Canon EFS 15-85 or Tamron 18-270 VC PZD?

Started Jan 24, 2011 | Discussions
jgent Junior Member • Posts: 28
Canon EFS 15-85 or Tamron 18-270 VC PZD?

I want to mount this on a T2i. Which one would you choose?

Thanks in advance for your help.

NancyP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,464
Re: Canon EFS 15-85 or Tamron 18-270 VC PZD?

apples vs oranges.

Tamron 18-270 vc is a great single lens solution for the vacationer, amateur who wants to avoid having to lug around multiple lenses and anticipates the need to have significant telephoto capacity. This is optically the equivalent of a "kit lens" - OK, not great. Frankly, for vacation photos and family photos, that's probably good enough. Most people aren't going to make 24" x 36" enlargements of those photos. I don't know how fast it focuses, but most non-Canon lenses have slower auto-focus than Canon lenses. I think that a beginner would benefit from using a super-zoom for a while, just to get a feel for composition and for the uses of telephoto vs normal vs wide angle.

Canon 15-85 is a great single walkaround lens if you don't do much major telephoto shooting. Most people who buy this more expensive lens are buying it for the better image quality and faster auto-focus, and are picky enough that they would rather have 2 (or more) heavier lenses rather than a single super-kit lens.

I am an old-time film-user amateur photographer switching to digital, and I chose the Canon 15-85 as my first purchase for the 60D body. I am researching the Canon telephoto zoom lineup for lens #2. I used to carry a bag full of primes, 20 mm, 50 mm, 100mm, 200 mm, teleconverter, ring to reverse my 50mm normal prime and attach it to a macro rail. The Canon 15-85 gives me wide angle (24mm equiv.) to medium telephoto (135mm equiv.), at a price of slow aperture. The wide angle is good indoors and for landscapes, the medium telephoto is good for portraits, contextual architectural details, etc. I can't shoot birds or distant events, though. I am researching the new Canon 70-300L IS vs the old standby Canon 100-400 for the medium to long tele range.

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carloshdez Junior Member • Posts: 48
Re: Canon EFS 15-85 or Tamron 18-270 VC PZD?

Same dilema here...

What I like from the Canon is the 15mm wide, IQ, USM, FTM; what I don't like is the weight, the 85mm, 72mm filter thread

What I like from the Tamron is the 270mm, low weight, 52mm filter thread; what I don't like is the 18mm, worse IQ, no FTM

ahhhhhhhhh difficult choice

novice Regular Member • Posts: 443
Re: Canon EFS 15-85 or Tamron 18-270 VC PZD?

very nice response.

I use the 7D and have had the 24-105 on it but am finding it's not sufficiently wide for me. After much soul searching and vacilations I decided I would go for the 15/85 (not 100% convinced amd doing the right thing) but am again having second thoughts after reading of the many quality issues with some of these lenses.....any thoughts?.
BTW after much research I got the 70-300 L amazing lense.

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smileyw27 Regular Member • Posts: 195
Great response


Absolutely love how you summed up these two lenses. I'm getting ready to purchase the 18-270 PZD specifically for vacations (taking a cruise in March). In the past, I was always in between lenses while on vacation.

LSHorwitz1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,512
Re: Great response

The 15-85 is a really great lens, and is extremely sharp, very wide to moderately telephoto. I was unhappy with my original superzoom 18-200 and am really glad I switched to the 15-85.

As far as more tele lenses are concerned, the 70-300L is just fantastic. I previously owned the non-L 70-300 which is quite good, and a real bargain comparatively speaking. The 70-300L is truly outstanding.


tlyons Forum Member • Posts: 50
Find a store to try out the Tamron PZD 18-270mm yourself

smileyw27 wrote:


Absolutely love how you summed up these two lenses. I'm getting ready to purchase the 18-270 PZD specifically for vacations (taking a cruise in March). In the past, I was always in between lenses while on vacation.

Silent, fast autofocus, very nice to handle and decent IQ throughout the range. It's not an L series but better than it deserves to be for it's zoom range. As a practical matter, you have to ask how likely you are to miss or take a poor IQ a while changing lens or not having the lens with you compared to how often the Tamron will compromise the IQ.

To offer some sacriledge contrary to group concensus, I've tried both lens on my camera and I was underwhelmed with the Canon 15-85mm. Compared to the Tamron, it's not faster, didn't seem sharper, has a slower AF and costs more. Obviously it has much less reach.

I love the Tamron PZD and it is a particularly nice match for the T2i. A detailed review of the Canon:

Click my name to see my gallery of an assortment of images or look for the last few threads I started.

Shorthand Senior Member • Posts: 2,972
Re: Canon EFS 15-85 or Tamron 18-270 VC PZD?

As mentioned above apples and oranges - these are two very different creative instruments. I love to use Flickriver's lens explorer to see what a given lens can do in the "right" hands.

Here are the Lens Explorer feeds for the two lenses:

What I have noticed is that photographers find both the long and short end of the Tamron pretty useful while the 15-85 and the 17-85 and the 18-135 (like the 18-55) all have a disproportionate number of their most compelling shots coming at the short end of their ranges.

I'm a heavy DxO user already, but I would consider it a necessary compliment to the Tamron to correct that lens' distortion and chromatic aberration. Otherwise, colors won't pop like they should anywhere beyond the center of the frame. (Thankfully, it can apply those corrections to both JPEG or RAW files.)

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walnist New Member • Posts: 4
Re: Canon EFS 15-85 or Tamron 18-270 VC PZD?


i know you guys (NancyP, Shorthand) are well meaning, but it seems you didn't notice we're talking about a NEW 18-270 zoom from Tamron, not the "AF 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF)" but the "AF 18-270mm F/3,5-6,3 Di II VC PZD".

Yes, old Tamron lenses didn't have ultrasonic motors for autofocus, hence were slow in comparison with similar Canons.

But this is their first lens using a new ultrasonic piezodrive motor, which should be much faster and silent.
Also this lens has a new image stabilizer, and a new optical design!

And the old Tamron was already the best "superzoom" from an optical performance point of view (but of course it couldn't compete with shorter zooms like the 15-85 in IQ), but its slow autofocus was the Achilles' heel.

In fact the new 18-270 costs almost twice as much as the old one, and it's comparable to the Canon 15-85 in terms of price, so it's not out of this world to expect it to have generally improved performance compared to the predecessor.

Anyway, i found only one review thus far, and it's not very scientific or reputable, but maybe you can all have a look at it:


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