Everybody knows about—and most probably even owns or owned—the most standard 18-55mm kit lenses, which are ubiquitous. There are several reasons for this. The focal length range is great and universal, letting you make landscape, street, and portrait photos. Apart from that, these lenses are light, small, and cheap. And though the most expensive 18-55mm kit lens costs only $249, its quality may not be enough for enthusiast photographers.
However, many photographers that only begin to make photographs seldom know that there’s a good replacement for these kit lenses that perform averagely. 17-50mm lenses, which are very similar in terms of the focal range, are built in a more quality way and have better optics and wider aperture.
Branded lenses like this by Canon and Nikon may cost you a penny, but there are nice counterparts produced by third-party companies that are much cheaper. The difference in price between them is $400 for Canon and $1000 for Nikon. Let’s review one of such lenses, Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD for Canon crop sensor cameras.
Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD is heavier than the kit lenses and weighs 430 grams, which is an average value for this kind of lenses. The lens meant to be used with cropped cameras and has a constant aperture of f/2.8, making it possible for you to shoot in low-light conditions, and can be stopped down to astonishing f/32.
It’s fitted with seven aperture blades and 16 optical elements in 13 groups with two aspherical elements and one low-dispersion element. These two types of glasses are used in order to decrease the amount of distortion and chromatic aberrations. And they cope with this task almost perfectly.
Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD uses 67mm filters and is made mainly of reinforced plastic. Only the lens insides and the mount are made of metal. There is no aperture ring, whilst the focus and zoom rings are not loose and really nice to the touch. The focusing is performed internally, but the lens moves when you zoom in or zoom out. The focus can be overridden.
It’s true that the optics used in this lens is of quality, making it stand on one field with the up-market Canon and Nikon counterparts, but this may be one of the fewer worthy things that it has. Let us expound on this.
The lens is pretty sharp overall—although the image quality may be considerably increased when you stop it down to f/8—and has natural colors. There are no chromatic aberrations and only a bit of distortion on the wide angle, but the focusing system is pretty slow even if you shoot at f/2.8.
We don’t really know the reason—which may be due to the absence of a built-in vibrance reduction system—but most photos seem to turn out a bit blurred and generally the focus seems very slow. When the lighting is poor, the lens may need a second to get focused and the chance that the photo will be blurred is really high.
However, there are two types of this lens. The second one is $150 more expensive and has a built-in vibrance reduction system, but after a bit of surfing the web we found out that it may have made the things only worse, making the time of lag longer instead of shortening it.
This is really weird because most of lenses produced by Tamron have both great image quality and fast focusing. Still the lens may perform a lot better if it’s used with enthusiast cameras by Canon like 70D. In this case, the lens will probably focus faster than when it’s used with more beginner cameras like Canon 600D.
If you happened to have this lens and a beginner DSLR, you may try to add more contrast, sharpening, and clarity to your photos in Lightroom or any other photo editing software. This will make them look not as soft as they do when they’re just coming out of your camera. Shooting only in RAW will help, too.
Summing it up, we’d like to say that the lens would be perfect if not for certain difficulties with focusing. Its optics and image quality are on the same level as those of its branded Canon and Nikon counterparts, whilst the price is definitely a reason to give it a try. The lens is made in Japan.
Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD comes together with a lens cap, rear lens cap, and lens hood and may be purchased from various online photography equipment vendors for $499.
We hope that this article was of help to you and we’ll be glad to answer your questions in comments. Feel free to shoot us a message!
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