Tamron SP AF10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DI-II LD Aspherical (IF) Review

Review Date : Fri, 1 Jan 2010

Author :

Tamron 10-24mm lens

After Tamron’s ambitious 10-24mm wideangle zoom produced inconsistent MTF results in a previous WDC test, we decided a re-test was in order to see whether our test lens was a one-off. This, then, is the definitive What Digital Camera Tamron SP AF10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 DI-II LD Aspherical (IF) lens review.

Pros: Extended zoom range, low price-point, minimal colour fringing
Cons: Performance at 24mm

Revisiting the Tamron SP AF10-24mm lens has been an interesting exercise thanks to the fact that a considerable amount of time has been spent with it on this occasion. As well as technical and scenic photography the lens was also used as backup when photographing a recent dinner reception, which is a significant comment in its own right. The original review was published in WDC August 2009 - those readers who keep back-copies may wish to check the original MTF graph for comparison.

Tamron's use of the IF moniker is a little cheeky since this might lead users to expect the focusing ring to remain static in AF mode but that is not the case. Fortunately, the focusing ring is towards the front of the lens and is therefore easy for stray fingers to avoid. The zoom ring is much wider and more centrally located, making the lens very easy to use.

Although it went unnoticed in other situations, when the lens was used at the reception its roughly f/4 maximum aperture gave a distinctly dim viewfinder when compared with the other lenses that were employed at the function. Similarly, being a backup system Tamron's zoom was used in conjunction with the pop-up flash from a Nikon D80, which meant tolerating a foreground shadow unless the shortest focal lengths could be avoided.

This raises an important issue in wideangle lenses: it is better to enlarge the front flange to permit the use of front-mounted filters without causing vignetting or should the front diameter be as small as possible to reduce flash shadows? Tamron has obviously gone for the former option.

Turning to the repeated MTF tests, there are both similarities and differences when the graph is put alongside the previous version. The most obvious similarity is the rapid decline in sharpness at 24mm, although it starts from a higher peak in the latest test. The most obvious difference is the close match between the 10mm and 18mm curves in the latest test: previously the 18mm intermediate focal length was distinctly weak below f/11.



The fact that the MTF curves are now improved has lifted the lens's Feature score (beause all focal lengths are now usable in the critical f/5.6 to f/11 range) and similarly its Image Quality score but Overall Performance remains unchanged precisely because a retest was needed - and that suggests there may be variations between different lenses that are sitting on dealers' shelves.

Verdict

Overalll, this lens has now proved itself to be a worthy contender for ultra-wideangle shooting use and a deserved winner of our Recommended award.


Compact Camera Reviews

Price as reviewed

£340.00

Scores

Scores
Features 17/20
Design 18/20
Image Quality 17/20
Performance 16/20
Value 18/20
Overall Score 86%