It’s both a blessing and a curse that I work in a place where there aren’t any really good places to go walking, and also right around the corner of what one can only describe as “flea market row.” So on yet another one of my lunch break walks, in which I endeavor to take in the town in which I reside, I found this deal at a flea market. For $50 I got this lens, a smaller one of the same brand, a Canon EOS Rebel G camera with a big pile of film and a feeling of pure bargaining, the likes of which could only be matched by my wife’s highly evolved shopping skills. Here’s the big kicker – this lens is 10 years newer than the 75-300mm zoom lens I was replacing and in my opinion better. I sold the Canon camera on ebay with its early 90s outdated film for $30. Lomography is not really my thing, though I do appreciate the art. I sold my old zoom lens for $40. Add that up and I got my money back and then some. Free upgrade!
A little bit of dirt, but otherwise the lens is in essentially new condition. And it even had the original paperwork with it, which helped a lot in determining what this lens REALLY is. Promaster is known for selling rebranded lenses on sites like adorama and in Ritz Camera stores. It’s a perfectly fine thing to do. And it had a UV filter attached to it too, which can cost 20 dollars by itself easily.
After digging around the forums and doing my homework, I found this lens is actually a rebranded version of this Tamron lens. What gave it away for sure? The open source dark table application did. On Canon cameras (and probably Nikon too) a lot of data is recorded in the file when you take a picture. One piece of data in particular is recorded – the lens that you had attached when you took the picture. The dark table application has a feature where it automatically detects that data and corrects your image to fix various types of distortion caused by various types of lenses. What lens did this application detect? The Tamron LD Tele-Macro 70-300mm lens. Resemblance in this lens and the Tamron unit pictured on the site mentioned above is uncanny. And the specs match exactly – I even closed the aperture up, removed the lens, shined a light down it and counted the 9 aperture blades. The bokeh this lens gives is astounding. And the 1:2 macro capability is much handier than I ever thought it would be. I can use it to “scan” backlit film negatives, yielding images from film at higher resolutions than I have ever had before. And the floral shots are better than anything I’ve shot i n the past. It also has the added advantage of printed numbers on the focus ring, which makes manual focusing a lot easier. Particularly in astrophotography and lunar photography where you need to focus at infinity because you can actually tell by looking if it’s at infinity or not.
Additionally I found that as a new lens, this model as a Tamron sells for $129 on amazon and I’ve seen it on eBay going for as much as $150, making the deal just that much sweeter.
What disadvantages are there with this lens? The most prominent disadvantage I have found is the weight. This lens weighs in just shy of 17 ounces with its lens hood attached. That’s only the lens. Add in another pound for the camera you’re attaching it to and you do not have a light weight. Definitely not the kind of lens you want to take hiking through the jungle on a National Geographic safari. Though I’m sure National Geographic photographers lug much heavier gear into much stranger places.
The second one is the auto focus. The auto focus does very well, but it’s not the fastest you’ve seen. If you’re trying to shoot a fast target (birds etc) it can be a bit difficult. Lastly, the other thing that I am not fond of is the noise. The auto focus motor is rather loud.
But given the deal I got, and even given the price as a new unit, the good outweighs the bad and you really get a lot of bang for your buck.
Interested in documentation? The Tamron owner’s manual
And by the way – shoot photos, not each other.