The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is in the top three best performing high-speed standard zooms currently available. We’ve only looked at the imaging performance, but it’s as impressive optically as the highly regarded Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G ED. At $1,299 it’s not cheap but it is competitively priced – to improve on the image quality you would have to spend $1,000 for the sublime Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM. Dropping down in price to the Sigma at $899 may be the way to go on a budget, but that lens lacks weatherproofing and can’t match the Tamron optically at all focal lengths, nor can any one of those rivals offer the highly sought after optical image stabilization. For the time being at least it’s a Tamron exclusive feature in this lens type, and that combined with the comparative image quality makes it difficult to ignore.