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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  1. Kara
    March 19, 2014 at 7:16 pm —

    So glad to see your review! I’ve been looking at the canon version but I think I’ll go tamron…I love the tamron lens I already have. 🙂

  2. August 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm —

    I love my 24-70mm VC and I am debating if I should stay with my current 70-200mm F4L IS or get this beauty.
    Is it worth ditching my perfectly sharp F4lIS and get this one? Thanks.

  3. April 26, 2013 at 6:29 pm —

    Tamrom lenses are sure a cheaper option to Nikon lenses. Thanks for the review Jody.

  4. April 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm —

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m a Nikon shooter and have stayed away from their 70-200 as it’s too heavy for me (not to mention the price)… I’ve heard very good things about this lens and its wonderful to hear even more… thank you!!

  5. labro
    April 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm —

    it seems very nice, thanks for the pictures and explanations

    don’t you have the same for 24-70 2.8vr from tamron ?
    i am amateur and have d300 with 18-200 5.6vr2 but sometimes i need f2.8 or f4.
    i have also a nikon 70-200 2.8 vr which is really nice but on a d300 it makes 105-300 so it is hard to make portraits close to subjects
    i have a 35mm 1.8 and it is wondeful but i have read that 35mm, even on a dx, makes face wider than with a 200mm (see kelby,…)

    24-70 2.8 nikon is 1600 euros,not vr !!!
    new vr is 2200 euros
    tamron is 1200 euros

    best regards

  6. Kim L
    April 26, 2013 at 11:37 am —

    Great examples – thank you!

  7. April 26, 2013 at 9:39 am —

    I have several Tamron lenses and they never disappoint. I’m glad to hear they are still keeping up with the good quality.

  8. April 26, 2013 at 9:36 am —

    I havet the Canon version (the newest version) which I love. Yes it is HEAVY. I wondered about the image stabilization on the Tamron. The Canon has 2 modes: “regular” and a second mode that compensates for vertical motion/shake which is used for panning. Does Tamron offer something similar?

    No, I’m not thinking of trading, but I have family members that are far better photographers than I, and in the future might be looking at this lens.

    (great pictures, by the way).

    • April 26, 2013 at 10:27 am —

      Hi Beth, this is Stacie from Tamron. Tamron’s SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD features our tri-axial VC image stabilization system, which means you do not have to switch anything on or off for panning. The VC compensates not just for up and down and left to right movement, but also for diagonal movement. There is no problem when panning with the Tamron VC lenses. Hope this answer helps. If you want further information, please feel free to talk directly with us at 1-800-827-8880, ext 427. Thanks!

  9. April 23, 2013 at 12:37 pm —

    Great Review thanks I need to get a new lens just because I have used mine in the dirt way to long ! and Luv what the old Tamron works with no flash !
    Have a great day !
    This photo was a hip shot just started clicking when the crash came out from behind the bill boards !

  10. April 23, 2013 at 10:11 am —

    Nice lens & nice colors. Did you use Photoshop? Thanks Jodi.

  11. Melissa P.
    April 22, 2013 at 11:09 am —

    I don’t want this lens. I need this lens. Thanks for the review.

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