A full Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens review is planned, but here is a quick lab-only review:
Based on the quality-for-the-price ratio of the non-VC Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II Lens, I had very high hopes for the Tamron 17-50 VC. Taking the good image quality of the non-VC 17-50 and adding vibration control to it sounded like a recipe for success to me. A recipe that should close the feature/benefits gap between it and the excellent Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens.
Preliminary findings from lab-only testing have been somewhat disheartening however. You can see the image quality results in the ISO 12233 resolution chart link above. Basically, the Tamron 17-50 VC is reasonably sharp in the center at its constant wide open aperture of f/2.8. Corners, however, are very soft wide open. All four corners are similarly soft throughout the focal length range with the exception of 35mm where the right side is slightly softer (shown in ISO 12233 results) than the left. The difference at 35mm is not very significant though.
As is usually the case with a lens that does not deliver excellent image quality with a wide open aperture, stopping down the Tamron 17-50 VC results in a noticeable optical performance improvement. The wider half of the 17-50 VC looks much better at f/4 and the longer half prefers f/5.6.
The Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens has strong barrel distortion at 17mm transitioning to slight barrel distortion at 24mm and to essentially no distortion at 35mm and 50mm. CA (Chromatic Aberration) is very well controlled with CA being evident primarily in the 17mm corners.
Between 1.5 and 2 stops of vignetting is visible in the corners. By f/4, vignetting is much improved with some corner darkening still visible at 17mm where is remains slightly visible even at f/8 where .9 stops of shading remain.
|Model||Weight||Dimensions w/o Hood||Filter||Year|
|Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM Lens||16.8 oz||(475g)||3.3 x 3.8"||(84 x 97mm)||77mm||2003|
|Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II Lens||15.3 oz||(434g)||3.2 x 2.9"||(81.7 x 74mm)||67mm||2006|
|Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens||20.1 oz||(570g)||3.1 x 3.7"||(79.6 x 94.5mm)||72mm||2009|
|Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens||22.8 oz||(645g)||3.3 x 4.4"||(83.5 x 110.6mm)||77mm||2006|
|Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens||16.8 oz||(475g)||3.1 x 3.6"||(79 x 92mm)||67mm||2004|
|Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens||7.1 oz||(200g)||2.7 x 2.8"||(68.5 x 70mm)||58mm||2007|
|Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens||16.1 oz||(455g)||3.0 x 4.0"||(75.4 x 101mm)||67mm||2009|
|Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens||21 oz||(595g)||3.1 x 4.0"||(78.6 x 102mm)||72mm||2008|
|Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens||33.5 oz||(950g)||3.3 x 4.9"||(83 x 124mm)||77mm||2002|
|Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens||23.7 oz||(670g)||3.3 x 4.2"||(83.5 x 107mm)||77mm||2005|
|Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Lens||18 oz||(510g)||2.9 x 3.6"||(73 x 92mm)||67mm|
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens||10.2 oz||(290g)||2.9 x 2"||(74 x 51mm)||58mm||1993|
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens||4.6 oz||(130g)||2.7 x 1.6"||(68 x 41mm)||52mm||1990|
Overall, the Tamron 17-50mm non-VC lens is sharper, has less vignetting, has a similar amount of CA and has less barrel distortion on the wide end but more pincushion distortion on the long end. The non-VC 17-50 is a bit smaller and lighter. Obviously the 17-50 VC has the 4-stop-rated (I didn't test this yet) stabilization advantage.
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens' AF is loud. AF speed is not bad, but the noise deceptively makes the focusing seem slow. VC is also loud.
Positioned above from left to right in their fully retracted positions are the following lenses:
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II Lens
Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
The same lenses are shown below in their fully extended states with their lens hoods in place.
Click on the image below to compare the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens to other lens models with and without hoods (opens in new window to save your place in this review).
|Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0 L USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||.25x|
|Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II Lens||10.6"||(270mm)||.25x|
|Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens||11.4"||(290mm)||.21x|
|Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens||13.8"||(350mm)||.16x|
|Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||.20x|
|Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||.34x|
|Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||.21x|
|Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||.24x|
|Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens||15.0"||(380mm)||.29x|
|Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||.23x|
|Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Lens||13.0"||(330mm)||.26x|
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||.15x|
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens||17.7"||(450mm)||.15x|
I will try to find time for a full Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens review.
Bringing you this site is my full time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan