Summary

Highly Recommended awardTamron's 15-30/2.8 Di VC USD has a lot going for it: The range is very practical for a wide-angle zoom, and starting at 15mm it almost never leaves you wanting. And a constant f2.8 aperture plus very good image stabilization makes it a very attractive proposition for those that don't carry around a tripod all day and need to take images indoors or under low light. Top this off with an image quality that surpasses the once king of the hill, the famed Nikon AF-S 14-24/2.8, in almost every aspect at a lower price and you have a lens that clearly earns a Highly Recommended. There are only two downsides in my view: the bulk/weight and that you cannot use filters. But still: For me this is the new reference in the ultra-wide-angle full-frame zoom class. Just make sure that you get a well-centered copy.

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Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 VC review
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Samples

The following images were taken with the a final production Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 VC lens mounted on a Nikon D810 body. The images are RAW files developed in Lightroom 5.7 with camera standard settings, no lens profiles, CA-removal=ON, Noise Reduction=OFF, sharpening=35/0.5/36/10. The individual exposure details are available for each image.

All of the images are available to download in their original formats for analysis at Flickr. These files are for personal evaluation only and cannot be used in another publication or website without permission.

Check out all my high-resolution Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 VC sample images.

 

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At the closest focusing distance of 0.28m and a focal length of 30mm the lens reproduces smallest details quite faithfully:

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Architecture shots at 15mm are one of the strong points of this lens:

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A close-up shot reveals the performance of the Tamron lens at around 50cm. It was shot at f8.0 to have enough dof at this magnification and produces nice details.

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Very sharp border to border at 17mm, f5.6:

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The facade has enough texture to test the Tamron at 30mm, f5.6:

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Blowing-out highlights does not produce any nasty longitudinal CAs in the background:

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Fine details on the duck are presented before a not-too-blurred background in this 30mm f2.8 shot. Background highlights show some nervous inner structure:

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The old house and the cobble-stones are faithfully reproduced at 15mm f4.0:

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At 20mm and 1/5 sec exposure hand-held the Vibration Control system of the Tamron can show how well it works:

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Don’t overestimate dof on a wide-angle lens: At 24mm the house in the background and the top of the tower are indeed out-of-focus at f5.6:

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Close to the monster at 15mm focal length. No problem to get sharp shots even at f2.8:

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Stained-glass windows with the sun behind them pose a serious challenge for any lens. Here you can see that the Tamron handles the extreme contra-light with a very satisfying glow and no color aberrations.

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Same in the following shot which also demonstrates how well finest details are resolved:

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People tend to get a little distorted at the borders of ultra wide-angle lenses. But as you can see the effect is pretty moderate at 15mm focal length here:

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The figure in the background against the bright sky is a good test for longitudinal CAs. None can be seen here at f2.8:

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Metal and stone provide enough texture to test the reproduction of the lens at 24mm f2.8:

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At 30mm the rendering is not as crisp as with the shorter focal lengths:

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Up close and personal: The lens is certainly not a macro lens, but at 0.28m your can really get close to small objects:

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The next few shots from the same scene show the performance of the new Tamron versus the Nikon 14-24/2.8G at 15mm and 24mm. At 24mm the Tamron demonstrates its lead in the left and right crops:

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Same shot a few minutes earlier with the Nikon 14-24/2.8G:

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Now the same scene at 15mm, first with the Tamron and then with the Nikon. This time the Tamron is weaker than the Nikon on the left side. Perhaps a bit of decentering (VC was OFF):

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Another shot with both the Tamron and the Nikon at 15mm, f2.8. This time the Tamron is a bit better on the left side than the Nikon (VC was ON ):

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More Nikon images at 15mm are also available at f4.0, f5.6, and f8.0.

 

The love locks demonstrate the rendering of specular highlights. Almost no color-fringing to be seen:

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Under the bridge shows some details against the bright sky. This is always a challenge as the sky tends to wash-out fine details:

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Another facade to test the resolution of the Tamron at 30mm, f8.0:

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This graffiti on concrete was shot from about 3m away:

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