Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC - Review

I recently upgraded one of my lenses, I decided to pick up the Tamron 24-70... Here are my thoughts...

Pretty useful for indoor, event shooting. Used with Canon 6D. Used for stills not video. Upgrade from Canon 24-105.
Pretty useful for indoor, event shooting. Used with Canon 6D. Used for stills not video. Upgrade from Canon 24-105.
I have used this lens for a few shoots now and I figured I would start a review and share my experiences and then update as I go and find out more.
As most people who have purchased this lens as a choice for budget constraints / the reputation that this particular lens has. It seems generally considered sharp, the VC is very useful and at a price that is manageable. Below are my thoughts on why I chose, what I like so far, and what I have found that is either a challenge or something wish were different.

Overview / Why Purchase:

I bought this as an upgrade for my Canon 24-105 f/4 IS and it is quite an upgrade indeed and although I do miss that little extra reach, the higher shutter speeds and lower ISO I can use now is very well worth it.
I use this and my now sold (Canon 24-105 f4) lens for event and indoor concert photography, I didn't consider a prime as a replacement. Before purchasing this lens, I considered the following: (Canon 24-70 f/2.8 version 1, Canon 24-70 f/2.8 ii, Sigma 24-105 f/4, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8) but ultimately decided on the Tamron for a few reasons.

- Price: Immediately the Canon Mark ii lens was struck from my list because of the cost and with the Mark i and Sigma's were then the only options.

- Aperture: The 2.8 aperture was also something that I could use very well indoors in low light, I figured I had an f/4 (really a T stop of almost f/5) and that extra light allowed would be very welcome... Goodbye Sigma 24-105 f/4

- Stabilization: The f/4 I had had IS and I credit that function to the only reason I have had luck getting my shots. This was almost a must for me, and since the Sigma 24-70 does not have Sigma 'OS' annd the Canon version 1 did not have 'IS' and the Tamron does have 'VC' ... Good bye to the others I guess.

*The icing on the cake was that this Tamron lens has a weather seal gasket on the EF mount.

The Good / What I like in addition to the price and aperture...

- Build quality is very good. On par I would say with the Canon 24-70 ii as I have rented that lens many times for use and I was very pleased with the robust, solid construction and smooth rings, lens hood feels good, metal mount.

- Overall sharpness (I say overall because there are some issue I will explain in the bad). After processing, this lens can be incredibly sharp. The issues straight from a raw file are that at 24-35mm-ish... There is some vignetting and sometimes the corners being softer than the center, and correction, the addition of some sharpening, we're all good.

- VC (image stabilization) is very useful. I am not one to shoot fast moving subjects or live performances at slower shutter speeds. But if I am taking a video clip or photo of still life or in some situations getting an image of people enjoying themselves at an event if moving slowly enough, those situations image stabilization is very useful and allows for that lower ISO for a cleaner image.

The bad / What I wish were different:
- Zoom/Focus rings: Honestly the one thing I noticed first was that the focus ring is closer to the mount and the zoom ring further, as well as the direction in which the ring turns to zoom in and out. Being a direct opposite to the canon lenses I have been used to. It was very jarring the first few shoots, I found myself always reaching for the focus ring to zoom and or grabbing the zoom ring and turning it the wrong way. Having long arms, I have found that I have to change how I move when zooming with this lens as holding it as I am used to my elbows raise to the sides getting to 70mm and I may have almost hit other people when not looking.

- Focus speed: Now I use this lens primarily on a Canon 6D (that camera not being the fastest or slowest with its focus system). I have found that in comparison to various other lenses, primes & zooms, wide and tele photo, this lens Is not the fastest. I would put it between the 24-105 Canon and 24-70 Canon ii but with the margin way far behind the latter. *Note: I use mostly sing point auto focus with the AF drive set to single shot with the (DOF preview button set to AI Servo) when needed. I found that the initial focus with single shot a tad slower, with AI Servo initiated, the focus remains relatively fast.

- Vignetting / Slight softness: Always a give and take with sacrifices and such, lenses aren’t perfect. This is a great lens with some issues that bother me, one being at 24 mm there is some pretty thick vignetting and by 35-40 less but still visible vignetting. Now really I don’t mind a little. I almost expect it and sometimes it does add character to an image, but with a wide shot it is a bit much and requires correcting. The other half of that is that areas affected by that vignetting are usually a little softer than the center, especially at f/2.8.
End: Really this lens is great. For the price, the value you get, the performance that is there I would definitely recommend it. That being said… If you have the money I would still get the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 ii and if you are not in dire need of that 2.8 or you really need that extra zoom, I would also recommend looking at the Sigma 24-105 f/4 Art.

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