Review: Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Canon EF)

The Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a winner in so many ways!

What pretty much every photographer seems to aim for is a 24-70mm lens of some sort, and the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 may be just the thing that many photographers really need. There are professional features to a lens like this such as a metal exterior, weather sealing, and solid image quality that embraces a more saturated look. Plus it has vibration compensation which keeps the camera shake down. More and more options like this are appearing on the market with Sigma and Nikon both putting image stabilization into their lens offerings. Indeed, it’s a feature that photographers have been asking for for the better part of 10 years. And arguably, it took way too long to get to us.

But Tamron is surely one of those companies looking to change things.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fantastic sharpness
  • Great colors if you white balance and edit in just the right way
  • Reliable autofocus
  • Image stabilization
  • Weather sealing
  • Feels good in the hand
  • Very versatile
  • Not too heavy
  • Not badly priced

Cons

  • Tamron’s colors may not be to your liking right out of camera

Gear Used

We tested the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 with the Canon 6D, Canon 6D Mk II, and various lights.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Tamron website

Model A032
Focal Length 24-70mm
Maximum Aperture F/2.8
Angle of View (diagonal) 84゜04′ – 34゜21′ (for full-frame format)
60゜20′ – 22゜22′ (for APS-C format)
Lens Construction 17 elements in 12 groups
Minimum Focus Distance 0.38m (15in)
Maximum. Magnification Ratio 1:5
Filter Size Φ82mm
Maximum Diameter Φ88.4mm (3.5 in)
Length 111mm (4.4 in) Canon
108.5mm (4.3 in) Nikon
Weight 905g (31.9 oz) Canon
900g (31.7 oz) Nikon
Diaphragm Blade Number 9 (circular diaphragm)
Minimum Aperture F/22
Image Stabilization Performance 5 Stops (CIPA Standards Compliant)
For Canon: EOS-5D MKIII is used
Nikon: D810 is used
Standard Accessories Lens hood, Lens caps, Lens pouch
Compatible Mounts For Canon, Nikon

Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. may be changed without prior notice.

*Length is the distance between the mount face and the tip of the lens

Ergonomics

When you look at the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens, what you’ll find first and foremost is this matte-like finish with the exterior. Tamron has been using this for years now. It’s metal. Plus you’ll find giant ribbed rubber rings designed for better grip on the lens. Like most other 24-70mm lenses out there, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 also has a distance window.

The front of the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 has an 82mm filter size. So yes, the front of the lens is pretty darn big. But in the hand it honestly doesn’t seem that way. Maybe I’ve just become more and more used to bigger lenses.

On one side of the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 you’ll spot the SP moniker. That’s really all that’s there but in real life use it can be easily confused with a switch of some sort for control over the lens.

But on the other side, what you’ll find is the actual control area. Here you’ll spot the focusing type and the VC control being triggered on or off. Plus, Tamron’s silver ring on the back of the lens tells you that it’s an SP lens.

When zoomed all the way in, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 is at its longest. But even then, it’s not very big still. This design is different from many other 24-70mm lenses out there and I think that the only way to really move beyond this would be to make an internal focusing and zooming lens. Granted, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 internally focuses when in use.

Build Quality

Though I didn’t get to take it out into a major rainstorm, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 has weather sealing built into its construction. This is evident partially with the rubber ring at the lens mount. But a lot of gaskets and seals are also built into the lens. In the hand, it feels like a solid yet elegantly soft tool for use with professional photographers. However, I really wish that this lens were made for the Sony E mount lineup. That would put this lens way over the top. In fact, I think that due to its relatively light weight that it would pair nicely with Sony’s a7 series of cameras.

For the record, I’ve taken Tamron’s lenses out into the rain many times before and they’ve all been just fine. I’d expect the same thing here.

Ease of Use

When you hold the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD what you’ll probably really only care about is zooming. Luckily is focuses fairly closely for headshots and the switches are just enough out of the way that your thumb or fingers won’t accidentally screw something up. That’s a nice touch. Most photographers using this lens will find it simple to use overall.

Autofocus

With both the Canon 6D and Canon 6D Mk II, the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD is simple and accurate to focus with. In fact, for the first time I’ve found a lens that can autofocus well with the outer focusing points offered on the Canon 6D original. The autofocus performance was accurate around 97% of the time with the Canon 6D and 100% of the time with the Canon 6D Mk II. I’ve never been able to completely get this with Sigma unless I’m using the center focusing point. So overall, kudos to Tamron here.

Of course because I’m a film photographer, I needed to test this lens with a Canon EOS 33 camera. Unfortunately, Tamron still proves frustrating in the same way that their 70-200mm f2.8 lens has. The lens won’t even autofocus! This doesn’t happen with Canon or Sigma offerings so I’m not sure what’s going on here.

Image Quality

Professional photographers will surely appreciate and enjoy the colors that the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD lens will give them due to some extra saturation that the lenses offer. I’m surely aware that some may prefer the more muted colors that Canon offers and the even more saturated colors that Zeiss and Sigma tend to give. But Tamron’s colors with the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD are very vibrant and life-like. In addition to the great colors though, photographers will take comfort in the reliability that there will be no chromatic aberration to really speak of or complain about. Even further, the lens focuses pretty close–which is great when is comes to headshot sessions using the longer end of the lens.

Bokeh

At the longer end of the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD, you’ll get the absolute best bokeh when shooting wide open and focused up close and personal. But in all practicality, ti will make more sense to stop down to f4 or somewhere like that if you’re doing headshots. But fear not, because even when you stop the lens down you’ll get the really nice blurred background that every client loves. The bokeh also isn’t very distracting per se, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve seen creamier bokeh for sure.

Chromatic Aberration

As I’ve stated, the chromatic aberration isn’t a major issue of any sort with the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD. I couldn’t make the lens fringe or flare–and I’m sort of sad about the latter. I really, genuinely enjoy lens flare but it seems to have been engineered out of the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD.

Color Rendition

In situations where you’re shooting more environmental portraiture, you’ll find that the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD does a fantastic job. It’s saturated and even when it comes to skin tones you’ll find the saturation to be a bit higher than normal. But it’s surely manageable if you’re using good shooting techniques and editing techniques. By that, what I essentially mean is a locked white balance and finding a way to keep the various colors in the scene pretty separate from one another when it comes to editing in specific color channels.

A flash helps in situations like this.

Sharpness

Speaking of flash, the best sharpness from the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD comes out when a flash is used. And it’s surely a very sharp lens but not overwhelmingly sharp the way that I feel that Sigma and Fujifilm creates. Overall I’ll take a softer look any day because it means that I need to do less retouching.

Extra Image Samples

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Conclusions

Likes

  • One of the best and most affordable 24-70mm lenses on the market
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice colors
  • Reliable autofocus
  • Lightweight
  • Feels great in the hands

Dislikes

  • One can complain about the bokeh a bit, but it’s not a deal breaker

One of the reasons why the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens is being awarded our Editor’s Choice award has to do with pricing. Tamron has always offered great image quality a a lower price than Sigma and first parties. And unless you’re pixel peeping you probably won’t be able to tell the differences between the lenses straight out of camera. Further, modern day editing can make any photo from any lens look like one another. The point is though that the Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a pretty fantastic tool for the professional photographer. Tamron also has a three business day repair service option, which is also pretty darn sweet. Their program may not be as extensive as Canon’s but with time it may get there.

Editor’s Note: Tamron’s repair service has a three day turnaround and is free for all customers. You don’t need to be part of a program unlike Canon’s.

The Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a weather sealed lens with reliable autofocus, great image quality, and a light weight. Plus it has image stabilization.

I mean, really, what’s to complain about?

The Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 wins our Editor’s choice award and five out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon for the latest prices