The affordable option
Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD £680, $1300 www.tamron.co.uk
A sumptuous FX-format standard zoom, the Tamron ticks all the right boxes on most photographers’ wish lists, and is also exceptional value for money, especially in the UK. It has a fast and constant f/2.8 aperture throughout its zoom range, which stretches from generously wide-angle to short telephoto. This enables a tight depth of field, especially at longer zoom settings, and the creamy ‘bokeh’ (the quality of the defocused areas) is maintained even when stopping down a little, thanks to a well-rounded, nine-blade diaphragm.
High-grade glass includes three LD (Low Dispersion) elements and two XR (eXtra Refractive index) elements, to boost sharpness and contrast, both of which are impressive throughout the zoom and aperture ranges. It’s also Tamron’s first lens to include weather seals. An even bigger bonus, missing in the much pricier Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, is that the Tamron features optical stabilisation (though there is now a VR version of the Nikon – see above right). It’s even worth considering the Tamron for a walkabout lens on a DX body. The 1.5x crop factor will give it an effective zoom range of 36-105mm, so you lose out at the wide-angle end, but you gain reach at the other. And, of course, if you subsequently upgrade to an FX body, you can keep using the same lens.
It has a fas t an d cons tan t f/2.8 ap erture throughout its zoom rang e, which stretches from wide-ang le to telephoto. This ena bles a tig ht depth of field, esp ecia lly at longer zoom settings , an d the creamy ‘bokeh’ is main tain ed even when stopping down