24-70 VR - Nikon vs Tamron

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by d_ponce, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Hi! Many of you are power contributors so you may remember my post a few months back (something like 'Nikon 24-70 VR finally!'). As some of you pointed out then, there was a delay with the first shipment at the time, but it did come in about a week ago - a few months after the original order was placed. My post was actually more about my long wait for Nikon to develop a VR version of this lens and I waited years for it to happen; saw lots of posts saying "this year" but that was years ago, so (as an event photographer) I finally gave up waiting and bought the Tamron -- but did not expect much, considering what they were like during the film days; but I figured it would tide me over until Nikon got its act together. :) What I received in the Tamron earlier this year was nothing short of amazing; for about half the price of the current Nikon model! Needless to say, when the announcement was made about the Nikon release, I was excited to see the difference between them. Knowing I would probably sell the Tamron (only because I am a 'purist'), because how could it possibly be better than the Nikon (lol!).
    I also mentioned in that post that I would report back on my side by side 'testing' on a D810 -- but prefaced it by noting that I am not a 'tester' by any means and do not get into the minutia when comparing lenses (as mentioned - leave that to those that care :); to me, if the area that I focused is tack sharp and there are no obvious distortions (very minor ones are eliminated with a click of 'lens correction' in PS), then I am satisfied. The Tamron has been an amazing lens for my applications and I have yet to ever think, "I wish I had a Nikon" when capturing a critical shot. It is an incredible lens! (no, I do not work for Tamron :).
    Ok -- so the first few trials that I put a lens through is distortion -- I don't use anything fancy, just my garage wall with horizontal siding and a window with some mullions to ensure no obvious vertical distortion, like pin cushioning, etc. The Tamron was initially fine in this regard at all lengths but I still re-tested it in the same light as the Nikon (of course, some 'distortion' at 24mm -- but that is expected at semi-wide angle). The most obvious difference in this test was that, since I usually stop a lens down by 1/3 stop because I prefer a slightly more contrasty image, the Tamron shows this as an ideal exposure while the Nikon showed it as under-exposed; setting the needle to 'perfect' exposure for the Nikon was much better. I put them both through the lens' ranges and most f-stops, then looked at the resulting images at 100% magnification. Truth be told, although there was a slight variation in tonality - I could not tell the difference between them -- although I would have to say it is possible that the Nikon might even be a hair softer at the focus point (but I would have to look at the images in a much more critical mindset -- which I never do because unless there is a glaring difference, once printed and ready to sell, it would be impossible to discern if it is a great image) -- to me if I can see fine-details, such as every blemish, mold spot, crack in the paint of my aging garage in fine detail -- the lens passes. I know the Tamron sees things that even the human eye at the same distance can not see (and many things on humans that you'd rather not know about :) -- well, not just the Tamron; all of my images from the D810 no matter the lens, have this ability. So as long as it does this, I'm a happy camper. The Nikon did fine.
    My next test was in the VR -- again, I could not really see any improvement in the Nikon vs. the Tamron - I could take a sharp image with no support at about a 1/10 of second, about a 1/5 of a second if I leaned my shoulder against a wall with the Nikon. I get similar results with the Tamron. My only complaint, and I may have Nikon check it out because this happened on another Nikon that I purchased and returned: is the VR even working. The images are sharp, so I presume it is -- but with the Tamron and my 70-200 2.8 I can actually see the image 'lock' into place and usually can hear the motor. With this Nikkor, I hear something but rarely see the 'lock-in' through the view-finder.
    Next I went out in the field and took some scenics -- I purposely did not note which were taken with which lens, but did run them through their paces to some extent. I was hoping when I got back to the computer I would see some that looked good and some that looked great and I could tell the difference between the two. No such luck -- there were some that weren't so good (even though most were taken on a tripod as I normally do for a scenic and a timer release) and that happens some time, and some were great. But both lenses had that anomaly. If I didn't know better I would say Nikon made the Tamron lens (or visa versa - lol!). But of course, that is not possible. I truly could not tell the difference between the images at 100% magnification -- and had to read the image properties just to find out which lens was which. This may not be the case if I scrutinize with a eagle eye, but at first review on a NEC IPS monitor, I could not see the difference between the two lenses.
    I guess, in summary, I'm disappointed. I've liked the Tamron in all regards, but was hoping to be beyond wow'ed by the Nikon considering the price difference and level of commitment Nikon has to the imaging world. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine lens -- but, at this point (I'll update after I use it on assignment later in the week -- which will test the autofocus, etc) it is on par to the Tamron. Seriously, Nikon, it's one thing competing with Canon -- but Tamron is on your heels as well.
  2. SCL


    Glad to hear your fine results. Modern technology has made the manufacturing of fine lenses less of an art and more of a science, and in many cases the optical results among manufacturers is almost indistinguishable.
  3. Hi, This is no surprise at all, I have had the Tamron for about 18months using it with the D800 and D810 and the results are fantastic, I find it bitingly sharp and excellent contrast, with terrific VC at least as good as anything Nikon has.
    Nikon will need to up their game with the latest Tamron and Sigma Art lenses at least as good and in some cases bettering them.
  4. Do you really find the Nikon design, construction, handling, speed, AF accuracy, etc on pair with the Tamrom? Just asking, I have not used the lenses you mention.
    It`s not my intention to justify anything, but after reading comments like yours about other lenses that I have certainly used, my final thought is that image quality wise some lenses could maybe be comparable to others, but construction quality, design, handling, durability, etc. are far behind. Maybe things have changed. Just a thought.
  5. I could take a sharp image with no support at about a 1/10 of second, about a 1/5 of a second if I leaned my shoulder against a wall with the Nikon. I get similar results with the Tamron.​
    handholding at 1/10 with an 810? that's funny because a punter on another thread just insisted you needed VR at middling shutter speeds (1/60-1/200) with a high-resolution body to prevent camera shake. the same guy who told me my high-ISO club shots -- which just got picked up by a record label for promotional use in a national campaign --were "useless."
  6. No surprise to me at all D. I was well impressed with Tamron's 70-300 SP VC lens, especially the steadiness of the VC, and have been using a 28-75mm SP f/2.8 Tamron for some time with absolutely no complaints about its IQ. So when I was feeling in a spending mood to upgrade recently, the Tamron 24-70 SP VC f/2.8 seemed the obvious choice. Especially since I'd previously been offered brand new Nikon 24-70 non-VR lenses with an obviously gritty or plain stiff zoom mechanism in the recent past. I refused them naturally.
    I have no complaints about the Tamron at all. The zoom mechanism works smoothly without any feeling of "grit", stiffness or slop, and the IQ is all that I expected. The VC is fantastically effective and AF is swift and quiet with no need to apply AF fine-tuning. Tamron have so far issued no recalls for a firmware upgrade either (;-). Plus I'm several hundred pounds in pocket. Call me a happy Tamron bunny.
  7. @ Eric -- ha ha. Sure, the D810 (and my D3s) have great high ISO capability, but truth be told - I rarely use it. When I tested the Nikkor's VR it was at 400 ISO. The challenge that I presume you are up against is the movement of your subjects, and not the lack of light or ability of your camera. Congrats on the win!
    I'm with you, Rodeo - the Tamron mechanism is smooth with no stiffness or slop - and I will have to say that the Nikon is actually stiffer -- now that you mention it. I also prefer Tamron's placement of the zoom ring. In the Tamron it is wide and easy to grasp; the Nikon's is narrower and located near the body of the camera, which when you are trying to make a quick adjustment can present a slight delay in your action -- I'm sure I'll get used to it, but ergonomically, I found the Tamron to be a much more natural-placement.
    @Jose: not sure, just yet -- the proof, for me, will be after I photograph an all-day event later in the week. I've done it with Tamron since May and have been more than pleased with the results and never felt it was lacking in any way. It will mean taking both lenses, but I do want to ensure that the Nikon is as good as the Tamron (wow, I never thought those words would come out of my head!)
    @douglas: 'bitingly sharp and excellent contrast' -- that actually is the best way to describe the images from this lens.
  8. I used to own and use Nikkor 24-70mm (Non-VR), excellent lens. I then purchased the Tamron. After around 3000 shots with the Tamron sold the Nikkor, for reasons as described above. Still happier with the Tamron. Although the heft of the Nikkor was nice!
  9. One thing you can not test is how will these lenses behave after years of heavy professional use. I would expect nikon to prevail in that category. "Pro" lenses are expected to give top results not only when brand new but also after hundreds of thousends of clicks.
  10. Hopefully things have changed, but ten years ago a staff photographer at the company where I worked said he needed to carry a screwdriver set to tighten things on his Tamron lens as they worked loose. Sometimes they just dropped out unnoticed.
    In a competitive business like photo equipment there is always a relationship between price and quality. Build quality of a lens is more than skin deep, more than glass. The way lenses are mounted and centered can vary significantly. as well as the degree to which they can withstand rough handling or just extended use. In many cases, the support structure is the most important factor. It's good to know Nikon can still repair a 15 year-old lens, make it like new, in less than a week's time. It's comforting to know it took 15 years of almost daily use to reach that point.
  11. As an owner of the Nikon 24-70 F/2.8 (non VC version and Tamron 28-75) I have been eyeballing the new Tamron. As I get older, I am finding the need for VC much more and more. Hence, I have been pondering and researching this new Tamron. I found this to be very interesting.
    Large here...
  12. @ Javiar: you won't be disappointed. I hear you about needing/loving the VR -- even with a 'light' lens as these are -- which is why I kept waiting for Nikon. I have seen the Nikon 70-200 2.8 (yes, you need it with that lens) pull some incredibly sharp images in a pinch, when the tripod is not available.
    @Edward and Thomas: this is a very good point -- something that I wasn't really thinking about, at least not on a conscience level -- but since I intended to sell the Tamron (maybe :) once the Nikkor came out, I guess it was a consideration. I admit, I'm still using (and loving) many of my 1990's era fixed pro lenses on my digital cameras -- and really would not part with them. And when one of them wasn't happy with the D3s years ago (although I sent it to Nikon to repair, just in case -- I really did not want to give up that lens), I got pretty close to what I paid for it in the 90's -- so they also hold their value and for that reason [and, yes, I did disclose the problem that I had with it on the D3s to the buyer before purchase :), since Nikon felt the issue was a compatibility issue since the lens was still perfect].
  13. Hopefully things have changed, but ten years ago a staff photographer at the company where I worked said he needed to carry a screwdriver set to tighten things on his Tamron lens as they worked loose. Sometimes they just dropped out unnoticed.​
    Now I do remember that I used to have a Tamron 24-135mm that I liked better than the Nikon 24-120mm (must be some 10+ years ago). And some of the tiny screws did need readjustment. And I was not a pro.
    More memories: I was using it on my F100 and it finally died splitting apart at the base from the camera as the tripod fell at White Sands. The F100 was OK, as the lens took the punishment. To be fair though, it was not a "pro lens". Then, because I really liked it, I bought a replacement. Those were the days.
  14. WRT Nikon long-term reliability: I would have bought the non-VR version of 24-70 zoom-Nikkor several years ago, had it not been for the, frankly, awful standard of it's zoom mechanism. When I was shopping around I tried several display samples of this zoom. All of them, without exception, had a very poor " feel" to the zoom ring. Some felt "gritty", others felt stiff or notchy, and one example I was expected to purchase from Calumet was almost impossible to turn past 50mm toward 70. I also looked at used examples and again the zoom ring was either very stiff or ridiculously sloppy. Not one lens felt right, especially for such a high-priced item. So no sale to Nikon from me, and I ended up buying the neat little Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 SP zoom. I've used it trouble free almost daily for about 5 years now and it still feels like new.
    An internet search showed that it wasn't just random bad luck on my part, but a widespread disatisfaction; with stories of seized-up zoom rings abounding. After "repair" by Nikon the zoom rings then became excessively sloppy. Apparently the wrong amount or grade of lubricant had been used on the zoom helicals, which led to excessive wear and seizure. So much for long-term reliability of 24-70 Nikkor zooms.
    I've also recently had to return a 3 month old D7200 with a terminal shutter fault, and my D800 has developed a sloppy "joystick" button for no apparent reason. It's had light use by pro standards. My first D800 had such poor AF that it went back for replacement within days of purchase.
    Do I have any faith in Nikon's "long term reliability"? No longer I'm afraid.
    Another factor is that the high cost of Nikkor lenses might scare people into having them regularly serviced, whereas with a cheaper lens you probably wouldn't bother and just use it into the ground. And if a fault does develop with a Nikon lens the repair cost often approaches or exceeds the cost of buying a 3rd party lens new.
  15. I've used two copies of the 24-70/2.8G Nikkor and while both copies had somewhat uneven stiffness of the zoom mechanism they still functioned fine. The new 24-70/2.8E has more even feel to the zoom and seems better built in this respect. Nikon also says it's more resistant to impacts to the inner barrel. I suppose the larger size does allow them to put better mechanical construction in the lens. Here are some interesting teardowns of Canon's (Mk II), Nikon's (G) and Tamron's 24-70mm zooms
    Roger comments in another article that the previous 24-70/2.8 from Canon was prone to requiring adjustment of the optics after mistreatment/impact so Nikon isn't unique in making fragile 24-70's. Canon was able to improve their 24-70 while retaining it as a relatively compact lens but it has no VR; Nikon's 24-70 VR has larger size and weight but as a result it has VR, and the main issues of image quality (corner softness, field curvature at wide angle settings) have been solved and at least according to Nikon it should have better resistance to impacts. (Note that I'm not saying the zoom problems with the 24-70 G version were due to impacts or abuse, but I consider it an inherent design weakness of the zoom mechanism.) The new version has much more even zoom feel and the sound from zooming is also more confidence inspiring, there is no rattle or grinding.
    Lensrentals also show the lenses that had the most frequent need for service:
    Notice that the Nikon 24-70/2.8 is not on the list of top 14 most frequently repaired lens types but the 14-24/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 II Nikon lenses are, as well as both Canon 24-70/2.8 (Mk I) and Tamron's 17-50/2.8 VC and Tamron's 24-70/2.8 VC. Thus at least from this data set the 24-70 Nikkor doesn't appear especially fragile. In their earlier 2012 listing
    the Nikon 24-70/2.8 does not make an appearance, either.
    Do I have any faith in Nikon's "long term reliability"?
    I have used many Nikon products over the past 22 years and while they've had glitches over the years it is rare that a product stops being able to take pictures; usually I have been able to continue photographing after waiting for a while (for the cold temperature / humidity issue to clear, or after taking off the lens and playing with the aperture a bit to get it back online). I've experienced issues such as aperture sticking (2 cases; 70-200/2.8G in ca. 2006 and 70-200/4G in 2015), camera lockups in cold+humid weather (F-801s in the mid 90s, D700 in 2009, D800 in 2013), poor autofocus accuracy (D7000 in 2011 and D800 in 2012), and one of my cameras stopped working a while after it was sold to a new owner (D70 BGLOD syndrome, 2006-7). In general I find the construction of Nikon lenses to be better now than in the past; in particular most lenses now have fixed outer barrels and even those which have extended barrels don't wobble like many zooms and primes in the early AF generations did. I don't see any relationship between the frequency of instances of problems and the year the product was made except that the major autofocus problems with camera bodies seemed tied to the time 2011-12. When I've abused my equipment in a few instances, e.g. my Mamiya 7 and 150mm lens both were broken beyond what could be fixed in repair at my country and very expensive to ship to and repair in the US. With Nikon equipment, dropping has only caused minor damage such as broken filter threads, and requirement of AF recalibration in the body, not that I recommend dropping or other kinds of use but with enough time using the equipment sometimes the accident can happen. In my experience / judgment Nikon equipment is in general more rugged and durable than the Mamiya (which was priced and made for professional use very obviously). I have no personal experience with the Tamron 24-70, but I know someone who dropped his Tamron 24-70 and its AF required repair after the drop if I recall correctly. I believe it was successfully repaired. So there doesn't seem a huge difference in the durability or impact resistance of the first generation of 24-70/2.8's by different manufacturers, but we'll see what kind of a service record the new 24-70's from Nikon and Canon will get over the years.
  16. The 24-70 from Nikon is a very special lens with an original design. It is certainly "unperfect" in the sense that the zoom is not equally smooth in the whole range. It is the "price to pay" for such nice design.
    As Ilkka says, maybe the larger size of the new version lend to oversize the mechanisms, making them more "constant" or noticeable.
    Another topic is the fragility of the lens. Very likely all problems come from abused front group units; once again I have had to check mine and see that all is right, maybe because I didn`t removed the hood since the first day. This lens may need the "whole shell" to avoid damage on the front group.
    I cannot speak because I have not used the Tamron, but after a first sight it seem to me another telescopic type zoom with its typically small hood. I think Canon also went wrong with this design, a deal breaker for me.
    Review sites use to talk about some optical parameters and the weight (feel) of the plastics. So one more line per millimeter simply makes the winner, that`s all. If the winner is also cheaper, will also receive something like a "bargain" stamp.
    In my opinion, Nikon scored again with its fourth standard zoom this type. At least I appreciate it, maybe others don`t mind that much.
  17. "Imperfect" maybe (whatever the various standards are), my Nikon 24-70mm (non-VR) has been reliable. I can always trust the focus and the results as I point it to anywhere, get the composition I want, then just snap! To me that's the bottom line.
  18. I've also found the "old" 24-70 to be very reliable across a variety of subject matter (including events, portraits, travel, and landscape), the only significant problem that I've encountered has been the field curvature which meant that in a large group shot it was difficult to get everyone within the depth of field without stopping down a lot. I had to resort to using a 24mm or 28mm prime for those shots, with better results. With the new 24-70 this problem seems to have been eradicated, and shots at f/4 have very even sharpness across the field. Of course if there is more light (existing or supplied) then f/5.6 or f/8 is more ideal for a large group shot but often I need to include the ambient light and it may not always be sufficient to use those smaller apertures without increasing the ISO too much. But overall it has been a reliable and trustworthy tool.
  19. h its typically small hood.​
    I have not noticed particular flare issues with the Canon 24-70II. Certainly none compared to ver 1. To give up known improved performance because you have an intuition about the hood, seems an upside down approach to make it into a "deal breaker".
  20. I tried several display samples of this zoom. All of them, without exception, had a very poor " feel" to the zoom ring. Some felt "gritty", others felt stiff or notchy, and one example I was expected to purchase from Calumet was almost impossible to turn past 50mm toward 70. I also looked at used examples and again the zoom ring was either very stiff or ridiculously sloppy. Not one lens felt right, especially for such a high-priced item.​
    According to RJ, my 24-70 should have become a sloppy mess at zooming by now, after six years of steady use. Nope. in fact, the zoom action is still as the day i got it: nicely damped from 24-50, with a bit of resistance at 50mm -- which i assume is there for tactile reasons, so i can use it without looking at it, and also to prevent lens creep. hard to imagine a lens being "impossible to turn past 50mm" unless you have no wrist strength -- this sounds like hyperbolic exaggeration. i have noticed field curvature and distortion at 24mm, but the focusing is so fast, i dont have to think about it either. if i was buying now, i might consider the tamron, but i also dont need VR at this focal length and doubt it would make a difference for what i shoot with this lens.
  21. I think in most reasonably well made modern lenses, the feel of the zoom ring mostly has little to do with the actual
    durability and precision of the zoom mechanism. It probably has more to do with the angle and shape of cam slots,
    which is in turn dictated by how much, and along what paths, the zoom groups has to move.

    I think some companies clearly go out of its way to achieve a certain consistent tactile feel with its zoom and focus rings . Sony E
    comes to mind. But I would not pay extra for that kind of "feature".
  22. Robin, I don`t have an intuition about the hood, and I`m not qualifiying the effectiveness of the hood in any way... :)
    There is simply a difference between the typical hood design found in every zoom in the market (necessarily designed for its shortest focal lenght, -let everything else aside-), and the Nikon one. It makes Nikon different from others.
    If some find this relevant or not, it`s another topic.
  23. Ok, guys -- there has been a lot of stray comments surfacing! hoods, non-VR. :) :)
    As mentioned, the true test with this Nikon lens was going to be when I actually used it in the 'real world' -- which was all of today and last night -- where I had an event to photograph. I have used the Tamron for months in this capacity and have always been more than satisfied with the results in regards to focusing capability, sharpness, etc.
    But before then, I considered all of those who made comments about the zoom ring of their non VR lenses (sloppy; stiff; noisy...stops!). I pulled them both out of the bag and tried the zoom rings side-by-side: although the Nikkor is very mildly stiffer than the Tamron, they actually were almost identical in feel. I ran it from one end to the other, and felt no hesitation or stopping in any way with the Nikon - it feels very smooth. I then put them close to my ear and both had the same sound -- I would not call it gritty, but it just sounds like two adjacent pieces of metal 'rubbing' -- although, not in a bad way -- just what you would expect to hear with machined parts, with some lubrication in between (I guess, what would I know! :). I did wonder, could it be that some of the folks who had these 'noisy' Nikkors may have actually bought a grey market lens, but did not realize it (it is not easy to tell-and many retailers do lie about it).
    Ok, so I get my gear ready for the event and have both 24-70s with me; I planned to only use the Nikkor, unless I 'missed' the Tamron. :) Except for the location of the zoom ring (as mentioned in my earlier post: it is narrower and located closer to the body, so it is more difficult to use than the Tamron), within a short amount of time, I can honestly say, I could not tell that I was using a different lens. Like the Tamron, the focus was quick, accurate, smooth -- and the details of my subjects, tack sharp. This event was in a catering hall - so the lighting was somewhat low - and, unlike my Nikkor 70-200 VR 2.8, I had no trouble focusing in these conditions - even dark areas, which can be a challenge for my 70-200, at times. After 14 hours of shooting, I was not even tempted to take the Tamron out of the bag. So, back to the original comment -- was the Nikon better than the Tamron (as I was hoping); I can only answer that by saying, I can not tell the difference between them. Both are excellent lenses, except one costs more. :)
  24. So you have a backup lens now. It's a good thing to have two lenses for critical functions.
    Gray market lenses, of course, are identical to the official (USA) imports, the difference is in the level of support and who provides it. However, the 24-70 G is a different lens from the 24-70 E, the comments about uneven zoom resistance have been made with regards to the G lens, which has this characteristic.
  25. Uneven zoom characteristics most likely denote some group of elements in the lens reverse direction of travel, or change
    the rate of travel, part of the way through the zoom range.
  26. Eric, I was not lying about the 24-70 Nikkor I was offered at my local Calumet. The thing was apparently brand new and seized almost solid at 50mm. I obviously didn't want to force it with full arm strength, thinking it was a demo lens, but when I asked to see another sample I was told it was the only one they had in stock and that it would have been the lens I walked away with had I stupidly bought it.
    Do an internet search for Nikon zoom ring problem. You guys might have just been lucky, or maybe they tried to fob all the bad ones off in the UK or Europe. Most of the posts seem to go back a few years, but this was exactly the time I was shopping for a mid-range zoom. Anyhow. Glad I bought the Tamron 28-75mm. I've taken thousands of shots with it over the last 5 or so years, and the only sign of wear is shininess of the rubber zoom grip.
  27. Demo lenses are sometimes pretty banged up. I noticed that at Heathrow airport in an electronics store a lot of the cameras showed substantial mechanical damage, some refused to function suggesting some electrical damage as well (one Sony camera's EVF image was vibrating in a pathological way). I would not make judgments of a lens' quality based on a demo lens.
  28. I can say that my new 24-70mm f/2.8 vr has a very smooth zoom function, albeit not light. It is smooth enough to use for video.
  29. As Rodeo Joe mentioned the Tamron 24-70 2.8 is one of the few lenses that I haven't needed to apply AF fine tuning,whereas I have had to do some slight focus tuning with all my Nikon's.
  30. dr:
    As Rodeo Joe mentioned the Tamron 24-70 2.8 is one of the few lenses that I haven't needed to apply AF fine tuning,whereas I have had to do some slight focus tuning with all my Nikon's.
    I am not sure why this means a problem with Nikkor lenses? AF fine tune is quite a normal thing to do with nothing to do with lens quality. It could be just a matter of luck if you didn't need to do it for a lens.
  31. I'm surprised about how positive people are about the Tamron. I tried it out, and I didn't like it. Yes, it feels strong, sturdy and durable. "tactile" wise it feels better than the Nikon. but:
    - The VC sucks. It lags, jumps around with a lot of "jitter" when I move it quickly from left to right (and vice versa), and doesn't transition at all from still to moving, in fact it jumps from still to full motion. I noticed this with all Tamron lenses that have VC.
    - The optics are soft. They are also soft. And did I mention soft?
    - vignetting. Plenty of it.
    - AF, not that accurate, slow, and a lot of hunting
    I used to have the 28-75, which was really good actually. But all VC lenses of Tamron were soft, slow and the VC was so annoying I switched it off all the time. I actually tried about 5 samples of the 24-70 VC model. All behaved exactly the same (hat off for consistency there). I concluded that the 24-70 is not even close to either the Nikon or Canon version of the 24-70 (obviously without VC/VR/IS).
    The only Tamron lens I'm currently am considering is the 15-30, because that too has raving reviews. But I think I'll be comparing it with the 14-24 Nikon lens side by side when I'm in the shop...
  32. DR:

    Focus fine tuning need is a function of the out-of-whackness of both the lens and the camera body. So the fact a
    particular lens doesn't need fine tuning on a particular body says nothing specific about the lens. All it says is you have a
    body which so happen to be out of whack in such a way as to exactly cancel out the out-of-whackness of that particular

    I had 3 lenses which I tried on two different D810 bodies and one D750 body. Each lens needed a different amount of focus fine tuning on each of the three bodies.

    Put the lens on a different body of the same model, chances are it would now need some focus fine tune.
  33. I find that in the past two years the (Nikon) lenses and camera bodies that I've bought new have needed very little fine tuning which suggests that Nikon is getting manufacturing in tighter control or moving towards designs which are more tolerant. I think there was a lot of problems with AF calibration in products made in 2011-2 but that seems to be in the past now, or at least I've not run into serious problems recently. Of course I can't speak for other people's experiences.
  34. My experience is 70-200f/2.8 VR-2 needs a lot of fine tuning. I had two examples. The first one needed more fine tuning
    at 200mm f/2.8 than the D810 could provide. The second one needed +16 at 200mm f/2.8, +8 at 135mm f/2.8, and +2
    at 70mm f/2.8.

    The fact that the lens require substantially different amount of tuning at different focal lengths is annoying. I strongly
    suggest to Nikon that if Nikon can't ensure a zoom lens would back or front focus by a similar amount through its entire
    focal range, then let the user define 3 fine tune values at 3 specific focal lengths and have the camera interpolate in
  35. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    if Nikon can't ensure a zoom lens would back or front focus by a similar amount through its entire focal range, then let the user define 3 fine tune values at 3 specific focal lengths and have the camera interpolate in between.​
    I think that is a good point. For zooms, we may even need more than 3 different points (different focal lengths) for AF fine tune, especially when the zoom range is large. Unfortunately, AF fine tune is now part of life as some of us do plenty of pixel peeping. When my 200-400mm/f4 AF-S VR was new (back in 2006), I didn't need any AF fine tune when that feature became available along with my D300 in 2007. However, after a number of years of usage, that lens gradually needs some AF fine tune to product excellent results.
  36. Chuck, what distances did you use for testing the focus fine tune? In my experience using close distances for fine tuning (as suggested by some target manufacturers) usually leads to poor results at long distances. My 70-200/2.8 II has needed negligible fine tuning on any of the cameras that I've used it with which is quite a few, and it's consistent across its focal range on each camera, in fact it's been the most consistent of all my lenses in that respect. I typically use a target distance of 30-50 times the focal length for testing the focus accuracy.
    The problem with giving users more freedom of parametrisation of the focus fine tuning is that it can quickly lead to a very complex mess. Wavelength of light, distance to subject, focal length, and aperture selected and any combination of those parameters would ideally be given a separate fine tune value for each lens. In my opinion it's better to design the lenses so that minimal fine tuning is needed and variation across parameters is small. If there is large variation Nikon should be able to solve those problems in service. The problem is that image resolution has dramatically increased in the last 10 years which has lead to the need for the AF system to be much more accurate, and the AF system has only gradually been catching up (with the increased resolution).
  37. I initially used infinity focus on buildings and window frames more than 3000 feet away to test the focus on the 70-200. I
    later got essentially the same results using Michael Tapes' Lensalign G3 at about 20-25 feet.
  38. Ok. I would have Nikon authorized service have a look at the lens, with an explanation of your findings.
  39. "In my experience using close distances for fine tuning (as suggested by some target manufacturers) usually leads to poor results at long distances."

    Exactly. I remember I started to noticed this back with the D300 + 17-55/2.8... It was quite difficult to set fine focus calibration at very close distances; a very little improvement (if any) lend to a bad performance at longer distances.
    At the end, I think I settled the focus at 2-3 meters; all my pics were plenty sharp.

    I think a bit of pixel peeping is fine, but I wonder if sometimes things are taken to the extreme.

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