Tamron 17 50 review Model A16




The bright f/2.8 aperture gives nice out of focus blur or bokeh.
street bokeh
Tamron 17-50mm 41mm f/2.8





Explanation for above pictures

All of the above pictures has been made with the Tamron 17 50 (Non Vc) lens. These pictures has not come like this out of the camera, I have done some post processing on them. Just to show how far you can get with this lens. The original pictures even better, cause I need to resize them to 800 pixel. Let’s say simply if you have the budget for this lens, this is the best value lens you can get for a Canon Aps-C dsrl, (perhaps for Nikon as well). I’ve got mine used(not mint condition) for 230 Euros.


Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
Canon EF
Filter size:
Lens elements / groups:
16 elements / 13 groups
Exotic Lens elements:
1 Xr glass, 2 apherical and 1 LD
434 g ( 15.3 oz. )
82 x 74 mm ( 3.22 x 2.9 ” )
Close focus distance:
27 cm ( “)
Manual focus autofocus, zoom lock
Lens Mount:
0.22 x
Reproduction ratio:
1 : 4.5
Aperture blades:
7 rounded
Distance scale:
Focal length:
17 – 50mm
Max Aperture:
constant f/2.8
Min Aperture:
Angle of view:
78° – 31°
FTM (Manual focus override):
Zoom lock
Ring rotates during focusing ?
Front element rotates during focusing ?
Focus limiter:
Tripod mount ring:
Lens mount:
Zoom direction:
Opposite as Canons.
Tilt / shift:

Build quality:

Feels solid but have a little plastic feeling, for me a built quality is acceptable. If it would made of metal would be much more heavy. Generally the lens is reasonably small for an f2,8 lens. Manual focus is fine, all around takes 45 degrees from one end to another. Autofocus is quick but little loud. (No problem apart from a wedding, or classical concert, etc.) If this lens would have an USM drive would add a big step to its value. Perhaps the most annoying thing of this lens is the noisy sometimes hunting, unable to locking autofocus. The weight and size is well balanced on a prosumer body like 30D,60D, etc. The manual focus ring is in front of the zoom ring, I would prefer another way, but as I am not a lens maker, I don’t know there is a reason behind it, I can live with it. The originally supplied hood or if we use manual focus and not place our hands carefully we can make shadows at the corners of the image at wide settings (17mm).

Optical quality:

Nice colors, contrast, sharpness, sharp at f2,8 apart from the corners, very sharp from f4. Not needs to think in extremes, though, the lens at f2,8 not so sharp as I would like to. Not bad, but not tack sharp. At f4 it is sharp, at f5,6 is very sharp, so sharp that an 1024 pixel image can have moire effects on a screen. At f2,8 perhaps good for a close portrait, but not for a landscape, because of corner softness. Compare to a prime some distortion seems always present, except at 24mm. Very good against flare. There is a thing called field curvative to speak of. This means that the focus plane is not straight, but curving, as a result if we make a photo of a building at f2,8 the corners can be soft because of the focus plain is not straight, and the corner can be little off focused, (see the castle at first gallery.). Not a big problem for me, I use the lens for landscape at smaller apertures. It can be good for portraits. Bokeh is better than the bokeh of the Canon 50/1,8 II for example.

Sweet spot/sharpest aperture:

f5.6:I try to use f5.6 as much as possible. According to photozone.de the lens has the best resolution at f4, but visible at f5.6 th lens is sharper.


Quick but little noisy, obviously not the strongest part of the lens.


17mm wider than the canon 17 55 is.


constant f2,8 is quite good, compare to f5,6 at the long end of the kit lens.

Compare to:

Normal older kit lenses – The Tamron is much better
Sigma 17-50f2,8 older version , 17-70, 18-50 The Tamron is better
Canon 18-55 is lens – the Tamron is significantly better, but not in all aspect though, but visibly better sharpness, contrast, built quality, the canon has a little more resolution, but significantly less contrast, and less saturated colours, much worse against flare. The stabilisation give a little extra for the canon.
Canon 15-85 is – this is not a bad lens, optical quality perhaps similar (in the same range, not at the wide and long end of the canon), the Canon’s bigger range and usm autofocus gives a better value overall, in price/quality ration Tamron wins hands down.
Canon 17-40 the Tamron is sharper, the canon has perhaps nicer colours.
Canon 17 55 is The Canon is said little better overall for 3 times price. Tamron is better at the Corners. The canon has more punch, but significantly larger and heavier as well.
Newer Tamron 17 50 Vc – the original one is sharper, the newer benefit stabilisation in low light situations.
Newer Sigma 17 50 f2,8 is – Optically the Tamron is better, especially at the corners
Canon 24 105 f4 is Optically the Tamron is better on my 30D (sharpness, colour, contrast, against flare), build quality, durability and mechanical the Canon is much better
Canon 24 70 f2.8 Optically the Tamron is better on Aps-C (sharpness, colour, contrast) build quality, durability and mechanical the Canon is much better

f/2.8 vs slower lenses

I would categorize alternatives in three categories: primes, f/2.8 zooms, and usually cheaper not constant aperture lenses. These lenses usually has f/3.5 – 5.6 aperture. The biggest difference between these lenses and constant f2.8 aperture lenses is the long end where the difference is the biggest: f/2.8 vs f/5.6 or f/6.3 in some cases. These is most different for portraits or other creative photography where we want to show the depth of field effect. This is a big difference in two ways: artistic 3D look and general usability in low light. The below pictures are produced at f/2.8 which is not really possible with slower lenses.

tamron 17-50 review 15 tamron 17-50 review 14 tamron 17-50 review 13

This is a very good lens, an absolute winner in it’s price range, but perhaps not so good as the terrific, 2x times expensive canon 200 f2,8 for example (my opinion), quite sharp, contrasty, but not so ultimate quality as a very good prime (distorsion, little less contrast). I say this because I expected to be that good, but it is not really realistic to a zoom lens meets the quality of the very good prime lens. The Tamron has better resolution though, very sharp, as sharp as the sensor allows. Canon lenses has very different looking images than this Tamron. (Not negative or positive aspect, just general comment.) For an amateur photographer with a normal budget as one lens solution, if you don’t want a telephoto, or longer range perhaps this is it. Sharp, has nice contrast, beautiful colours, f2,8 brightness. Good against flare. Bargain price. Quick although noisy autofocus motor. It is small and light compare to what it is, and it is very good. An f2.8 lens usually double in weight and little bigger in size.


Not full frame. No image stabilisation, in low light without the tripod the pictures looks lot worse than the Canon 18 55 is, caused by camera shake, f2,8 aperture not helps very much in the night, no USM drive – this lens would deserve a nice quiet quick, always locking autofocus, if you don’t have USM lenses ok, but this is the most disturbing in usage, the noise and focus hunting, built quality can be better, not let dust go in (some Canon L not better either 24-105 is for example). If somebody wants the ultimate lens, that has never going to be changed afterwards perhaps this is not that (mainly mechanical and build quality). I am still not sure in absolute measure how good is it (Beats the Canon 24 105 and 24 70 easily in terms of optical quality). Very good is for sure. Very useful range and quality for a bargain price compare to the other similar possibilities. Unfortunately not a full frame lens. Seems the lens don’t like really close distances, these pictures are not so sharp as expected.

Highly recommended.

A Five star lens from Tamron. I was little suspicious with this lens, but now I like it very much.

The pictures at below link has been made with this lens, except the first one (canon 18-55 is):

See also
Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 Vc review

All pictures has been made with a Tamron 17 50 lens and the Canon 30D body.


 Posted by at 6:04 pm