Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
– Featuring Guest Reviewer Guek Peng Siong (GPS)
24th March 2015, Singapore – Tamron’s latest lens is set to change the way how photographers perceived Ultra-Wide Angle Zooms lens for Full Frame Sensors. (35mm). The Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD (on most APS-C sensors 22.9mm-45mm or 24mm-48mm on Canon’s APS-C & 19.5mm-39mm APS-H) is a new breed of ultra-wide angle zoom lens that will set a new benchmark on how such a lens should behave or priced. Before we get there, let’s do a quick run-up on Tamron’s product development. Since Tamron released that SP 24-70mm F2.8, the photography world woke up to more insane surprises like the 16-300mm hyper zoom for APS-C, then followed by the professional 150-600mm Super Tele-zoom. Just when the world was wondering what Tamron might pull off next, the SP 15-30mm came to our world. As of today, the Tamron SP 15-30mm is the World’s First “Widest-Angel-Zoom-Lens for Full Frame”.
So what is this latest monster from Tamron all about? This weighty lens (about 1 kg) is huge (9.8cm x 14.5cm) is making a huge statement on the first look. This is common with most large aperture wide angle lenses and the 15-30mm is a zoom, so the size and weight is acceptable given how the lens was constructed. On the outside, Tamron is using the proven all-weather coated compound that made the lens strong enough to survive most outdoor abuses, apart from the large size, everything else is well-thought out. Switches are easy to reach, the zoom ring and focusing ring feels smooth and purposeful, the overall grip is excellent.
Photo: The New Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD (A012)
On the inside, you will be glad to know that Tamron had opted for the “rounded-iris” 9 aperture blades set up that allows light from F2.8 to F22. For the elements, there’s 18 in 13 groups which partially explained the weight. Tamron included the XGM (eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical) element making this high-performance UWA zoom lens behaving like it is 2 prime lenses of 15mm and 30mm respectively. This lens starts focusing from just 25cm and it runs on the company’s highly successful Ultrasonic Drive (USD) motor giving the user breakneck focusing speed while doing its thing at near silence.
As usual, before we carry on, if you are looking for technical reviews etc, you are in the wrong place, we are more keen on how the lens perform over the technical gaga that most of you wouldn’t understand anyway. ( Ha ha!) If you want tech details look here.
We invited our guest reviewer, Guek Peng Siong – better known as “GPS” by his peers and the local photography community to have the Tamron SP 15-30mm for a weekend. Let’s check out his thoughts on this lens as well as the excellent photos that he shot using this lens.
The Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
– Reviewed by GPS
First Impressions – I was excited when the Editor AL contacted me to review the new SP 15-30mm F2.8. I was never a Tamron fan although I’ve heard interesting things about this brand. It was later make known to me that I will be having the SP 15-30mm for a weekend. Opening the box, I saw a lens that I can never imagine to be from Tamron. The lens build was very impressive and it does look very expensive to me. The surface finishes are well-toned for outdoor use and feels nice to the touch. For certain moments, I thought I was holding the Nikon AF 14-24 F2.8 ED, yes that’s how solid it is.
Handling – First thing that I would like to mention is the cover-on lens cap. I am sure many of you with lenses that has the cover-on type, most of the time it’s very loose and fell off pretty easily, however, for the Tamron SP15-30mm, the lens cap sits nicely with not too much free-play and sure, it does feel like it will not fall off anytime soon. The next thing that I like a lot was the smooth zoom ring. It feels like it had been “buttered” and the grip is excellent, likewise the focusing ring was also made in the same fashion. The size and ratio is good for any hands/ fingers out there so Tamron had scored a lot of points here.
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Next I would like to share with the readers that I am very impressed with the focusing. It was so quiet that for several times, I had to look at the distance scale meter window to confirm that the lens is focusing. The near silence focusing from Tamron is the real deal here and it is fast. The SP 15-30mm focus in milliseconds and it locks focus really fast, this is really unexpected from a 3rd party lens maker and Tamron made that happened. I also tried focusing tracking (AF-C) and it works really well too. To top that off, the Vibration Control (VC) from Tamron is a proven technology that many Tamron fans will swear by – I tried shooting with a slow speed of 0.3″ while handheld and the photo was sharp when recorded. Thumbs up for the VC!
On the image produced by the Tamron SP 15-30mm F2.8, the quality is excellent. The details are well-captured with colors that are rendered nicely and with a hint of mid-range contrasts. The photos are sharp and crisp with almost zero CA. I have no complaints really – with this lens.
However the Editor AL insisted that I must find a fault that I would complain about if I can have things my way. That will be the Lens Hood. With a mid-size lens that was made so solid, it will be great to have a metal hood instead of the thermal compound hood that was supplied. There’s really nothing to complain and I am more of picking at the lens now haha.
Recommendation – So would I recommend this lens to anyone? Surely I will. In fact I am contemplating to buy one for myself as I write. After finding out the selling price at my regular dealers, I am so buying one soon, the asking price will not cost you an arm & a leg. (Maybe just a few fingers) You can buy yours from the links below after the jump.
Summary – This is by far, one of the best lens that Tamron had made. As technology advances with better DSLRs, Tamron is definitely keeping up the times with newly designed releases. To me, lenses are an investment, so I will always buy lenses that will last or even outlast the camera bodies that I am using. This SP 15-30mm is definitely made to last. Hardy & solid, you have to hold it yourself to believe.
Mid-size but not too big, weighty but not too heavy, coupled with excellent images with (negligible) minimal distortion, the excellent VC, fast & quiet focusing, I will say that Tamron is selling this lens too cheap. (Hahahaha!) It is very value for money and suitable for a wide variety of applications. Get it people!
Peng Siong (GPS), 45 years old is an IT Analyst and a freelance Photography Coach. He had been in photography for a good 15 years (5 years film, 10 years digital) specializing in Landscape, Astrophotography, Sports, Stage & Events Photography.
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To buy this lens from Tamron Singapore’s appointed dealers, click here.
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