My Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC exceeded expectations

Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC Mounted on a Canon Rebel XSI have an updated review of the lens here. You can read it when you're done here. Thanks. I Not really a thorough review, just my impression and experience with this great lens.
I bought my Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC (Vibration Compensation) Zoom Lens for my Canon XS from Amazon on January 11, 2010 and since then it has been my primay lens. Before this Tamron 17-50mm, I was using the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, which is a good lens with a impressive optical quality, but I wanted a better lens that doesn't cost too much,  has better low light capability, has a more advance image stabilization and a lens that has a good build quality, that's where the Tamron and it's F/2.8 and the VC features comes in.

Below were the lenses that I compared:
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
MSRP : $1179.00
Amazon : $1179.00 As of 03/18/2010

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens
MSRP : $839.99
Amazon : $749.99 As of 03/18/2010

Tokina 16mm – 50mm F/2.8 Pro DX Autofocus Zoom Lens for Canon EOS Digital SLR Cameras
Amazon : $549.00 As of 03/18/2010

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC SLD ELD Aspherical Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
MSRP : $660.00
Amazon : S$419.00 As of 03/18/2010

Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC (Vibration Compensation) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
MSRP : $649.00
Amazon : $632.33 As of 03/18/2010

Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD SP ZL Aspherical (IF) Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
MSRP : $499.00
Amazon : $459.95 As of 03/18/2010

Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC 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)

Date of Launch:
For Nikon with Built-In Motor : 2009 / 09 / 17*
For Canon : 2009 / 10 / 29*

Why I choosed to buy the Tamron :

So you maybe wondering why I choose to buy the Tamron, well actually, my first choice was to get the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM because of the great optical and image quality, and the build quality, my second choice was the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens, and the third is the the Tokina 16mm – 50mm F/2.8 Pro DX Autofocus Zoom, the Tokina has more on the wide end, has a bright F/2.8 constant aperture, but no image stabilization, in which to many people doesn't matter especially in these range, 16-50mm or 17-50mm, but for me I prefer lenses with image stabilzation. Now I'm down to two choices, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens and the Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 VC, it all came down to price, since I still have to buy 2 more lenses, the 70-200mm F4L IS USM and a ultra wide zoom lens and a 580ex II flash, i decided to save the money and went ahead with the Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 VC.

My Impression:
First the good things:

  • It's sharp, really shrap, compared it to my friends Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, it's almost identical starting F/4.
  • VC  (vibration compensation) works very well.
  • Build quality, for me it's excellent.  It's made of hard plastic, heavy, very solid.
  • I love the feel rubber grip on the zoom ring and focus ring.
  • Auto Focus, consitent, fast and  accurate, never failed yet.
  • Weight, well balance.
  • Lock, the focal length lock is a great addition, maybe when the lens gets old the lock will surely prevent zoom creep, which is really common on most zoom lenses. It's a problem with my ef 28-135mm.
  • Manual Focus, the focusing ring works great, it's smooth
  • It includes a petal lens hood, which is great for protection and shade.
  • The front panel doesn't rotate just like the ef 17-40mm F 2.8L and the EF 28-135mm which is great if you are using a Circula Polarizing Filters.
  • Constant F/2.8 Aperture.

The Bad :  I  found 2. A little soft at F/2.8, and 2nd is, there is no full-time manual focus.

The lens is now two months old and is being use regularly every weekends, sometimes everyday to take snapshots of everything that I see around me, who knows, maybe one day I'll find some bad things about it, and I'll surely post it here.

One thing I have never tried is to turn off the VC, maybe I'll try that and see what happens.

If you have plans to upgrade to a Full Frame in the near future, you might want to go with Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM , if not then you are left with too choices the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM for $1179.00 or the Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC (Vibration Compensation) for $632.00(at the time posting). I bought the Tamron because of it's predecessors excellent reputation and I wanted to save some money, I can always use my feet to zoom in and out to compensate for the extra 5mm offered on the long end. If I'm going to buy a lens in the $1000 + price range I'll make sure that I get myself an L quality lens. I'm happy with decision, this is a great lens that's why I decided not to return it, you won't regret it.

Here are some of the photos taken with my Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC (Vibration Compensation) Zoom Lens:

Where To Buy:

Canon Mounts



Nikon Mounts:



Review update for the tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 VC here:

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

7 thoughts on “My Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC exceeded expectations

  1. Sam

    I just bought this Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 VC lens, and it is my first non Canon lens. I notice the lens shake during refocus if I leave VC on, and it happens ONLY if I turn on VC. It doesn’t happen if I turn off VC function. It seems not affect the photo outcome, but just see lens shake if it refocuses. Do you see same behavior or I just got a defective product? Thanks for your advise.

    1. The Lone Urbanist

      Yes, I know what you are referring to. Almost all stabilized lenses behave that way. It’s not actually shake, it’s the VC feature that kicks in everytime you press the shutter. You probably don’t notice it much on the EF-s 18-55mm IS kit lens, it’s probably because there isn’t much glass in it. I also experience this on the EF 70-200mm F/2.8L IS MK 1, EF 70-200mm F/4L IS USM, and my EF 28-135mm F/4-5.6 IS USM. Don’t worry your lens is not defective, it’s a normal behaviour of all stabilized lenses. Like what i said, when you noticed the shake which is not actually a shake but a shift, it means the vc/os/is/vr feature of the lens has been activated and a shift in the gyro mechanism has happened. Image stabilized lenses has this thing they call gyroscopic sensors, which detects motion these gyro’s(not the one we eat(;-) ensure the image stays more stable during the process of taking photos.

  2. scot

    Hey I was thinking about getting a tamron 17-50mm 2.8 NON VC because of funds. Do I really need VC? I am a casual photographer just pictures of family/friends and random landscape. I’ve been debating or should I stay with my 18-55 IS and get a flash. I am also in the market for a flash either a yonguo yn-467 or a nissin di622. Suggestions and advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    1. The Lone Urbanist

      Scot, for me, the VC or IS feature is very important, especially when I’m shooting in low light, it can provide a lot of help. But it all comes down to price. If you can still wait, I would suggest you stick with your 18-55mm is for a few more weeks or months and save up, at least that’s what I always do, when you have the funds, then it’s time to upgrade. With regards to flash, I use the 430ex II. I’m also considering on getting a the Yongnuo YN 467 for my second flash, the specs looks impressive and it supports ttl, I’m also looking at the Lumopro LP 160 and Yongnuo YN-560 which is rated to equal the power of the Canon 580 EX II and the Canon SP 900, but these two flashes are manual and doesn’t support ttl.

  3. Kurt

    I have the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 VC. It is a fantastic lens: Sharp, great contrast, and did I mention sharp? 🙂

    The image stabilisation is fantastic, I don’t think I could get a lens without it again! Shooting at 50mm means that you need to have your shutterspeed set to about 1/50s (actually even quicker if you have a crop sensor camera.). With VC turned on, you can take a shot at 50mm at 1/10s without an issue.