If I had to choose just one lens to shoot with on a full frame 35mm camera body, the decision would be a no brainer for me.
Give me a 24-70mm f2.8.
This lens takes care of easily 90% of all the photos I shoot. Not so great of course for wildlife, or shooting the interiors of small rooms, but you get my point. This lens is my “go to” choice when I’m traveling and shooting light.
At 24mm, you get a moderately wide field of view perfect for most landscapes and the 70mm slight telephoto offers a pleasing focal length for portraits. That and the fast f2.8 maximum aperture throughout the focal length range allows for low light shooting and beautiful bokeh. I rarely need anything more than this versatile lens.
I recently had the chance to try out the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 lens on a Nikon body. I have never shot with a Tamron lens, and this one did not disappoint.
The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD features a constant aperture of f/2.8, fast autofocus and built-in image stabilization (which Tamron markets as “VC” for “Vibration Compensation”). Featuring 17 lens elements in 12 groups, 3 of which are aspherical and 3 with low-dispersion qualities, and a barrel diameter of 3.5 inches and weighing a total of 825 grams, it is by no means a small or lightweight lens, but it balances quite well on heavier pro bodies like the Nikon D800/D4.
Similar to other 24-70mm lenses, the length of the lens extends when the focal length is changed. At the wide end @ 24mm, the lens is at its shortest length. As you zoom in, the length of the lens increases, reaching its longest length at 70mm. The Nikon 24-70mm behaves completely different – its shortest length is at 50mm, while zooming out to 24mm extends the lens quite a bit.
This lens is sharpest at 24mm, softening just a tiny bit at 70mm, but you will probably not even notice this. I had to look hard! And as with many wide angles, there is some vignetting on the Tamron at wide open, however as the focal length increases and the lens is stopped down, the amount of vignetting is reduced substantially. This vignetting by the way is rarely an issue with most post processing software which reads the lens profile and automatically can get rid of the vignetting.
All in all, I was quite impressed with this lens, both in build quality and in performance. It focuses quickly, has a smooth zoom, a locking lens hood and a thoughtful zoom lock to keep the lens compact when not in use. It also features vibration reduction which Nikon and Canon does not in their 24-70 zooms.
Check out some of my photos below, on a recent visit to historic Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge. I kept it light on this trip with just a tripod, one body and one lens – the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD – it was all I needed!
Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet $1299. (also available for Canon and Sony mounts)
A weather worn chain leads to the historic Fort Point, built in 1854 to defend San Francisco Bay against hostile warships. Tamron 24mm 1/30@f22 ISO 200
What's left of a weather worn gun turret, exposed to the elements on top of Fort Point. Tamron 70mm 1/250 @f2.8 ISO 200
The intersection of one of Fort Points many brick hallways. Tamron 24mm 1/8 second @ f2.8 ISO 200
Inside what I call the bugle room where an art piece of two bugles, one flattened hang suspended under a harsh light to create a shadow on the floor. Tamron 24mm 13 seconds @f22 ISO 200
A wagon wheel inside the courtyard of Fort Point. Tamron 24mm 1/400 second @f2.8 ISO 200
The courtyard of Fort Point is framed by the Golden Gate Bridge which did not exist when Fort Point was built. Tamron 24mm 1/2000 second @f2.8 ISO 200