Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD review: A uniquely versatile pro-worthy alternative

By Kevin Carter - Friday February 08 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Canon lens performance | Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Canon versus competition | Conclusion

Announced in February 2012, the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens Di VC USD is the latest full-frame, fast aperture standard zoom from the Saitama, Japan-based optical firm and is the first of its type to add VC (Vibration Control) image stabilization. Costing $1299 and available in Canon, Nikon and Sony fittings (the latter albeit without VC) and featuring USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) technology, it’s an obvious alternative to the pricier offerings from the top-names. Could this lens be a contender in the IQ stakes? Read on to find out.

It has been several years since Tamron introduced the high-speed, full-frame SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical [IF] Macro standard zoom for serious amateurs and professionals. In that time the number and popularity of full-frame DSLRs has increased dramatically, in part owing to the debut of video capture but also due to a number of more accessibly priced camera models. In spite of this, both Canon and Nikon have yet to fully address the need for a high-speed standard zoom offering image stabilization for both stills and video.

Of those two Canon is perhaps ahead of the curve. Nikon has the AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f4G ED VR, but Canon offers three image stabilized primes and two zooms, the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and the brand new EF 24-70mm f4L USM.

Priced competitively at $1299, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD changes all of that as the first, high-speed standard zoom to offer image stabilization. Like its predecessor, the new lens will also appeal to users of APS-C size cameras. Then the range of focal lengths has an effective field of view as a 36-105mm (or 38-112mm on Canon APS-C bodies) in 35mm terms, while retaining the highly prized image stabilization function.  

Tamron hasn’t only included stabilization to tempt potential users. It also has an ultrasonic AF motor, weatherproofing and, as a ‘Di’ lens, features advanced anti-reflective coatings and a complex optical design to improve imaging performance with digital sensors. A variant for Sony SLT cameras is also available but as those camera models feature a stabilized sensor, the Alpha mount version lacks the VC function.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Canon lens performance

Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD Canon versus competition