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Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di VC USD Thomas, Apr 2013

Tamron 70-200mm SP f2.8 VC verdict

Testing the Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC left me with mixed feelings. It looks like a respectable design delivering very good to excellent performance in many cases, but my first sample suffered from some glitches. Thus I got a second copy of this lens to find out whether these problems were a one-off and could be written off to coincidence. Unfortunately both copies showed the same mis-behavior:

- Both lenses showed clear signs of decentering.

- Both copies showed disappointing haloing in the center at 200mm at f2.8.

- Both copies required several seconds for the image stabilization to warm-up which almost certainly will ruin some of your shots.

Now one bad apple might be a coincidence but two lenses with the same problems hint at either a design problem or at least an issue with this particular manufacturing batch. So honestly I cannot recommend this lens to you. If it were only for the decentering the lens could have earned a Recommended. The decentering was not too strong and could be alleviated with some stopping down. If it were only for the haloing at 200mm f2.8 I could still give a recommendation, because stopping down to f4 completely heals the problem. But the image stabilization is another problem altogether: the danger of potentially ruining your shots by using VC would be too great for me to keep this lens. This coupled with the decentering and haloing issues on two copies means no recommendation this time. Feel free though to try this lens out at a dealer though to see whether you can get a better copy.

Below I have listed the good and bad points of the Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 VC for you.



Alternative 70-200mm lenses
Nikon 70-200mm f4
Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 OS
Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 II



Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 VC Summary

Good points
Good overall performance, with caveats.
Image stabilization.
Build quality.
Weather sealing.
Quiet, fast, and reliable AF operation.

Bad points
Pretty high price.
Unreliable image stabilization.
Weak performance at 200mm f2.8.

  No recommendation.
See explanation above.


If you have any question, comment or suggestion regarding the review head over to our forum here. A selection of my shots with this lens in full 36MP resolution can be found here.

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