Tamron 17-50 VC Small Review

This is not a Photoshop article but I think that it’s still good to share some photographic equipment with you that I have experience with. Lens is one of the most important parts of photographic gear so I wish this article with help you would help you find a good lens.

When I heard about new lens from Tamron, Tamron 17-50 F2.8 VC, I thought that this version must have some improvement over the current version, Tamron 17-50 F2.8 which I often use for most of my shots. My friend, Kun, and I went to camera shop in Bangkok, named AV camera, had chance to test new lens from Tamron, Tamron 17-50 F2.8 VC. Initially, I would like to test this lens with Canon EOS 400D for Canon mount but the Canon version is not available yet so I use my friend camera, Nikon D300, instead.

tamron-17-50-f2_8-di_II_VC

My reviewed points are listed below;

Body: Its body is bigger and better lens body than old version, Tamron 17-50 F2.8 . When I use it, I feel that it is more robust and fit a little bit better with my hands.

Focus Speed: The focus speed of Tamron 17-50 F2.8 VC is faster thanTamron 17-50 F2.8  but it’s still slower than Ultra Sonic Motor (USM for Canon) or Silent Wave Motor (SWM for Nikon). Anyway, I am impressed with this improvement.

Focus Sound: The non VC version, Tamron 17-50 F2.8, is so noisy; however, this version produces less noisy which is acceptable. If you compare its focus sound to Ultra Sonic Motor (USM for Canon) or Silent Wave Motor (SWM for Nikon) , it is still far away from the big names.

Vibration Compensation (VC): The Vibration Compensation (VC) is the most interesting point that I would like to see how excellent it is. I tried several slow speed shots and I still got good images. You can see from the sample shot below that I am able to hand held and a take photo at 50 mm with shutter speed of ¼ sec and I still got a nice photo. It is almost impossible for me to hand held and take good quality photos with ¼ sec shutter speed. When VC is on, you will see a little bit shaking, similar to Image Stabilizer (IS) of Canon, in your view finder while focusing and taking photos so please do not panic because VC is working.

Sharpness: At F2.8, this lens produces nice and acceptable sharp images. When you stopped down, this lens can create excellent image quality as you can see from the sample below. I capture detail at the middle of this photo.

Referring to a sample photo below with 100% zoom, at f 2.8 a photo is a little blur but over all image quality is good. When aperture is stopped down to F 4 onwards, the image quality is excellent. The image quality will decrease when aperture is very small (F22) but the overall is still very good.

36mm-motorcycle

36-mm-photography

Note: All shots are hand held shooting.

Looking at the border of photo, the lens makes nice and sharp photo starting at f 2.8. Normally, when stopping down aperture (f 4 onwards), the lens create excellent sharpness at border.

Let’s see the sample for image sharpness at different aperture values.

1st point in the middle at17 mm

17-mm-center

17-mm-middle-comparision-p-

2 nd point

17-mm-between

Crop 100%

17-mm-between-p-photography

3rd point

17-mm-border

Crop 100%

17-mm-far-comparision-p-pho

I took many shots from 17 mm to 50 mm with various f-number you can down load full images as per links below. Note: All shots are hand held shooting.

Photos at 17 mm ** Please remember that all shots are hand held shooting therefore they are not 100% match of each photo. All photos are 12 MP JPG images so each photo is big size.

KUN_1378

Focal length = 17 mm, F 2.8, S = 1/400 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 17 mm, F 4, S = 1/250 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 17 mm, F 5.6, S = 1/125 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 17 mm, F 8, S = 1/60 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 17 mm, F 11, S = 1/30 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 17 mm, F 16, S = 1/15 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 17 mm, F 22, S = 1/8 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Photos at 34 mm

KUN_1387

Focal length = 34 mm, F 2.8, S = 1/250 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 34 mm, F 4, S = 1/160 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 34 mm, F 5.6, S = 1/80 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 34 mm, F 8, S = 1/40 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 34 mm, F 11, S = 1/20 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 34 mm, F 16, S = 1/10 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 34 mm, F 22, S = 1/5 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Photos at 50 mm

KUN_1396

Focal length = 50 mm, F 2.8, S = 1/250 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 50 mm, F 4, S = 1/125 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 50 mm, F 5.6, S = 1/60 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 50 mm, F 8, S = 1/30 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 50 mm, F 11, S = 1/15 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 50 mm, F 16, S = 1/8 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 50 mm, F 22, S = 1/4 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Motorcycle shot at 36 mm

KUN_1402

Focal length = 36 mm, F 2.8, S = 1/640 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 36 mm, F 4, S = 1/320 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 36 mm, F 5.6, S = 1/160 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 36 mm, F 8, S = 1/80 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 36 mm, F 11, S = 1/40 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 36 mm, F 16, S = 1/20 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Focal length = 36 mm, F 22, S = 1/13 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

Distortion: At 17 mm, barrel distortion is noticeable as you can see from sample shots. The barrel distortion reduces when long focal length is applied. There is slightly noticeable barrel at 24 mm. After a focal length of 24 mm, the barrel distortion is almost none.

Price: ’Tamron 17-50 F2.8 VCs price is about 649$ (according to amazon.com) for both Nikon and Canon Mount which is 149 $ higher than the old version,Tamron 17-50 F2.8 .

In comparison to Nikor 17-55 F 2.8 (1330 $) in case of Nikon mount, it’s almost half price of Nikor lens. What’s more, looking at Canon Lens for the same focal range , Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens (1040 $), the Tamron is still 400 approximately cheaper.

Conclusion: Although I did not much time for testing this lens, I think this lens is one of the good normal zoom lens for APS-C sensor camera. Therefore, before buying new normal lens or upgrading new lens for your digital camera, please consider this lens.

Where can you buy it at very cheap price?

 

I recommend Amazon.com because you will be the best price on the internet and Amazon has good reputation of good delivery.

focal length = 17 mm, F 2.8, S = 1/400 sec, VC = On, Hand Held

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38 thoughts on “Tamron 17-50 VC Small Review

  1. hi, 1st of all thanks a lot for the review!

    I noticed something in the 36mm test, @ f/2.8, the the cropped area isn’t exactly in DOF! so it’s not actually fair to be in comparison, in-focus part is so much sharper! (although with little CA present)

    & also, by any chance you can do a “bokeh quality” comparison between the old & new models? I find it to be 1 of very few, & major weakness in the old one, million thanks again!

  2. Dear Ashy,

    First of all, thanks for your comment. For the 36 mm test, this is may happen due to hand-held photo taking. I will do fully test again when I get the Tamron 17-50 VC again because I did not have chance to test it very much because there is only Nikon mount available here. Once I get it I will try to set my camera on Tripod and attempt to eliminate some factors that can cause the error in comparison.

    Moreover, thanks for your comment again about “boken quality”. Well, I will do the comparison test for sure once between old version and new version.

  3. เออ ต่อ พี่ว่าชอบที่ 17 F8 มันคมน้อยไปว่ะ
    ตรงนี้ที่สู้ 17-55/2.8 nikon ไม่ได้
    พี่เอากริปไปเปลี่ยนเลยได้ไปลองมาอีกรอบ
    เทียบกะรูปต่อเว็บนี้อีกที
    แต่ที่ 2.8 นี่โอเคนะ

  4. Hi there,

    thank you very much for your opinion on this lens. I am a hobby photographer from germany and quite interested in the new Tamron. Unfortunately there are not many tests of the lens available yet, so your report is very much appreciated over here!
    Since I am shooting with Canon as well i’m really looking forward to your test on the canon version

    Keep it coming!
    Thanks again and greetings!

  5. I am using Canon as well and I still waiting for Canon version. Then I will fully test in plus comparison test between these 2 lens as well.

    Thanks for your kind comment.

  6. Seems to be better at the wide end than my old screw-driven version(nikon mount). At f2.8 it’s not so big difference, but from f4 this new version seems to be a lot better performer 🙂

  7. How the AF accuracy??? I know this version’s AF is faster than the first built-in motor version but the AF accuracy is more of a concern to me. AF accuracy is something that that plague the Tamron 17-50 in the past.

    Thanks.

  8. From what i tried, i’ve not seen any out of focus shots yet. I am pretty impressed with this version.

    Cheers,

  9. sorry, hand held is NOT the way to test AF. The f2.8, I can’t tell if lens blur or shake blur, or AF error. f2.8 shot looks horrible, worse than non VC one. I hope it is AF error only.

  10. Mat,

    It possibly cause the problem because I took photos with handheld. Well, if I have a chance, I will try to set on tripod.
    Thanks for sharing your idea.

  11. Mat,

    One more thing, you normally hand-held while using the lens. If the shutter speed is fast enough, we should have nice photos based on good AF : ) Otherwise, this lens that I use with D300 may have AF error.

    Cheers,

  12. Hello,
    i bought this lens (for canon), and i noticed a strange behavior of the VC:
    it happens to be winter so i went outside for a test: the image stabilizer stopped working, inside it works pretty ok. So i tested a few times and i have the same behavior: outside (at 0-3 degrees Celsius) the VC si quite (no working noise, no effect) inside at 15+ degrees it works.
    Can anyone tell me if it is a normal behavior? Thank you.

    For the optical quality i am pretty impressed: sharp even from 2.8 and accurate focus (though i changed the lens once because the first one had a focusing problem).

  13. I am living in Thailand now. Hence, I can not really tell you what wrong with VC in harshly cold condition.

    Cheers,
    Admin

  14. After being (again) a few days in service, they’ve changed again my lens. The new one has no problems with the VC on any conditions.
    All in all, the tamron CAN be a very good choice, but unfortunately you must be willing (and possible) to change 1-2-3 times the lens until you got a good copy.
    best regards,
    Adrian.

  15. Hi Admin,
    I have the Canon 17-85 IS, and also the Sigma 50mm 1.4. after reading your review, i was thinking of changing my canon 17-85mm f4-5.6 to the Tamron VC version as it’s a faster lens. do you think i should changing to the Tamron? i’m using Canon 450d by the way.

    Many thanks,
    Ken

  16. Hi Admin, sorry for asking a difficult question, anyway i have sold my Canon 17-85mm and bought the Tamron 17-50mm VC version. The Tamron is really good and i love it.

    Cheers,
    Ken

  17. As soon as this lens is available for the Sony Alpha 850 I will be investing in it. Thank you for the work you put in to show off this lens. very informative.

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  19. Hi Admin, I need your opinion. I’m only using 1000d for camera body, do you think it is worth for me to upgrade from kit lens 18-55mm to this Tamron? or should I bought a new body fist (500D/550D with 18-55mm lens kit) considering similar budget will be spent. I only care the quality picture not the feature for recording movie and I don’t need super big image resolution.

    or in simple. which one will give me better picture quality:
    1000D + Tamron 17-50 2.8 VC or 500d/550d + 18-55 lens kit?

    Thank you in advance ^ ^

  20. Hello,
    At motorcycle shot (on red motorcycle) water drops are more sharper on f4.0 than on f2.8. But on the pink motorcycle I can see that signs on it (Bacardi, Smirnoff) are more sharper on f2.8 than on f4.0. At f2.8 are sharp as on f5.6
    Maybe this lens have some focusing problem?

  21. Dear Admin/Viewers,
    Can you please tell me what is the current price of the Tamron 17-50 VC in Thailand? I can only see prices in fotofile online, but fotofile is pretty expensive. Is the VC version available in MBK shops for around ~12000 bahts?

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