Canon versus Tamron VC 24-70mm f2.8 lenses
Canon versus Tamron VC 24-70mm f2.8
Before I went to a full frame camera my favorite lens was the Canon 17-55mm f2.8 IS lens. I think that this lens is one of the best walk around lenses you can have for an APS DSLR. I had a 1000d (Rebel XS), then 50D, then 7D. Between the wide aperture and IS I felt that I could take stunning shots over a wide range of light conditions.
But APS was not good enough for me when you can have full frame. So I saved my money and got the 5DMkII. Nice camera. But now I can’t use my favorite lens anymore. The equivalent full frame lens is the Canon 24-70mm f2.8.
Another great lens but NO IS !!!! What the heck! The 5D full frame offers much more data for post processing and and better ISO performance. If it only had IS…. It would be Great!!. Yes there is a 24-105 f4 IS. But many times I want to have a more wide aperture. I want to have what I had with the 17-55mm f2.8.
So when Canon Rumors picked up that there was going to be a new 24-70mm I was sure it was going to be an IS version….but sadly it was just an improved optics version of the old 24-70. The old lens was already pretty good.
Then the rumor of a Tamron VC 24-70mm or the full name Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens. The important part of that was the VC (vibration compensation), Tamron’s version of IS! Then the official announcement. I swore that i would wait till the reviews came in…. but I wanted one so much I went ahead and put in a preorder.
I had not received it yet and some preliminary reviews came in from early buyers. The onion skin bokeh showed up.
OMG what have I ordered! Then others showed that all lenses do this, in varying degrees, in similar conditions. I wonder why I always buy stuff before it is well reviewed.
My main concern that I still had was that, I know that, when canon makes an L class lens you get good image quality images. But I did not know anything about Tamron.
Anyhow…. it came in the mail. Oh boy oh boy.
By the way here are the comparative stats ( with prices on 31May12):
|Model||24-70mm 1:2.8||SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD|
|Construction||16 elements 13 groups||17 elements 12 groups|
|Angle of view||84 dg to 34 deg||84 dg 1m to 34 dg 21 m|
|Focus||Front-Focusing method||Front-Focusing method|
|Closest||1.25 ft||1.25 ft|
|Lens hood||Round some petaling||flower shaped|
|Weight||33.5 oz||29.1 oz|
First impressions about the Tamron VC 24-70mm with comparisons to the Canon:
1. It feels heavier, but its not . I always thought the Canon was a big lens for such small focal lengths but the Tamron VC 24-70mm feels wider ( it is at 82 vs 77mm) and it feels denser. Not sure what that means but I liked the feel of it.
2. The zoom is tight and its on a different ring. Its closer to the lens in the opposite position from the Canon. I am still getting used to it. By comparison it makes the canon feel like something is too loose. One good thing is that you will never experience zoom creep on this. Tamron included a zoom lock but its overkill and only works at 24mm. I guess I would like it a little looser but not as loose as the Canon. On the canon if I extend it to 70mm and set it on the table it compresses on its own to nearly 24mm. The Tamron VC 24-70mm just stays there.
3. There’s that VC button….. mm-hhmmm, nothing like that switch on the Canon. With my old man hands I can take shots down to about 1/80 sec on the canon at 70mm….. not too bad eh. But with the Tamron VC, on a good day, I can take shots down to about 1/15 sec. And that my friends opens up a lot more lighting conditions without having to go to high ISO settings. It is very enabling.
4. The lens is huge, it is 82mm, and its right there at the top of the body. Its like begging for a scratch. But I looked at the Canon and its just as close. The hood is fairly shallow too compared to the canon. The canon hood is huge. I needed the help of a reader to figure this one out. Tamron’s VC 24-70mm lens hood is what you would expect in a wide lens but on the Canon you need to fully extend it to get to the 24mm. So the hood has to provide glare protection as the lens moves through it. The other downside of the 82mm is filters. I have a Canon 24-70mm 2.8, 70-200mm 2.8, 17-40mm 4, Sigma 50mm 1.4. They all use 77mm lenses. So I have 1 polarizer, a 10 stop ND, 1 set cokin filters that all fit 77 mm. They are useless for this new lens. So I have already had to get another polarizing filer and I am thinking about getting some of the other filters in 82mm. So now I have to carry a double set of filters….. ugh.
Note that one reader said that I could use a step down filter adapter. Also the p series cokin set does have a 82mm glass holder but I have read that you will get some vignetting with that set-up with a wide angle. So I think I will have to get the pro series cokin filters (more stuff and more $$) Let me know if this is wrong.
5. General build quality. It feels pretty good. the AF and VC buttons are smaller but they are ok
As for performance I don’t see that big of a difference except the image stabilization is wonderful to have…..which is why I got it. Here are some other things that I found out as I have played with it.
1. Lens Sharpness is a little better on the Tamron VC 24-70mm at 70mm but a little better on the Canon at 24mm. I ran Reikan’s Focal lens calibration software on it to see if I could quantify it and sure enough it verified what I thought I was seeing….but these are small differences.
2. One thing that did surprise me with the FoCal test. They have a AF consistency test. You can run 10 or more shots and see how often the target is in focus. Tamron VC 24-70mm lens was REALLY consistent like within .4 % over 10 points where the Canon came in at around 3.8 %. Another reviewer found the same result….. So the Tamron has an edge on consistency.
3. I have had no issues with bokeh. Here is a quicky comparison of a couple of roughly 100% crops of the first image. The first crop is the Tamron VC 24-70mm and the second is the Canon. One reader suggested that I take a picture where there is bright points of light coming through a dark area. I have included that and you can see the famous “onion skin” effect. This does not bother me as I do not take many shots like this and its easy to repair with a little blur tool.
I am not a BOKEH connoisseur but these both look ok to me.
4. There is a small issue with vignetting on the Tamron VC 24-70mm. You really only see it at 24mm and I don’t normally see it unless I am looking for it. Here are a couple of shots I took. Again the Tamron is on the left and the Canon is on the right. Its there but its hardly noticable.
So I would have to say that the Tamron is an equivalent lens to the Canon. But add the VC image stabilization to it and for me it makes it a much superior lens for my kind of photography. I did good buying it 😉