Lens Review: Tamron’s SP 24-70mm F/2.8 DI VC USD G2
January 9, 2018
We’re used to thinking of computational photography as something that pertains to smartphones. But processing power benefits multiple pieces of the photographic food chain. Exhibit A is Tamron’s updated SP 24-70mm, a workhorse lens that has been outfitted with more processing prowess.
We collaborated with N.J. photographer and director David Patiño to put the lens through its paces.
The big update for the SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Model A032) is the addition of dual Micro Processing Units, which Tamron says improves AF speed and accuracy while also delivering up to five stops of image stabilization, per CIPA standards. That’s the highest image stabilization performance of any DSLR lens in this category, according to Tamron.
The new full-frame lens can focus on objects as close as 15 inches with a magnification ratio of 1:5. There are nine aperture blades that stop down to f/22. It’s compatible with the optional TAP-in Console for firmware upgrades and is available in a Canon or Nikon mount.
Like all of the new SP models, the 24-70mm features a sleek, well-built exterior and a nice zoom ring with a long, gentle pull. The metal lens barrel has several leak-proof seals to help the lens resist moisture. There are a pair of buttons to toggle VC on/off and to switch between automatic and manual focusing. We liked the new locking lens hood, which keeps the hood more securely in place in case you accidentally bump into it.
There’s eBAND coating to combat flare and ghosting and Fluorine coating on the front lens element to make it easier to clean.
At 31.9 ounces, the Tamron SP 24-70mm is on par with Nikon’s AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens, lighter than Sigma’s new 24-70mm f/2.8 Art lens and heavier than Canon’s 24-70mm II USM lens.
Image Quality and Performance
Patiño used the 24-70mm extensively on his Canon 5DS, shooting a marketing campaign for a university medical center—a job that involved both stills and video. He said it did an excellent job resolving the details in his 5DS. The image quality was excellent, he says.
There was very little noticeable vignetting, though we did spot some at f/4.5 at 60mm. There was very modest barrel distortion which we didn’t even notice until applying a Lightroom profile. For the interiors Patiño was shooting, you’d need to be an eagle-eyed obsessive to even notice.
Portrait subjects were nicely separated from the background and even when shooting directly toward the sun, there was no visible purple fringing in foliage and the lens flare was well controlled (dare we say J.J. Abrams-esque).
Shooting handheld, Patiño says the image stabilization on the lens was first-rate, delivering tack-sharp images even at slower shutter speeds.
The SP 24-70mm is an excellent value, costing less than its first-party competitors and $100 less than its Sigma competition. With best-in-class image stabilization, excellent build and superb image quality, it’s an excellent option for DSLR shooters.