My New Tamron Telephoto Stabilized Lens: 70-200 2.8 Informal Review

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My New Tamron Telephoto Stabilized Lens: 70-200 2.8 Informal Review

As a photographer sometimes you will want new lenses. One decision you’ll need to make is whether to buy a lens from the camera manufacturer (such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc) or choose a company that specializes in lenses, like Tamron. In the interest of full disclosure, I have photographed images for a Tamron ad campaign and they are a MCP Blog Sponsor. That said, all opinions below are my own.

My primary camera is a Canon 5D MKIII. And I own both Canon and Tamron lens. I love shooting with prime lenses, when I have the time and conditions to switch lenses. They help achieve smooth bokeh and background blur at wide open apertures like f2.0. Often times though, I do not want to carry or switch lenses for street photography, travel photography, or lifestyle portraits.  I want flexibility.  And for me, a really sharp zoom lens with a constant aperture of f2.8 is perfect.

In 2012 and 2013, Tamron has introduced two incredible lenses in their lineup that I am ecstatic to own. The first was the 24-70 2.8 VC lens. A few images I photographed with this lens while in Australia were featured in Popular Photography last year.  The second lens is the NEW SP 70-200MM F/2.8 Di VC USD.


I just recently got the lens and it’s been cold and snowy here. I’ve been getting emails and Facebook requests asking me for my opinions.  Though I have not given the lens a complete workout, I did take it outside in the snow for a few snaps of my daughter and her friend.  Though they were acting silly and the lighting was certainly not ideal, I think you’ll be able to see the sharpness, color rendition, and background blur.


 In the photo above, the background blurs out very nicely.  It’s hard to tell, if you did not know, if that is snow or sand behind her. Eyes are sharp as are the wisps of hair blowing in the wind.

Here are my first impressions on the Tamron 70-200 2.8 VC lens:

  • It’s fast.  It was quick to focus and very responsive.  It felt very similar to holding the Canon version that is $600-700 more.
  • It’s black – yep – even you can observe that from the images.  While this sounds like an odd point, sometimes the bright Canon L lenses draw more attention than you want.  Also, the subjects “may” feel less intimidated.
  • It’s big but not quite as big. All professional dSLR professional series 70-200 lenses are heavy and long.  According to Pop Photo “this 3.32 pounder is actually several ounces lighter and about a quarter-inch shorter than the competition (Nikon/Canon).”   Sweet – every ounce and inch counts when you are carrying a lens around at a wedding, sporting event, portrait session, etc…  Either way, before buying a lens like this, if you’ve never used a long, heavy lens, you may want to try before you buy.  The weight and size is due to the excellent optics/glass as well as the solid construction (or that’s my educated guess).  According to Tamron’s site, the lens is 7.4″ and 51.9 ounces. My daughters joke with me that these lenses are the perfect weight for dumbbells.  Um, no way! 
  • It’s stabilized.  This is HUGE!  If you take photos without a tripod, in lower light or where you need slower speeds, stabilization helps immensely.  Tamron’s vibration compensation really works wonders.

Keep in mind, these are in large part “snapshots.”  My daughter and her friend went out in 40 degree weather for maybe 5-10 minutes for me to take these images.  They dressed in fun costumes for part of it.  In this time I used the lens, it performed quickly, focus was spot on, the colors rich, and I was very happy with the results.  I am definitely not a “technical” person, and do not shoot “objects” and magnify for edge loss and other details.  There are dozens of sites that likely have reviewed the lens in that way.  I can tell you, I am happy to have this in my camera bag and at $1,499 retail, it is a serious contender in the zoom telephoto arena.


Loving the colors and background blur.  Considering the houses in my sub are fairly close together, this image at 2.8 really did nicely at losing the background.  I am excited to get the lens into an open field where the background will fall away completely.


I also used this lens in and around some abandoned buildings in Detroit – here are a few graffiti and urban images.






That’s all for now.  For more details on the Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 VC lens, visit Tamron USA here.  Look for two exciting giveaways on the MCP Blog from Tamron coming late Spring and again this Fall of their newest lenses.

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My New Tamron Telephoto Stabilized Lens: 70-200 2.8 Informal Review