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Old Oct 28, 2010, 11:58 AM   #1
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Default Tamron BB 500 - Real World Tests

I won this recently on EBay for 100+pp.

No tripod (because I won't be using it that way), all shots hand-held (using door support to substitute for a tree/ post etc.).

The comparison is Pentax 55-300 (@300), Tamron BB 500, Tamron BB 500 + AFA x1.7 . All shots have info inserted, all shots were at the same ISO / F stop (8 of course since that is a constant on the T500) / shutter speed (in most cases) except the T500+AFA where I slowed the shutter to 1/160 and increased the ISO to 400.

Not supposed to be a pure scientific test but what is likely to be a real world scenario. Make your own judgements !
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC

Last edited by Frogfish; Oct 28, 2010 at 12:04 PM.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 12:01 PM   #2
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The shots of the van were taken through tree branches to equate to shooting a bird (since none would avail themselves to me for the test !) and all were manually focused of course - even the AF on the Pentax 55-300 being unable to focus on the van.
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 12:07 PM   #3
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Second test subject.
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 12:09 PM   #4
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The Tamron BB 500 with Pentax AFA x1.7 attached. More noise than there should be as I found it underexposed compared to the other shots.
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 12:12 PM   #5
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Planes coming into land at Hong Qiao airport - one of the runways has the planes coming in about a km or so from our house. A quite misty day ... and yes I do know about the dust on the sensor !
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC

Last edited by Frogfish; Oct 28, 2010 at 12:21 PM.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 12:14 PM   #6
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Finally the 500 + AFA : could hardly fit the plane in the frame at 1 km or more away !
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 2:14 PM   #7
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Can you post a crop from the underside of the plane on the last one, instead of the top? The lens looks pretty sharp, but you are using shutter speeds that I know I can't handle without camera shake at 300 - much less at 500. So I'm quite impressed. However, the airplane picture shows the lens suffers more from purple fringing more than the 55-300 (not unexpected - the 55-300 is very good about controlling pf and ca), I'd be intersted to see if the TC added more fringing. You can't really tell from the crop you chose.

I think you should be very happy with your purchase.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 11:57 PM   #8
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Harriett - here are two further crops of the underside of the plane (all crops are at 1:1). The PF is more than the 55-300 (which does very well in this regard - in fact in most regards, it's an excellent lense for the price) but I think it's less than, or very similar to, the Tamron 70-300 which I also have.

I did a lot of research before buying this lense. I don't use the FL enough to justify a large zoom (Sigmas etc.) but wanted something that I will use when the occasion demands but I don't have the length (the AFA doesn't play too happily with the 55-300 - degradation in IQ). The BB 500 seems to be generally accepted as the best of the mirrors and I must say I am impressed, not only with the IQ, but also with the results hand held.

I often shoot down to 1/30 to 1/80 hand held (bracing myself against the nearest solid object) and in that respect I have to say the split prism helps me to judge when the camera is at it's most stable. Sometimes it works, often it doesn't, but I get enough keepers to warrant making an attempt !
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Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC
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Old Oct 29, 2010, 3:52 PM   #9
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Hi Kevin,

I'm surprised that you would get any Chromatic Aberrations -- there seems to be a little red/green at the front of the engine intake. Most Cat lenses are purely reflective (the curvature of the mirrors does the magnification) and by definition, CA is caused by unequal refractive indexes for different frequencies passing through the glass. I think the CA is probably due to a slight misfocus and the AFA (which is not really prone to CA itself in my experience, but doesn't use ED glass). I'd also think that any PF might be caused by this slight misfocus and some tendency to bloom at the sensor level (some sensors are more prone to this than others -- the K10 sensor, again in my experience, is considerably more inclined to this than the K20)

The Tamron is a very good Cat lens -- I have one, but don't use it very often. I think it will serve you well for a very convenient long alternative at a very good price. You just can't get a refractive lens of this length and quality for anywhere near the price you paid, and it's usually easy enough to either avoid the donut bokeh or eliminate the negative effects in PP.

Scott
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Old Oct 29, 2010, 8:55 PM   #10
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I really am impressed with this. It gets me thinking again of this lens - I had pretty much given up the idea of a cat but this could change my mind again. Sigh - so many lenses and so little money...
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