Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD £850, $1200
What’s good: Image quality, ultra-wide viewing angle, fast f/2.8 aperture, optical stabilisation. What’s bad: Edge sharpness isn’t as good as from the Nikon 14-24mm or 16-35mm lenses at f/2.8 to f/4. Our verdict: It’s a fabulous lens with excellent handling, and is very reasonably priced.
Make no mistake, the Nikon 14-24mm is a phenomenal lens with spectacular performance, but it is expensive. Unless ultra-wide shooting is your thing, the Tamron 15-30mm is a better buy. It matches the Nikon for its constant f/2.8 aperture yet adds optical stabilisation, is beautifully built with a weather-resistant construction, and delivers fabulous image quality. It marginally loses out to the Nikon for maximum viewing angle and edge sharpness at very wide apertures, but is much less expensive.
If you don’t need quite such a generous maximum viewing angle, or such a wide aperture, the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR is another very good buy, while the Sigma 12-24mm is unbeatable if you want to take viewing angles to the extreme.
In the DX camp, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 is the best choice for performance and it’s a steal at the price. For an even wider viewing angle on a DX body, the Sigma 8-16mm is the direct equivalent of the 12-24mm FX lens on test.