Introduction

The Tamron 17-70 F2.Eight Di III-A VC RXD is a really compact general-purpose lens for Sony’s APS-C, E-mount mirrorless cameras. Consider it as roughly equal to a 24-105mm F4 lens on a full-frame digicam, however scaled right down to match the APS-C sensor format.

Though it is designed for cameras with APS-C sensors, it will possibly nonetheless be used with full-frame fashions when cropped to APS-C. We tried each approaches for this overview, pairing it with the Sony a6600 in addition to the Sony a7R IV in APS-C crop mode.

With a continuing F2.Eight most aperture throughout its zoom vary, the Tamron 17-70mm makes an incredible journey lens for photographers on a funds. It additionally exhibits potential as a video lens due to its vibration management and lack of focus respiration. It is out there now at a value of $799.99 USD.


Key specs:

  • Focal size: 17-70mm (25.5-105mm full-frame equal)
  • Aperture vary: F2.8
  • Stabilization: Sure, Tamron Vibration Compensation
  • Filter thread: 67mm
  • Shut focus: 0.19m (7.5) broad / 0.39m (15.4″) tele
  • Most magnification: 0.21x (broad) / 0.19x tele
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Hood: Included
  • Weight: 525 g (1.16 lb)
  • Optical development: 16 components in 12 teams
With a beneficiant zoom vary and good element out to the corners, the Tamron 17-70mm F2.Eight makes an incredible travel-zoom lens.
ISO 100 | 1/30 sec | F8 |34mm equiv.| Sony a7R IV (in APS-C crop mode)
Picture by Chris Niccolls

Tamron launched the 17-70mm F2.Eight Di III-A VC RXD in late 2020. It is each the corporate’s first F2.Eight zoom for sub-frame mirrorless cameras, and the business’s first to realize a 4.1x zoom ratio, so we have been eager to strive it in the actual world.

For our overview, DPReview TV host Chris Niccolls took it on a highway journey to the Calgary Zoo and the close by city of Okotoks, Alberta, whereas editor Dan Bracaglia gave it a whirl nearer to residence round DPReview’s headquarters in Seattle.

Let’s check out what the Tamron 17-70m F2.Eight can do and what it is like to make use of.

All pattern pictures edited in Adobe Digicam Uncooked 13 with changes restricted to white stability, publicity, highlights, shadows, white and black ranges. Sharpening and noise discount at ACR defaults.


Dealing with

The 17-70mm F2.Eight is fairly typical of Tamron’s fashionable product line. At 524g (18.5oz), it’s extremely light-weight, however construct high quality is nonetheless fairly good.

A pair of rings encircle the lens barrel, with the smaller of those close to its tapered base controlling handbook focus, and the bigger one adjusting the focal size. Up entrance there is a 67mm filter thread, a measurement that is additionally widespread on most of the firm’s different lenses.

Absent from the lens, although, are any buttons. We discovered that to be a considerably perplexing omission; with no devoted controls for focus mode or vibration management, homeowners of the Tamron 17-70mm F2.Eight should spend extra time of their digicam’s menu system than would in any other case be the case.

The excellent news is that Tamron’s vibration compensation is mostly actually stable, and features properly together with in-body stabilization if supported by your digicam physique.

The zoom ring could be very clean and well-balanced. The handbook focus ring has comparatively little damping and so feels very gentle in use, however that is fairly typical of lenses on this class. An inside focusing design implies that focus changes will not change the lens barrel’s size or trigger filters to rotate, though turning the zoom ring will trigger the barrel to increase or retract to match.

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Autofocus and handbook focus

The Tamron 17-70mm F2.Eight foregoes the flamboyant linear motors typical of higher-end lenses, opting as an alternative for a stepper motor-based autofocus drive. But regardless of that selection, AF efficiency is nonetheless very spectacular, with even important shifts in focusing distance taking only a fraction of a second on our Sony a7R IV physique.

And whereas that is under no circumstances a macro lens, it will possibly nonetheless focus pretty shut. At wide-angle, the minimal focusing distance is as little as 19cm (7.5″), yielding a most magnification of 0.21x (1:4.8). At telephoto, in the meantime, you possibly can focus to round 39cm (15.4″) for a barely decrease magnification of 0.19x (1:5.2).

The Tamron 17-70mm F2.8’s broad most aperture helps portraits pop from their backgrounds.
ISO 250 | 1/100 sec | F2.8 |102mm equiv. | Sony a7R IV (in APS-C crop mode)
Picture by Chris Niccolls

The excellent news, although, is that there’s virtually no focus respiration no matter focal size. What which means is that the focal size does not noticeably change when focus is adjusted. Together with its quiet autofocus drive, this makes the 17-70mm F2.Eight a sexy possibility for videographers.

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Picture high quality

The Tamron 17-70mm F2.Eight pairs properly with both Sony’s APS-C mirrorless our bodies, or with its full-frame fashions when utilizing the APS-C crop mode. Sony’s APS-C cameras at the moment prime out at 24 Megapixel decision, whereas the full-frame a7R IV can extract only a smidgen extra element from its 26.2 Megapixel APS-C crop. We used the latter for our picture high quality comparability.

ISO 160 | 1/250 sec | F2.8 | 26mm equiv. | Sony a7R IV (in APS-C crop mode)
Picture by Chris Niccolls

Sharpness

Close to its 17mm wide-angle, the lens is fairly sharp throughout the whole picture body when taking pictures wide-open at F2.8. Actually, we did not discover a lot distinction intimately ranges when stopping right down to F5.6, even within the corners.

And the information is nearly nearly as good on the 70mm telephoto finish, too. Once more, sharpness was excellent throughout the body at F2.8. We did see some enchancment to element once we stopped right down to F5.6 this time, even in direction of the middle of the body, however it was a comparatively delicate distinction.

ISO 100 | 1/500 sec | F2.8 | 105mm equiv. | Sony A6600
Picture by Dan Bracaglia

Vignetting and distortion

The 17-70mm F2.Eight displays fairly robust distortion all through its focal size vary. At 17mm there’s important barrel distortion, and as you zoom in, pincushion distortion is quickly seen at mid- to tele-photo focal lengths. Whereas distortion is well fastened in post-processing, the massive quantity of it current on this lens means it is prone to affect nook sharpness and, moreover, will imply a barely longer corrected minimal focal size on the broad finish.

Vignetting is well-controlled all through the zoom vary, with some darkening of the corners which is well corrected in post-processing.

Though there’s fairly robust distortion at wide-angle, it will possibly simply be corrected in post-processing.
ISO 100 | 1/1000 sec | F2.8 | 26mm equiv. | Sony A6600
Picture by Dan Bracaglia

Bokeh

There are a few weak spots within the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8’s picture high quality, and sadly bokeh is certainly one of them. Amateurs and fans will seemingly discover it greater than acceptable, however customers on a quest for maximal picture high quality could wish to spend a bit extra for a higher-performing different.

The issue, particularly, is sort of robust onion ring bokeh. Out-of-focus highlights in pictures shot with the Tamron look like patterned by quite a few concentric circles, giving their bokeh an undesirably busy look.

The 17-70mm F2.Eight is sort of susceptible to onion ring, giving its bokeh a fairly busy look.
ISO 1600 | 1/250 sec | F2.8 | 105mm equiv. | Sony a7R IV (in APS-C crop mode)
Picture by Chris Niccolls

Cat’s eye impact – which causes elliptical fairly than spherical bokeh as you stray farther from the middle of the body – is comparatively delicate, and principally goes away when you cease right down to F4. Nonetheless, broad open the circle of confusion is more and more truncated at picture peripheries as within the picture above. In different phrases, chances are you’ll discover chopped-off out-of-focus highlights and customarily busier – or typically swirly – bokeh as you stray away from the middle of the body.

Flare and sunstars

For those who’re a fan of sunstars in your panorama pictures, the Tamron 17-70mm really places up a reasonably good exhibiting on this regard, with fairly 18 well-defined ‘spikes’ coming from small, shiny gentle sources within the body.

On this, an odd panorama picture of a dystopian future the place we’re dominated by cameras and smartphones (wait, we’re in that world already, aren’t we, and that is only a gear cupboard), you possibly can see that at smaller apertures the Tamron 17-70mm F2.Eight produces some fairly stable sunstars.
ISO 12800 | 1/20 sec | F16 | Sony a6600

However, the Tamron 17-70mm is fairly susceptible to flare, which might show extra of a priority. If shiny gentle sources just like the solar could be saved out of the body, although—and the offered compact lens hood definitely helps right here—then issues aren’t too dangerous.

Cherry-red flare artifacts can show problematic if you cannot preserve the solar out of the body.
ISO 100 | 1/200 sec | F4 | 77mm equiv. | Sony a7R IV (in APS-C crop mode)
Picture by Chris Niccolls

If the solar is in your shot, although, the lens hood cannot enable you, and you may see fairly intrusive cherry-red ghosting, one thing that may be a ache to repair in put up. Once more, for Tamron’s goal market it isn’t prone to be an enormous challenge, however it might push extra superior customers up the road to a more-expensive rival.

Lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberration (fringing)

Lateral CA is a sort of fringing round high-contrast edges close to the sides of the body; it is known as ‘lateral’ as a result of it seems to the left or proper (or prime or backside, relying on the orientation) of those edges. Whereas it isn’t enticing, it is often straightforward to take away, and never a specific concern for the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8, largely as a result of with this lens it is robotically corrected for in JPEGs and in Uncooked converters.

Longitudinal CA or LoCA could be seen as cyan / magenta fringing within the bokeh circles of this shot.
ISO 100 | 1/1000 sec | F2.8 | 105mm equiv. | Sony a7R IV (in APS-C crop mode)
Picture by Chris Niccolls

Longitudinal CA, which seems as cyan / magenta fringing simply in entrance of and behind the aircraft of focus within the Tamron, could be way more troublesome and tough to take away. It is not horrible, by any means, however it’s positively there, and one thing to pay attention to. Observe the cyan fringing round highlights across the lettering behind the aircraft of focus.

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Conclusion

What we like What we do not
  • Sharp all the way in which to the corners, even wide-open
  • Minimal vignetting
  • Good construct high quality
  • Beneficiant zoom vary
  • Shiny and steady F2.Eight most aperture
  • Compact and light-weight design make it a superb journey lens
  • Surprisingly swift, quiet autofocus
  • Nearly zero focus respiration
  • Affordably priced
  • Robust barrel distortion at broad finish limits min. focal size
  • Robust pincushion distortion at mid- to tele-photo focal lengths
  • Fairly robust onion-ring bokeh
  • Truncated bokeh at picture peripheries
  • Susceptible to ghosting with robust gentle sources
  • Some LoCA noticeable too
  • No bodily controls for focus or stabilization modes
  • Handbook focus ring does not have one of the best really feel

Regardless of a number of minor points that will trigger customers chasing final picture high quality to look elsewhere, we expect the Tamron 17-70 F2.Eight Di III-A VC RXD shines at its $799.99 USD value level. That is nice information, as a result of there actually aren’t plenty of options.

ISO 100 | 1/400 sec | F2.8 | 80mm equiv. | Sony A6600
Picture by Dan Bracaglia

If the sometimes-busy bokeh, robust distortion and flare aren’t huge issues for you, and you’ll stay with the slight inconvenience of its lack of bodily controls, there’s loads to advocate this lens. We discovered ourselves particularly stunned each by its corner-to-corner sharpness throughout the focal vary, even when taking pictures at or close to wide-open. And autofocus efficiency could be very spectacular, too.

But it is a good 20% cheaper than its nearest rival, Sony’s Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70 mm F4 ZA OSS ($999.99), which doesn’t provide unequivocally higher picture high quality. And it is in a very totally different league to the one more-affordable possibility, the Sony E PZ 16–50 mm F3.5–5.6 OSS ($299.99), a lens which we truthfully cannot advocate for something apart from the portability supplied by its small measurement.

And naturally, neither of these lenses can match the Tamron’s steady F2.Eight most aperture. For that, you’d must look to the much-pricier Sony E 16–55mm F2.Eight G lens. That optic, whereas glorious, is priced at $1,299.99, and is sort of two-thirds dearer than the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8, regardless of providing a narrower zoom vary (although some will want its wider beginning focal size).

Regardless of some optical flaws, the mix of edge-to-edge sharpness, versatile vary, shiny aperture and nice worth is at the moment arduous to search out within the APS-C E-mount lineup. For those who’re out there for a brand new journey zoom on your Sony APS-C digicam, the Tamron 17-70mm F2.Eight Di III-A VC RXD unquestionably deserves a spot close to the highest of your procuring listing, and simply garners a Silver Award from us right here at DPReview.

See what our group at DPReview TV has to say concerning the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8.

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Pattern galleries

Please don’t reproduce any of those pictures with out prior permission (see our copyright web page).

Samples shot with the Sony a7R IV in APS-C crop mode

Samples shot with the Sony a6600

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Scoring

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