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Review by Klaus Schroiff and Markus Stamm, published February 2013
Fast standard zoom lenses are certainly a hot spot in the product portfolios. So far this arena has been dominated by the original manufacturers although the third-party manufacturers tried to challenge the big boys every once in a while. Tamron did so as well with the SP 28-75mm f/2.8 XR but the lens had/has no differentiator other than its low pricing. As such it was popular among amateurs on a budget but it has been largely ignored by professionals.
However, their latest offering is a different beast altogether - the Tamron AF 24-70mm f/2.8 SP Di USD VC. Other than matching the specs of competing products it has something unique - it is the first fast standard zoom lens featuring an image stabilizer (VC = Vibration Control). An ultrasonic AF (USD) as well as weather sealing are also part of the package. Obviously Tamron is pretty much convinced of the capabilities of their new baby because they do no longer want to compete by price - they are asking about 1000EUR. Now this may still be significantly less than the price of the new Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8, but it is a magnitude more expensive than the old Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR and it's certainly no budget item anymore.
In this review we'll have a look at how the lens performs on our current FX test camera, the Nikon D3x.
The build quality of the Tamron lens is on a professional-grade level. The lens body is mostly made of high quality plastics based on a metal mount.
Both the zoom and focus ring operate smoothly. Unlike on previous Tamron lenses, the focus ring does not rotate anymore during AF operations. The inner lens tube extends when zooming towards the long end of the zoom range. A flower-shaped lens hood is supplied.
As mentioned the 24-70mm f/2.8 features an image stabilizer (VC = Vibration Control). According to Tamron the VC offers an extra potential of up to 4 stops. Based on what we've experienced in the field it may be a bit less than that.
The ultrasonic AF drive (USD) is both very fast as well as virtually silent. Full-time manual focusing is supported. The AF accuracy of the tested sample was generally fine.
The Tamron is a G-type lens, so there is no aperture ring.
|Optical construction||17 elements in 12 groups inc. 3 aspherical, 3 LD and 2 XR elements|
|Number of aperture blades||9 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.38 m (max. magnification ratio 1:5)|
|Dimensions||108.5 mm x 88.2 mm|
|Filter size||82mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||petal-shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)|
|Other features||USD ultrasonic drive, Image Stabilizer, Weather Sealing|