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Lens review

Tamron SP 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

8 July 2013
Szymon Starczewski

6. Distortion

The distortion is not a problem of 70-200 mm f/2.8 lenses on smaller APS-C/DX sensors because in practice it never exceeds 1%. For all types of those instruments its performance, along with the stopping down, looks the same. At 70 mm we get delicate “barrel”, which changes in the middle of the range into slight “pincushion” ; the pincushion increases slowly on passing to 200 mm. The results of the Tamron 70-200 mm VC, its rivals and its predecessor are presented in the chart below.


Sigma
70–200 OS
Tamron
70–200 VC
Nikkor
70–200 VRII
Tamron
70–200
Canon
70–200 IS
70 mm
−0.66%
−0.34%
−0.26%
−0.46%
−0.39%
135 mm
0.31%
0.18%
0.49%
0.36%
0.31%
200 mm
0.66%
0.39%
0.70%
0.64%
0.54%


It’s worth noticing that at longer focal lengths it’s the new Tamron exactly which has the lowest pincushion distortion level. The barrel distortion at the shortest focal length is not the smallest but still low enough not to lag behind the results of the competition.

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The distortion on full frame is higher for obvious reasons. At 70 mm we got “barrel” of –0.95%; in the middle of the focal range there was “pincushion” of 0.32% which additionally increased to 0.85% on passing to 200 mm. As the absolute value of distortion didn’t exceed 1% in any place the lens deserves a lot of praise - none of its competitors managed such a trick! Anyway, let’s glance at the chart below which compares the results other 70-200 mm f/2.8 lenses got in this category.


Sigma
70–200 OS
Tamron
70–200 VC
Nikkor
70–200 VRII
Canon
70–200 IS
70 mm
−1.36%
−0.95%
−0.78%
−0.62%
135 mm
0.75%
0.32%
0.85%
0.74%
200 mm
1.59%
0.85%
1.39%
1.36%


The best result in such a select company is undoubtedly something to be proud of and a good opportunity to praise the tested lens some more.


Canon 50D, 70 mm
Tamron SP 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD - Distortion
Canon 50D, 135 mm
Tamron SP 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD - Distortion
Canon 50D, 200 mm
Tamron SP 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD - Distortion

Canon 1Ds MkIII, 70 mm
Tamron SP 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD - Distortion
Canon 1Ds MkIII, 135 mm
Tamron SP 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD - Distortion
Canon 1Ds MkIII, 200 mm
Tamron SP 70-200 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD - Distortion