Filter Size: 67mm
Once again Tamron wins the game for longest name. They do make
up for it with a simple model number: A16. There are two models of the
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and it's important to note that this review is of
model A16 without VC, aka VR, IS, OS, OSS or whatever you want
vibration reduction. For some odd reason model B005, the VR version of
this lens, is not as good as a performer and many reviews show
Why Tamron released a 18-200mm as their first lens for the NEX
system is anyone's guess. Sony already has one, and they retail for
near the same price point, yet there is no fast normal range zoom like
the 17-50 f/2.8 for the system. Let's just hope Sony, Tamron, Sigma or
Tokina is working on making one of these in E mount asap.
The reviews also show that the relatively small and light Tamron
17-50 f/2.8 is a remarkable performer for the price point. More or less
90% of the Nikkor counterpart at a third of the cost. With one problem.
The lens has significant field curvature at 17mm. You can read more
about that in the photozone
which has a nice graphic to
illustrate it too. This is a big issue on a dSLR because the focus
points are all towards the center of the lens. If your subject is going
to be in the corner of the image, it may be impossible to get it
focused correctly. Thankfully on the NEX-5N this isn't a problem
because you can zoom in and manually focus even on the very corners.
Image from Photozone:
On a rainy day, Daniel Brasuell runs
the Siskiyou Gorge of the Smith River
Sony NEX-5N, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 @ 1/800 f2.8 ISO 400
100% unsharpened crop
NEX-5N, Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 @ 1/800 f2.8 ISO 400
The field curvature issue aside, (and it isn't an issue shooting
kayaking) the largest downside to the Tamron 17-50
f/2.8 on the NEX-5N is that it handles terribly. Designed for screw
driven AF use, under a
quarter turn of the focus ring takes it from close focus to infinity.
on dynamic objects is impossible. Breathing on it wrong will
change focus. Thanks to viewfinder magnification and focus peaking it
is possible to focus this lens on a static object.
An adapter with control for
the aperture is also needed, as it's a gelded lens with no aperture
ring. You'll have no EXIF data for focal length or aperture. Outside
of these drawbacks, the lens agrees well with the NEX-5N, images are
sharp and crisp
with nice color and contrast. For kayaking, where I pre-focus and wait
for my subject to move through, the lens works just fine. Outside of
that the handling is too bad for this lens to be mounted on the camera
- Pure consumer
grade build quality with a miserable focusing ring.
- Terrible due to the
focusing ring. Will be much improved when/if they make a native E Mount
- Incredible performance, softer in
corners at 2.8. Quite a bit of coma wide open too.
for the buck at $300 used.
- The bad handling is the only
thing that hinders this lens on the NEX-5N.
for kayaking: 7/10 -Small and light for a f/2.8 lens it's,
far superior to the Sony kit 18-55mm lens. Even with the dismal
focusing, for kayaking it's probably the best normal zoom range lens
you can get for shooting kayaking with the NEX system at the
Larger than the diminutive kit lens, but not by a massive amount.
Too bad the adapter adds quite a bit to the size too, looking forward
to it in native E Mount.