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Tamron Lens Calibration

"Should I need to have a Tamron lens calibration when it's brand new?" We recently had a client visit us for a calibration of three bodies and numerous lenses. One of the lenses to calibrate was a Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 DI VC. This was to be used with a Nikon D7200 and was deemed the perfect combination for the client’s wife as it was relatively small and light (in comparison to his Nikon 200-500mm), easily manageable and was ideal for their forthcoming safari in Africa.

A New Tamron 100-400mm
When the customer initially brought his kit in for calibration, he was in two minds about including the Nikon D7200 / Tamron 100-400mm combo. After all this was a new Tamron lens so surely it should be pretty much spot on right?
Wrong! Lens manufactures work to engineering “tolerances”. These tend to vary from manufacturer to manufacturer with the third party manufacturers tending to return wider tolerances than the OEM’s (as in Canon & Nikon). This is partially down to cost. Our recommendation was to calibrate the combo and test the disparity of the two focal lengths. Unfortunately, once the combo was up on our calibration rig and the test performed it was found that not only was the lens / camera combo severely back focusing but there was also a large disparity between the correction values required for 100mm and 400mm.
Regular readers of our blog will know that unlike Canon, Nikon’s in-camera AF Fine Tune facility only allows for one value of correction to be added. Here at Cameracal we actually calibrate for both ends of the zoom as in this case 100mm and 400mm. We then configure one of the Fnct (Function) buttons found on the Nikon 7200 to bring up the AF Fine Tune menu so changes can be quickly instigated. Although not ideal it does allow for changes to be quickly applied if there is a disparity between the focal lengths as in
100mm and 400mm.
In this case, there definitely was. An adjustment of +6 at 100mm and +12 at 400mm were required. Big numbers indeed but what about the interim focal lengths? Our customer was preparing to go on safari where the likely hood of tracking  the zoom in and out whilst keeping wild animals in the frame was highly likely. Having the time to use function buttons during that process was highly unlikely.


Tamron lens calibration service 100-400mm


Camaracal's Bespoke Tamron Lens Calibration

Some customers have queried the £129 cost of the Tamron Lens Calibration Zoom service when compared to the £89 for a similar body and zoom lens (Canon or Nikon) which our Basic Calibration Kit. It is simply the number of calibrations that we carry out in each service. The Tamron lens we can now calibration throughout the focal range of the lens. So for example the 100-400mm there were 5 calibration points (see below)
Tamron Lens calibration service

What Do You Get For The Additional £40

: Calibrate for EVERY focal length between 100-400mm
: Check and update the lens firmware
In this case the lens was 2 versions old, even though it had only just been purchased and in this case, there were dramatic improvements applied in terms of focusing speed.
: Tweak the Vibration Reduction system for increased stabilisation.
In undertaking the multiple calibrations, we also found the lens suffered from a major “wobble” in terms of correction required at 200mm.
The result, the lens was perfectly matched to the camera body and all calculated corrections were added to the lens therefore overcoming the need to change the values manually, is his own words “That will suit the wife perfectly”.
At Cameracal we have two Tamron lens calibration services. One for prime lenses which as it is a fixed lens the number of calibrations is only one so is cheaper. We have a separate service for Tamron zoom lenses.