Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 VC review - Samples
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The following images were taken with the Tamron 70-200/2.8 on a D800. Each image was recorded in RAW and converted with Lightroom 4.3 at Camera Standard settings. Noise-reduction is set to 0, sharpening to 70/0.5/36/10, no extra tone, color, or saturation-adjustment was used. You can click on each image to access the large original. Please respect our copyright and only use those images for personal use.

The first shot should give you an impression of the bokeh that this lens can produce wide open. The 50% crops are from the background, the sharpest point, and the foreground in the overall image and demonstrates the rendering of out-of-focus elements.

Garden: bokeh shot with Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC at 200mm f2.8 on a D800
Main image and all 50% crops: 200mm, f2.8, 100 ISO

A maximum aperture of f2.8 is not really optimal to produce spectacular bokeh. But the lens still lets you blur details in the background quite effectively. But foreground highlights have a slight outlining and are somewhat nervous.

The wood of a sculpture demonstrates the ability to resolve fine details at 1.7m distances with 110mm focal length. The shot was done hand-held with VC=ON at 1/60 sec. Background-Bokeh again looks good.

Sculpture: close-up shot with Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC at 110mm, f4.0 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 110mm, f4.0, 1/60 sec, 100 ISO

The VC image stabilization of the Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC works very well – as soon as it is ready. The following image shows the difference between starting to shoot with VC=ON (left side, 1st and 2nd crop) and shooting with VC continuously (right side, 3rd crop). Now this might be a specific nuisance only relevant to the two copies I tested, but it’s good to know: Better watch out for this particularly annoying bug in the copy of this lens that you want to buy.

Wake-up call: Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC at 200mm f2.8 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 200mm, f2.8, VC=ON, 100 ISO
2nd shot in a row
2nd shot in a row
4th shot in a row

The following image was taken at 105mm, f4.5, from 2.4m distance, and shot against the glaring sky with +2EV exposure compensation. It shows that the lens copes very well strong contra-light and also develops little loCA (see right crop) which would be very visible under these conditions.

Glare/loCA: Tamron SP 70-200/2.8G VR at 105mm f4.5 on a D800, +2EV
Main image and all 100% crops: 105mm, f4.5, 1/400 sec, 100 ISO, +2EV exposure compensation
105mm, f4.5, 100 ISO
105mm, f4.5, 100 ISO
105mm, f4.5, 100 ISO

Using a tele-converter on this lens is not the best idea: The Nikon tele-converter simply won’t mount on the Tamron lens and even if you have a modified version of Nikon’s TCs that let’s you mount any lens the Tamron zoom would not auto-focus. Take a Sigma TC and you are good to mount the Tamron lens on it, but again AF fails to work: it oscillates back and forth without ever locking on target. But at least you can manually focus the Tamron on the Sigma TC. See the results of this experiment below.

Crocus: Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC with Sigma 2x TC at 290mm f8 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 290mm, f8, 1/15 sec, 100 ISO
290mm, f8, 100 ISO
290mm, f8, 100 ISO
290mm, f8, 100 ISO

The image quality looks usable but now the background-Bokeh becomes ugly. And this is one of the better cases: use this lens at 200mm f2.8 and the images with the 2x TC (=400m f5.6) become almost useless because of the haloing in the center.

The normal magnification of this lens may not be impressive. But mounting a close-up filter like the very good Canon 500D can bring you much closer to things. Mount this two diopter lens to the front of the 70-200/2.8 and you can cover a range of magnifications of 1:7.1 (at 70mm focal length) down to 1:2.5 (at 200mm focal length) with a working distance of 50cm – which is very practical. See how you can extend the useful range of close-up work with this duo:

Crocus: Tamron SP 70-200/2.8 VC with close-up filter Canon 500D at 200mm f8 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 200mm, f8, 1/250 sec, 100 ISO
200mm, f8, 100 ISO
200mm, f8, 100 ISO
200mm, f8, 100 ISO

For more examples check out all my Flickr gallery here.

Now check out my verdict of the lens!

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