How is the quality of the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens? Specifically, is it comparable to the Canon 17-40mm lens, in the following measurements.

  1. Overall quality (Blur, aberrations, etc)
  2. Parallel lines distortion

The most likely things I would use this lens for are:

  1. Group portraits
  2. Some landscape photos, especially with a subject close
  3. Architecture photography.
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    If you are serious about landscapes and architecture, get a tilt shift lens. If you are serious about portraits, get a prime. If you want to do it all, don't worry so much about sharpness and distortion :) – dpollitt Sep 26 '12 at 23:06
  • @dpollitt: True enough, but I definitely don't have the funds for a tilt shift. I have plenty of primes for portraits, but they don't always work for groups, so... – PearsonArtPhoto Sep 27 '12 at 1:41
  • Samyang is making a tilt shift lens in all the major mounts, but no word on price yet. Historically, though, they're substantially less expensive and have decent quality so worth keeping an eye out for it. – John Cavan Sep 27 '12 at 10:58
  • As another note, I have the Tamron in the Pentax mount and I like it a lot. I can't compare it to the Canon, obviously, but it is a faster lens and that can mean a lot in low light conditions. – John Cavan Sep 27 '12 at 10:59
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    from what I understand, the 17-40L is an ultra wide angle zoom for full frame. and the tamron a (little wider) standard zoom for crop bodies. they are not really comparable? – rompetroll Oct 1 '12 at 9:50

Well I would say that based on this link, performance at f/4 is similar for both as far as sharpness goes. Distortion can be compared at this link.

I'm not sure what you mean by blur, if you are talking about bokeh, neither of these are going to be great. You really need a prime, and even for that a lens this wide isn't going to produce much out of focus.

Really you are comparing apples to oranges here. A better comparison is the Tamron against the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. The Canon 17-40 is full frame compatible, f/4, without stabilization(same as Tamron), and a Canon L lens that comes with its associated durability(construction, sealing, etc).

So do you want/need image stabilization? Do you want/need f/2.8? You need to make these decisions as well as a price to determine what is best for you.


You haven't said which body you want to use it on. If its crop sensor, you really need to look at the EFS 17-55 F2.8. It adds image stabilization and a full stop more speed. It has good bokeh when wide open.


I say the faster Tamron may be more useful, although Canon L build quality is much better and of course it's more expensive. but that's just what I think. IMO the Photozone website is more reliable if you want a good review and comparison.


I'd vote for Tamron 'cause it's a APS-C dedicated lens. 17-40 is a FF wide-angle lens. For me the only reason to use 17-40 on APS-C camera is it's tough L-design.

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    There is a bit of an advantage in theory with using APS-C specific lenses on APS-C bodies - most of it around the "potential" weight/size reduction. I think that this advantage is typically not realized. What I am saying, is that preferring an APS-C lens over a full frame lens just because it is APS-C does not make much sense. If anything, the FF lens is a better choice because it can be used with nearly every body. The 17-40mm range is a "standard range" as is the 17-50mm on an APS-C. Effectively it doesn't matter which you use, they are the same range(+10mm on the end) – dpollitt Oct 12 '12 at 12:46

If you consider Tamron 17-50 F2.8 you can also consider Sigma 18-50 F/2.8 HSM OS. That is the same "league" unlike the Canon you mention. This is assuming you are using a crop sensor.


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