Today, we have a guest post from Justin Sneddon – he contacted me over twitter about how much he loved his Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 – so I asked him to put together his thoughts – and he ended up comparing it to his Canon 24-105mm f/4L.
Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 review by Justin Sneddon
I bought a Canon EOS 5D Mark II in 2010 after getting sick of carrying around a 40D & a hi-def camcorder on every holiday and family event. I held off for a while because I was concerned about the 5D2s lack of IS unless you forked out for expensive lenses & it's lack of autofocus, but in the end I just went for it. I bought it with the kit lens Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS, and the day after I used it at a family get together I was was loving being able to flick between photo and video.
The main issue was that F4 when being used indoors; it meant I had to using very high ISO, which of course resulted in too much unwanted noise. It was even worse for photos when I took them without my speedlite. Then of course there was the huge weight of the set-up, not to mention trying to deal with a cumbersome speedlite and light-sphere.
I put up with this for a year until I decided the Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX would help me deal with low light situations. I dealt with the non IS of this lens trying a variety of things – placing the camera on a tripod and pressing it up against my body, a string from the base to the floor which I stood on etc…
Every few weeks I would search to see if there had been a wide angled lens with at least a 2.8 aperture brought out, and it wasn't til a few months ago that one finally did – the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8.
At first I dismissed it as it was a Tamron (I had stuck to either L series Canon & Sigma EX lenses up to this point), but then saw that it's price was in £1000 mark, which meant it had to be decent quality. After checking out a few reviews on Fred Miranda, and looking at the 2-3 Youtube videos that were up, I decided to go and try one in a camera store. I took my laptop along so I could check the quality there and then, and after 20 minutes of photos and video taken at different settings, I was on my way home with the lens in my bag.
The type of photography I do is a mixture of street, travel, and all the family get-togethers I attend. Obviously as the first 2 take place outside, light, therefore aperture, isn't an issue, but with family events being held in doors, I need at least that 2.8 aperture.
I was concerned that the lens wide open at 2.8 would be obviously soft and suffer a little vignetting – as per some of the reviews, but I was very happy with the quality at this setting. Nothing like what you would get if opened a 1.4 lens wide open, and would need to step it down to 1.8 or 2.
The lens also focuses a lot more accurately than my Canon 24-105, and I think the IS (or VC as it's known on Tamron) is also more effective. I recently took about 15 photos in low light at a family event, and every time I pressed the shutter button, the focusing was spot on. With the 24-105 I would have expected 5 of those to have missed.
I have also connected my Zoom H4n audio recorder to the base of the hand-grip with a double ended tripod thread (yes it's upside down, but that doesn't effect the sound reaching it). I had this set up with my 24-105, but the sound recorder picked up the crackling noise coming from the IS in quiet rooms. Thankfully the Tamron was much quieter, and therefore hardly noticeable.
The only thing that comes to mind that I don't like, is that zoom ring is stiffer than any other lens i've used. It almost feels like i'm fighting against it. Oh yes, of course losing 35mm at the long end is disappointing, but obviously leaning or stepping forward can usually fix that.
Yes my set up makes for a very heavy camera to lug about, but I workout at the gym so I kind of enjoy it, and people take me very seriously when I raise it to my eye. On my first test of it on the day I bought it, several people I walked past on the street commented “WOW, that's a nice camera”.
Our thanks to Justin for this review and for being a passionate planet5D reader!
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(cover photo credit: snap from the B&H page)