Tamron 24-70mm Di VC First Impressions
OK, So I've had the lens for about 250 photos now, (a couple hours) and I figured I'd tell you my first impressions.
I need this lens primarily for low light. So It's fairly mellow in my living room. It's night, with one 75w bulb on in my ceiling light.
I am in love with my old Nikon 50mm f2.0. So I did a lot of shots back to back with the 2.0 at f2.8 vs the Tamron at f2.8. The Nikon isn't AF. The Tamron performed as well if not better in several areas at 50mm f2.8. I will say that the Nikon is a little easier to dial the focus in, but that's because it's very slow, where the Tamron focus is only about 1/3 of a turn and the Nikon is almost a whole turn.
So the AF on the Tamron is OK. With a little more light, it's much snappier. Manual focus on this thing is a pain to dial in. The zoom ring is consistent and smooth, but it is so stiff it feels like I need two hands and a wrench to turn it. It does not perform as well in low light as I was hoping. AF while shooing low light video is terrible (lots of breathing, lots of correction), so I think I'm probably going to NEED to get a viewfinder so I can work the zoom and MF together better. Also the lens is so big, it will almost completely block the AF assist light on a Nikon D7000.
Color quality is great. Sharpness is great in MF, in more light great in AF. Barrel distortion is pretty bad at 24mm, but that's easily corrected in photoshop. I have no issues with vignetting on a DX camera.
It is WAY heavier than I expected. I wanted a high end replacement for my 18-105 kit lens, but holy cow, I can't imagine walking around with it all day.
VC seems to work just fine. I have Premiere Pro, so for video, it's a convenience, but now days, video jitter is fairly easily corrected in software, though you're sacrificing some of your quality by cropping the edges and stuff. And software does take FOREVER to render (like 25 minutes per video minute at 1080p). For photos, it seems to be right up there with the Nikon, shooting stills at 1/8 even 1/4 with not too much of a hassle.
Now this isn't meant to be a comparison against the Nikon 24-70 or whatever. This is meant to be a "first impression" going from the kit lens and a couple primes, to the Tamron. Despite all it's issues, it's much sharper than the Nikon kit lens, much better color quality, focuses faster, and works much better in low light. Good, it cost $1000 more, it better perform better. However, I plan on using this lens heavily for video, and I don't know yet if its worth $1300, or if I'm better off just swapping out a handful of $300-400 primes in the same zoom ranges that go to f1.8. Based on all the reviews I've been through, this really does seem to be the best bang for the buck (and you can get them for $999).
I have 2 weeks to break it in and fall in love with it, or return it. We start shooting video (music videos for my band) next week. So hopefully I'll know after that whether it's a keeper or not.