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

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Pros
  • Excellent and well-balanced sharpness
  • Low flare
  • Low central CA
  • Moisture resistance
  • Good VFM
  • Close focusing
Cons
  • Some edge CA
  • Edge sharpness drops at 70mm

Tamron 24 70mm G2 Front Oblique View

From the range of SP (Super Performance) full frame lenses from Tamron, the new 24-70mm f/2.8 G2 is a wide to short telephoto standard zoom with a bright (fast) constant aperture. The new lens is reviewed here using the 50MP Canon EOS 5DS R. Let’s see what the new lens has to offer and how well it performs and handles.

Handling and Features

Tamron 24 70mm G2 On Canon 5dsr At 24mm

At 905g (Canon fit) or 900g (Nikon fit) the lens is hefty, but it does balance well on the Canon 5DS R used for the review. There is a provided petal lens hood, complete with locking catch for extra security. This surrounds an 82mm filter thread. Immediately behind this is a generously sized zoom ring, clearly marked with various focal lengths. A locking switch operates at 24mm to ensure the lens does not extend during carrying. There is no real tendency for this to happen whilst the lens is new, but perhaps with use, it will prove a useful feature.

There is a thin manual focusing ring that also operates in AF mode to enable fine tuning of the focus position. Focusing is down to 0.38m (15 inches), a useful maximum magnification of 1:5. The lens length does not change during focusing, thanks to the IF (Internal Focusing) design. The length does extend when zooming. Closest to the lens mount there is a distance scale under a small window, marked in feet and metres. There is no depth of field scale. Two switches on the lens barrel control AF/MF and VC (Vibration Compensation) on and off.

Tamron 24 70mm G2 On Canon 5dsr At 24mm With Hood

Optically, we have 17 elements in 12 groups. There are 2 XR (Extra Refractive Index), 3 LD (Low Dispersion), 1 Hybrid Aspherical and 3 Glass Moulded Aspherical elements. The diaphragm comprises 9 rounded blades. There is a fluorine coating on the front element to repel moisture and dirt. Applied also are comprise Tamron’s eBAND (Extended bandwidth and Angular-Dependency) and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coatings. There is also moisture resistance, always a useful, if not essential, feature.

Updating the lens firmware is simplified by compatibility with Tamron’s TAP-in console, available as a separate item. This also enables focusing adjustments to be made. The VC system is claimed to offer a 5 stop advantage in terms of usable shutter speed, for reduced camera shake and sharper images. Advice is to switch off VC when using a tripod or other stable support. There is also the Tamron 5-year guarantee, a generous period of time.

Tamron 24 70mm G2 Rear Oblique View

Performance

Sharpness is impressively even across the frame, something also noted when reviewing a similar lens from Pentax. At 24mm, central sharpness is excellent from f/2.8 to f/8, very good at f/11 and f/16 and softening as we move to f/22. The edges start off as very good at f/2.8, becoming excellent from f/4 to f/8, very good at f/11, still good at f/16 but softening at f/22.

At 35mm, central sharpness is excellent from f/2.8 to f/8, very good at f/11 and f/16 and soft at f/22. Edges are very good from f/2.8 to f/11, good at f/16 and again soft by f/22.

A similar pattern is seen at 50mm, with excellent central sharpness from f/2.8 to f/8, very good levels of sharpness at f/11 and f/16 and a fairly soft image at f/22. Edges are a little more sluggish, being fairly sharp at f/2.8, but becoming very good from f/4 to f/11. f/16 is good, but f/22 softening.

70mm sees central sharpness being very good from f/2.8 to f/16, becoming soft at f/22. The edges are somewhat softer at f/2.8 to f/5.6, becoming good at f/8, very good at f/11, good at f/16 and soft at f/22.

MTF Charts

MTF@24mm

MTF@35mm

MTF@50mm

MTF@70mm

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5DS R using Imatest.

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is virtually banished at the centre of the frame, at all focal lengths. The edges do show some fringing, but this can, of course, be corrected using software if required.

Chromatic Aberration Charts

CA@24mm

CA@35mm

CA@50mm

CA@70mm

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Canon EOS 5DS R using Imatest.

Distortion is a very obvious -3.42% barrel at 24mm, reducing to an almost perfectly rectilinear -0.11% by 35mm. We then move into pincushion distortion, measuring +1.04% at 50mm and +1.49% at 70mm. This is pretty good for a zoom lens and can be further corrected in software where needed.

Flare resistance is excellent, not proving to be a problem in any of the against the light shots.

The 9 bladed circular diaphragm also performs well in terms of pleasant bokeh. The gradation of out of focus areas is very smooth.

Testing out the VC system, it was found that certainly, a 4 stop advantage was a reasonable expectation. This will vary according to the photographer and the conditions and is very useful in helping to keep image sharp in lower light levels.

Overall, we have a well made, smoothly operating fast standard zoom lens, with a very well balanced set of optical and mechanical properties.

Sample Photos

Rufford Old Hall | 1/400 sec | f/8.0 | 45.0 mm | ISO 200

Floral Close Up | 1/125 sec | f/8.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200

Low Down And Close Up Croci | 1/50 sec | f/16.0 | 24.0 mm | ISO 200

1/30 sec | f/2.8 | 57.0 mm | ISO 400

Garden Store Room | 1/13 sec | f/11.0 | 56.0 mm | ISO 200

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

Bokeh At F2.8 | 1/400 sec | f/2.8 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200

Bokeh At F5.6 | 1/100 sec | f/5.6 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200

Bokeh At F8 | 1/50 sec | f/8.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200

Bokeh At F11 | 1/25 sec | f/11.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200

Bokeh At F16 | 1/13 sec | f/16.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200

Bokeh At F22 | 1/6 sec | f/22.0 | 70.0 mm | ISO 200

Verdict

The new Tamron lens performs very well indeed and has a very well balanced set of properties. It is well priced against similar lenses and definitely worth looking at. Images are sharp, well detailed and show smooth bokeh. Resistance to flare is excellent.

In summary, a very fine general purpose zoom lens, highly recommended.

(ephotozine.com, https://goo.gl/zZKGMQ)

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