86mm which are very costly. Tripod mount is very solid and located well for easy access.

Conclusion: This is a great lens for the money. It focuses fast and produces crisp pictures. It is a slow aperature range but I have not had any issues in daylight with focus or speed. I didn't want to spend 3 to 5 grand on a lens that I will not be using that much. IMO, this is a specialized lens that I use for wildlife. I might use it 20-25% of the time. I normally shoot a 80-200 Nikon 2.8 for my sports and action photography. This lens would not be very good for that task.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: For Konica Minolta and Sony DSLR CamerasVerified Purchase
It is a perfect companion to the 18-200mm Tamron I use, and is faster at the 200mm mark.

I enjoy wildlife and outdoor photography. The crop factor gives me the equivalent of a 750mm zoom, and the eight foot minimum focusing distance lets me take some great shots of wild flowers and such.

From all I coud find when I researched the lens, to get a noticeably better lens you had to pay out several times as much money.

The only drawback to the lens is that, at least in the Minolta mount, demand exceeds supply and there is waiting list for the lens.

It is well worth waiting for, however. :)

I have a number of shots taken with this lens on a Minolta 7D.[...]
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
Style Name: For Nikon DSLR CamerasVerified Purchase
I got this lens to upgrade my kit with the purchase of a Nikon D90. I travel a lot and spend a good bit of time in southern and eastern Africa. I always go on safari when I'm there, even if only for a day or two, so I was looking for a long lens that could be easily moved about, both on and off the camera. This lens was the biggest glass I could find that was a reasonable weight and length. It's also affordable, given the quality.

While I haven't taken it into the bush yet, I have taken it to the zoo to simulate both the distance and subjects I'll be photographing. The results are better than I expected. The focus takes a bit of getting used to, and the tracking is going to take even more practice. But, even after only a few hours of working with zoo-constrained animals, I was able to signficantly improve my ability to get hand-held sharp shots of slowly moving animals. When on a tripod, the sharpness increases, but then you lose the ability to track. Wide open, it's a bit soft, but then so is any lens of this size under 5K, so you can't complain.

The best thing about this lens is its weight, or lack thereof. It's about 2.5 pounds, and with the hood inverted it will fit easily inside a LowePro slingshot. Its weight and length make it possible to hand-hold and easy to lug around on your back through rough terrain. Overall, for an affordable long lens that can be mobile and versatile, you can't do much better. This is not a perfect lens, but it's a darned good one.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2006
Style Name: For Nikon DSLR Cameras
I have had this lens for almost a year and normally don't write reviews but the person who gave it four stars claims the pictures were great and focus fast and everyone agreed but gave it four stars? The lens deserves five stars for the price and flexibility. It does seem to work better on my 20d then on my 1Ds, the pictures are sharp and focus is fast for a zoom lens. Ihave all but two lens that are not Canon L lens, this one and the Sigma 150 macro and they are both fantastic lens. The lens is heavy.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2009
Style Name: For Konica Minolta and Sony DSLR CamerasVerified Purchase
I ordered my lens for over night delivery because I was going on a trip. To my horror I discovered that I ordered it in the wrong mount! When I checked my order with Amazon it stated that my order was being prepared for shipment and could not be canceled or changed. So I clicked that "phone me" button and sure enough Amazon called in less than a minute. The lady could not change my order but she did cancel it.
I ordered the lens with the proper mount and received it the next day.
Excellent build quality.
Comes in a quality case that is well padded.
Fast focus and SHARP!
With Sony's built in image stabilizer I am able to get sharp pictures even at 500mm hand held.
Can't ask for much more than that!
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51 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2009
Style Name: For Canon DSLR Cameras
I gave this lens a try as a cheaper alternative to the Canon 100-400 L IS lens. After one outing, I returned the Tamron immediately and bought the Canon 100-400mm L IS lens.

This lens is pretty soft at anything above 400mm, and anything below f/8. If you do any kind of print work or like to do heavy cropping the softness of this lens will really bother you - there's no way you can use a 1:1 crop. If you mostly reduce your photos quite a bit for the web, this might not bother you. However, this does affect your ability to shoot in low light though, since f/5 to f/8 is almost unusable due to the softness.

CA is present at longer focal lengths as well, along with pretty poor contrast.

The lack of IS in such a long lens is also problematic - forget hand-held shots.

The one nice feature is the rotating front filter ring - you can buy a cheaper polarizing filter, which is a bonus on such a large filter.

Overall, this lens was a huge disappointment. If you want to take a chance on an off-brand lens, at least go with the Sigma 150-500 with OS. I haven't had a chance to try that lens, but at least it has OS, and the optical quality can't possibly be any worse.
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