Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 SP Di VC USD

At £1 under a grand, the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is still considerably cheaper than equivalent models from Canon, Nikon and Sony, which cost between £1600 and £2200. With both Vibration Control (except Sony fit) and a wide f/2.8 aperture, the Tamron is right at home in low light shooting conditions, giving users the best chance of getting shake-free shots. The VC gives an effective 4-stop light advantage, though it’s worth bearing in mind it only has one stabilisation mode, unlike the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR and Sigma 70-200mm AP f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM lenses and the more stabilised Canon model.

Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 SP Di VC USD

Tamron 70-200mm F/2.8 SP Di VC USD

Thanks to its Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) focusing motor, AF is fast and quiet, so the lens is perfect for use in very quiet areas, and manual tweaking is possible at any time. At 1470g, the Tamron is pretty heavy, weighing more than double the Canon 70-200mm f/4L USM. This makes it more difficult to use consistently for longer photo shoots. That said, equivalent lenses from Canon, Nikon and Sony are a similar weight. Optically, image quality is good, though at wider apertures there is noticeable corner softness. On our test charts, we found it to be optically inferior to the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM and Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4G ED VR, but sharper than the Sigma 70-200mm AP f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM. The lens is available for all Canon, Nikon and Sony DSLRs and comes with Tamron’s 5-year warranty.


The wide f/2.8 aperture and built-in image stabilisation make this lens one to consider if you regularly shoot in low-light conditions, and it’s significantly cheaper than equivalent rivals from Canon, Nikon and Sony.


  • Street price: £929 (As of June 2016)
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/32
  • Minimum focus distance: 130cm
  • Angle-of-view: 34° - 12°
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Elements/groups: 23/17
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Lens hood included: Yes
  • Tripod collar: Yes
  • Fits: Canon, Nikon, Sony
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Length: 197mm
  • Weight: 1,470g
  • Visit: www.tamron.eu/uk

This review was first published in the February 2015 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.