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Tamron SP 51b Adaptall-2

mingus2112

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Jun 16, 2014
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Got a couple minutes to run out of the house at the tail end of golden hour tonight to try out the Tamron 51b 17mm on my new (to me) A7Rii. I probably should have shot JPEGs along with the RAW so I could get a baseline here, but i'm not sure it would have told much more of a story. All three of these were quickly edited in Lightroom - a little bit of dehaze, adjusted exposure, bring down highlights, raise shadows, etc. I was trying to match the color on the two color ones at first until I realized that It was pretty much dusk when I shot the longer exposure one while it was still golden hour when I did the other one. So I left them as they sat - pretty warm in one, a bit colder in the other one. The black and white one I adjusted it so the bridge posts were pretty straight, but not much else on there. That one really shows the noticeable vignetting on this lens. Forgive my amateur composition - the waterfall pics were the only ones I felt like could be shared. I spent a lot of time pointed almost directly down at the water. Given it was my first time out with the A7Rii, it was getting dark and it goes down to ISO50, I was trying to do some long(ish) exposures. I think both of those I was stopped down to 22 on the 51b.

All in all, i'm happy with this lens, but I wouldn't use it for many landscape shots. The vignetting, flaring and the softness (maybe i'm just not used to the A7Rii yet - IBIS was off for the waterfall shots on the tripod, but was on for the B&W handheld with auto ISO) makes me want to get a Zeiss Loxia now. This is noticeably less sharp than my Samyang 12mm f2 on the crop sensor.

Here's the Flickr Album. I'll add more to it if I edit more or shoot more with this lens:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/16430145@N02/albums/72157713615104398

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51B-A7RII-TEST1.jpg
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51B-A7RII-TEST2.jpg
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51B-A7RII-TEST3.jpg
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bdbits

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The thing with legacy glass on APS-C sensors is that you get the sweet spot in the lens - the center. Going to full-frame you pick up the rest of the image circle too, and this can uncover flaws you did not know were there before because you never saw them. Between that and the finer details on the higher-pixel sensor, you may find old glass can - sometimes - be disappointing.
 

mingus2112

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The thing with legacy glass on APS-C sensors is that you get the sweet spot in the lens - the center. Going to full-frame you pick up the rest of the image circle too, and this can uncover flaws you did not know were there before because you never saw them. Between that and the finer details on the higher-pixel sensor, you may find old glass can - sometimes - be disappointing.
Yeah - I don't hate it, but it's definitely not going to be super useful. As wide angle lenses these days either less distortion OR (and??) always have in-camera or in lightroom corrections for these things, i'm almost certainly better off going native unless I want it for an affect. That said, it was fun to use and I actually liked the result in the black and white. I could see myself using this in some situations, but i'll definitely get a Samyang (or more likely a Loxia) for tripod landscape use. It's charming in its own way.
 

bdbits

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Not to derail the topic, but if you are considering modern manual focus lenses you may want to have a look at Voigtlander e-mount lenses. I am admittedly smitten with them, but they have really been producing some excellent e-mount products over the last few years. The APO lenses are particularly good. If you are in the US, I bought mine from cameraquest.com, an authorized Voigtlander dealer on the west coast. (There is another AD on the east coast whose name escapes me.) If you want to save a bit, they have decent discounts on used products, which are probably returns but I've not found them to be de-centered or faulty in any way really. Used gear usually goes pretty fast so you have to check regularly and grab it when it comes up.
 

WNG

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I've come to the same conclusion. Vintage wide angles are at a deficit having to accommodate the mirror of SLRs. Can't compete with modern designs and formulations.
The last Tokina 17mm version (RMC?) I believe produced sharper results than the Tamron SP. But after trying an older version of the 17mm and a 21mm from Tokina, they don't come even remotely close to my Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 manual native mount. Stick with the modern offerings, even consider Laowa. They have a 10-18mm compact zoom for FE mount ideal for landscapes.

BTW, beautiful images though. Nicely composed.
 
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Stick with the modern offerings, even consider Laowa. They have a 10-18mm compact zoom for FE mount ideal for landscapes.
Just be aware that the Laowa lenses are "dumb", i.e. they don't communicate with the camera, so there are no lens data in the EXIF and hence no automatic application of lens profiles in a raw developer.

This is particularly bothersome with zoom lenses because you have to keep track of the focal length and add it to the EXIF in your postprocessing workflow to be able to apply a profile. And you'll have to make the profile yourself if you can't find a ready-made profile. I have played with a few Minolta zoom lenses, making profiles for Lightroom myself with Adobe Lens Profile Creator, and I've found using dumb zoom lenses was a royal pain, way way beyond what I'm prepared to put up with. It is the main reason why I try to avoid dumb lenses as much as possible. These days I occasionally use the Carl Zeiss Distagon 2.8/28 with Contax/Yashica mount because there is no native 28mm lens I'd be happy with, but I find it cumbersome nevertheless.

There are adapters that do provide the camera with the lens' EXIF data, like for instance the Sigma MC-11 adapter for Canon EF or Sigma SA lenses; Metabones, Commlite, Viltrox are some other brands that offer similar products. I have not completely given up the option of buying a MF Zeiss 28mm in Canon EF-mount combined with such an adapter. This way you even can make use of autofocus of AF lenses, but performance in terms of accuracy and speed various greatly among lens/adapter/camera combinations, a veritable minefield/rabbit hole IMHO.
 

mingus2112

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I've come to the same conclusion. Vintage wide angles are at a deficit having to accommodate the mirror of SLRs. Can't compete with modern designs and formulations.
The last Tokina 17mm version (RMC?) I believe produced sharper results than the Tamron SP. But after trying an older version of the 17mm and a 21mm from Tokina, they don't come even remotely close to my Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 manual native mount. Stick with the modern offerings, even consider Laowa. They have a 10-18mm compact zoom for FE mount ideal for landscapes.

BTW, beautiful images though. Nicely composed.
Thanks - I'm not thrilled with the compositions, but I spent a good amount of time concentrating on lengthening the exposure and blurring the water. I was trying to take advantage of that ISO50!

As for the wide angles, I found this out early on with my a6000, but wanted to try again with full frame. Not only is there a lack of sharpness on that Tamron, but it's also got a fair bit of vignetting, distortion, etc. that I think was just par for the course with wide angles 40 years ago. Any anything wider than this and I'd be lucky if it wasn't a fisheye! I'm consistently impressed with my Samyang 12mm f2 on the a6000, so I'm spoiled a little bit. I'll be picking up some native mount lenses for the R2 for sure, but this lens is still a neat one. I might go back out and try some B&W images with the built in filters, etc. I also can't help buy want the Minolta 16mm, which i'm sure isn't much better than this...but I still want it! ;)

-James
 

Tony1939

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I have the later version without the filters but I understand the optics were the same. I use mine on an APS-C A3000 with a Zonghyi Lens Turbo and don't have any noticeable vignetting or fall off problems.
I wonder if the Lens Turbo is making the difference? With the lens mounted on full frame the light will be reaching the sensor at the same angles as on film. With the LT, however, it must be "straightened out" to fit onto the smaller sensor. There is a lot of advertising hype about solving the problems with the peripheral pixels and wide angles which film does not have. Maybe this could account for the poor full frame performance and why more modern computations are better in these respects.
The attached image is with my combination.
 

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