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

Screen_Shot_2013-11-15_at_10_26_09_AM
Review Date: Jan 24, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Simply Better than the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 and much less expensive. Better center sharpness, better corner sharpness, better resistance to flare, better micro-contrast, better color, and of course it has VC as a bonus!
Cons:
Image quality unacceptable in corners, needs to be better. I need better image quality, even if I have to pay more to get it. Bokeh can be objectionable in some situations.

I saw this lens reviewed and advertised and it seems to be the only alternative to the Nikon 24-70 f 2.8. I really want/need VC (VR), but I doubted that the Tamron optical quality would be acceptable. Up till now, I have only bought Canon or Nikon lenses (not including my view camera lenses).

I ordered 2 copies of the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 and also 2 copies of the new Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, all from B&H (they are always great).
I tested all 4 lenses scientifically and rigorously. Studio shooting with flash, architectural, landcapes @ infinity. One of the Tamrons was the clear winner. The other copy of the Tamron and both copies of the Nikon were unacceptable for my work. None of the lenses give truly sharp corners at any aperture or focal length. But the one Tamron was close enough to get by (I hate just "getting by") (f11 is the only aperture that gives tolerable results at all focal lengths on the best Tamron).

Anyway, the better of the two Tamrons clearly beat out both copies of the Nikon. Better center sharpness, better corner sharpness, better resistance to flare, better micro-contrast, better color, and of course it has VC as a bonus! The Nikon does focus a little faster, especially in low light, but in my studio people focus tests, I got more hits with the Tamron than with the Nikon. And of course the Tamron is about $1300 and the Nikon closer to $2000.
I would be GLAD to pay $2000, or even more, for an excellent lens. Nikon needs FAR better quality control - they should be ashamed.

Get the Tamron. It is not perfect, but is the best option available.
But whatever lens(es) you get, be sure to order at least 2-3 copies and test rigorously (if you care at all about image quality), as there can be huge variation from one copy to the next.


 
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED NIKKOR AF-S

224-70
Review Date: Jan 24, 2013 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,888.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Well built. Pretty quick focusing.
Cons:
Mediocre image quality, especially poor in corners. Must stop down to al least f11 to have any chance at full-frame quality. Susceptible to flare. No VR. Manual focus ring is too quick which makes fine focus adjustment impossible. WAY too expensive for the image quality. Very disappointing.

Oh, how I wanted to like this lens. I had seen the charts and read the reviews. The chart on slrgear.com shows this lens to be almost perfect.

So I rented a Nikon 24-70 f2.8, along with a D800, to do some cityscape aerials, and also other cityscapes and scenics. I was quite disappointed when I saw the files. The files were barely better than what I was getting from the Nikon 28-300 VR, and far worse than what I was getting from the beautiful Nikon 14-24. So I figured I had a bad copy of the 24-70.

My own D800 finally arrived, so I ordered 2 copies of the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 and also 2 copies of the new Tamron 24-70 f2.8 VC, all from B&H (they are always great).
I tested all 4 lenses scientifically and rigorously. Studio shooting with flash, architectural, landcapes @ infinity. One of the Tamrons was the clear winner. The other copy of the Tamron and both copies of the Nikon were unacceptable for my work. None of the lenses give truly sharp corners at any aperture or focal length. But the one Tamron was close enough to get by (I hate just "getting by") (f11 is the only aperture that gives tolerable results at all focal lengths on the best Tamron).

Anyway, the better of the two Tamrons clearly beat out both copies of the Nikon. Better center sharpness, better corner sharpness, better resistance to flare, better micro-contrast, better color, and of course it has VC as a bonus! The Nikon does focus a little faster, especially in low light, but in my studio people focus tests, I got more hits with the Tamron than with the Nikon. And of course the Tamron is about $1200 and the Nikon closer to $2000.
I would be GLAD to pay $2000, or even more, for an excellent lens. Nikon needs FAR better quality control - they should be ashamed.

Get the Tamron.
But whatever lens(es) you get, be sure to order at least 2-3 copies and test rigorously (if you care at all about image quality), as there can be huge variation from one copy to the next.


 
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

17tse
Review Date: Jun 19, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $2,374.00

 
Pros: solid construction very good as a short focal length, rectilinear lens
Cons:
horrible performance when tilted mediocre performance when shifted a lot

What a heartbreaker!

Before ordering this TS-E 17mm f/4L, I checked all the review sites. None tested its performance when tilted. It looked good by the tests they did do. So I ordered it.

The following results and observations are from testing the lens in carefully controlled conditions on two Canon 5D Mark II bodies.

I have been using view cameras and/or tilt-shift lenses for over 30 years. There are lenses that are optically designed to perform well when tilted and/or shifted. This is definitely not one of them.

The TS-E 17mm f/4L optically turns to junk when tilted. Tilted as little as 1 degree, the image quality visibly deteriorates, and it is only useable tilted up to 2 degrees. When tilted 3 degrees or more, the image quality becomes bad beyond belief (for a Canon L lens that is designed, marketed, and sold as a TS lens).

If you absolutely MUST use this lens in tilted mode, just know that you must stop down to f22, use a lot of software sharpening, and know that your final image size will only look acceptable up to maybe 4x6".

When UNTILTED, this lens performs amazingly well for a 17mm rectilinear lens, with very little geometric distortion and chromatic aberration. At f4, the corners are a little soft, but with selective software sharpening and vignetting compensation, a usable image can be created. f5.6 is very good, and f8-11 creates images that need no help at all. Very nice and amazing for a 17mm rectilinear lens!

Its shifted performance is mediocre, as the outer edges of the image circle deteriorate in quality. If you shift only a few millimeters and stop down to f11-16, you can come away with an acceptable image.

So here's the bottom line. If Canon chose to sell this glass as a 17mm rectilinear wide-angle lens, it would be a masterpiece, or close to it. If they chose to put it in a mount that allowed shifts of just a few mm, it would be nice. But when packaged in a mount that allows tilts, it becomes a major disappointment and a real black-eye for Canon. Canon needs to hire someone from Schneider or Rodenstock to learn how to create glass that can be tilted, because this lens doesn't even come close. The lens feels and looks nice, and operates smoothly. But all for naught.

I returned this lens for a refund.