Lens review

Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 VC USD G2

18 December 2018
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

The following chart presents a comparison between contemporary full frame 24-70 mm f/2.8 lenses designed for reflex cameras. When it comes to physical dimensions and weight it is a very tight group; still it’s worth mentioning that the Tamron is the lightest among all stabilized devices.

In the photo below the Tamron 24–70 mm G2 is positioned between the not-stabilized Nikkor AF-S 24–70 mm f/2.8G ED and the Canon EF 35 mm f/2 IS USM.

Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 VC USD G2 - Build quality and image stabilization

The tested lens starts with a metal mount which surrounds contacts and a nicely matted, black, ribbed inner tube. Its interior features a rear element which moves and is almost 30 mm in diameter. At 24 mm focal length the element is situated at the same level as the mount; when you pass to the maximum focal length it hides about 2.5 cm deep, revealing the rest of the inner tube and a plate with plenty of electronic parts. It means you can’t speak of perfect blackening and sealing of this lens.

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Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 VC USD G2 - Build quality and image stabilization

The first part of the proper body of the lens is a rubber gasket joined with a metal, silvery ring which doesn’t move. That ring turns into a black, smooth barrel with a white marker, making an alignment with a camera easier.

On the next ring you can find a window with a distance scale expressed in meters and feet. On its right (looking from above) there is a focusing mode switch (AF/MF) and a stabilization switch (VC ON/OFF). Right next to them you see a big inscription “DESIGNED IN JAPAN” and then, in small text, “MADE IN JAPAN”. A bit further on there is filter diameter marking, that of 82 mm, and, looking in the opposite direction, you encounter an inscription with parameters of the lens.

Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 VC USD G2 - Build quality and image stabilization

A manual focus ring is the next part of the lens. It is less than 11 mm wide and its surface is completely covered by rubber ribbing. The ring moves smoothly both in the MF and AF modes with slight but still acceptable resistance. Running through the whole distance range takes a turn through an angle of about 110 degrees.

Further on, you see a smooth part of the casing made of metal; it doesn’t move and features an inscription ‘Tamron’. It turns into a zoom ring, 31 mm wide, which action is quite smooth and well damped. Most of the surface of that ring is covered by rubber ribbing and below you can find focal length markings at 24, 35, 50 and 70 mm. Next to them there is a LOCK switch used to block the lens at 24 mm. Still we must say that even without that blockade the lens didn’t have any zoom creep tendencies even if shaken or moved vigorously.

Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 VC USD G2 - Build quality and image stabilization

After passing to the 70 mm focal length the tube with front element system extends and the dimension of the lens increases by a bit more than 3 centimeters. The lens ends with a hood mount, surrounding a non-rotating filter thread, 82 mm in diameter. The front element is relatively flat, being 7 cm in diameter.

Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 VC USD G2 - Build quality and image stabilization

When it comes to optical construction of the lens you deal here with 17 elements positioned in 12 groups. The producer didn’t try to save on special elements: you get three LD extra low dispersion ones, three aspherical elements, one hybrid-aspherical (glass/plastic) and two elements made of high refractive index glass (XR). Inside the construction you can also find a round aperture with nine blades which can be closed down to a value of f/22. All these features are exactly the same as in the case of the older Tamron SP 24–70 mm f/2.8 Di VC USD.

Where are the differences? You can find them in coatings – this time Tamron used the eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coating which is supposed to ensure high transmission results, superior colour reproduction and good performance against bright light.

Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 VC USD G2 - Build quality and image stabilization

Buyers get in the box just two caps and a petal-type hood. It’s a pity the producers didn’t add any case, a standard part of the accessory kit of many rivals. Still it should be mentioned that the Tamron comes with a warranty period as long as five years.

Optical stabilization

Tamron boasts of image stabilization as efficient as 5 EV. It is a very high value as most producers declare 4 EV. It is also much higher than 3 EV which we got while testing the predecessor of the lens; small wonder we were very curious how the new lens would fare.

In order to check the stabilization efficiency we conducted our test at the 70 mm focal length with the help of the Canon EOS 5D Mk III body. We took several dozen photos with shutter speeds ranging from 1/80 to 0.5 of a second and the stabilization switched on and off. Then we calculated the percentage of blurred photos at every speed and presented the results as exposure time function graph, expressed in EV (with 0 EV being the equivalent of 1/60 of a second) which can be found below.

Tamron SP 24-70 mm f/2.8 VC USD G2 - Build quality and image stabilization

To be honest we are disappointed. The stabilization efficiency once again stays close to 3 EV. Compared to the results of the predecessor, nothing changed. It is really strange; most of producers officially declare the stabilization of their lenses is about 4 EV and often our measurements confirm their claims. In order to beat those results Tamron gives a value of 5 EV whereas in reality the lens achieves just about 3 EV. Such a result wouldn’t be bad at all if not for empty boasting of the producer.