That’s how long it’s taken me to fall in love with this lens. It’s that good.
When I said goodbye to my D300 and moved to full-frame, I think I found it harder to come to terms with the realisation that my 17-55 was going to have to follow. It was my preferred walkabout lens for a number of years, and was very crisp, but after identifying my upgrade path, I had to trade it in. So when Intro 2020 asked me if there was another lens I would like to try, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD was right at the top of my list. It has a full-frame coverage that almost matches that of the 17-55mm DX pairing, and throws in the added bonus of image stabilisation.
I caught myself smiling while opening up the box when it arrived the other day. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve been so excited to use a lens before. My first observation was that it’s a chunky monkey. The lens feels robust, and is heavier than it looks. The barrel is almost a uniform diameter, which makes it very comfortable to grip. There are some nice little design touches like an asymmetrical focus ring and chamfered edges to the zoom ring and barrel which makes it feel like a premium product, and the lens hood clicks into place firmly. I’ll be sure to include some photographs of some of these details in a future post. The model number is the A007, which is probably what made Tamron use a spy theme in the above ad campaign. If not, it’s an amusing coincidence…
I didn’t waste much time in getting out with the 24-70mm either, heading out to Rivelin Valley again. The weather took a turn for the worse a couple of hours in, so straight away I can confirm that the “drip proofing” works. No adverse affects at all, even though I was initially concerned about water seeping in through the telescoping barrel.
The 24-70 proved its versatility during the course of my walk. The argument over whether to use primes or zooms has, in my opinion, been academic for some time. The quality of modern zooms far outstrips that of older prime lenses, so nowadays it’s really just down to the weight. Of course, when the weather is poor, the additional weight of a zoom lens seems inconsequential. Two prime lenses will quickly amount to more than one zoom lens.
My early findings are that vignetting is apparent when shooting wide open, but it’s hard for me to see this as a major problem when it’s so easily corrected at the first step of my raw workflow. Furthermore, I don’t often shoot subjects where it would be an issue anyway. Regardless, it goes away pretty quickly when stopping down even moderate amounts. What is also very obvious is that the sharpness across the frame is excellent, even when shooting at very wide apertures.
I’m really looking forward to using this lens a lot over the coming months. It really is a beauty.