Tamron AF 55-200mm F4-5.6 Di II A-mount lens review by myom

reviewer#3685 date: Jun-7-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.3
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50/1.7
Minolta 70-210/4 Beercan
Sony SAL75300 Kit tele zoom
price paid:140 USD (new)
positive:Low weight
Small
Sharp
Good build despite being of plastic, incl. mount
negative:Some CA in extreme situations
Some hunting in low contrast, low light situations
comment:A while ago me and GF got ourselves a Beercan, and had no idea that it was so bulky; it was intended for the GF since her shooting is mostly with our 50/1.7, Sigma 70mm DG EX Macro and the short end of the 75-300 kit.

After reading some decent reviews for the Tamron 55-200 lens, we bought one for around 850kr (140USD).

The lens seems to have OK quality and no slack or creep at zoom or manual focus rings. GF loves it for its small size and low weight.
I did some testing with:
- The Tamron 55-200
- The Beercan
- The 75-300 "kit" lens

Apart from the nicer bokeh and slightly nicer (yellower, older, Minolta-ish) colours of the Beercan, I think the Tamron is better than both the other lenses. At 200mm, wide open, the best result I got from the Tamron, while at f8 all three were good. The chromatic aberration from the beercan was pretty dismal in some situations, while the Tamron controlled it better, but in all honesty, I can't imagine any of these can stand up to CA control, sharpness and colours from the best lenses for those ranges, like the new "G" 70-300 and the old G 70-200 etc. I still have some wishful thinking that the Beercan photos look "nicer". But to be honest, the Tamron 55-200 is a lighter, better resolving match for the a350.

Gave 5 for distortion though I never did any test chart shooting but didn't see any distortion and likely would not, since it is only a 4x zoom and non in wide range.

4 for flare control, the hood takes care of most, and shooting almost against the sun, I didn't see any bad flare or artifacts.

Later today, at a cafe my GF took some nice portraits at closer ranges at 55 to 70mm, while my Beercan was not able to, at 70 I would have had to lean back quite a bit to get good portraits, and would have had more low light hunting.

It feels like we got a REALLY good sample of the Tamron 55-200, and I have a feeling it will never leave my GF's camera, leaving all the other lenses for me to use ;-)
(Of course, if I had a Star Trek replicator I'd copy her tammy right away)

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 50
  • sharpness: 4.54
  • color: 4.42
  • build: 3.70
  • distortion: 4.46
  • flare control: 4.50
  • overall: 4.32
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