Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical A-mount lens review by glehmann

reviewer#10393 date: Jul-18-2012
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 35mm f/1.8
Sigma 17-70
price paid:289 € (new)
Constant aperture
negative:Bokeh could be softer
AF not always as fast as I would like
AF is noisy in video
comment:I'm using this lens on the A77.

The optical quality is really excellent - excellent center sharpness from f/2.8, excellent on the border as well from f/4.0, low vignetting, quite low distortion, good contrast. Optically it's weakness would be the bokeh that can sometime be a bit harsh. And of course this is a constant f/2.8 zoom. All in all, I'm very pleased by the optical quality of this lens!

The plastic construction is good enough to me, and probably help to keep the weight low.

The AF is quite fast outside, but a bit slow inside, where it can hunt a bit. AF accuracy is usually quite good, but is less good if the subject is close to the lens, making it a bit difficult to use wide open in this condition.
The only real problem is the noise produced by the AF, that can be *very* clearly eared on the video.
I wish tamron can produce the exact same lens with a silent AF motor!

I've compared it to the Sigma 17-70, hopping the Sigma would have a faster and quieter AF. As expeceted the Sigma has a bit more reach and a smaller aperture, but it's optical quality is also significantly lower than the Tamron, and unlike what I expected, the AF is not faster than the Tamron's AF. The noise level of the AF is another disappointment with the Sigma: it is significantly quieter than the Tamron, but can still be clearly eared on the videos.
After a few days with the Sigma, I returned it and kept the Tamron as my walkaround lens.

Excellent value for money. Highly recommended if you are not planning to use it for video.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 214
  • sharpness: 4.59
  • color: 4.45
  • build: 4.14
  • distortion: 4.16
  • flare control: 4.45
  • overall: 4.36
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