OL: Tamron 17-50mm f/4 Di III VXD – Good Resolution Ultra Wide to Wide

Tamron 17-50mm f/4 Di III VXD: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

The Tamron 17-50mm f/4 came out a few months ago and Optical Limits just posted its full review which you can read here or check out the excerpt below:

We have to give it to Tamron – they innovated and produced a quite unique lens with the Tamron 17-50mm f/4 Di III VXD. It’s the first full-format ultra-wide zoom lens this wide that stretches into standard focal lengths… The resolution figures aren’t bad, but real-world images lack 3D pop (aka micro-contrast) and appear to be rather flat without additional massaging in post. This is also reflected by a generally dampened resolution, including in the image center. Technically, the resolution is good in the ultra-wide to wide range, but it tanks at 50mm. Typical for many exotic wide-zoom lenses, the distortion figures are fairly extreme at 17mm and 20mm, so auto-correction is a must. This also applies to the very high vignetting in RAW images. Lateral CAs are relatively well managed. The quality of the bokeh is Okay, but it is hardly a reason to buy this lens.

The build quality is generally fine… The Tamron 17-50mm f4 Di III VXD is a comparatively long lens for what it is – a side effect of the “internal” zoom mechanism and the somewhat strange way it has been implemented. A potentially better sealing is certainly a welcome advantage. Tamron’s AF drive is both very fast and silent.

Tamron can be commended for trying to extend the range of an ultra-wide lens to 50mm. However, it is pretty clear that the Tamron 17-50mm f/4 Di III VXD is not a substitute for standard zoom lenses, which tend to have a more balanced performance. At least on a high-megapixel body, the 50mm end isn’t really more than an emergency setting. Overall, we wouldn’t recommend this lens for professional photography, but it could still be a viable choice for video where the quality requirements aren’t quite as high.

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