7 out of 10 points and not recommendedLightweight, sharptoo easy to get sand in, very special serice
I need a lens for portrait and macro. I narrowed down two choices: Nikon 105mm f/2.8G ED IF AF-S VR or Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di. I searched the internet. Thom Hogan says ” The big difference is this (between the Nikon and tamron): for $400 less money, you give up VR, focus speed, and a bit of build quality from the Nikon 105mm. That's about it. The Tamron 90mm is the poor man's mid-range macro.” (http://www.bythom.com/105AFSlens.htm). I learned the Nikon is bulkier, heavier and cost much more, the tamron is cheaper, optic quality if not better, at least as good as the Nikon, I also learned from somewhere Tamron’s service is good, fast, six years. I am not a professional, not going to use it a lot, so I ordered the Tamron from B&H in May15, 2009.reviewed October 7th, 2009 (purchased for $460)
I tried the lens to shoot a quarter; it IS sharper than my Nikon 28-105mm D. it is summer time, I bring my boy to North Beach in Chicago. I quickly found that the lens refuse to focus automatically without any warnings. It just won’t focus when I press the shutter bottom. But if I power the D200 off and on, or unscrew the lens off the body and put back again, the focus will be back. Tamron uses a push and pull mechanism to switch from manual focus to automatic focus, actually I like this, but the problem is the switch is not smooth. Sometimes I have to first turn the lens about 45 degree before I can pull it back.
I remembered I read somewhere some one is saying it has the same problem. I want the lens, don’t want to return it. Summer is good, I used it for about three to five times on the beach, but the problems are getting worse. So I decided to send it back to Tamron for a check.
Tamron mailed back. Saying it needs 160.0$ to repair and it is not under warranty. The repair listed is
“ SK Evidence of shock damage
F Focus defect or poor image quality
Z Zoom defect
1 General check, clean, and adjust
2 ETA:10, Business days depending on volume”
This morning (Oct 6, 2009) I called 1-800-827 8880. A gentleman answered. I said I just used the lens four to five times, and I never dropped or bumped the lens, how could it be shock damage” He asked me to wait him to get the lens. He came back saying the lens has sand in it, it is the sand causing the problems, so not covered by warranty. I said I did use it on beach, sand could be there, but it might not be the cause of the problems. He then said, actually the lens needs a “major repair”, they are doing me a favor, price it for a “minor” repair. I asked him if he really believes it is the sand that causes the problems, he confirmed and told me to think about it, and I don’t need to make a decision at the moment( to pay the 160.0$).
I hang up, not happy, the estimate did not say anything about sands, instead “shock damage”. So I called again. This time a lady answered. I told Her in a very calm voice” I might not be in a good mood, so I am sorry”. The lady said “I am not in good mood too”. So I tried to tell the story. Not long into it, she interrupted me, saying I can keep going on and on, but it will not change the conclusion, sand causes the problems and not covered by warranty, and she has that lens too, it is the best lens Tamron ever produced, no problems at all. Then I asked if I paid the money, you fix it, and when it gets back, the sand is no more there, but the problems come back, will tamron refund the money because that approves it is not the sand that causes the problems. The lady said no, if the problem comes back, they can repair it again. I said, then it approves it is not the sand causing the problems. She said they could be caused by something else, but they can’t refund you. I asked, why not, and then she said “hold on”. I waited, waited about five minutes, then another voice said hello. I said I was talking to a lady, the lady wanted me to hold, I don’t know how the phone got it to you. Then I was transferred to the lady in the service dept again.
The lady said “sorry, I have another call”. She said she talked to the manager, the highest person in charge of the repairs. The manager said they made a mistake, it is a major repairs, needs to charge more than 300.0$. The lady then said, at least it needs 240.0$ instead of the 160.0 to repair it, but it is their mistake, so they will honor the 160.0$. I began to feel guilty if i don't accept the kind 160.0$ offer, but I stupidly repeated the same question if she really believes it is the sand or the sand particle is coincidental there. She told me to hold again.
I waited this time much longer; the phone went back to the operator again in about 8 to 10 minutes. I asked the lady in the service dept if you asked me to “hold”, will the phone go back to the operator. The lady said” yes, it loops”.
I asked the lady if there is Tamron authorized service agents in Chicao, The lady said”no, there is only one in California, they will charge you three times more”.
I gave them my credit card number, 160.0$, a lifelong big lesson.
Here are a few things I learned:
1.The repairs stated on the Repair Acknowledgement/Estimate” might not be the real cause, as “shock damage” to “sand” in my case.
2. They will make mistakes in estmate, from “major repair” to “minor repair”. They should charge from more than 300 to 240 to 160, they are doing me great favors.
3. Their phone loops. They will ask you to hold, the time during “hold”, the phone will loop from the service department to the operator of the company. However, the operator is nice enough to transfer you back to the service agent you were talking with, and the line was not cut.
4. No Tamron authorized service agent in Chicago, only one in California, it might charge three times more.
5. Sand will easily get into the lens (my years old Nikon 28-105mm is not, taking so many pictures on the beach). Sand particles at least will stop the auto focus that can be saved by power off the body and void the warranty.