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

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192 416180 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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Registered: Jan 5, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 530
Review Date: Dec 21, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Price, utility, weight, performance.
Noise, focus ring, backwards zoom.

I have struggled to find a good all purpose lens to carry on my camera. The 17-40 lack just a speck of reach and only is a 4.0 appeture.

The 24-70L is HEAVY and I don't want to risk bumps and drops as I use it for portrait work.

The 17-55 IS is big and expensive too.

All other 3rd party lenses get less than stellar reviews on most web sites.

This lens has turned out to be an excellent option. Build is sufficient but weight is not too much. The price is affordable and I bought second hand from a fellow FMer.

Focus has been fast and spot on except for the few times my big fat fingers have interfered with the focus ring which spins as the camera focuses. The lens forgives an refocuses quickly.

The other slightly annoying quirk here is the focus ring is backwards. Gee Tamron, what were you thinking?

Sharpness is excellent for the price. I can pixel peep and differentiate it from my L glass. BUT NOT BY MUCH!

This lens has been on my camera almost non stop for the last few weeks.

This lens is a winner and should debunk some of the 3rd party predjudice we all seem to foster.

Dec 21, 2007
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Dawei Ye
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Registered: Sep 14, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 3750
Review Date: Dec 17, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: $480.00

Pros: A very versatile workhorse lens for me. IQ is very good, don't let elitists bullcrap you that 3rd party glass sucks, Tamron lenses like this one are very, very good.
For the price it is hard to fault, but I would have liked improved focusing system including Full Time Manual (FTM) and a bit more sharpness wide open.

This is another review from me, I previously gave it an 8 in an earlier review, but if I could I would give it a 10.

It is an absolute work horse for me and performs shot after shot. It is on my 400D almost 100% of the time and it has never failed on me and never given me a crap shot when I have done everything correctly on my end.

Focusing is loud, whiny and not as fast as USM, especially in low light, but

IQ is excellent, not perfect but even a sharpness freak like myself is satisfied with the results. For newbies like me, skill is the limiting factor with this lens in terms of sharpness. With practice you will see your results becoming sharper and sharper. My sharpest shots look crisp even at full size (100%). Things like landscape shots get a little blotchy but that is due to the limitations of the sensor too. I am nevertheless happy with IQ on this lens, especially given the price. I'm not afraid to say it but IQ rivals some Canon "L" glass.

Highly Recommended Lens until you can afford/want a Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS

It is also a very useful zoom range for the APS-C sized sensor that it was designed for. Perfect for everything except perhaps if you are in a small room and need ultra wide angle or taking photos of birds. I have taken very good group shots, portraits, landscape, buildings, everything with this lens.

Highly Recommended Lens. Make sure you get a good copy though, or get it calibrated/exchanged if it isn't sharp and focus isn't accurate. My copy is almost as sharp as the 50mm f/1.8 II at most apertures (a tad softer, but only noticeable when viewing zoomed in).

Dec 17, 2007
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Conrad Tan
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Registered: Dec 8, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 28406
Review Date: Dec 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $428.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp Image in most all focal lengths. Great price.
Almost unbearable noise from auto-focus.

I have had this lens for 3 months now. It is my primary walk-around lens. It takes great shots 99% of the time. Low light is sometimes an issue. Autofocus is noisy as heck. But for the price, it's a winner.

Dec 14, 2007
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Registered: Feb 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 393
Review Date: Dec 11, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: price, speed, weight, focal length
build quality is not as good as others but i have no problem with that, AF is loud

when compared to the alternative canon 17-40mm f /4.0L:

the good:

10mm longer
the 17mm wide end is actually wider than canon's 17mm wide end
at f/2.8, faster
cheaper price wise

the bad:

build qualitiy
no USM, semi loud AF

Dec 11, 2007
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Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Sep 4, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4208
Review Date: Dec 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness. Bokeh. Weight.

This lens is absolutely worth every penny. Tamron makes a lot of "junk", this one is a gem. People complain about the af, maybe my expectations were low, but the af is actually pretty good.

Unless money flows like water in your house, there is no reason to pay an extra $700 for the Nikkor version.

The build really is a little wimpy, as with all lenses, avoid contact with the ground.

Not much to say, it's a great lens, don't think twice about buying one. My copy was excellent, hopefully they all are!

Dec 8, 2007
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Mike Mahoney
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Registered: Mar 8, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 5453
Review Date: Nov 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Price, build quality, sharpness,
Zoom ring goes opposite to Canon

This is my second copy (the first was just as good but I made the mistake of selling it) and I've also used a Nikon mount when borrowing a friends D200. So three copies and all performed about the same, which is to say stellar.

In a word this lens is fantastic .. the image quality is superb, and the build is of a dense plastic that gives a very solid feel .. certainly better than most of the Canon non-"L" zooms.

The Photozone MTF numbers are very high and my real-world experience echoes their findings .. this is one very sharp lens wide open and improves when stopped down.

My nit is with the zoom ring .. it goes opposite to Canon and that can be a hazard when zooming quickly when you've grown up zooming in the opposite direction .. you have a lot of muscle memory to overcome and it can frankly become a PITA. While on the zoom ring the rubber is I often slippery .. I suppose it may get better over time as the surface dulls.

AF is quick (ever so slightly slower than Canon USM) and sure, but slightly noisey .. although the Nikon mount is a good bit quieter than the Canon, and my second Canon sample is quieter than the first. So maybe Tamron is addressing the noise which some find irritating. Both my Canon mounts were made in Japan, and the Nikon in Thailand.

All in all the best bang for the buck available today in a lens (maybe not counting the Canon 50mm 1.8) and I rate it a "10" across the board.

Nov 26, 2007
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Registered: Nov 25, 2007
Location: Vietnam
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: wide, sharp, vivid color. Very good build quality

these are not really the cons :
- the AF sound is machine like. think about robot arm moment in the movie Smile . but i start to like it hehe.
- with the hood reverted on the lens, it is hard to move the focal length ring.

otherwise, great lens. love it so much.

you can see many of my pics taken using Tamron 17-50 2.8 at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreaminspirer/

Nov 25, 2007
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Greg Segallis
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Registered: Nov 5, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $425.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Great color, good IQ, good value
AF is hit or miss, my copy front focuses, no FTM focus

I bought the tameron 17-50 f/2.8 hoping to save some money. Unfortunately, my copy had a major front focus problem. The color is superb (about the best of any of my lenses), and the IQ is good when the focus is on (for my copy that means either manual focus or leaning in after focus lock). Without pixel peeping, the shots look great!

Front focus and AF error in low light was an issue but I decided to do some comparisons before I sent mine back for calibration. Turns out even when the focus is perfect, the IQ is not quite up to my 70-200 f/2.8L or to the EF-S17-55 f/2.8 (which is to be expected given the copst difference). Some shots were comparable, especially shots of things with small text and lines, but for my "real world" shots of people, the Tameron just didn't capture all the detail in hair and eyelashes that the Canon lenses did. There was just more detail in the Canon shots (regardless of what the ISO charts show). At normal magnification and print sizes this may be undiscernable, but it's in the pixels. I have this thing about sharp eyes in pictures, bordering on obsessive.

In the end I decided to send the Tameron back and bite the bullet for the Canon ($150 in rebates/coupons made this a bit easier). Five years from now the cost won't even be on my mind, but having AF accuracy and high IQ right now will give me a higher shot percentage. Ultra quiet and faster USM; better low light AF; FTM, and IS are all perks that atleast justify some of the cost difference.

By the way, I tested the Promaster version, and it was pretty much dead-on with it's AF and seemed even sharper than my Tameron copy. That Promaster copy was a pretty good performer and if you don't demand that extra IQ, these lenses will give you some great photos.

Nov 5, 2007
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Registered: Apr 14, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 3
Review Date: Nov 3, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $325.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: range, nice and wide, fast, sharp, light, cheap
average build quality (plastic keeps it light), loud average-speed focus

I read several reviews and agonized over buying it for a week or three, but wound up finding it on ebay for 300 +shipping. I was a little worried, but I've never regretted buying it.

I've been using it on my 20D for over a year now and I love this lens. It's sharp at every aperture and every focal length. Sometimes chromatic aberration is a little annoying, but I'd say 95% of the time I don't notice it at all.

The focusing, as many people say, isn't the best. It's kinda loud, and my friend complains about it, but it doesn't bother me much. The only time it's really a bother is when I'm shooting something that requires silence. Otherwise it's fairly accurate but only average for speed.

The build quality is pretty good considering it's made of plastic. It is solidly built, as in there is nothing that wobbles or jiggles when moving it around. The plastic is a hard sturdy kind of plastic which keeps it light and the mount is metal. The lens extends when you zoom so you'll want to be a bit careful.

The zoom range is perfect for me. I like doing my landscapes and zooming in now and then for portraits and such. It focuses rather closely, as a bunch of butterfly pics in my DeviantArt will show you.

I've taken this lens a lot of places now. Singapore, Thailand, and all over the western US. I've never dropped my lens, but I took it on a two-month national park tour with my friend. We drove around the western US for a summer and had a blast. I took pictures the whole time which can be seen here - http://belgarion115.deviantart.com/ and almost ENTIRELY with this lens. I took two or three shots with a macro lens, otherwise this was the only one I used. There are also a few shots from my G2, but you should be able to tell which those are.

If you're looking for a lens in this range and you can't afford the Canon EF-S 17-55 IS or you want something smaller and lighter (which the tamron is SIGNIFICANTLY compared to the canon) get this lens. I even told my sister-in-law to get it for her 400D.

I love this lens. In fact, if I broke my Tamron 17-50 2.8 tomorrow I'd go buy another one.

Nov 3, 2007
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Registered: Oct 21, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 754
Review Date: Oct 30, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: $400.00 | Rating: 4 

Pros: 17mm at the wide end
mostly QC, whining zoom sound which may or may not bother you

I got this lens after reading raving reviews on this lens on the web. First copy I got had a problem with accurate focus. Tested the lens on a tripod, mirror lock-up, timer, and center point focus. I got hit-and-miss about 50% at the wide and long ends.

I exchanged the lens and immediately tested the second copy. At 17mm, focus was spot on but at 50mm focus was again 50-50 hit-and-miss.

Again exchaned for a third copy and redid the test. Still at 50mm, the focus was not accurate but was a bit better than the second copy.

The moral of the story: if you got a good copy then this is a good lens.

Another thing is the noisy sound when it is autofocusing. I read that people were bothered with this sound and I thought to myself that it could not be that bad. But turned out it was pretty loud and not too pleasant, at least for me.

Oct 30, 2007
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Registered: Oct 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Oct 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, good price, light weight. constant 2.8
AF slow and noisy

I compared the Canon, 17-55 F/2.8 F17-40 F/4L and this one for a long time and decide to buy this one.

This one is much lighter than the 17-55 and sharper than 17-40. I am glad to buy this one because I think this is the perfect match for my 400D when I was traveling. Works ok on both landscape and portrait.

The only problem is the AF, it is a little slow and very noisy. Sometimes it makes me feel bad when I tried to take pictures in the museum and other quiet places.

Oct 28, 2007
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Oct 26, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $380.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp as a tack! Heck, almost too sharp esp. on potraits. Good price-to-quality ratio.
Reverse zoom ring, AF is loud, barrel locking switch awkward to use when removing the lens from the camera body.

I like this lens. I use it on scouting hikes so in the cover of the woods it takes nice group shots. Only "beef" I have about this lens is that the zoom ring is reverse and the AF is loud.

I have high-resolution sample shots here: http://www.motleypixel.com/reviews


Oct 26, 2007
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Registered: Oct 24, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 5
Review Date: Oct 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: price, image quality, constant 2.8
barrel distortion at 17mm, 50mm is too short on long end, manual focus ring that rotates when you use autofocus.

I'm an amateur with a Canon Xti. Before I bought this lens to replace my 18-55 kit lens, I did a lot of internet "research" on sites like this one, and I also tried some of the competing lenses such as the Canon 17-85 and 17-55 hands-on. I really wanted to avoid a third-party lens, as many had advised, but this Tamron appeared to be the best value in my judgment. I really wanted constant 2.8 aperture more than I wanted IS (when I take landscape shots, I use a tripod anyway), and I didn't have the $1,000 for the 17-55.

This lens has excellent image quality. Also, it's relatively small and light and it comes complete with a lens hood.

There is visible barrel distortion at the wide end, but the thing that bothers me the most about this lens is that the focusing ring (which is in front of the zoom ring) turns when you use autofocus. Some folks like to cradle a zoom lens in their hands for support. Be careful doing that with this lens.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with this purchase.

Oct 25, 2007
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Luke Ty
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Registered: Sep 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 25, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Light weight, IQ, fast aperture for a zoom.
Build quality? Slow and noisy AF.

I jinxed myself! One day after writing a review on this lens, it broke. My "clunky" zoom turned into a broken zoom. I believe some gears stripped in the zoom mechanism. Because I had a trip lined up I picked up the Canon 17-55mm IS f/.8 and used it over the weekend. The Canon feels large and heavy in comparison. All weekend I was actually wishing I had the smaller Tamron mounted while hiking around Skyline Drive in VA.

The Canon's USM blows Tamron's focus system away. It's much faster and hardly ever hunts for focus. Tamton's AF is not even in the same ballpark. The IS system was not very useful for me, but I could see how it might be useful for others who enjoy low light photography of static objects. To be fair I only used this lens for a weekend and mostly during daylight. I was only able to notice about a one stop advantage with the IS while using both lenses, carefully braced at around 50mm indoors. I feel IS is much more useful on telephoto lenses, but if the price were to come down it is a feature I would like to have.

Each lens has their advantages. The Canon may have better IQ and more accurate focus at f/2.8. Both lenses are very sharp and work very well overall. I prefer the location of Tamron's zoom ring over Canon's. The Tamron displays less distortion and light fall off at 17mm. Canon's USM is in another world compared to Tamron's AF (come on Tamron.....). The Tamron lens is more compact and light weight. The Canon cost almost $600 more and doesn't come with a lens hood (and it needs one!).

I'm glad to have had a chance to compare both lenses side by side. Now I can stop worrying if I bought the right lens. For the $$, I was expecting the Canon lens to be better built. I returned the Canon and sent the Tamron back for repairs. I've been using the excellent Canon 50mm 1.4 in the interim, but I can't wait to get my Tamron 17-50mm back in working order. If you've got deep pockets and don't mind lugging a bit more weight, the Canon is an excellent choice.

Oct 25, 2007
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Doug Weasner
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Registered: Oct 24, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 221
Review Date: Oct 24, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $420.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality competitive with good prime lenses, compact, competent AF. If I can only take one lens to an event, this one gets the call.
Wish it had USM/HSM level AF.

Not perfect in any area - but over 80% of the way there in zoom range, image quality, low light performance, discrete operation. The list of things this lens does "well enough" just goes on and on - especially for the sub $500 price point I got it at.

F/2.8 and great IQ make this a huge step above the typical kit lens. A respectable do it all lens for photographers that don't like the cost or size/weight of Canon's L series glass or comparable lenses.

If Tamron develops an AF system comparable to Canon's Ring USM or Sigma's HSM, their compact high quality zooms would be even more attractive.

Oct 24, 2007
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Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Review Date: Oct 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Good centre sharpness wide open. Extremely sharp across the frame stopped down. Fairly robust and yet compact. Pretty fast AF. Noticable disortion wide open.
Corners are soft wide open at all focal lenghts. Nosy AF. AF precision in low light so-so

OK I got this lens today, so this is a fairly preliminary review. But so far I'm pretty impressed, especially considering the price. The build quality of the lens is very good. Not comparable to Canon's L glass, but still I feel that it is a lens that can survive some field use and abuse.
Wide open the centre sharpness is definitly OK, but the corners are pretty soft, perhaps due to the field curvature reported by others. But stopped down a bit it becomes insanely sharp. Between f5.6 and f8 it is at least as sharp as my 100/2.8 macro at the same appatures. And with a pretty good close-focus distance at 50mm it can easily be used as an 'emergency macro'.

Oct 15, 2007
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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 416180 Jun 14, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
88% of reviewers $406.59
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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