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Author Topic: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems  (Read 7155 times)

MickyG

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Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« on: October 05, 2012, 09:38:29 PM »
Hi all,

First post here, but have been visiting this site for a few years now.  I'm a happy owner of a Canon 7D and 2 Canon lenses (24-105, and a 60mm EF-S macro), a Sigma (10-20mm f/4-5.6) and the Tamron mentioned in the subject.  I've had the Sigma and Tamron for almost a year, and the others for a bit longer.  So they're all pretty new, as am I to the photography scene.  I've been really happy with my gear except for the Tamron.

After getting it late last year, I initially thought it was pretty impressive, especially for the price.  But after using it a while and comparing photos taken with it, to my L series 24-105, I was routinely disappointed with the sharpness I was getting.  I took a lot of outdoors, nature photos with it, often of birds and flowers/landscapes.  Most of them were OK, but none of them really popped the way my other lens(es) did.

This problem got noticeably worse the first time I did any high speed/action shooting.  At the time, I was using a 500D (Rebel T1i) and a 40D.  On both bodies, I started getting errors (ERR 01) and had to turn the cameras off and on again, just to continue shooting.  Any photos I was able to get were pretty disappointing in terms of sharpness.

So off to the service department for this particular online retailer (DWI) it went.  Much to my irritation, they couldn't find anything wrong with it and after a 7 week wait, it came back, with no information regarding a repair of any sort.  Strangely, I didn't run into the "ERR 01" though.  By this time I'd sold my two older bodies and bought a 7D so perhaps the newer camera helped (though I doubt it).

I was hesitent to use the lens, thinking it'd just let me down again but eventually took it out for a session at a nearby airport.  Lots of panning, AI Servo shots later (with VC mostly on to help with the 100 to 200 shutter speed I was using), I realised there was a new problem - an annoying buzzing/knocking sound every time the VC disengaged.  The few times I still had the camera to my eye, I noticed the image jumping around like crazy as an added part of the noise.

I had never noticed this issue before in the few months I'd used the lens.

So I made another warranty claim with my online retailer.

A few days later I was having a closer look at the problem and decided to take the lens off the body and give it a gentle shake.  To my surprise, I noticed what looked to be the VC lens group, freely rattling around inside the lens body.  The action of this "wobble" was so obvious, I decided to take a short video with my iPhone.  I posted it up on youtube both to get comments from the public, as well as to document it for the service center I'd be using.

A second video was made through the viewfinder, to show the bouncing and noise, after the VC disengages.

The videos are here:
Wobble with the lens off the body
Small | Large

Bouncing/noisy VC disengage
Small | Large


After the service guys viewed the videos and a few email exchanges to explain the problem in depth later, to my surprise, the service department declaired this "problem" as normal!  Needless to say, I disagree.

So here's my question - can anyone with experience with Tamron VC lenses, tell me if this sort of thing strikes you as "normal" or if you've had similar experiences?

The bottom line with this lens and this experience is that I'm left with a lens I don't trust and one that routinely seems to let me down.  It's inconsistent, routinely soft, and based on lots of reviews I've read from others who own and love this lens, it really looks like there's something wrong with it.

Thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated!

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Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« on: October 05, 2012, 09:38:29 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 10:40:29 PM »
Why don't you send it to Tamron rather than a online retailer for service?  It sounds like you have a issue.

MickyG

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 11:46:08 PM »
Unfortunately my warranty options are limited to just where I purchased it.  I live in Australia and elected to purchase from an online retailer, based out of Hong Kong.  So that wonderful 6 year warranty that is available in the states is not an option here.  In fact, I'm not sure I'd even get that if I'd bought locally in Australia.

If this second time doesn't result in a fix, I will go directly to Tamron and likely have to pay a servicing fee.  I'd obviously like to avoid that but I'm running out of time. The lens was purchased in December of 2011.

dilbert

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 12:13:11 AM »
Unfortunately my warranty options are limited to just where I purchased it.  I live in Australia and elected to purchase from an online retailer, based out of Hong Kong.  So that wonderful 6 year warranty that is available in the states is not an option here.  In fact, I'm not sure I'd even get that if I'd bought locally in Australia.

If this second time doesn't result in a fix, I will go directly to Tamron and likely have to pay a servicing fee.  I'd obviously like to avoid that but I'm running out of time. The lens was purchased in December of 2011.

So you are now experiencing the joy of having to deal with an international vendor for warranty. Had you of purchased it locally from a bricks and mortar shop, this would not be an issue.

I recommend contacting Tamron Australia directly or the company that services Tamron warranty. You may, however, need to be a bit more ... creative and say that you bought the lens whilst on holiday in Hong Kong.

dilbert

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 12:16:37 AM »
But after using it a while and comparing photos taken with it, to my L series 24-105, I was routinely disappointed with the sharpness I was getting.  I took a lot of outdoors, nature photos with it, often of birds and flowers/landscapes.  Most of them were OK, but none of them really popped the way my other lens(es) did.

Most likely this is the result of the camera needing an AFMA update for that lens (auto-focus micro adjust).

The problem for zoom lenses is that it can often need two different numbers for wide and telephoto, a feature that is only present on newer Canon DSLRs.

This is not a problem that is specific to Tamron lenses.

However I will say that it is not possible to have this particular Tamron lens calibrated in the same way that Canon lenses can be.

Aglet

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 12:26:40 AM »
I had a similar problem with a first generation 18-270mm.
it was capable of really sharp images but only on tripod with the VC off

If VC was on, it actually caused blur by moving the VC group at the moment of the shot!
I was often able to make sharper images with the VC turned OFF when hand-held in good light.

Since then I'm slightly hesitant to buy another VC Tamron in case that issue recurs;
The non-VC Tamrons I have work great.

I was about to buy this very same lens you have in F-mount this weekend because of the good performance it rates but I'll be buying from a local source even tho it's costing me a bit more.

Best try get yours to a real Tamron service location.
Ahh.. the savings of buying from Hong Kong..  :-\
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 12:28:58 AM by Aglet »

MickyG

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 12:37:24 AM »
Thanks for the replies dilbert.  Unfortunately, at the time I purchased the lens, the locally available option was nearly double the price.  Even if I have to pay Tamron directly for a fix, it's still cheaper.

That scenario is no longer the same, as you can get this lens in lots of local shops now and the price is certainly a bit better.  Although it's still nowhere near as inexpensive as US prices!

At any rate, yes the joys of dealing with a third party warranty provider are not something I'd rate very highly.  That said though, I deal with a local entity, based in Sydney.  So it could be worse.

Regarding the AFMA - I've done numerous tests myself and with the help of a friend's 7D body and some software he purchased for testing focus accuracy and micro focus adjust.  To my surprise, the lens only required a few (positive) marks to bring it in line with some of the other online test chart shots I’ve seen. 

So on a tripod, in controlled conditions, it seems to perform about how others say it should - which is reasonably sharp, with good (but not fantastic) contrast and colour reproduction.

Unfortunately, those conditions are almost never the case when I'm out and about.  The softness I've seen would suggest that the VC units are not aligning correctly when the shots are taken.  With VC off, I suspect the VC optics are free to vibrate on their own, compounding any camera shake I might introduce.  And with it on, I don't know that the optics are aligned properly, even though they seem to do the job of stabilising the image correctly.

My suspicion, based on nothing but conjecture, is that whatever means Tamron uses to center the VC group, optically, has either failed, or is loose.  I noticed that occasionally, after a few shots, the jumping VC disengage, would simply not be there.  Yet another reason I don't believe this is "normal" for this lens.  If it were, I'd expect the jumpy/noisy VC operation to be there every time I activated/deactivated it.  This is simply not the case.  Furthermore, when the VC is not "loose" when in operation, removing it and giving it the tap/shake test does not result in the wobbling of the lens units.  It's only when the problem starts that I'm able to see it when the lens is off the body.  It's not proof of the problem, but it certainly suggests an intermittent alignment problem.

My thoughts at least...

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 12:37:24 AM »

Ryan708

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 01:16:14 AM »
I own that lens and mine does not make that noise at all, let me go shake it.... it has a slight noise when i shake it, but nothing moves. Mine was soft from factory, anf I sent it to tamron under warranty, and they adjusted it, much better. Still not a very high contrast lens tho.
60D, Sigma 17-70 2.8-4, Tamron 70-300 4-5.6 VC, EF 50mm 1.8II, and a Sigma EF-610 DG superflash

sagittariansrock

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2012, 01:54:56 AM »
I have the lens- no problem with sharpness (as per my expectations, better than Canon EF 70-300, worse than 70-300 L) or VC, knock on wood!
I just shook it and there is no wobble. I also tested the VC which works as expected. It does make the image jump a lot more than Canon IS, but it still works quite well.
I would get send it to Tamron if I were you. I believe even if they charge a service fee, they will ask before they charge you and start the repairs.
Hope this helps. Cheers!
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glowsplint

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2012, 02:48:42 AM »
I also own a Tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 VC. I have it for almost 2 years now, I believe. Mine doesn't face any wobbling of the lens element like yours. It also doesn't have any problems with VC. I use mine with a 1000D.

I should think there is really an issue with your VC though, mine doesn't jump anything like yours.
6D, Canon 85mm f1.8, Tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 VC, Canon 40mm f2.8. http://www.flickr.com/photos/glowsplint, nothing exceptional. Do comment (:

MickyG

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2012, 03:12:59 AM »
Thanks everyone!  Exactly what I was hoping to hear.  I don't believe any of the issues I'm experiencing are what would be considered "normal" for this lens or any other recent, reputable company's product.

As I may have eluded to, whatever issues mine has, they've certainly gotten worse over the 9 months I've owned it.  My experience was pretty favourable at first, with no real issues other than softness that I hadn't expected.  It then got more and more quirky as time went on.  I experienced the "jump" in the viewfinder from the start, but only when the VC engaged and it was really only noticeable when I was moving.  I never noticed it when the VC switched off, and I never noticed it bounce the way it does now.  And given the crazy sound it makes, I can't imagine using this in a quiet place - I think it'd be downright embarrasing!

Keep those replies coming folks, they're much appreciated!

MickyG

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2012, 08:38:18 AM »
Just a minor update:
The lens was returned for "service" late last week (Friday, 5th of October).  It arrived in Sydney on Monday, the 8th and there were 2 days worth of failed attempts at delivery.  That's either the shipper or the receiver, so take that for what it's worth.

Not off to a great start though.  I'll obviously post more when/if I hear something.

Thanks again all for the comments. I've got a lot more confidence about this being an actual problem that I'll be able to argue, if it comes to that.

mikec

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2012, 07:03:43 PM »
I am new here and hope I am not jumping on someone else's thread but I am having problems with my Tamron SP 70-300 VC. Had it for 18 months and worked fine until recently coupled to a 550D. I mostly use for air shows like RAF Fairford so I have many photos of fast jets. The lens has always focussed well using single point focusing and I have extremely clear shots of planes at high speed so required fast focus on fast shutter speed. Recently the lens started hunting on all focusing conditions with the 550D. It was fine one outing and failed the next. I have cleaned all contacts and my other canon lenses work well with no focus issues.  Is this a similar Tamron issue? Unfortunately I am not sure I have a 5 year guarantee.  I'm not sure how I can find out.  Any advice would be welcome.

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2012, 07:03:43 PM »

MickyG

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 05:50:30 AM »
Another update:


I got the lens back from "repair" today.  I had sent an email only a few days ago, asking for an update.  I got no reply but did get the lens today.  I wasn't expecting it so didn't bring my body to test it.  I did unbox it though and inspect it.

Initial findings:
  • Absolutely no documentation describing what, if anything, had been done to the lens
  • The paperwork that was included did not have my warranty number on it, and the model information for the lens was the Tamron's other 70-300mm.  No big deal as the lens itself was mine and as far as I can tell is actually my lens (same serial).
  • A great big fingerprint on the inside lens element (the body side, on the outside, where I can actually clean it
  • Jostling the lens didn't result in the horrible clicking/clanking sound I'd experienced before

So far so good.  Tonight I got it home and quickly slapped it onto the 7D for a quick test.  I didn't hear any bad sounds at any zoom length, then realised it wasn't actually doing any compensation for camera shake.  Figuring I'd left the switch off, I quickly played with the switch settings.  No good.

So apparently some highly intelligent "repair" person decided that disabling the VC switch was a good fix.  Un freaking believable!

I'm so mad I could scream right now.  I don't know what my options are but I'm going to start exploring each and every one of them.  Starting with Facebook.  DWI have a Facebook page and you'd better believe I'll be posting on it.

Any other thoughts?

spinworkxroy

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2012, 08:22:06 AM »
Wow..
I'm beginning to wonder if your "shop" actually does it's own repairs vs sending it back to Tamron…as far as i know, only Tamron Japan repairs this lens.
When i bought mine, it was very soft and i had to send it back to recalibration..They had to send it back to Tamron Japan and that took 1mth before it came back with a report on what was adjusted.
I then used Focal to do microadjustment on it for my 5D3.
It's sharp enough for me now for the price i paid for it and i know it's not meant to be a high quality lens like the canon L so i'm not complaining.
The VC works well, it does make a loud sound during the initial "lock" when the VC activates but after that it's ok.
I don't use this lens often so it doesn't get abused alot..i think i've only used it 3-4x during the 2yrs i owned it :) So it still looks as good as new with the plastic on the glass window still there even :)

I believe you got a lemon set and your retailler tried to repair it on their own and not send it back to Tamron to do a better job..
What you can do is to find a good local repair shop and maybe pay a little $$ to get it repaired properly yourself instead…saves you tons of future headaches..

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Re: Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD with VC Problems
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2012, 08:22:06 AM »