Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD

 
Lens Reviews / Tamron Lenses i Not yet tested
17-35mm $599
average price
image of Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD

Updates:
11/29/2018: Field Test & Gallery Images added

 

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Field Test

Compact & capable wide-angle zoom is a great lens and an even better value

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 11/29/2018

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
29mm, f/8, 6s, ISO 100. Click here for the RAW file.

Lightweight and compact, the new Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD wide-angle zoom lens is an affordable full-frame wide-angle lens that delivers very good overall performance. I've been shooting with the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 lens on the Canon 5DS R, and this $600 lens delivers impressive performance across the board while being highly portable and well-built. Let's take a closer look at the lens and its performance.

Key Features and Specs

  • Full-frame wide-angle zoom lens
  • Lightest and smallest lens in its class
  • Weighs 16.2 ounces (460 grams)
  • 15 elements in 10 groups
  • Includes four Low Dispersion and two Glass Molded Aspherical elements
  • Newly-developed Optimized Silent Drive for quick and quiet autofocus
  • Compatible with Tamron TAP-in Console
  • $599 USD in Canon and Nikon mounts

Lens Design and Handling

How compact is the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 lens? As of the writing of this Field Test, the 17-35mm is the lightest and smallest in its class ("ultra-wide-angle full-frame DSLR zoom lenses with an f-stop faster than f/4"). Sure, that's a fairly lengthy qualifier, but it's definitely the case that it's a small and lightweight lens. Specifically, the Nikon version of the lens is 3.5 inches (90 millimeters) long, 3.3 inches (83.6mm) in diameter and weighs a mere 16.2 ounces (460 grams). The Canon version is slightly longer due to a different mount design but is essentially the same size.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review -- Product Image

Despite its compact size and lightweight design, the 17-35mm f/2.8-4 feels quite rugged. It has weather resistance thanks to its leak-proof seals throughout the barrel and a gasket around the mount. In my time with the lens, I used it in challenging weather conditions, including a snow storm, and it handled snowflakes and resulting drops of water just fine. The front surface of the lens is coated with fluorine as well, making it easy to wipe clean while keeping the glass better protected against water and oils.

The zoom ring feels nice to rotate and has a good ridged rubber surface. The zoom ring is about the width of my thumb and has focal lengths marked at 17mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm and 35mm. The length of the lens changes slightly when zooming, but it's not enough to change the balance of the lens. Like most modern lenses, the front element does not rotate while zooming. The focus ring feels a bit loose to me, and the lens doesn't have a built-in focus scale, which can make manual focusing a bit challenging.

Overall, the lens is built well, looks good, feels good and seems rugged. Honestly, it performs like a more expensive lens. Tamron has done a very nice job with the design and construction of the 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD lens.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review -- Product Image

Image Quality

The Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 may be small and lightweight, but it packs a lot of optical elements into its compact form factor. The lens has 15 elements across 10 groups, including four Low Dispersion (LD) elements and a pair of Glass Molded Aspherical (GM) elements. The lens has carefully-applied Broad-Band Anti-Reflection (BBAR) coating to reduce internal reflections, ghosting and flare.

Note: For the sharpness test images below, I worked with raw files converted in Adobe Camera Raw. I applied chromatic aberration correction and minor shadows/highlights adjustments. Otherwise, ACR adjustments were at default settings. You can see the original raw and JPEG files in the Gallery.

At 17mm

At 17mm, center sharpness with the 17-35mm f/2.8-4 lens is very impressive. Even at f/2.8 and 17mm, the lens produces images with very good detail, particularly in the central area of the frame. The lens does become a bit sharper as you stop down, of course, faring particularly well at f/5.6. Diffraction starts to become a little noticeable at f/8 and f/11, although only barely, but is very evident at f/16.

Regarding corner sharpness, the lens is pretty soft in the corners wide open, but when you stop down to f/5.6 and beyond, the situation improves significantly.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Sharpness test - full scene @ f/2.8. (ACR raw conversion with lens corrections profile applied.)
17mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent center crop.
17mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.
 
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent center crop.
17mm, f/8, 1/20s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent corner crop.
17mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent corner crop.
17mm, f/8, 1/20s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

With respect to vignette, there is quite a bit when you are shooting wide open at 17mm, although it is pretty easy to correct.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
17mm @ f/2.8 without ACR lens corrections profile applied.
17mm, f/2.8, 1/2000s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Overall, the optical performance at 17mm is very impressive in the central portion of the frame and pretty good in the corners, especially as you stop down.

At 24mm

As is often the case with zoom lenses, the Tamron 17-35mm performs very well between its extreme focal lengths. At 24mm, not only is the lens very sharp in the center of the frame, it has a bit better corner performance than at 17mm (although it's still noticeably soft when shooting at f/3.2, which is the widest aperture at 24mm). Further, vignetting is still an issue when shooting wide open, although it seems like it might be a little less of a problem. Basically, everything good about the lens at 17mm is better at 24mm, and the few weaknesses are a bit less evident.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Sharpness test.
24mm, f/3.2, 1/125s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent center crop.
24mm, f/3.2, 1/125s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.
 
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent center crop.
24mm, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent corner crop.
24mm, f/3.2, 1/125s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent corner crop.
24mm, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 100
Click here for the RAW file.

At 35mm

At 35mm, the longest focal length of the zoom, vignetting is reduced further. At f/4, central sharpness is good, while the corners are a bit soft. Performance continues to be really good for a $600 full-frame wide-angle zoom lens.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
Sharpness test.
35mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent center crop.
35mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.
 
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent center crop.
35mm, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent corner crop.
35mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO 100.
Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
100 percent corner crop.
35mm, f/8, 1/15s, ISO 100
Click here for the RAW file.

Overall

I noticed some purple fringing in particularly challenging situations, but chromatic aberration, overall, is generally well controlled. In cases where they aren't, they're usually easy to correct. Vignetting is handled less well by the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD lens, but like aberrations, it's not difficult to fix in post. Adobe Camera Raw's lens correction profile for this lens does a good job, but it can be easily tackled with other software as well.

Where the Tamron 17-35mm excels is with respect to central area sharpness, even when shooting wide open. The lens performs well throughout the full focal length range. When stopped down to f/5.6-11, its overall performance across the entire frame is also really good. For the money and considering its compact size, it's an optically impressive lens.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
24mm, f/8, 4s, ISO 100. Click here for the RAW file.

Shooting Experience

Thanks to its lightweight design, the shooting experience with the 17-35mm f/2.8-4 is generally positive. As I discussed earlier, the lens is built well and is comfortable to hold. Being able to use a screw-in 77mm filter is excellent as well, as a polarizer is important in many landscape shooting situations.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
17mm, f/8, 2s, ISO 100. Click here for the RAW file.

While the lens is impressively sharp, its autofocus performance, at least on the Canon 5DS R I was using, is not superb. The lens has a newly developed Optimized Silent Drive (OSD) for fast and quiet autofocus, but I found it to be a bit sluggish and indecisive at times. To be fair, I was testing it alongside the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 G2 lens, which has particularly impressive autofocus, so perhaps in a more solitary shooting situation, I'd have been more pleased with the 17-35mm's focusing speeds. With that said, the AF system on the 17-35mm is certainly quiet, so that's good.

Shots from the Field

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
25mm, f/8, 0.4s, ISO 100. This image has been modified. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
34mm, f/8, 1/80ss, ISO 100. This image has been modified. Click here for the RAW file.
The Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 does a good job of handling distortion. Straight lines stay straight, as you can see with the buildings in this image.
 
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
21mm, f/8, 6s, ISO 100. This image has been modified. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
17mm, f/6.3, 1/30s, ISO 200. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
27mm, f/8, 0.6s, ISO 100. This image has been modified. Click here for the RAW file.
 
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
17mm, f/11, 0.8s, ISO 200. This image has been modified. Click here for the RAW file.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Field Test Summary

Very good value from this high-performance lightweight wide-angle zoom lens

What I liked:

  • Good build quality with weather sealing
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Very good image quality throughout the range
  • Great value at $600

What I didn't like:

  • Lack of focus scale
  • No image stabilization
  • Somewhat soft corners

When I first started using the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4, I was impressed by its build quality and size. Priced aggressively at just $600, I thought that the lens would represent something of a sacrifice in the image quality department, but that proved not to be the case. Paired with the Canon 5DS R, which is a very high-resolution camera capable of exposing flaws in lenses, the Tamron 17-35mm performed very well, especially in the center area of the frame, and even wide open. While the corners are a bit soft, and there is quite a bit of vignetting when shooting at its maximum aperture, once you stop down, you are rewarded with a very good overall image across the entire frame. It's an impressive, easy to use lens with an affordable price tag. The Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 is a wide-angle winner.

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD Review: Field Test -- Gallery Image
17mm, f/16, 2s, ISO 100.This image has been modified. Click here for the RAW file.

 

• • •

 

Product Overview

(From Tamron lens literature) Tamron announces the launch of a new ultra-wide-angle zoom lens, the 17-35mm F2.8-4 Di OSD (Model A037), for 35mm full-frame DSLR cameras. The vision behind the Model A037 is that of an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens that has a separate concept from SP 15-30mm F2.8 Di VC USD (Model A012), with superb image quality and easy portability. At just 3.5 in in length and 16.2 oz. in weight, it is the smallest and lightest in its class. The focal length ranges from an ultra-wide 17mm that is suitable for professional landscape photography to a standard 35mm perfect for snapshot photography. As for F-stops, the wide-angle end is a large aperture f/2.8, and at the telephoto end is a fast f/4. The Moisture-Resistant Construction and Fluorine Coating help to enhance the user's photographic experience. For those looking to try out an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for the first time, as well as having a lens that is easily portable, the A037 is the definitive choice. The lens will be available in Nikon mount on September 4, 2018 at a suggested retail price of US$599. The launch of the Canon mount model will be announced at a later date.

Tamron 17-35mm F2.8-4 Di OSD product image

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

  1. High-performance imaging for shooting vast landscapes in sharp detail
    The optical construction (15 elements in 10 groups) uses four LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements to minimize axial chromatic aberrations that can occur with ultra-wide-angle zoom lenses. With two properly positioned GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) lenses, distortion and other aberration can be satisfactorily corrected as well. Being the smallest and lightest in its class and dedicated to high quality imaging, the engineers have paid particular attention to size. The lens has also been carefully designed to allow peripheral point image reproducibility and thereby facilitate a high degree of sharpness and contrast. The Minimum Object Distance (MOD) for the entire zoom range is a short 11 in., so background blurring is still possible when opening the aperture and approaching the subject close-up with this ultra-wide-angle zoom.

  2. Advanced coating technology along with proprietary ghosting analysis simulation technology enabled the high level of backlighting control
    Resistance to backlighting is extremely important for wide-angle lenses as they are often subjected to strong light sources. The Model A037 has a high level optical construction that repeatedly employs comprehensive ghosting analysis simulation. The BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating is highly effective in reducing reflection, allowing ghosting and flare throughout the entire zoom range to be controlled.

  3. OSD (Optimized Silent Drive) enables both excellent AF speed and drive noise reduction
    The AF drive system employs an OSD (Optimized Silent Drive) to ensure quiet operation. Through the innovative optimization of the system that includes AF system speed reduction gear, Tamron could greatly reduce the drive noise in comparison to conventional AF types with built-in DC motors. AF performance and speed have also been vastly improved. Thus, even if silence is required, AF can be employed without having to worry at all about noise creation. The Model A037 can provide superlative AF precision for exact focus even when shooting moving objects, as well as outstanding trackability.

  4. Circular aperture to produce a smooth-edged bokeh
    A 7-blade diaphragm is configured to retain a smooth, circular-shaped aperture opening even when stopped down by two stops from the wide-open aperture. This produces a smooth-edged bokeh in background light spots and avoids rugged aperture geometry.

  5. Moisture-Resistant Construction
    Seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to prevent infiltration of moisture and/or rain drops to provide Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature affords an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions.

  6. Fluorine Coating
    The surface of the front element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water- and oil-repellant qualities. The front surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, dust, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance. The coating also provides an enhanced level of durability, and will sustain its effectiveness for years.

  7. Compatible with TAMRON TAP-in Console™, an optional accessory
    The new A037 is compatible with the optional TAMRON TAP-in Console, an optional accessory product that provides a USB connection to a personal computer, enabling users to easily update a lens’s firmware as well as customize features including fine adjustments to the AF.

Tamron 17-35mm F2.8-4 Di OSD product image

Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice.

 

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD User Reviews

9.0/10 average of 1 reviews Build Quality 8.0/10 Image Quality 9.0/10
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Amazingly sharp at all apertures from f4 to f13 Takes 77mm filters Very lightweight Weatherproof very accurate focusing
    Lightweight construction

    This little lens greatly surprised me with the sheer quality of its optics, so much so that I sold my beloved Nikon 16-35 VR f4 lens, the Tamron was just so much sharper, especially in the corners.

    I then took it a little further and put it up against my current favourite Prime lens the Irix 15mm 2.4.
    Another surprise, it not only held it's own but bettered the Irix just slightly on the edges especially the all-important Landscape apertures of f8,f11 and f13.

    It would appear that Tamron has a winner on their hands with this lovely compact and lightweight lens.

    I also found it to be very accurate using the Tamron Tap-in console and only needed a tiny tweak at 35mm, it would seem to be really optimized at the wide end.

    My son also bought one and it is just as sharp and accurate, his on a Nikon D800 and Mine on the Nikon D810.

    reviewed September 23rd, 2018 (purchased for $600)