Tamron AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di SP (FX) - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (full format)

Review by Markus Stamm, published December 2016

Introduction

Ultra wide lenses are on many photographer’s wish lists, but current good quality ones tend to be quite bulky, heavy and sort of expensive. Especially the latter is an issue for those who only occasionally would like to take advantage the dramatic perspective an ultra wide angle allows, in these cases the limited use usually doesn’t justify the high costs.

However, it maybe doesn’t have to be a lens of the latest generation to get some wide shots now and then. Wide angles have been around for a while of course, in fact they saw a a revival in the early days of photography, since almost all cameras back then had cropped sensors and UWA’s became popular as normal zooms.

These lenses are long discontinued now, but can be found used for very low prices. The Tamron AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4.0 Di LD Aspherical IF SP (Tamron had a habit of putting most of the spec sheet into the product name back then) is one such example, often selling in the price range of 150 to 200 EUR on eBay and similar places. Quite a bargain it seems, especially since the lens is quite compact, light-weight and relatively fast for such a wide lens, so likely tempting for anyone who doesn’t want to spend big money, but still own a full frame wide angle zoom.

Even though the Tamron carries the SP signature, it probably wasn’t designed for professional use. That’s why the build quality is decent, but definitely not on the highest level. The barrel is made from plastic, based on a metal mount.

The lens extends a bit towards the long end of the zoom range, as can be seen in the product shot below. The broad zoom and focus rings operate pretty smooth but the focus ring rotates in AF mode, which already felt a little substandard and outdated when the lens was still current.

The lens features an internal focusing (IF) design so the front element does not rotate and using a polarizer is no problem (even with attached hood).

The lens does not feature a built in AF drive, but relies on a slotted screw that is driven by the camera. Unlike entry-level DX cameras, all current Nikon FX cameras still feature this screw, though.

Being fairly dated, the Tamron still features an aperture ring.

Specifications
Optical construction14 elements in 11 groups including 1 LD and 3 hybrid aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades7
min. focus distance0.3 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.4)
Dimensions83 x 87 mm
Weight440 g
Filter size77 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodpetal-shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)
Other featuresLens provides distance (D) information to the