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Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

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192 416985 Jun 14, 2016
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88% of reviewers $406.59
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Di II: Lenses are designed for exclusive use on digital cameras with smaller-size imagers and inherit all of the benefits of our Di products. These lenses are not designed for conventional cameras and digital cameras with image sensors larger than 24mm x 16mm.

The SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 is a lightweight, compact, fast standard zoom lens designed exclusively for digital SLR cameras, expanding the product concept of the popular SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 zoom lens.

In addition, portrait shots are made beautiful with the natural out-of-focus effect characteristic provided by the fast F/2.8 aperture. Additionally, a broader photographic expression through the use of faster shutter speeds as a result of the maximum aperture offers enhanced photographic pleasure. The lens boasts one of the best close-up shooting performances in the class of fast standard zoom lenses designed exclusively for digital cameras and featuring an F/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the entire zoom range, to ensure stress-free photographic shots at all focal lengths and distances.

Model A016
Lens Construction (Groups/Elements) 13/16
Angle of View 7845'-3111' (APS-C size equivalent)
Type of Zooming Rotation
Diaphragm Blade Number 7 (Circular apertures)
Minimum Aperture F/32
Minimum Focus Distance 10.6in.(0.27m)
Macro Magnification Ratio 1:4.5 (at f=50mm MFD 0.27m)
Filter Diameter 67
Weight 430g (15.2oz)
Diameter x Length 2.9 x 3.2in.
(74.0 x 81.7mm)
Accessory Flower shaped lens hood
Mount Canon AF, Sony/Maxxum AF-D, Nikon AF-D


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Mark Price
Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Dec 7, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 249
Review Date: Jun 14, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $200.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, weight
Focusing speed isn't extremely fast, but it hasn't been a problem.

I've owned several copies of this lens. Initially, I used it on a Nikon D40 as a lightweight travel lens. I moved on to a D200, D300, and D7000. It performed best on the D7000. However, I moved to a full frame camera (D700) and sold my last copy. Recently, I sold the D700 in favor of a Df, and picked up a D5300 as a travel camera because both bodies could share batteries and SD cards.

My D5300 came with the 18-140 kit lens which is a very decent lens in its own right, but is definitely lacking in low-light performance - as well as with subject separation. I decided to check into another (3rd) copy of the Tamron. In the past, I'd found the lens to work better with bodies with AF fine tuning, so I kept my expectations low. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lens produced stunning images, even wide open. The colors are rich and vibrant, and the contrast is excellent. The internal motor won't bring subjects into focus as quickly as the AF-S Nikon, but it's fast enough for my purposes. I've found it to offer 95% of the performance of the Nikon 17-55 at less than half the weight, so I sold it. I also sold my 24-70 2.8 in favor of the Tamron 28-75 - which produced practically identical shots.

I guess I can say that I am now a dedicated Tamron fan. I own both the 17-50 and 28-75, as well as a 24-135 (perfect inexpensive FX walkaround lens), the 17-35 2.8-4.0 (practically as good as the Nikon 17-35 2.8), and the 90mm 2.8 macro (simply amazing). I've got less than $1000 invested in these five lenses. I sold my Nikon 17-55, 24-70, 17-35, 14-24, and 105VR...and pocketed the $3500 difference without losing much in the way of image quality. I'm an advanced amateur, and no longer shoot paid gigs on a regular basis, but I wouldn't hesitate to take my humble kit out on a wedding shoot.

Jun 14, 2016
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Buy and Sell: On

Registered: May 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 344
Review Date: Oct 29, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $215.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Extremely sharp across all focal lengths, light, nice color and range. And the price cannot be beat. Will be used a lot as a very good walk around lens on a 1.6 crop body.
None really, but see my hood issue (discussed in review) with the VR version that has me leery of this one.

Just got this lens from another FMer. After taking about 600 snaps with it, I have found that it is extremely sharp copy of this lens. Much sharper than the VR version I had (purchased new) and also sharper than the Canon 17-40 L I had. I know of 4 people that have this lens and all have had different levels of sharpness. They are all pissed that mine is the sharpest of the bunch! Scary that 4 lenses made from the same company are all different focus wise (come on Tamron, lets get better quality control), but if you find a sharp one, you really cannot beat it, especially for the price now selling on the Buy and Sell section of this site.

The lens is light. The colors are nice. on a 1.6x crop, it is like a 28-75 +/- (I am not good at math), so it makes for a great walk around lens especially with f2.8 available.

The build is pretty good. The lens is pretty solid. Focus on my copy is tight. Manual focus is tight as well. I do not mind the lock button only being for lens fully in.

I first used this lens on a cloudy day with good light outside, but shot in a barn with no light on the inside and focus did not lag at all jumping back and forth. The noise is not an issue! The camera shutter makes more noise than the focus, and it focused pretty quick on low light. No different than other lenses I have had.

Overall, a 9 out of 10. Not being a 10 because of this:

I am sure it is just me, but I do not trust taking the hood off and putting it back on often on this lens. It feels very weakly built. I had the VR version of this lens and would take the hood off often (just like anyone else in normal use). It just seemed cheap. One day at a shoot, I went to put the hood on it and tried to snap it into place (there is a click on a stiff fitting one) and heard a loud crack. I tried to take the hood off and heard another crack and the hood came off in my hand with the ring that the hood screws into! I had never seen this before and it made the lens useless. It HAD TO HAVE BEEN a defective lens because I have never heard of this ever happening before. I am just leery of this hood because the feel is exactly the same as the VR version that basically broke in my hand. It does not feel as solid as other lenses I have had. FYI, Tamron would not fix this under warranty. I took photos of the issue and told them what happened, but they said it was not covered which is weird since it had to be a defect and it was only about 2 months old. There are tiny screws in there and I think one may have cracked something unseen when it was built. Very leery of this issue personally, but I am sure that this was maybe a very strange one off issue that may never happen again and weird issue none the less that has me very careful when I put the hood on or take off.

If you can get a sharp copy of this lens and at the price I paid, I highly recommend it.

Oct 29, 2015
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Registered: Dec 15, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 93
Review Date: Jul 5, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $250.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, affordable, useful range, fast f/2.8, good AF.
Practically none. But worth mentioning that the AF motor does make buzzing sound; normal for lenses of this value, though.

I had this lens to replace the 18-55 to use with my 60D. The criteria for an ideal lens for me was having a useful range (wide to medium tele) and most importantly sharp. I did my research that included the Canon 17-55, 17-85, 15-85, and both Sigma and Tamron 17-50. What made me decided on the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 non VC was it price point and its sharpness, even wide open.

The fast aperture was somewhat a bonus to me. I didn't care for it at first, but when I learned myself of the benefit of a fast lens, I was thrilled. This lens is really sharp compared to all the other lenses, with exception to the 17-55. The price difference between these two lenses was too much, though; a single canon 17-55 could buy two or three of the Tamron.

Overall, this lens is perfect for any beginner or even pros with APS-C bodies to replace their 18-55 kitlens. AF is pretty fast, and I wasn't really bothered by the AF motor sound. I was yet introduced to how silence L lenses are at that point. Even now when I have owned L lenses, I still have a Tamron 28-75 on my FF camera that I got specifically to replace this 17-50 due to how much I liked it.

Jul 5, 2015
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N Mahanty
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Registered: Dec 9, 2013
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 9, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp stopped down to f/5.6 in the center, sharp stopped down to f/8 in the corners, good colors, low CA, very good value, light-weight
Corners are unsharp wide open in the wider focal lengths, needs stopping down to f/8 for best results

This is an often under-rated lens, though after doing extensive research, I am hard-pressed to find anything (including the Nikon version of this lens) that's better in quality.

This is a great little lens at any price, and a lovely lens at its price. Wide open, you can't use it if you like sharp corners, but corner performance improves even at wider apertures when the focal length gets narrower.

Here're some photos.









It's a very light lens but feels dense enough. Tamron has done some clever engineering to keep the weight low for a f/2.8 lens. The build isn't like the better Nikon lenses (the 16-85), but much better than their kit-lenses (like the 18-105).

A lot has been written about the auto-focus. Mine focuses fast, even in low light and accurately. Period.

At 50 mm, it even doubles up as a decent portrait lens, though not with the best bokeh in the world.

Dec 9, 2013
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Registered: Oct 31, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 108
Review Date: Sep 12, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp! Nice colors and contrast, accurate AF, Constant f/2.8
Slow AF, Noisy AF, Hunts in Low light, DC motor AF, Build Quality

A very nice and sharp lens with great colors and contrast. Nice bokeh as well thanks to the constant f/2.8 aperture. In the day, the auto focus is accurate and does not hunt.

However, at night, the AF tends to hunt in low light. The auto focus is slow no matter what time of day, and it is very noisy because it is driven by a DC motor.

The build quality is not that wonderful. Made of plastic, it feels cheap, especially when compared to Canon L lenses, and mid-range lenses. It still feels cheap when compared to the new Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC, and the new Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 VC.

Overall, a nice lens, with the 2 issues being build quality, and AF speed. The optics are incredible, and on par with the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS, and it is much better than the Tamron VC version.

Sep 12, 2013
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Registered: Jan 24, 2012
Location: Hungary
Posts: 0
Review Date: Apr 25, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, in middle apertures very sharp, nice colours, constant f2,8 aperture at all range
autofocus little noisy, sometimes not precise, built quality can be little more expensive looking

Tamron makes a very good job with this lens. This lens is a very good compromise in many ways: price, brightness, weight. I would recommend this lens. Honestly I want the lens at f2,8 to be sharper, but it is reasonable.

My review with samples about the lens can be found here:

Apr 25, 2013
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Registered: Mar 20, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 20, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $420.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Tack sharp, even wide open, compact, light, fast 2.8 aperture.
Loud annoying autofocus, stiff zoom ring.

This was my favorite lens on my Canon 40D. I have upgraded to a 5D Mark II and I really miss this lens. I found this lens to be very sharp. I owned the 18-55 kit lens and the 28-135 lens and this lens blows them away. I also own the 70-200mm f/2.8L, and the 17-50mm is not as sharp but it comes close!!! Even wide open at 2.8 it is very sharp. It is very small and light. When you zoom to 50mm, the lens doubles in size, but it is still quite small. When you focus, the front element does not rotate. The zoom ring is a little stiff and the focus ring is not stiff enough for my taste but you can live with it. I use manual focus 95% of the time and this is a good thing with this lens. The autofocus motor makes a zipping noise when focusing. You can live with it but if you are used to silent focusing lenses you will get annoyed. The build quality is solid. It is plastic but doesn't feel cheap. I would highly recommend this lens. The image quality cannot be matched in this price range. I found this lens to be tack sharp but some people say this lens isn't so sharp so there must be some quality control issues. Even as a pixel peeper I was VERY happy with this lens. Here are some shots taken with the Tamron 17-50mm on a Canon 40D.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/girod199/6553061821/in/photostream">http://www.flickr.com/photos/girod199/6553061821/in/photostream</a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/girod199/6361964605/in/photostream">http://www.flickr.com/photos/girod199/6361964605/in/photostream</a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/girod199/6044349571/in/photostream">http://www.flickr.com/photos/girod199/6044349571/in/photostream</a>

Mar 20, 2012
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Registered: Dec 20, 2011
Location: Poland
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 5, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: price, size, nice build quality, good color rendition, sharpness
loose lens hood, extends while zooming, af could be faster and more accurate

One ot those lenses, when you clearly see what you paid for. Of course, it could be more sharp, better built or have a better af, but at this price tag you won't find anything better. I've compared it with Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 and Tamron is a clear winner. Before its purchase, I was a bit concerned about its build quality, but my worries were gone after the first test. The lens is quite heavy which gives it nice, solid feeling, rubber rings operate smoothly (maybe the focusing ring isa bit too loose, but it's a hardly noticeable flaw).
When it comes to the optical quality, there is nothing to complain about. Sharpness is pretty good straight from f/2.8, corners are also decent. Of course, when I compare it with my Canon 200mm f/2.8 L, there is a big difference, but again - try to buy a better wide angle lens at similar price tag. Recently I sold this lens and bought a Tokina 16-28, which is much better lens in all aspects, but it's also much more expensive. All in all, after 3 years of using Tamron 17-50 I can recommend you this lens or if you can spend few bucks more, its younger brother with optical stabilisation (great thing for filming).

Jan 5, 2012
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Registered: Feb 25, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 15
Review Date: Oct 18, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $342.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp with very good color rendition. Very crisp very good contrast. Sharp even at 2.8 with slight softness in corners. Very very good for landscape, portraits. Very good price for what you get. Surprisingly so.
Lens hoods seems to always be loose. It stays on but is not jam tight on lens. Shaky.

I am not generally a poster of reviews. I read reviews and make my decision to buy from what I've read. I just finished took some more shots outside and nothing special but the colors were so so right on I had to come in and try and spread the word about this lens. I am not a professional by any means. I shoot landscape and some sports. I have owned the Canon 24 2.8 which is a good lens but this Tamron beats it hands down. I own the Yashica/Contax 28 2.8 which is sharp also but I like the contrast better with the Tamron 17-50 Canon mount. I own the Canon 200 2.8 Mk11 also and this is just as sharp. I will never sell my 200 2.8 unless extreme circumstances.. Keep in mind I have the Canon Mount. I have heard different reviews concerning the Nikon version, VC and non Vc.. Also there there are two different location for the making of the Tamron. Japan and Taiwan and it is reported that Taiwan doesn't have the Quality control of the Japanese offering of the very nice piece of glass.. Buy

Oct 18, 2011
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Registered: Jan 19, 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 20, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very Sharp, Nice Focal Range, Aperture of 2.8, 67mm Filter Thread (Also have 70-200 F4 which has 67mm)
Barrel Extends, Only can be used for Crop Cameras (Non-FF lens) Stiff Zoom, Noisy AF

Other than a few minor cons, the lens is amazing. Great for events and landscape work. 2.8 allows a lot of light a lot more flexibility.

Sep 20, 2011
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Registered: Nov 6, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 39
Review Date: Sep 19, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Image quality, sharpness, focus
a bit slow focusing at night, build quality

I have been using this lens since 2007 and I am still happy with the photos. The color, the sharpness, the focus and I love the fact that it has 2.8 aperture.

I use it on most of my commercial shoots and event shoots, as well as 90% of my studio photos.

The only problems I have had with it is that the rubber grip of the zoom came loose two years ago, but I fixed it with superglue (it might have been because of too much moisture, I was camping on the sea shore for some 10 days at the time).

Overall, it is a very good lens for its price, I highly recommend it!

All the best and happy shooting,

Sep 19, 2011
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Registered: Jan 15, 2011
Location: United States
Posts: 12
Review Date: Jul 2, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, good bang for buck, f/2.8, good build,
vignetting on wide end, noisy autofocus

I've had this lens for about a year and it really is good bang for it's buck. Looking at comparisions online, I've decided to go with the non-VC version because it was sharper. For sharpness, this lens does not disappoint. Stopping down from f/2.8 doesn't make too much of a difference because it's already sharp wide open with slightly blurry corners

The f/2.8 aperture definitely helps in lowlight situations and produces pretty decent bokeh!

The only thing I would have to complain about is the noisy autofocus though. But just because it's noisy doesn't mean it is slow! Pretty fast and accurate, but feels slow because of the noise.

This is definitely a good alternative for the lousy 18-55 IS kit lens and the very expensive Canon 17-55 f/2.8 (if you are on a budget)

Jul 2, 2011
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Registered: Mar 7, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: - build quality - sharpness
- barrel distortion on wide end - noticeable vignette at f/2.8

This is a review of version 1 of the lens without VC.

The size and heft of this lens is great when paired with my Nikon D300. The included petal hood is reversible for storage and contains a ribbed, matted finish on the inside.

Image quality is great on this lens, tack sharp center at f/2.8 with some softness in corners, but completely fine by f/4. However there is also some minor vignetting when shooting at f/2.8 and barrel distortion on the wide angle of the lens (17mm - 22mm).

My experience with the build quality with the lens is fantastic. This lens is usually suggested as an alternative to the pro Canon/Nikon f/2.8 zoom equivalents but my lens has been through plenty.

I have dropped my camera lens first (with battery grip, hood reversed) 6' on a parking lot pavement. The reversed hood suffered some road rash, but the lens is otherwise fine.

This lens is not considered weathered proofed, but I have gone mountain hiking with it a few times. It has weathered through torrential rain and caked in the mud up to 8 hours.

Solid lens build, paid a great price (before weak dollar and resulting price adjustment), great image quality with some manageable drawbacks.

Jun 6, 2011
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Registered: Apr 8, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 417
Review Date: Mar 14, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $315.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: f2.8 zoom in a compact size for 1/3 the price of the Nikon.
Focus not quite as fast as AF-S.

Great bang for your buck. This is a f2.8 zoom that goes toe to toe with the Nikon equivalent. It is significantly smaller than the Nikon also, which makes for easier packing. Mine does not have the built in motor and focuses much faster than the BIM and VC versions (and much more quietly).

The filter size is a bit oddball - would have preferred another 77mm to match my other lenses. Of course this would go against the whole small package idea, so you can't have everything. Great purchase - you won't regret it.

Mar 14, 2011
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Registered: Jun 28, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 201
Review Date: Feb 6, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb sharpness for the price, great upgrade from a kit lens, fast to focus
Noisy AF motor, bit of distortion

My favorite crop lens alongside the Sigma 30. If I were to have all of my gear stolen and had to go back to crop, I'd go for those two lenses instantly.

Build quality isn't the best, but it's good enough for most people.
It's AF motor is pretty loud, but it actually does focus pretty quickly.

Feb 6, 2011
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Registered: Jan 24, 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 24, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp, bright, small, light, CHEAP

I strongly disagree with some of the reviews here that trash this lens especially since they almost dissuaded me from buying it.

I just bought a 7d and got this lens for it. I considered a variety of L lenses and the Canon efs 17-55 but ultimately choose this based on all the positive things I had read and the crazy price.

Initially I thought it wasn't so sharp until I realized I was seeing motion blur or camera shake or the focus was off. Once I started to get more familiar with the camera and figured out the settings that worked for my shooting style, I started to see extremely sharp results. In fact, I was seeing pics of my son taken from 4 or 5 feet at 17mm where i could literally count the eyelashes.

Furthermore, I was able to compare it to Canon's very expensive 16-35 (or whatever the long focal length is) taking shots of the same subject in the same light and position on the same camera, and to my suprise, at the widest focal length the Tamron was quite a bit sharper. There is a small possibility that something other than lens sharpness contributed to this result, such as camera shake since i didn't have a tripod, but I couldn't find any sign of any. Whatever the case, being anywhere close to a lens that is many times more expensive is pretty good value.

I have also had some trouble getting focus locked in low light, but then it also happened with the Canon. The difference is that the Canon searches quietly whereas the Tamron screeches CANT FOCUS as it travels through its focus range. This is acceptable to me unless i was in a church in the middle of a wedding ceremony. Of course for this price there has to be compromise somewhere and I'd rather have noise than fuzzy pictures.

Jan 24, 2011
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Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF]

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
192 416985 Jun 14, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
88% of reviewers $406.59
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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