Tamron 10-24/3.5-4.5 Di II Review

The tamron_10-24 is a wide angle zoom available in mounts for Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax crop sensor DSLRs. On a Canon EOS body it has the same field of view range that a 16-38mm lens would have on a full frame DSLR. It has three glass molded aspherical lens elements and three hybrid aspherical elements, which are used to minimize aberrations.

Focusing is internal, which means that the length doesn’t change and the front element doesn’t rotate during focusing. However the manual focusing ring does spin when autofocus operates, so you need to remember not to hold onto it. Manual focus must be enabled by sliding the MF/AF switch to the MF position before the focusing ring is turned. There is a distance scale, but no DOF markings.

While focusing is internal, zooming isn’t. The lens changes length very slightly when zoomed. There’s about 9mm difference between the longest it gets (at 24mm) and the shortest it gets (around 14mm). There are focal length marking on the lens corresponding to 10, 13, 15, 18, 20 and 24mm. Maximum aperture is f3.5 between 10mm and about 13mm, f4 up to about 20mm and f4.5 from there to 24mm. Minimum aperture varies from f22 at 10mm to f32 at 24mm.

While the Tamron SP AF 10-24/3.5-4.5 Di II is designed only for use with crop sensor cameras, it will mount on full frame bodies (including Canon EOS full frame bodies) and there is reasonably good full frame illumination from 14mm to 24mm, though of course the image quality outside the areas corresponding to that of an APS-C sensor is degraded. This lens is not meant to be used on a full frame camera, but at least in an emergency it can be.

Physically, the lens appears to be well built. Focusing and zooming are smooth, but as is usual for AF lenses, manual focus isn’t well damped. The lens is supplied with a “petal” type lens hood and is covered by Tamron’s standard 6 year warranty.

Tamron SP AF 10-24/3.5-4.5 Di II Specifications

Focal Length range 10mm to 24 mm
Maximum Aperture f/3.5 – 4.5
Minimum Aperture f/22 – f32
Diaphragm Blades 7
Angle of View 110° – 62° (diagonal, Canon APS-C)
Filter Thread 77 mm
Minimum Focus Distance 9.45" (24 cm)
Maximum Magnification 0.19x (1:5.1)
Groups/Elements 9/12
Dimensions (DxL) 3.1 × 3.9" (7.87 × 9.91 cm)
Weight 14.32 oz (406 g)
Format Compatibility APS-C (cropped sensor)
Available Mounts Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax

Optical Testing

The Tamron 10-24/3.5-4.5 Di II was tested using an 18MP Canon EOS 7D body. A variety of images were shot (at various focal lengths and apertures) of both normal scenes and resolution test charts. Focus accuracy was confirmed in many cases by using manual focus in Live view. In a number of cases, comparison shots were also taken using a Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 set to the same focal length and aperture as the Tamron lens.

Image Sharpness

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The sharpness characteristic of the Tamron 10-24 were pretty consistent across the focal length range. Center sharpness was generally good wide open, with a small increase in sharpness observed when the lens was stopped down by 1 or 2 stops. Corner sharpness (and to a lesser extent, edge sharpness) was quite a bit lower than center sharpness wide open, but improved with stopping down and overall sharpness was at its best around f8. However edge sharpness never got as good as center sharpness at any focal length. The image samples on the right (100% crops) show typical behavior at a 10mm focal length setting

Compared with a Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5, the Tamron 10-24/3.5-4.5 showed similar sharpness in the center of the image, but lower sharpness at the edges and corners of the frame, even when stopped down.

Chromatic Aberration

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Chromatic aberration is most pronounced at 10mm, Zooming out results in a significant drop in CA, though it’s still visible all the way through 24mm. The image sample on the right shows the worst case (100% crops from the extreme image corner at 10mm with the lens wide open). The effects of CA can be reduced using Photoshop as shown.

Flare

For the flare tests I shot images with the sun in the corner of the image at 10mm and 24mm, with comparison shots of the same scene but with the sun blocked. out. comparing the images it’s clear that the Tamron 10-24 had excellent flare resistance under these conditions. There was no visible ghosting and no apparent loss of contrast in the dark areas of the images. Overall, very good performance.

Distortion

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Some degree of barrel distortion is visible across the whole zoom range from 10mm to 24mm with the most pronounced effect seen at the shorter focal lengths.The distortion isn’t excessive for this type of lens and is unlikely to be noticed except perhaps in images with straight lines near the edges of the frame such as architectural images. Some degree of distortion correction is fairly easy to apply in most image editors such as Photoshop or Canon’s DPP RAW converter.

Vignetting

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As you would expect, there was some vignetting at all focal lengths with the lens wide open, but it was most noticeable at 10mm. The extreme corners were around 1 stop darker than the center of the frame. Stopping down to f8 reduced this vignetting to about 2/3 of a stop .From around 15mm to 24mm the extreme corners were around 0.5 stops darker than the center with the lens wide open. Overall this represents good performance for a wideangle zoom of this type and the effect is unlikely to be noticed in most images. The examples on the right show images shot at 10mm and 24mm wide open. The images are deliberately slightly dark so as not to “blow out” the sky (which would mask vignetting). Even in these images it’s fairly hard to see corner darkening. Vignetting is another aberration which is fairly easily corrected in Photoshop or Canon DPP (for those shooting Canon).

Conclusions

The tamron_10-24 performs quite well, though the edges and corners can be soft when the lens is used wide open. Autofocus is quick and quiet (though not quite as quick or quiet as that of the Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5 USM) and AF was accurate.

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Compared to the Canon EF-S 10-22/3.5-4.5, the Tamron lens comes supplied with a lens hood (which the Canon doesn’t), a 6 year warranty (the Canon has a 1 year warranty), has a slightly longer reach (24mm vs 22mm), can be mounted on a full frame body (which the Canon EF-S lens can’t) and it’s around $350 cheaper. The Canon lens is however sharper at the edges and corners, even when shot wide open. Which of these factors is most important depends on the particular needs and circumstances of the purchaser.

I think the bottom line is that if you’re not making big prints which need corner to corner sharpness, the Tamron 10-24/3.5-4.5 is a lens that’s decent value for most photographers at a price around $450 (after rebate). However if you need better corner to corner sharpness and you will often be shooting wide open, Canon shooters will get better results by spending $800+ on the the canon_10-22.

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    • The title of this review is incorrect, max aperture at 24mm is f/4.5, not f/5.6.

       

      "can be mounted on a full frame body"

      I guess by this you mean it won't physically conflict like a Canon-branded EF-S lens would.  However, I don't think this lens is designed for FF so it probably has physical vignetting (meaning black corners) across much of the focal length range.  If you're going to claim this lens as FF-usable, we should make a statement as to what effects you'll get at various focal lengths.  Furthermore, if the corners are already slightly on the softer side, I expect using the lens on a FF body won't improve the situation.

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    • Thanks for catching the typo. Now corrected.

       

      As for the full frame usage, I though that's what I said:

       

      While the Tamron SP AF 10-24/3.5-5.6 Di II is designed only for use with crop sensor cameras, it will mount on full frame bodies (including CanonEOS full frame bodies) and there is reasonably good full frame illumination from 14mm to 24mm, though of course the image quality outside the areas corresponding to that of an APS-C sensor is degraded. This lens is not meant to be used on a full frame camera, but at least in an emergency it can be.

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    • My bad, I guess I missed that paragraph (or I would have mentioned that f/5.6 typo too!)

      Coverage for ~14mm is actually a little better than I would have expected.

      For a point of comparison, my Pentax DA 12-24/4 (cousin of Tokina 12-24/4 available in Canon & Nikon mounts) appears to cover OK on a film camera to ~16mm.

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    • Even though @ ~14mm, the vignetting (which you would expect from a crop lens) is pretty much gone, (it diminishes from 10mm to 13mm and is virtually unoticeable by 14mm) it takes until ~16mm to reach the lenses peak (on FF 5D2) performance.  Also, at it limit (24mm) it's overall sharpness is severly impaired.  Images I have shot @22 & 23mm (as reported by the exif) are significantly sharper than those taken @24mm.  This is across the frame, in other words the entire image @24mm is significantly less sharp than an almost identical one taken at 22 or 23mm.  Of course my copy is a couple years old, so it's entirely possible that Tamron quietly addressed that issue.

       

      Overall, I was quite pleased with my copy (when I bought it).  I originally replaced my EF-S 10-22mm USM w/ this, and noticed slightly sharper performance (on the crop) across the frame (until 24mm anyway) as compared to the 10-22.  Given Bob's review, I think it's likly they've tweaked it somewhat since I aquired mine, since he reported slightly diminished edge quality, and no problems @ 24mm.  Either that or significant sample variation occures.

       

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    • I have it, and like it. Perhaps my usage is less demanding as I am a hobbyist.

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    • I had great hopes for this lens until it came out and got lots of disappointing reviews. The good news is that when it was released there were some great close out sales on its predecessor, the Tamron 11-18 and I was able to pick up one of the last ones at my local store, brand new in the box, for under $250! I have found it to be a great lens for my use, and since the newer 10-24 doesn't seem to greatly outperform it I am a very happy camper. :) If I really wanted to upgrade I would probably go for the Tokina 11-16. 

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