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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    9,560

    Thumbs up TAMRON SP AF 60mm f/2 Di-II MACRO 1:1 LD (IF)

    Just as a casual observation that one might have at the store, my experience with the other TAMRON MACRO offerings makes this evaluation rather solid.

    First thing that I noticed was that the packaging of this lens has changed from what TAMRON has used in the past. It would actually be hard to recognize it as a TAMRON lens in a stack of the older TAMRON boxes (pre-2010). I also feel the box construction could be pretty minimalist in contrast. The SIGMA's box is about a mil or two thicker.

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    Regardless, the lens is super quiet and fast as heck getting to the proper focus, for a MACRO. That alone, cuts down the absolute aggravation of just barely missing the focus point and then having to wait as the focusing system crawls from one end of the focus gear to the other and then back to the focal point.

    The lens is a f/stop darker than the standard SONY 50mm f/1.4 ($369) ... but then again, it is an f/stop brighter than the SONY 50mm f/2.8 MACRO ($479). So, getting this lens for $399, after the $100 rebate, sounds pretty cool and just about right.

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    The image is as sharp as you could hope for and IMO should be the perfect lens for 1:1 MACRO work on the APS-C sensor cameras. Again, I want to mention that there is no reason you could not use this on the Fiull Camera, too. The only difference is that you will get an 11MP image, rather than the full frame 24.6 MP. To get the larger resolution, you would have to use the original 90mm Di MACRO lens.

    Image taken with α700 w TAMRON SP AF 60mm f/2 DI-II 1:1 MACRO LD (IF) lens
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    Oh look, there's the new SIGMA 85mm f/1.4

    Discussing the 60mm f/2 Di-II MACRO on the α850/α900 Full Frame: It vignettes in Full Frame (24.6 MP), but works just dandy in the APS-C Capture mode (11MP). That was a question mark to me, as SONY DT lenses automatically cause the camera to choose this APS-C mode of operation when you mount them, but the TAMRON Di-II does not. You will have to select it when you use the lens.

    I'll have more, later on. But, from all issues I had with using the other MACRO lenses, in the past, this 60mm f/2 seems to be everything they said it would be. It's duality of the smaller sensor and full frame make it a solid addition. Nice.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 05-06-2011 at 09:23 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Angry Round trip ... here we go

    After a few test shots, to my disgust ... the lens has to be returned to TAMRON for the obligatory "tweaking." It is -5 in Micro-Adjust on the α850 ... and that means it is pointless to be used on the α700, because I cannot adjust it to sharp focus. I figured to see an image very similar to the 90mm f/2.8 DI MACRO ... but, disappointingly, it's just not there.

    I am shipping it out, tomorrow. Two weeks in la-la land ... Commack, NY, just to get it to work correctly. No, I am not happy and neither should you be. I thought we were past this QC crap. Guess not, as away she goes. Hell, my lens do more traveling than I do!
    Last edited by DonSchap; 05-09-2011 at 01:31 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Apopka, FL
    Posts
    447
    That sucks! What does -5 on micro adjustment mean?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Thumbs down Micro-Focus Adjust

    One of the benefits (if you could call it that) on the two Full Frame SONY DSLRs (α850/α900) is the Micro-Focus Adjustment, which can be used on as many as twenty lenses (stored in the camera and filed for recall against the lens ID number, when the lens is reattached) to correct older and current lenses when they are not quite aligned perfectly. It provides a +/- 20 increment adjustment of the distance between the camera's sensor and the rear element of the lens. If your lenses are properly aligned and calibrated to the standard, there should be no reason to Micro-Adjust them. When you buy a new lens ... again, you should and would expect that there will be NO reason to micro-align it. It should just be "0" When it reads ")0", you can be pretty sure the lens will work great on your APS-C cameras, too, which do not have this adjustment on them.

    I had a recent SONY Zeiss 16-35mm f/2.8 lens and that was off by "-4" clicks. It went back. I mean, that was $2000 worth of optic, so it can happen everywhere. If your Zeiss-certified glass can be screwed up, nothing is safe.

    So, when I took the TAMRON SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO and shot it on the α850 ... it was perfectly crispy at "0" ... as expected.

    When I replaced it for the same shot with the brand spankin' new SP AF 60mm f/2 Di-II MACRO LD (IF) ... it was a lot less than crisp. It was almost "home-style" mush. After stepping it through the Micro-Adjust and retaking the image, several times ... I found the best looking shot was at "-5"

    That's kind of grim. So, off it goes for warranty repair and alignment. Looks like it is going to be on my dime, too, so that's another $30 in shipping to get it to Commack, NY. I swear, with fiends like these camera manufacturers, UPS never had it so good.

    After I went and shot that series of 85mm shots, I realized I could get the same thing out of the 60mm f/2 Di-II in APS-C Capture Mode. So, I shot it, took a look at the results, hoping to see the very same image the 90mm f/2.8 Di got ... and that's when things went to ****. Anyway, it's out-of-here!
    Last edited by DonSchap; 05-09-2011 at 02:30 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Apopka, FL
    Posts
    447
    So when you send it in what do you tell them? Or do they do there own testing and just fix everything?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560
    I simply told them it back focused on my two cameras and needed alignment. They will put it on the collimator* and make the necessary adjustments. I have had to do this for half a dozen lenses, over the years. They all have worked just fine, after being serviced. I think their end of manufacturing is being lazy and cost-cutting, by only checking two out of every ten lenses.

    * Definition: Design of optical instrument used to produce: (1) a wide beam of collimated light for holography - usually by expanding a laser beam or (2) target that appears to be at infinity for testing or measuring lens performance: this makes a compact test-rig.* Consists of a highly corrected projection optic with a light-source or reticle (or target pattern) at its focal point.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Apopka, FL
    Posts
    447
    Oh ok, well if I get one of these I'll have to do that battery test of yours to make sure its a good one!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
    Posts
    2,152
    Oh no! Not again!

    Look Don, I'm not saying that your lens is not OOT (out of tolerance), in fact regular QC failures at Tamron and Sigma mean it's quite likely is.
    That doesn't excuse you from claiming that once the lens is adjusted to be within manufacturing tolerance everything in the garden will be lovely.
    Why? Because there is no guarantee that the camera is within tolerances.

    Unless a camera and all it's lenses are calibrated together, chances are there will still be a problem. Even then it's not possible to achieve perfection, just good enough.
    This is why, contrary to your opinion, the camera micro adjust feature is a godsend albeit only available on semi-pro models.

    Taking a hypothetical situation with one camera and one lens and let's say that the design tolerance is +/- 10.
    The camera happens to be at -9 and the lens at +9 so that the two tolerances cancel each other out giving the appearance of a perfectly adjusted combination.
    You get a new Tamron lens which just happens to be spot on at +/- 0, but in combination with this particular camera it will appear to be a maladjusted -9 so you return it.
    Tamron techs have a go at correcting the lens and end up at -5 (well within tolerance) and happily send it back.
    You expectantly stick it on the camera only to find that the lens is now worse than before at -14.
    I leave you to imagine the to-and-fro and the acrimony that follows.

    And it doesn't end there! You may be in the unlikely heaven of having both camera and lens at the sweet spot of +/- 0 but what about discrepancies in the AF system.
    You can set up on a tripod and focus on a target and have a different plane of focus each time. The Phase Detect sensors are surprisingly good but not spot on and the drive train which carries the focus elements into position has it's own tolerances and inaccuracies.

    If that weren't enough, many lenses suffer from a shift in the plane of focus at different distances from the subject. And many Zoom lenses also suffer from a shift in focus during zooming.

    Switch, you're probably having kittens by now but don't worry, it's not as bad as it sounds.
    Unless you have a really bad case, in normal use the AF will get you within the DOF of the lens. Problems mostly only show up with really fast lenses say from f/1.4 to f/2.8 because then the DOF can be really thin and any mis-focus will then become very noticeable but only, of course, with the lens wide open. Stop down and the problem is not obvious.

    I hope that clarifies things a bit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Apopka, FL
    Posts
    447
    Ok well thats good, I'm still going to try the battery test to see if the lens has good focus.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
    Posts
    2,152
    That you should do at the very least. It will tell you a lot if you do it wide open and at MFD (minimum focus distance) plus a bit for safety.

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