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In bed with Tamron

A couple of months ago I went to an event at Calumet London and saw the new Tamron 24-70mm f 2.8 with image stabilisation which was about to debut in the UK.

I’d had a brief fling with a Tamron lens 5-6 years ago and my impressions back then were less than positive. I’ve been using Canon lenses since then and never thought I would feel the need to invest in a different brand.

At the Calumet event however I had he opportunity to play with the new Tamron, which was – and still is – the only 24-70mm f2.8 lens with image stabilisation, or, as the manufacturers prefer to call it, vibration compensation.

The few pics I took with it back then looked promising and the only pre-release review on ephotozine was very encouraging. Clearly Tamron has improved its reverse-engineering efforts since the last time I played with their kit. But old habits die hard and I decided to wait for more reviews before making a decision.

So why did I even consider this lens, particularly when my Canon 24-105mm is really great as a general lens? There were two main things about the new Tamron: it was faster than my main Canon glass *and* came with image stabilisation. Well, three things, in fact. It’s also much cheaper than the latest Canon 24-70mm f2.8 II, which retails at around £2,000 and doesn’t offer image stabilisation. Which is not an issue when you shoot with a tripod or in the studio, but I largely don’t.

I used the new Canon lens and its quality is superb. But it failed me several times when I tried using it hand-held in dimly-lit situations. Therefore spending that kind of money when I know I won’t schelp my tripod with me all the time was a bit pointless.

In the meantime, more reviews appeared and they were also largely positive, and even claimed the Tamron lens at times outperformed its Canon equivalent (see the video from F-Stoppers below). It’s supposed to be great for DSLR video, which is music to my ears.

There are however a couple of issues most reviewers identify – some noticeable vignetting at 24mm and varying levels of sharpness at various focal lengths. I’m not that bothered about vignetting, Lightroom usually deals with it nicely. Sharpness might be more problematic, but let’s not pre-judge anything.

I’ve decided to make the jump and play with the new lens for a bit. I’m quite curious about it.

Look out for some test images over the next couple of weeks. And if you know something I should be aware of, speak now, or forever hold your silence…

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