Lens review

Tamron SP AF 17-35 mm f/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical (IF)

5 October 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

When it comes to the image resolution in the frame centre, the Tamron’s performance make you clap and cheer enthusiastically. At the maximum relative aperture it breaks all resolution records with the result reaching 40 lpmm – it is simply the best of all zoom lenses we’ve tested so far in the 17-24 mm range. Usually typical zooms have problems with reaching such a level at the sharpest apertures – by f/5.6-8.0. Such an impressively high level of 40 lpmm in the case of the Tamron is exceeded in fact in the whole range of useful apertures…

Tamron SP AF 17-35 mm f/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical (IF) - Image resolution

The performance at 35 mm is significantly weaker, though, but only because we compare it with splendid results at 17-24 mm. Actually the level is very good and typical for the class of high-end zoom lenses.

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It’s worth emphasizing here that the Tamron simply knocked out the Canon L-series 17-40 mm in this part of the test, being by f/2.8 more sharp that the Canon by f/4.0 (but perhaps a knock-out is too strong a word because in both cases we are still at a very high level, just distinguishing between a very good and a sensational performance). The Tamron also proved to be better than its other rival with exactly the same parameters – the Sigma 17-35 mm – although in this case the gain is smaller.

Tamron SP AF 17-35 mm f/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical (IF) - Image resolution

Rarely we deal with a perfect situation so the case of the Tamron 17-35 mm is hardly an exception to this rule. We must say that there are a lot of reservations to be had about the frame edge performance of the Tamron. While the lens fares at 35 mm focal length quite well, the result at 24 mm is rather average and the pranks we observe at 17 mm are simply outrageous. In this category the Tamron very noticeably lags behind its competitors.

Tamron SP AF 17-35 mm f/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical (IF) - Image resolution