First Impressions: Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD (Canon EF)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (14 of 19)ISO 2001-180 sec at f - 2.8

The Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 was announced earlier this year–aimed at landscape, real estate and architectural photographers, this lens represent’s the company’s attempt to take on the likes of the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 L and the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 G. For the past couple of years, Tamron has been putting out incredible lenses that have impressed us over and over again. At first sight, we were impressed with the size of this one–it’s huge!

With 9 aperture blades, 18 elements in 13 groups, and a front element so large you can’t use a filter, there is bound to be lots that pro photographers will love about it.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the lens.

Focal Length 15 – 30mm
Comparable 35mm Equivalent on APS-C Format Focal Length: 24 – 48 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/2.8
Minimum: f/22
Camera Mount Type Canon EF
Format Compatibility 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
Angle of View 110° 32′ – 71° 35′
APS-C Picture Angle: 85° 51′ – 49° 53′
Minimum Focus Distance 11″ (.28 m)
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:5
Elements/Groups 18/13
Diaphragm Blades 9, Rounded
Features
Image Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Yes
Tripod Collar No
Physical
Filter Thread None
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 3.87 x 5.71″ (98.4 x 145 mm)
Packaging Info
Package Weight 3.35 lb
Box Dimensions (LxWxH) 9.4 x 7.0 x 5.1″

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (15 of 19)ISO 2001-180 sec at f - 2.8

The Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 is a large lens. In fact it’s probably the largest wide angle lens that we’ve tested. This is due to the wide angle zoom range and constant f2.8 aperture. We start our tour with this lens’s front element–which has a permanently attached lens hood to protect it from evildoers.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (18 of 19)ISO 2001-180 sec at f - 2.8

The lens cap goes over the entire hood–which is very typical of wide angle lenses like this. You’ll want to keep it around for sure.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (17 of 19)ISO 2001-180 sec at f - 2.8

The lens’s body is comprised mostly of plastic–but tough plastic with texture for better grip. When you look at the top, what you’ll mostly find is the distance scale along with the manual focus ring and the zooming ring.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (16 of 19)ISO 2001-180 sec at f - 2.8

Go to the side and you’ll spot the lens controls for vibration compensation and autofocus/manual focus. If you’re shooting on a tripod, remember to take off the VC.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (2 of 19)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 5.6

The Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD takes the cake when it comes to being beefy. While it doesn’t feature weather sealing, the lens is pretty much Campbell’s chunky beef soup when it comes to beefiness. It’s large but not overly large to be cumbersome in the hands. What we really like is the large zooming ring that makes zooming very simple.

Ease of Use

Most photographers will probably set this lens to autofocus then point, shoot and enjoy. There is no real use in manually focusing this lens considering how quickly and accurately it seems to focus. Part of this is due to the depth of field on something this wide.

Autofocus

The autofocus on this lens is quick–and we totally expect that. With the Canon 6D it’s not only quick but very accurate. Photographers using a lens like this will be satiated with the results–then again they’ll also just be happy if the entire scene is in focus.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (1 of 19)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 5.6

So far, we’re quite happy with just how sharp the images are but even more so, we’re happier with how good the colors are. Indeed, we didn’t have to do very much to these files to make them look great and they’re mostly untouched.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (3 of 19)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (4 of 19)ISO 1001-160 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (5 of 19)ISO 1001-250 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (6 of 19)ISO 1001-1000 sec at f - 2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (7 of 19)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (8 of 19)ISO 1001-100 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (9 of 19)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (10 of 19)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (11 of 19)ISO 1001-125 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (12 of 19)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 5.6

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 first impressions (13 of 19)ISO 1001-80 sec at f - 5.6

First Impressions

So far, we really like the Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 lens, but we’re not a fan of its size. It’s big on an already big DSLR, but the fact that it also has the potential of replacing so many other lenses also gives it a lot of promise.

Stay tuned for our full review.