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Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC Issue

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First and foremost, this is just a point of information  - something worth knowing about if you own this lens or are considering buying it. The Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC is an excellent lens, but as with so many new products, early adopters are always serving the role of beta testers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tamron hasn’t already fixed the problem quietly, but just in case it happens to some of you, we thought it worth posting.

We’ve had this happen now with about 10% of our copies so I suspect others have had it happen, too. Or perhaps not – our lenses get shipped everywhere and we all know how carefully boxes get treated during shipping.

Anyway, here’s a photo of the third copy to have what we call “second element syndrome.” As you can see the front group is just fine but the single-element second group has fallen off of its mount behind the front element. Notice the white blob at the 2 o’clock position on the second element? That’s one of three bits of glass glue that hold the element in place. No shims or clamps for this element.

 

It’s not unheard of for an element to be glued into place rather than held with clip or screw-in rings, but, this is certainly one of the larger glued-in elements we’ve seen. It’s thin and not very heavy compared to the front element (below) so I can understand someone thinking glue might be enough for it.

We’ve only seen it in copies that have been used (and shipped) several times so it may be far less likely to affect your own lens. On the other hand, we haven’t really seen this in any of the other 10,000 odd lenses we own, so it probably is at least a bit of an issue.

If you’re handy and notice it right away, it’s no big thing to remove the front element and glue the second one back in place. But since these are all fairly new you should be covered under warranty. Unless you get the dreaded ‘impact damage’ notification when you send it in. For our copies, impact damage certainly is a reasonable assumption, though. They’ve been shipped after all. In our experience with Tamron repair, they don’t play the impact damage card very often, so I wouldn’t worry.

I suspect Tamron is already aware of the issue and is changing glues or securing the element in some other way going forward. But you early adopters out there might want to keep an eye on your lens and make sure the second element continues to look firmly seated and not loose.

Addendum: I spoke with Tamron, USA who assures me they haven’t seen this problem at all before now. That would seem to indicate that our habit of shipping things all over the country is certainly contributing to the problem.

I was very impressed with their response. Rather than just telling me “there is no problem”, they’ve taken the report very seriously and sent this lens back to Japan for further analysis to make certain there isn’t a problem with the glue used or the way it was applied in this copy. I certainly wish more manufacturers would adopt this “let’s see if we can find an problem” attitude. As an aside, I mentioned I was impressed with how rapidly their repair department got to this lens and was told very clearly that they get to every repair within 3 days. Now that is impressive!!!

Roger Cicala

Lensrentals

August, 2012

24 Responses to “Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC Issue”

Dave Dugdale said:

Wow, I own this one, has not happened to me yet, I will keep an eye out for it however.

Spike said:

I guess someone who has a lens with this problem has to be an early “adapter” rather than an early “adopter”.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Ha! Somebody needs to invent a spellchecker that knows what I meant instead of just what I typed. How hard can that be?\:-)

Ralf C. Kohlrausch said:

Hi,

this reminds me of a case mentioned on Sportsshooters.com a couple of years ago:
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=22780

A 28-75 stopped working, was sent in for a warranty-repair (the lens boasted a six-year-warranty). Tamron refused to honor the warranty and claimed impact-damage, a part was broken. The owner had the lens sent back, took it apart, found no broken parts and confronted Tamron with his findings. They said: Your problem, now that you’ve taken it apart you’ve voided the warranty anyway.

Seems warranty isn’t a solution for sloppy construction, and a long warranty is for marketing, not for repairs.

Greets,

Ralf C.

Esa Tuunanen said:

Now that would be slight element alignment problem…
Or maybe that’s what they call as floating element. ;)

Good thing they attach at least front element firmly so that other elements won’t drop away when you point lens downwards.

Dwaine Dibbly said:

I suspect that a rental agency must be a real torture factory for gear! That’s what keeps me coming back here.

John Foundas said:

I have seen this a few times with video production in washington dc. Bad copy, travel/packing issues…who knows!

VanWeddings said:

wow gotta be careful with my copy. i’ll put this one down more softly from now on :/

Doug Stephenson said:

Looks like a subluxated lens in Marfan’s disease, the “sunset syndrome”.

dbltapp said:

Not getting the “warm fuzzies” given those comments about Tamron’s warranty service…

Gabe Bandy said:

Hi Roger
Haven’t bought a Tamron in a few years because something similar happened. I’m not a pro, and have always been very gentle on my equipment – a Tamron zoom had a five inch drop to wooden table front first – it was like a vacuum. The front retaining ring held, but what looked, felt, and sounded like a whole bunch of elements came whooshing forward behind it. Tamron did not fix it – and frankly I would have never relied on it again anyway.

I still have a Tamron 90mm 2.5 macro with interchangeable mount from the nineties, along with a few other Tamrons from that era. INDESTRUCTIBLE quality – of course they weigh as much as a modern “amateur” DSLR body.

Guess we won’t be seeing that kind of lens manufacturing too often any more, unless we patronize the German / Japanese RF lens makers. Maybe that’s why they cost so much? Or is it that they can afford to charge as much as the “the market will bear” ?

Just sayin’

Randy said:

Roger, you are one forgiving guy. Perhaps if this was a really inexpensive lens….

HenryH said:

I own this lens and will keep an eye on it. Sounds like I need to be using it a bit more aggressively to be sure it’s up to snuff.
A word about Tamrom’s warranty service:
I also own an early-model 28-300 VC zoom, Canon mount. The image quality was OK as long as you didn’t zoom to extreme wide or long, but nothing to write home about. The sloppy “lens creep” was more of a “lens sprint” if I held the camera lens-down. In short, it mostly stayed on the shelf, waiting for the day I finally decide to sell it.
However, I did pull it out recently for a company outing to see our local baseball team. Wanting to bring a camera, but not really caring too much about the images, I decided to pull out the Tamron, blow off the dust, and shoot it for the day, attached to a Canon 5D Mark III. Sadly, about an hour in, the zoom ring came detached from the zoom mechanism. Not being about to zoom, I took it the camera and a small part fell out. I was thankful it didn’t hit anything inside the camera. For the rest of the day, I could only zoom by pulling the lens in and out from the camera. Thankfully, AF was not affected.
Tamron has a wonderful 6-year warranty, so I packed it up and sent it in per the instructions, hoping for the best. Two weeks later, it came back fully repaired. I was only out the ten dollars or so to ship it to them.
Furthermore, it’s like a whole new lens (it’s not really). The zoom creep is gone and it’s noticeably sharper. I actually took it on a recent trip as my one lens and got some great shots. I should have sent it in years ago.

Maurice Lewis said:

I was one of the 10% of recipients to receive this lens broken on arrival. In fact, that might be the picture of the one I returned. Of course, the Lensrentals team was gracious enough to overnight another copy. The second copy of this Tamron 24-70 rocked. The Vibration Control was effective. Image quality was so good (I didn’t pixel peep yet) that I praised the lens to the Tamron folks at Photoshop World last week. I did not ask them if this element separation problem was a trend. I had not seen this post yet.

I am still weary so I will rent another copy which will be the third in reality. If this next copy holds up to the rigors of delivery, I will buy it. If not, I will need to hold out for the new Canon.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Maurice,

If I can save you a rental – we have had 3 of 29 copies do this, but each copy has shipped round trip multiple times, so it’s nothing close to 10% of shipments being this way. Maybe 3%.

Roger

Cary said:

Wow. Three spots of glue. I guess you get what you pay for.

Spiros Zaharakis said:

It happened to mine on August 8th. Mine was the very first one that landed in Greece. They fixed it under warranty. I hope it’s not going to happen again.

Steve D. said:

Hey Roger, are all of your copies from early in the production run? The reason I ask is that I tried out two copies; one was a 10XXX serial and the second was 11XXX. The lens from the later run was not nearly as tight, but focused poorly with my 5D3. The 10XXX lens has a VERY snug zoom ring, but the focus is amazingly accurate. I have kept the 10XXX copy, but am just curious as to how early in the production run your copies are.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Steve, all of ours are actually from the 00xxx run.

Jasmin Robert said:

Hi Roger!

Any new problem with this lens? Any others which has failed in the mean time? How does the one repaired hold up now, are they sharp?

I would like to buy this lens but I’m not sure since reading this report, and now that the Canon 24-70mm F/4 has been announced with the macro mode, I’m even less sure! thanks!

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Hi Jasmin,

No new trouble and no more copies to have the second element problem. It’s really doing pretty well, and quite a nice lens.

Jasmin Robert said:

Thanks Roger!

Then I’m hoping it was only a bad batch since you had one the first copies made! This is reassuring and with their 6 years warranty here in Canada, I guess I shouldn’t be too worried then. I will still wait for the Canon 24-70mm f/4 to see how it performs though…

bossa said:

I bought one of these lenses a few days ago and thus far it’s been great. It’s a touch “soft” at 70mm when wide open but good from f/4 on.

My question is about the zoom ring; It’s very stiff and mine has a touch of wobble to it. Is the wobble standard?

TessaO said:

This just happened to my lens, it’s about 4 months old. I wonder if the North Queensland humidity of summer has weakened the glue somehow? Not impressed! Hope it gets fixed under warranty.

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