Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC Lens Review

Review posted 12/28/2010

Quick Take
  • Very well built
  • Comfortable controls
  • Capable VC system
  • Fast f/2.8 maximum aperture
  • Produces beautiful results when stopped down
  • Appealing focal range
  • Half the price of it's Nikon and Canon competitors
  • Quite soft when wide open
  • Small amount of visible CA
  • I felt the zoom ring had a bit too much resistance
  • AF and VC systems make a good amount of noise
  • Some front focusing was noted while capturing indoor portraits
Bottom Line
The Tamron SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC (B005) offers some very appealing features for those in the market for a fast, moderately wide zoom lens. Image quality is quite good when the lens is stopped down, however we saw some unwanted softness when using faster (wide open) aperture settings. Read more in our full conclusion.
Labeled as one of Tamron's "High-Speed Zoom Lenses", the SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC (B005) is a speedy little 3x zoom lens that boasts a moderately wide field of view. This it an upgraded version of their popular SP 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II (A16) lens, with the addition of their newer VC (Vibration Correction) image stabilization system.

Designed specifically for use with APS-C dSLRs from Nikon (with built in focus motor) and Canon, the B005 offers an equivalent focal range of approx. 26 - 78mm in comparison to a 35mm or full frame camera. This is ideal for a wide range of photographs, making this unit a versatile "go-to" lens.

The SP 17-50mm VC seems to be put together very well, and offers some appealing features that many photographers will appreciate. These include the use of both XR (high refraction) and LD (low dispersion) glass, anti-reflective BBAR coating, a minimum focus distance of 11.4 inches (29cm), their new tri-axial image stabilization system which they've coined "VC" (Vibration Compensation), and a 6-year manufacture's warranty.

Like mentioned above, the B005 is currently available for Canon EOS and Nikon D-series (APS-C) dSLRS with a suggested retail price of $649.99 US.

B005 Specifications

Model B005
Focal Length 17-50mm
Maximum Aperture F/2.8
Angle of View (diagonal) 78゜ 45' - 31゜ 11'
Lens Construction 19 elements in 14 groups
Minimum Focus Distance 0.29m (11.4 in)
Max. Magnification Ratio 1 : 4.8
Filter thread 72mm
Length 94.5mm * (3.7 in)
Diameter 79.6mm (3.13 in)
Weight 570g ** (20.15 oz)
Diaphragm Blade Number 7
Minimum Aperture F/32
Standard Accessory Flower-shaped Lens hood
Compatible Mount Canon, Nikon (with built-in AF Motor)
* Length and weight values given are for Nikon cameras (with built-in AF motor).
** Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc, may be changed without prior notice.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.