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

reviewer#28625 date: Jul-8-2016
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.8
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:Minolta AF 24-50mm F4
Minolta AF 35-70mm F4
Minolta AF 50mm F1.7
price paid:300 Euros (new)
positive:sharp and colourful pictures
constant 2.8 and 17mm wide end make this one very versatile
fast and always accurate autofocus
low weight
good build quality for the price
very good value for the money overall
negative:quite some distortion and CA from 17 to 24mm
may be stopped down for perfect sharpness
colours are a bit oversaturated
clunky and somewhat stiff zooming
too small focus ring
loud "oldschool" autofocus
Macro on wide end
comment:Much has been said about this lens. I bought this one new years ago to replace my Minolta 24-50/4. I really do not need the extra wide end from 17 to 24mm but it is nice to have. This lens is a great performer for indoor architechture photography and for walking around in the streets taking shots, also good for landscape shots. It is a solid performer in many different situations with good sharpness (although clearly not as sharp as some more expensive lenses) and nice contrast. Pictures turn out very colourful and may not have that "professional" look like the Zeiss, more like with the old Minolta 50/1.7 prime but not as warm, a little bit oversaturated. Distortion is good from 24mm onwards. I frankly newer used the Macro feature on the wide end.

One downside is the loud noise the autofocus makes (but it is always accurate). The focus ring for manual focussing is very small. This lens extends towards the long end and zooming may be somewhat clunky. What you get here is a solid performer with 17mm wide end and constant F2.8 which both comes in very handy if you need it. But you have to keep in mind that both the wide end and shooting wide open might give you not the best results in terms of sharpness, CA and distortion. From 24 to 50mm on F4 it outperforms my old Minolta 24-50/4 so I am still very happy with it. Just do not expect a real "pro" lens for a very low price. Great for architechture and street photography. Landscape shots may be spoilt a little bit too much by the punchy colour rendition and some distortion. You might need another one, maybe two lenses to accompany this one as 50mm long end is quite short.

When I bought this lens it turned out VERY bright, one full stop brighter than any other lens I have. So I went to the service to adjust it. You have to keep in mind that the low price you pay for this lens is somewhat sacrificed by the bad Tamron quality control.

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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