Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) – Nikon mount

So I was going to wait until next week, but I thought I’d do another this week as next week is going to be busy.  I’m trying to do at least one a week, but I may do more, we’ll see how it goes.

Again, these are my opinions based on my use of this lens.  Your opinion may vary.

This lens was announced by Tamron in September of 2009.

  • For APS-C DSLR’s
  • Focal length – 17-50mm
  • 35mm equivalent – 26 – 78mm
  • Maximum aperture – F2.8
  • Minimum aperture – F32
  • Lens construction – 19 elements/14 groups
  • Number of diaphragm blades – 7
  • Minimum focus – 0.29M (11.4 in)
  • Maximum magnification ratio – 1:4.8
  • Image stabilization – Yes
  • Filter thread – 72mm
  • Supplied accessories – Front and rear caps, Lens hood
  • Weight – 570g (20.15 oz)
  • Dimensions – 79.6mm diameter x 94.5mm length (3.13 x 3.7 in)
  • Lens mount – Canon & Nikon (with built in AF motor)

I love this lens and have it on my camera most of the time because of the standard range it has, but there is something I just can’t put my finger on, that makes me wish I had something different.  The only thing I can think of is the reach.  I prefer to shoot closer and unless I’m shooting landscape, I shoot between 24 and 50mm 75% of the time.

It is equipped with Tamron’s VC and a built in focusing motor, so it will work with the D5000,D3000, D3100 and D5100.  With the VC, and the 2.8 aperture, shooting during low light situations isn’t a problem.  Using this on my D7000 is great as I also can bump up the ISO when needed to keep the shutter speed up.  I’ve shot some great photo’s with this lens.  Outdoors and shooting landscapes, I absolutely love it.  The colours are great and it’s nice and wide at 17mm, even on a crop body.  I find that I don’t miss having a wider lens such as a 12-24mm, having this lens in my bag, but that’s just the way I shoot.

All that being said, I’m finding I’m shooting way more with prime lenses.  I own Nikon 35mm 1.8 and a 50mm 1.8D lenses and more and more, I’m switching out the 17-50 with these.  I could see myself selling it, or at the vary least using it only for backup, if I picked up a 20 or 24mm prime.

I have some friends that keep insisting that I buy a 24-70 Nikon.  The extra reach would be more in line with my style and I don’t think I’d miss the wide end all that much.  On top of that, I can see myself going to a full frame body in the next few years.  I’ve heard some poor comments on the 28-75 Tamron, so I haven’t tried it, as of the time of writing this review.  That being said, I love the Tamron 70-200 so much that maybe I should give the 28-75 a chance at some point.  Maybe I was just really fortunate with my copy of the 70-200…not sure.

Pros: The 17-50 is very sharp, has vibration compensation and is light.

Cons: Can be slow to focus in low light

My Conclusion: This is a great lens for someone that wants quality, fast glass for a reasonably light lens at normal zoom range.  But at the same time, I have cursed it for the slow focus.  How often?  Not very often, maybe 5-10% of low light shots, but it’s still frustrating at times.  I think if you’re shooting a lot of weddings, you may want to try this lens out before hand on situations that are not critical.  Some may feel this lens is too slow to focus.  Shooting with it all the time, I’ve learned to half press the shutter button to lock in my focus a little before I want to make the shot.  This gives time for the VC to work and the focus to hit.  I feel that the out of focus area is pleasing for a 2.8 lens.  It has a lock at 17mm, although I never use it as I’ve never had problems with zoom creep.  The zoom ring is very stiff on my lens and for me it has a good feel as you zoom in from 17-50mm.  Aside from the Nikon 18-105 and a 18-135 lens that I tried out, I haven’t used a lot of zoom lenses in this range.  I haven’t had the chance to try the Tamron 28-75, and it’s been a long time since I tried the Sigma 17-50 or 24-70.  I also haven’t tried the Nikon 17-55 or 24-70 so I can’t go into any comparisons, but I am planning to do so this summer.  Will I ever go to the Nikon version?  I don’t think so, at least not for the 17-55.  Maybe the 24-70, but the price is steep so I’m not sure.  Remember, it’s not all in the equipment to make good images.  I’m getting good images now.

I haven’t found a good technical review on sites such as DP Review, but here’s one that I found that stood out to me: http://www.tamronlensreview.com/tamron1750vcreview

Pricing(In Canada) for the Nikon mount Tamron 17-50 VC:

  1. Vistek – $629.95
  2. Henry’s – $599.99

For comparison in Canada:


About covesphotography

I have loved photography since I was a child. I always had a camera with me, although it was usually an old Kodak 110 Instamatic. When I was older, I used to take (with permission) my fathers Konica SLR with a 50mm Sigma lens. I was always disappointed that I had to wait for the film to be developed to see what it looked like. I have about two large containers full of pictures in my bedroom closet even now, mostly mine from that time. I don't know exactly how old I was, but I was able to take a picture of a sunset over Lake Superior with a heavy cloud cover above and the water below, the sun just broke through. My parents took it and blew it up to a very large image and I had it hanging on my wall for years. As a lot of teenagers are now, I was impatient and didn't stay with my love of photography, however when digital became more popular, and because I double exposed an important roll of film, I purchased my first digital camera, about 2004. I loved it so much that it went everywhere with me. Now I want to turn that passion for photography to something that can bring joyful moments to other people. From elegant weddings, to family portraits, from infants and pregnancy photos to corporate head shots, from pets to product photography. I travel to you, either to your home or a location you specify. If needed I can help in location scouting as well.
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