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Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD review

It’s inexpensive for an f/2.8 lens, and has the added bonus of optical stabilisation

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

represents a great middle ground choice between something like the Canon 16-35mm and Sigma 14-24mm lenses. Well-built and weather-sealed, with an optical stabiliser and constant f/2.8 aperture to boot, this lens will give you practically everything you need in all sorts of shooting situations.


  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Fast, high-torque autofocus
  • Handles with smooth precision


  • Some sharpness issues when wide open

With a maximum angle of view midway between that of the Canon 16-35mm and Sigma 14-24mm lenses, the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is the best of both worlds in a lot of ways. It combines the fast and constant f/2.8 aperture of the Sigma and the added bonus of optical stabilisation as featured in the Canon. All this makes for a solid compromise, made better by the Tamron’s up-market build quality and handling, and a construction that’s complete with weather-seals and a fluorine coating on the front element. 

One drawback with the Tamron lens compared with the Canon is it’s nearly twice the weight. However, it’s a touch lighter than both the Sigma full-frame lens.  The zoom and focus rings work with smooth precision, with the focus ring placed near the rear of the lens, and there’s a focus distance scale to help with accuracy.

High-quality optics in the lens’s internal construction include a specially developed XGM (eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical) element and several LD (Low Dispersion) elements. Ghosting and flare are a constant danger with this type of lens but the Tamron fights back with two types of conventional and nano-structure coatings.

(Image credit: Future)


Sharpness across the frame isn’t as impressive as from the Sigma 14-24mm lens when shooting wide-open, according to our in-house lab tests. However, if you reduce the aperture by a single stop to f/4, the Tamron draws level and gives better edge and corner-sharpness than the Canon 16-35mm and Sigma 12-24mm lenses. Overall, it’s a great lens for the price and is the top choice if you want that double-hit of a fast aperture with optical stabilisation to provide a four-stop advantage.

The lens has a built-in hood, though a Lee Filters adapter is available if you want to hook it up with some filter action. The ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system is built to be super-fast, with impressive high-torque specs, giving this lens real versatility in a variety of shooting situations.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist, that has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners!