This review covers the pros and cons of the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC, including its biggest feature: image stabilization. Being the only 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to have stabilization (Vibration Compensation in Tamron parlance), this lens is a pretty big deal. It’s also significantly cheaper than its Canon and Nikon OEM counterparts, thus almost begging the question: “is this lens too good to be true?”
That’s what I wondered when I first purchased this lens. I had previously purchased the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, and returned it after a few weeks of use because I was disappointed by its performance versus its cost. (Perhaps my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 had created unrealistic expectations?) It’s not that there was anything wrong with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, but for its price, it was sort of a blah lens. Sure, it produced some really sharp photos and as a mid-range walk-around zoom it covered arguably the most important focal range, but I just didn’t feel like the lens had any tricks up its sleeve.
With that very subjective description, now is probably a good time to mention that this is a “real world” review, meaning that it’s based on my use of the lens in the regular course of taking photos in the field and how I felt about it as a result. It’s not based on arbitrary photos in a sterile lab–because no real photographer is out there shooting lab charts for fun or for clients. As an actual photographer taking real photos, I see more value in how the lens performs during ordinary shooting, and how edited photos from it look. If you want to stare at a bunch of photos of sharpness and color charts cropped to 100%, this is the wrong review for you.
Anyway…after returning the Nikon, I decided to buy the Tamron. The 24-70mm is a lens most full frame photographers should have in their bag, and I was intrigued by the image stabilization. Plus, I figured if it was going to be a boring lens, I might as well ‘downgrade’ and save a bit of money. I knew I would end up needing this focal range, anyway.
Fortunately, it turned out not to be the boring lens I was expecting… (more…)