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Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Di II Review RSS Feed

Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Di II

Sharpness 
 9.1
Aberrations 
 8.4
Bokeh 
 8.1
Autofocus 
 7.7
Handling 
 8.5
Value 
 9.2
Reviews Views Date of last review
77 214,043 Mon June 19, 2017
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
95% of reviewers $362.75 8.65
Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Di II

Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Di II
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Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Di II
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Description:
DI II--Digitally Integrated Series optimized for APS-C size sensors.

Filter Size: 67mm
Minimum Focus Distance: .27m (0.89)
MaxMag. Ratio: 1:4.5 (@ 50mm)
Overall Length: 84.2mm (3.3)
Max Diameter: 73.8mm (2.9)
Weight: 440g (15.5oz)
Accessory: Comes with Hood
Buy Lens: Buy the Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Di II
In-Depth Review: Read our Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Di II in-depth review!
Price: $434
Mount Type: Pentax KAF2/KAF (screwdrive AF)
Price History:



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Junior Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Berlin
Posts: 33

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast (for a zoom), cheap, close focus
Cons: some CA, bokeh not that great
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

This is something like my main lens. I don't particularly like it as it doesn't have much "character" like some old primes have, but it's a very good workhorse. Feels a little bit plasticky but it's ok. Definitely a great lens if you want to step up from the kit as it's a lot sharper and faster. There are some CAs and the bokeh is not that creamy but hey, it's a zoom and at the price they're selling it it's unbeatable. One thing I have noticed is that it seems to be quite a bit better at the short end (17mm) than at 50mm. Wide-angle shots are very good, portraits are still decent, but nothing that special.
When going on holidays I normaly take this lens and one Tele-prime and that's it. Worked fine for me.

_IGP5216-2.jpg von serpentine-photo auf Flickr

IMGP1173-2.jpg von serpentine-photo auf Flickr
   
New Member

Registered: November, 2013
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Posts: 10

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 20, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Super Sharp, Compact, solid, accurate.
Cons: Focus ring moves, Zoom lock flimsy, not WR.

I've only had this lens a short while, but it definitely outshines my Pentax 18-135. The lens is super sharp and the autofocus is accurate (almost to a fault). At f2.8 the lens is not quite as sharp as it is if you stop down even a 1/2 stop, otherwise the lens is decently consistent and VERY sharp throughout the zoom and aperture range. Honestly, I had to pixel peep to see the difference at 2.8, so those images will still be keepers if I don't have to scale and crop. At 17mm the lens does show very slight distortion, but no more than any other 17mm lens I have ever used (it is better than my Pentax at 18mm).

The AF does make more noise than the Pentax lens, but the lens is only very slightly slower throughout the focus range. The AF is extremely accurate in spot focus. It is almost accurate to a fault in that it focuses based on the spot points tighter than the Pentax 18-135. This means that you really have to pay attention to where your points are. I generally do not let the camera's AF processor think on my behalf, so I have not tested any other AF modes.

The build of the lens is decently solid. I feel it is equally as solid and comfortable as the Pentax 18-135. It is not as solid as some of my older metal lenses, but is close enough to not give me any concern for babying the lens. It will definitely be able to take the occasional bump or bruise. The zoom lock is slightly cheap and I am not convinced that it will last the lifetime of the lens. As this lens was a refurb, I did have the loose filter ring upon arrival. It was an easy fix and one that I will be able to complete easily if I ever need to again.

So, minor complaints: zoom lock is cheap, it's not weather resistant, and focus ring moves during AF. Neither bothers me so much that I would trade the lens for any other. It is just too sharp and the aperture too fast to give this lens up for those reasons. Plus, the focus ring isn't really in the way as I had read on other reviews.

If I don't need the WR of my 18-135 or my Tammy 70-200, this will be the lens that will be on my K-3.
   
New Member

Registered: October, 2013
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: February 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image quality, sharpness, decent bokeh
Cons: slow auto-focus in some cituations
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

Very nice lens! If you're looking to get into the Pentax family, I suggest buying a Pentax body by itself and getting this lens as a "kit lens" (or a Pentax 18-135mm wr if possible). I'm very happy with the image quality of the lens.The most noticeable flaw of the lens is its slow auto-focus in certain lighting conditions, but you can always manual focus, obviously. That being said, the lens is sharp wide open and by f8 it is superb!

Here's a sample wide open at ISO 200
http://www.flickr.com/photos/imannyr/12056689516/

And at f8 at ISO 100
http://www.flickr.com/photos/imannyr/12055841725/
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: January 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $430.00 | Rating: 5 

 
Pros: Rather sharp wide open, very sharp at f/4.0, very light compared to other 17(16,18)-50 f/2.8. Bokeh is pretty good.
Cons: Very low AF gearing ratio resulting in noisy and slow AF, build wuality is awful, barrel distortion at wide angle.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 2    Handling: 2    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3, GX20   

After 5 years of use:

-Zoom ring is very tight, I managed to drop light tripods a couple of times while zooming at landscape shooting.
-Zoom ring managed to detach from it's coupling inside the barrel three times to the date (it is held by an aluminium knob screwed with a single 2mm long microscrew into inner plastic barrel). The last time, the distance readout contact array, located at this knob, was irreversibly damaged.
The lens now indicate constant 50mm in EXIF, so it's not usable with shake reduction anymore.

-Constant severe front/back focusing on different zoom positions (according to in-camer correction: -8 at 18mm, -2 at 24mm, +3 at 35mm, -8 at 50mm). Tamron service could not correct this.
-Screwdriver AF coupling has to spin 25-27 turns to move the focusing ring from infinity to closeup or way back to infinity. It takes a lot of time even on K-3.
-Front lens assembly tends to hit the second one if I quickly retract the lens back to 17mm. This resulted in a tiny white "rubbed glass" dot in the extreme centre.
-Aperture mechanics are quite noisy - it's even louder than a GX20's shutter.

Still, it's pretty usable as a landscape lens with contrast (live view) AF or manual focusing. But it's not for action.
And it's a really awful lens compared to Canon/Nikon version, that comes at the same price and has a lot better mechanics, though much bigger and heavier.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2011
Location: Dubai, UAE
Posts: 428
Lens Review Date: December 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $293.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp, Perfect all round lens, Easy handling
Cons: Little under exposed compared with prime at same setting
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

This is my first zoom lens, I had been using only primes from day 1 of my Pentax K-r. Since, I had SMC DA 35mm F2.4 which is already my favorite I was in confusion whether I would require a lens that covers the same focal length. I also had the legendary M85 f2, given my average expertise handling the primes I was challenged to the max inter-changing between both the primes. Also along the way, I understood I was missing the wide angle mainly at family gatherings and especially when we were outing to scenic places.

Finally, identified my focal length requirement and finalized the Tamron for it's great reviews and affordability.

It has been only a few days but I am already starting to love it. As I get to understand the exposure handling I am expecting my output will improve. Just as a quick and short observation, I tried to capture a scene (during dawn) in the same focal length and same setting with both my prime and this Tamron. You will notice it in the picture below that the Tammy for some reason shows around less than a stop of under exposure compared with the Pentax 35mm. But I should not forget to mention that the Tammy is sharp as well.

Best lens that your money can buy, instead of the Kit lens.





   
Site Supporter

Registered: January, 2013
Location: San Luis Obispo
Posts: 125
Lens Review Date: November 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $340.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness , Fast AF, Good flare control
Cons: Build Quality, Color
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 10    New or Used: Used   

Great lens for beginners.
Poor build quality, color is not as vivid as sigma or pentax.
   
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2012
Posts: 100
Lens Review Date: October 11, 2013 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: $170.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Good sharpness and color
Cons: bad AF accuracy (my K30)
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 4    Handling: 7    Value: 5    New or Used: Used   

Very bad on my K30 (bad copy, maybe).
Although the sharpness is good, verygood. But i can't shot anything with front/back focus on 80% of my images
   
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2013
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Posts: 2,388

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 30, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $285.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: sharp from f/4 till f/9, usable from f/3.2, good color renditation! fast! Cheap!
Cons: Unreliable AF in low light
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 6    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-30   

Just finished a month of shooting with this lens, here you can find my photos with this lens.
Since I joined this forum and started to look for lenses and read reviews, I read several reviews for this and other Tamrons stating their bad quality control and front/back focusing and other common issues on them, So I was quite sure I won't buy a Tamron ever!
But later, to find a better zoom lens in the range of 15-50mm, I narrowed my list to Pentax 16-45 f/4 and Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 (at my budget below $300), Then I found someone listed a like new Tamron in a local second hand ad site. So I had a chance to check it's Sharpness and Back/Front focus issue before paying!
and to my amazement I found that it doesn't have focus issue! and it was sharp right from f/4! I heard that DA 16-45 is sharp from f/4 and Tamron is sharp from f/4 too, so they are same for sharpness, But Tamron is f/2.8! Even due it's a bit soft and not sharp @ f/2.8, but you use f/2.8 for portraits, not!? then it's fine for portraits! and I found it quite usable right from f/3.2 and tack sharp @ f/4 till f/9

So from landscape to portrait to food shots, This is a good lens! well deserve it's reputation for sharpness!
I liked it's colors too!

The only thing that I missed on this lens is WR!
an akward thing about this lens is that it reports focal lengths as 17.01mm, 36.22mm! and numbers like that! not a natural number as 17mm or 32mm


Update:
Recently I found the the AF is unreliable in low light conditions!
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2013
Posts: 306
Lens Review Date: September 22, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp,colors,flare,reflectons,f2.8
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 5    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

My most used lens. Near as goos as fixed focus lenses. F2.8 and zoom with cheap price. No os, size and weight is low enough. Even f2.8 is sharp enough to use. Biggest aperture is too soft to use for me. Rubber lens hoods not good with this lens, only 35mm-50mm can use, but not really need with this lens. Zoom extends this lens and no wr and smallest apertures are soft but hey this is excellent value. With money for pentax users. Great lens!
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Mackay qld
Posts: 4
Lens Review Date: September 14, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Nice in the Hand, great Value.
Cons: Loud on auto focus but i use manual
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

This is the lens I've equipted to my K5 II's body.

It's a good all rounder and fast auto focus in the right light.

   
Junior Member

Registered: February, 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 31

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 10, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $440.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Can keep my all my filters as its 67mm just as my Pentax 16-45 was.
Cons: very Noisy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5 and K3   

I upgraded from my 16-45 to this. It's a good lens and is well worth considering i found i needed to turn up the lens calibration upto +10 to get the best result. it's very sharp if stopped down to f5.6 which seems to give the most pleasing results.

If i was looking at changing or replacing i would seriously have to consider the 16-85 as i do like the slightly wider view that lens offers like my old 16-45. or the sigma as i feel it has a better build quality.
   
New Member

Registered: July, 2013
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: July 29, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 6 

 
Pros: Sharp, even wide open, nice bokeh, Nice focal length and Fix aperture
Cons: Slow focus, noisy focus
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 3    Handling: 6    Value: 8    New or Used: Used   

I was using this lenses while start my photography to replace the kit lens.
The 1st impression of the lens is - Sharp even at wide open.
Great fix aperture from 17mm to 50mm and create a great bokeh.
Great travel lens as it is covered from Wide to middle tele in crop factor.

But in another side, start found out the lens was having slow focus during low light and noisy focusing (not a bit issue for me in fact). It do sometime have focusing issue, but overall it perform still great.

By the way, I replace this lens with Tamron as well - 28-300mm which have a great coverage on focal length.
I still recommend this lens to anyone who really love to have fixed aperture and travelling.
   
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Posts: 2
Lens Review Date: April 27, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Compact, sharp, inexpensive
Cons: Noisy autofocus??
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

It on my camera all the time. Sharp wide open, light and fast. My go to lens. Highly recommend. I have had the occasional miss focus at wide angle, but nothing I am going to worry about.
   
Forum Member

Registered: October, 2011
Posts: 79
Lens Review Date: March 12, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $460.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp
Cons: A bit noisy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

I bought the lens for my K5. When I first got it and tried it I was surprised at how bad it was. After dialing in +3 on the K5 its very sharp. A bit noisy but frankly quite a bargain on the K5. I shot raw and post process so that the lens distortion and CA are no issues. I looked at the Sigma 17-50, 17-70, and Pentax 16-50 and 17-70. Really a no brainer for the price and performance.
   
Senior Member

Registered: May, 2012
Location: Mission, B.C.
Posts: 157
Lens Review Date: January 10, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $389.99 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Sharp, IQ, Fast, Light, Price
Cons: AF isn't great, some CA/PF wide open at low focal lengths
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New   

Since I got this lens, I've pretty much not taken it off my camera. The IQ is FANTASTIC (yes, it deserves to be in caps), bokeh is good, fast constant aperture is wonderful, and the autofocus is deceptively quick. Unfortunately, the AF accuracy isn't great, and at least with my copy I needed to use AF adjustment in order to get halfway decent results. Further, my copy of the lens seems to need about a -15 AF adjustment, and I can only go down to -10, so I'll probably be sending my copy in for readjustment/repair. I'm not too upset though, because other than the AF, this is pretty much a perfect lens, especially considering the price. I'd recommend testing a few copies before you buy and taking the one that needs the least amount of AF adjustment on your body though. If it weren't for the AF issues I would have given it a 9.5 (if I could).

Edit: Having bought the Pentax 16-50mm, I've been forced to reconsider this review. The sharpness score still stands, but other than that I've found the Pentax to be vastly superior in terms of colour, contrast, bokeh, overall rendering, and handling. The Tamron still wins for sharpness and value though.
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