Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC Lens Review

December 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

This is going be a wedding and portrait photographer’s review of the Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC lens. 

This focal length range is well suited for a photojournalist and wedding photographer. There are a lot of 24-70 F2.8 lenses in the market. Sigma makes a really good one which isn’t too expensive. Canon has two versions. One is astronomically priced and is really great and other is a bit hit or miss.

But why the Tamron?

Because it’s a professional grade F2.8 zoom like every one of them and has a very effective Vibration Control – the only lens in this range and category which currently (as of Jan 2013) has optical image stabilization. And the VC works very well. Imagine if the Canon 24-70F2.8 MkII has VC….how much would that cost??

In the field:
In a recent wedding, used this lens for more than 80% of the photos and I like to use this lens at F2.8, F3.2 or F4 because this lens is sharp wide open! the lens probably improves when stopped down but the difference is not that clear like in other lenses because it’s very good to start with. It is totally usable wide open. But I am not doing lab tests here. The wedding photos are tack sharp even with little to no sharpening applied to them. By the time I am done with processing in Lightroom, I add a bit of sharpening to all photos and when I am done with the photos from this lens, it’s almost impossible to tell if the shot was taken with this lens or by a L series prime lens.

Bokeh of Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC shot at F3.2Bokeh of Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC shot at F3.2Bokeh of Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC shot at F3.2

 

 

The bokeh is not the best in the world if you zoom in at 100% but when you look at the whole photo, it looks pretty good and does not distract.

One weakness of this lens is the presence of a lot of vignetting. I don’t think I have ever owned a lens with more vignetting than this lens but it decreases as you stop down the lens and by the time you are ready to shoot a landscape, it’s reduced to a acceptable level.

When I am shooting weddings and portraits, I don’t care about vignettes. The lens has to be sharp- especially the centre , have good contrast and most importantly have fast and have accurate autofocus. The AF on this lens is very fast (I’d say at least as fast as the Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS which was my number 1 lens for the last couple of years) and the AF is spot on. No back or front focus. The lens does not hesitate and I am quite impressed by the AF accuracy and how confidently it locks on to the subject unless the background is very bright- which will fail any lens anyway.

Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC lens at F2.8Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC lens at F2.8Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC lens at F2.8

Someone shooting covers for Vogue will probably want to get the Canon 24-70 MKII; a landscape photographer should get the Canon 24-70MkII or get some nice L series or Zeiss primes. Someone who wants very good performance at a bargain, can get the Sigma 24-70 HSM and for someone like myself who wants the best price vs performance and ability to shoot in low light is important, the Tamron 24-70 F2.8 VC cannot be beaten.
Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC at F5.6Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC at F5.6Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC at F5.6. Tulips shots at Bowral Tulips Festival

Tulips at Bowral Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC at 5.6Tulips at Bowral Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC at 5.6Tulips at Bowral Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC at 5.6

I have found this lens to be very sharp in center at all apertures and focal lengths, but the corners are not as sharp as center but for me as a wedding photographer, the edges aren't so important.

I haven’t used the Canon 24-70mm F2.8 MkII lens which I am sure is better, faster, sharper and its already known to be sharpest zoom ever made by Canon but I would not dare use that lens in a dark church with no flash, handheld at 1/15 but with Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC, I know the odds will be in my favour. I am sure that I will have acceptable level of keepers even in such adverse situations and that is the most important thing for me and for my genre of photography. And best of all, it’s at least $1000 AUD cheaper than the canon and comes with 2 year warranty in Australia (and 5 or 6 years in Canada!)

Tamron 24-70mm at F3.2Tamron 24-70mm at F3.2Tamron 24-70mm at F3.2 the bokeh isnt bad at all and sharpenss very good.

There are so many ways of looking at a point. Buying a lens can be tricky and there options for everyone in the market right now. We would all want this Tammy to be cheaper but currently it costs about $1150 in Australia and in my opinion, this lens is worth every dollar and is a better buy for a working photographer who has to spend his/her own money on hardware.

 


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