Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Review

September 22, 2017 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a second-generation standard telephoto zoom lens for Canon and Nikon full-frame DSLR cameras. This lens features a constant aperture of f/2.8 throughout the range, improved Vibration Compensation (VC) technology, a minimum focus distance of 0.38m, an ultrasonic focus motor for quiet and fast AF operation, and a moisture-sealed construction. The optical formula comprises 17 elements in 12 groups, including 2 XR (Extra Refractive Index) elements, 3 LD (Low Dispersion) elements, 3 GM (Glass-Molded aspherical) and one hybrid aspherical lens element, and an iris diaphragm with nine rounded aperture blades. The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens officially retails for £1349 / $1299 in the UK and USA respectively.

Ease of Use

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5DS R

Given the fast, constant maximum aperture, the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is predictably quite big and bulky, measuring almost 11cms in length and weighing in at 900g, some 75g more than the original version. While you can use it on a smaller APS-C body, it won't balance very well (and the focal length will also change) - as demonstrated by the images below, it's a much better match for a professional-grade, full-frame camera like the Canon EOS 5DS R, where it feels much more well-balanced.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5DS R

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5DS R extended to 70mm

Build quality is excellent, following in the foosteps of other recent "SP" branded lenses that we've reviewed. The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 feels very solid in your hand, with the outer barrel now made from metal rather than from plastic.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5DS R

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5DS R extended to 70mm

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5DS R extended to 70mm with the supplied lens hood fitted

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens alongside a Canon EOS 5DS R

The zoom ring is generously wide and has a ridged, rubberised grip band. As with other Tamron zooms, the SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 has a Lock switch which locks the lens at 24mm and prevents the lens barrel from extending during transportation, not that we had any issues with this during testing. The lens extends by about an extra 4.5cm when fully zoomed out to 70mm.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2Side of the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens

 

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2Side of the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens extended to 70mm

The focusing ring is much narrower, making it difficult to locate in a rush. There's a distance scale that runs from the closest distance of 38cm to infinity, but no depth of field scale. AN AF/MF switch on the side of the lens makes it easy to switch between the two focusing systems.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2Front of the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2Rear of the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens

The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 features a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) that allows near-silent auto-focusing. Importantly, this solution allows instant manual override even when the focus mode switch is in the AF position. Focusing is fully internal, meaning the length of the lens always remains constant. In use, we found the focusing to be very quiet and satisfyingly fast with the lens mounted on a Canon EOS 5DS R body.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2Side of the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2Side of the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens

The final control is the VC On/Off switch, which turns the lens' built-in Vibration Compensation on and off. This is a big selling point for the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2. In practice we found it reliably offered around 4 f-stops of compensation, obviously dependant upon your own particular hand-holding technique, making it much easier to use the lens in low-light.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens in-hand

The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 benefits from a moisture-resistant construction which helps to prevent moisture from penetrating the lens, although we'd hesitate to use it in the rain for a prolonged period.

The lens is supplied with lens caps and a plastic flower-shaped lens hood - there's no bag included. The filter size is 82mm.

Focal Range

At the 24mm focal length the angle of view is 84.1 degrees.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G224mm

At the 70mm focal length the angle of view is 34.3 degrees.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G270mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are well controlled with this lens - the examples below show the worst-case scenario.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Light Fall-off

With the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 wide open at f/2.8, you can see some very noticeable light fall-off in the corners. Stopping down helps, although to completely get rid of this phenomenon, you will need to use an f-stop of f/5.6 or smaller. There's also noticeable barrel distortion at the 24mm focal length and slight pincushioning at 70mm.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G224mm

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G270mm

Vibration Compensation

The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2's vibration compensation system offers around 5 f-stops of compensation, a big improvement on the original model. We'd recommend leaving it turned on all the time, except when mounted on a tripod.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
   
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Flare

Flare is a typical problem with wider-angle lenses, so we were curious to find out how the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 fared in this respect. As these examples shows the lens is is a little susceptible to flare when shooting directly into the sun, even with the supplied lens hood fitted, but overall it is well controlled.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Macro

The Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 isn't claimed to be a macro lens, but it delivers quite good performance nonetheless if you zoom to 70mm. The close-focus point is at 38cm from the film/sensor plane and it has a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5. The following example illustrates how close you can get to the subject, in this case a CompactFlash card.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. One of the reason to buy a fast lens is to be able to isolate the subject from the background, which is normally very hard to do with an ultrawide lens. Tamron was apparently very much aware of this requirement, as they employed an iris diaphragm with nine rounded blades for a pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Based on what we have seen, we can say that they largely succeeded. Below you'll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2
   
Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.