Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC Lens Review: Fast, wide & stabilized make for an interesting combination


posted Tuesday, December 29, 2015 at 10:19 AM EST


Unveiled back at the 2014 Photokina expo, the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC lens provides a unique combination of features and amenities not typically seen all together. Sure, there are wide-angle full-frame zooms. There are wide-angle f/2.8 lenses. And their are wide-angle full-frame lenses with image stabilization. However, a lens that combines a constant f/2.8 apeture, a very wide 15mm focal length and image stabiliation -- and all at a competitive pricepoint -- is an uncommon offering.

We've finally pushed this new Tamron zoom through our queue in the lab, and the results indicate a rather compelling lens, though it might not be for everyone. Beginning with build, the weather-sealed Tamron 15-30mm is no featherweight lens. Offering a constant f/2.8 aperture and Vibration Control in a full-frame ultra-wide-angle zoom is no small feat, and the Tamron turns out to be quite hefty at just under 2.5 pounds. It's certainly a serious lens with some serious weight.

Canon 1Ds MkIII: 30mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 100

As for image quality performance, things are quite good all around on a crop-sensor DSLR, but issues arise on full-frame cameras. Critical sharpness (especially in the corners) takes a bit of a hit at f/2.8 on full-frame cameras, as does distortion and vignetting. The lens benefits greatly by stopping down, though. Testing the image stabilization, as well, showed interesting results. It's nice for videos, but it's a bit less useful for stills -- but nice to have if you shoot in dark situations and need that extra bit of help with exposure.

All said and done at around $1,200, it's certainly competitively priced against ultra-wide-angles zooms from the big-name lens makers and worth consideration. For all the details, jump over to SLRgear for our in-depth Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC review, featuring testing results, sample images, image stabilization tests as well as build and handling notes.

You can see here re-sized real-world gallery images shot by our lens technician Rob using our Canon 1Ds Mark III test camera. For the full-resolution versions, see our Flickr page.

Canon 1Ds MkIII: 30mm, f/10, 1/250s, ISO 100
Canon 1Ds MkIII: 15mm, f/7.1, 1/320s, ISO 100

Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC Lens ReviewGallery