There are a bit more choices on UWA lenses these days. Some really expensive ones, and others less expensive, but with a compromise on quality. Tamron is stepping up to the plate though with their new 15-30mm, let’s see how it performs.
I received this lens more than 2 months ago and wanted to write a quick review and finally did so. This is not an in-depth review but rather a general user experience. I had to take down some lights from a previous shoot in my office and thought I’ll swing them around to do a quick intro video on the Tamron, so without further ado, here it is:
The full description of the lens is Tamron SP 15-30 F/2.8 Di VC USD
SP = Super Performance
Di = Full Frame
VC = Vibration Compensation
USD = Ultrasonic Silent Drive (not US Dollar…)
First thing you notice when taking this lens out of its packaging is that it means business! It is heavy and feels very solid. It is heavier than both Nikon and Canon’s UWA counter partners, weighing in at 1.1kg! That is a lot of lens, in fact 18 elements packed into it.
The lens body seems to be made of some kind of durable plastic and it seems tough. Everything is laid out nicely and overall the lens has a clean cut look. It also carries the Made in Japan signature.
The focus ring has a quality feel and motion to it as it rotates very smoothly with a nice balance, not too tight or loose. It only takes a quarter turn, from its rather good closest focusing point of 28cm, to infinity. Focusing is accurate, fast and quite.
The zoom ring also has a quality feel to it with smooth rotation. A takes a bit less than a quarter turn to take it from 15mm to 30mm. Something interesting on this lens is that the front lens element moves back and forth as you zoom in and out. The lens features a fixed lens hood, but also a secondary hood, inside the outer hood. This moves back and forth with the front lens element when zooming. I kinda like it, as it seems to give adequate protection for lens flare but more so if the lens should drop accidentally. Something that does bother me a bit, is that dust particles sometimes seem to get trapped between the two lens hoods. There is a seal between the two hoods to keep most things out, not sure what happens with dust that might get in behind the seal, if it can enter the body itself. It might be a good idea to keep this part dry in rainy or misty weather.
Well this what we all want to know, can this lens deliver? In short, yes it can. I was quite surprised with its image quality , I think it lives up to the standard of the Nikon and Canon alternatives, even maybe a tad better in certain aspects, but their built quality is tougher though. This lens seems to be just as good a solder as the other two, just don’t put it on the front line, the tanks come up front remember.
Lens distortion was high, typical of UWA lenses.
I am really impressed with what Tamron achieved with this lens, at last there seems to be a very good alternative to the Nikon and Canon UWA options. The Tamron might not be as tough as they are, but the workmanship and image quality are superb, on par I would say. If you are looking for an ultra wide angle that delivers very good results, but would not be exposed to very harsh working conditions, then the Tamron seems like a very good option!