Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical IF (Nikon mount)

tamron_SP_AF17-50mm_F2.8New lens was announced today: Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical IF lens (actually few sites leaked it already yesterday). This is a DX lens with a new Vibration Compensation (VC) mechanism and has 6 years warranty (product web page).

Price: US$649 (Amazon is taking pre-orders).

Availability: September.

Full press release after the break:


Groundbreaking high-speed, high-definition f/2.8 standard zoom features Tamron’s
Vibration Compensation (VC) image stabilization mechanism

September 1, 2009, Commack, NY— Tamron USA, Inc. announced the release of the SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II* VC LD Aspherical [IF] (Model B005), a high speed f/2.8 wide-to-moderate-telephoto zoom lens designed exclusively for Nikon-mount digital SLR cameras with smaller sensors and now featuring Tamron’s proprietary tri-axial Vibration Compensation (VC) mechanism that minimizes the effects of handheld camera shake. Tamron plans to introduce the lens in a Canon mount version shortly after the new Nikon mount version with built-in motor hits the market.

*Di (Digitally integrated)-II lenses are designed for exclusive use on digital cameras with smaller-size imagers. This lens is not designed for use with 35mm film cameras or digital SLR cameras with image sensors larger than 24mm x 16mm.

The new SP 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC covers the very popular 17-50mm focal length range (equivalent to 26-78mm in the full-frame 35mm format*) making it extremely versatile. Its wide aperture and outstanding performance provide practical advantages in low-light shooting and aesthetic image control, thereby enriching the user’s range of creative expression. The new lens delivers impressive sharpness and striking contrast over its entire focal-length and aperture range, and at its maximum aperture of f/2.8 it produces beautiful images enhanced by shallow depth of- field, and smooth, natural transitions in out-of-focus areas of the image (i.e. excellent bokeh.) The new lens is equipped with Tamron’s proprietary Vibration Compensation (VC) image stabilization mechanism, which controls the effects of camera shake in three planes. VC provides more opportunities for sharp hand-held photography at the slow shutter speeds needed when shooting in low-light conditions (e.g. night or indoor scenes) dramatically enhancing the user’s level of photographic freedom.

*Tamron’s conversion value is 1.55x

The previously announced, still currently available Tamron SP 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II (Model A16) boasts superlative optical performance for a fast standard zoom lens and has been acclaimed world-wide as a masterpiece of compact optical design. In developing the new Tamron SP 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC zoom, the primary goal was to maintain this incredible compactness and ease-of-use while simultaneously enhancing its convenience and expanding its performance envelope. As a result of concerted efforts, the engineers were able to incorporate Tamron’s proprietary state-of-the-art Vibration Compensation (VC) image stabilization mechanism into the new lens without materially increasing its size and weight. As a result of this success, the SP 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC makes sharp hand-held photography possible under a vastly expanded range of photographic situations.

The Tamron Vibration Compensation mechanism employs a three-coil system in which three driving coils move internal optical components within the VC lens electromagnetically, based on signals originating from three steel ball bearings. Since the VC compensating lens elements are held in place solely by contact with these bearings, smooth, virtually frictionless movement is assured, providing the stabilized viewfinder images and excellent tracking performance characteristic of VC lenses. Moreover, since the VC lens elements move parallel to the image plane via electronic control alone, the mechanical structure is simplified, and the lens is more compact.


  1. Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization mechanism
    Equipping a fast standard zoom with the advanced VC mechanism enables extended hand-held shooting possibilities along with enhanced versatility. It allows the full range of photographic expression, all the way from maximizing the expressive background-blurring effects by shooting at the maximum aperture of f/2.8, to fixed focus photography at the smallest apertures using extended depth of field.
  2. Compact size with a filter thread of Ø72mm, while delivering both a large F/2.8 diameter and VC
    While the size of a lens tends to increase when it’s equipped with an image stabilizer unit, Tamron has kept this lens as compact as possible through improvements to optical, mechanical and VC designs, thus achieving a remarkably compact size with a filter thread of 72mm.Since the new Tamron 17-50mm VC lens is a large diameter f/2.8 zoom, the optical image stabilization system is also relatively large compared with previous VC lenses. To achieve the same anti-shake effect as the renowned VC mechanism incorporated into Tamron’s high power zoom lenses— models B003 and A20— the engineers had to enhance the VC unit itself, the mechanism that controls the optical image stabilization system. This initially led to an increase in size compared with existing lenses. It was therefore necessary to reduce the size of the VC unit while at the same time increasing its torque of driving power. This could only be achieved by bringing to all of Tamron’s advanced engineering capabilities that had enabled is to produce high-power zoom lenses and light, compact, high-speed standard zooms. After a prolonged program of development entailing exhaustive research and tireless testing, Tamron’s engineers finally achieved their goal, a fast, compact zoom lens with a filter thread of 72mm incorporating both a large f/2.8 maximum aperture and an effective Vibration Compensation mechanism.

    This stunning achievement entailed innovations in both manufacturing technology and production engineering, including improvements to the precision, weight, and strength of the lens’ components. The result: The Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC, an extraordinarily complex lens to manufacture but a joy to use.

  3. The optical system, optimized for the characteristics of digital cameras, uses special glass for multiple elements, to enhance optical quality while maintaining compactness
    With its innovative use of XR (Extra Refractive Index) glass, Tamron has optimized the overall optical power distribution and reduced the size of the lens, while at the same time implementing advanced correction of optical aberrations. In addition, the optimized positioning of three compound aspheric elements has enabled further shortening and compression of the entire optical system while maintaining outstanding imaging performance. Two LD (low dispersion) lens elements are also employed to make effective corrections for axial chromatic aberrations and chromatic aberrations due to magnification, a major factor in enhancing optical quality in digital photography. The result: excellent image performance throughout the zoom range.
    Optimizing the angle of light rays striking the image sensor
    To reduce the impact of changes in aberrations due to zooming, the optical design adopted for this lens was developed to literally guide the angles of rays of light entering from the center to the periphery of the lens. This ensures that the light rays fall within a set range on the image sensor, enhancing image quality.
    Reduced fall-off of peripheral brightness
    The fall-off in peripheral brightness that limits resolution in wide-angle shooting is very well controlled, resulting in excellent image detail from the center to the outer edges and corners of the image field.
    Superior resolution
    As an SP Di II class lens, this lens delivers top imaging performance in all key parameters--high resolution, high contrast, and excellent detail rendition.
    Uncompromising countermeasures to reduce ghosting and flare
    The latest BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) multi-layer coatings are used to reduce reflection from the lens, ensuring excellent performance in all photographic conditions. The coatings enhance light transmission in both the short wavelength and long wavelength ranges. In addition, internal surface coatings (coatings on cemented surfaces of lens elements) have been applied to all cemented surfaces, for sharpness, optimum color reproduction performance and excellent color balance.
  4. Minimum focus distance of 11.4” (0.29m) across the zoom range, with macro capability of 1:4.8
    Even with its VC image stabilization optical system this lens delivers a minimum focus distance of 11.4” over the entire zoom range, enabling stress-free close-up photography. The maximum magnification ratio at 50mm is 1:4.8*.*This lens enables photography of virtually the same range as that when using a lens with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.1 on a full frame format camera, as APS-C size image sensors are smaller than 35mm film.
  5. Simple, beautiful exterior design
    A simple, classic design with a smooth silhouette has been adopted to ensure that this lens combines well with various SLR cameras. The highest quality textured paint has been used to give a superb finish to the exterior.
  6. Zoom lock mechanism, useful when carrying the lens/camera over your shoulder
    The lens includes Tamron’s zoom lock mechanism to prevent the lens barrel from extending by its own weight when lens is being carried on the camera pointing downward.
  7. Flower-shaped hood with excellent stray light shielding properties supplied as standard accessory
    The flower-shaped hood is ideally matched to the frame of the viewfinder screen to effectively block damaging light rays coming in from outside the borders of the image area, ensuring clear, sharp flare-free performance. The hood is provided as a standard accessory.
Tamron AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) [Model B005]
Focal Length 17-50mm
Maximum Aperture F/2.8
Minimum Aperture F/32
Angle Of View 78°45' - 31°11' (APS-C size equivalent)
Lens Construction 19 elements / 14 groups
MFD (Minimum Focus Distance) 11.4" (0.29m) (entire zoom range)
Diaphragm Blades 7 (Circular Apertures)
Filter Size Ø72mm
Size (Diameter x Length)

Ø3.13 in. x 3.7 in. (79.6mm x 94.5mm)

Weight 20.15 oz* (570g)
Max. Mag. Ratio 1:4.8
Standard Accessory Flower-Shaped lens hood
Compatible Mount Canon, Nikon (with Built-In AF motor)
*specifications based on Nikon mount
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  • It’s the kind of lens I am after… Let’s hope the tests will tell us it’s good enough. the ‘old’ one had terrible CAs and Vignetting.

    • Jon Paul

      I disagree. I own it and -love- it (we are talking about the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF, right?). It’s got easily fixed CA and no noticeable vignetting. I’ve shot my neighbor’s Nikkor 17-55 2.8 and am so glad I saved the price difference to put into a nice 2.8 telephoto zoom (not to mention weight and size savings).

    • Jon Paul

      Just to back up what I said, take a look at the tests done at slrgear.com to see what I mean–the 17-55 has worse CA and Vignetting than the tamron and the tamron is sharper everywhere except possibly at 50mm and 2.8. Then again, they test one copy of the lens, so it’s probably only fair to say the tamron is as good as the Nikkor. But given the price difference, the tamron is an absolute steal.

      • Actually I bought and appreciate the Nikon 17-55 for it’s low amount of CA. I use it so much that it was worth the price difference for the time it saves in post. I haven’t tried the Tamron, but the Sigma I owned and the newer versions didn’t impress side by side with the Nikkor.

        Image stabilization is a huge selling point though and I will definitely try it out when it hits the shelves.

        What I’d kill for = 24/28-70/f2.8 VR Why doesn’t this exist?!

        • Anonymous

          Word has it that the Nikon version is manufactured by Tamron – a very similar lens design. The two lenses are virtually identical.

          • Word from exactly who?

            Word also has it 4 out of 5 statistics are faked.

        • Anonymous

          “What I’d kill for = 24/28-70/f2.8 VR Why doesn’t this exist?!” Because Tamron hasn’t made it – yet! It wouldn’t surprise me if they came out with a 28-75mm VC lens. I’d rather they put it in their 70-200, but the 28-75 wouldn’t be bad.

          • huh? Why so hot on Tamron? They make some ok glass, but they wrap it in cheap plastic. I’ve owned Nikon, Canon, Tokina, and Sigma. I can’t bring myself to buy any Tamron because it feels too flimsy. I can dig lightweight…but there’s a point where it’s a bad thing.

            Studio I worked for sent highschool kids out with the Tamron 28-70/2.8. They looked ok, but not marvelous on the 20D and like utter crap at the edges on a 1Ds mkII.

            (P.S. Firefox wants to spellcheck “Tamron” into “Tampon”)

      • I agree about sharpness. CAs are in my work a real problem. I work mostly outside and often have to show the pics immediatly to clients. Can’t tell them “that’s easily fixed” because most think fix=failure… 🙂

        For most of my work I use the Nikon 70-200, but sometimes I need the wider angle. Until now I used the 18-200 for these. Why not the Nikon f2.8 24-70? Well, one heavy beast on a track is enough. So I am looking for a sharp (yes the Tamron) and light (yes the Tamron too) and low on CAs lens (not the Tamron). And a bit more angle than 24mm (yes the Tamron).
        So the AF 17-50mm f/2.8 SP XR Di II LD Aspherical won on sharpness hands down from the 18-200 and if the new one does the same AND is lower on CAs than the old one, it is going to be almost a sure thing for me as it also has image stabilisation (missing in the Nikon 24-70), that I often need because I also have to shoot a lot without tripod.

        So that’s why I made my comments. 😉

        • Jon Paul

          I didn’t mean to sound rude, Antonis. Maybe you got a bad copy of the lens, because I should have said that CA is only even noticeable for me at 17mm, and when I say noticeable I mean really pixel peeping at 100%. There’s no way I would notice it when chimping on the side of a track.
          Here’s a shot I took with it at 17mm. I only adjusted curves–other than that, this is as shot:

          • Jon Paul

            And lest anyone think I’m endorsing this lens for architecture (which I’m not), I have to say that I took this just to compare it to a 13-image pano that I took at the same time with the 50 1.8 (I wish I had the 35 1.8 at the time) and stitched with hugin:

          • @Jon Paul
            Thanks for that shot. Winter… 🙁

            No CA in side, indeed. Here in Greece I don’t have so many empty branches and not so high buildings. But much more light in winter! But the shot was very informative. And I didn’t find your comments rude in any way.

            Well, the new kid is on the block now. Just a few weeks left. Waiting for shots like yours and then… 🙂

  • Any news on new Nikkor lenses this year???

    And not those 18-something please. 🙁

    • WoutK89

      wait till around november (that was the supposed date for D700(x/s) right?), you will hear more by then!

      • Gordon

        Hopefully Nikon will update all their FX prime lenses in one swoop, they are so old now it’s embarassing.

        Nikkor 14mm f/2.8D (07/2000)
        Nikkor 35mm f/2D (03/1995)
        Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D (10/1994)
        Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D (03/1994)
        Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D (12/1993)
        Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D (07/2002)
        Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D (12/1995)
        Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D (03/1994)
        Nikkor 135mm f/2D DC (1995)
        Nikkor 180mm f/2.8D (12/1995)
        Nikkor 105mm f/2D DC (09/1993)

        Granted some of the newer zooms should replace some of the wide angles but the portrait lenses really need updating.

      • Which year? 😀

  • David

    This is THE lens I’ve been waiting for, a fast 17-50 with VC/VR for under $1000. The current Tamron 17-50 gets great reviews (other than slow AF) so I hope this one at least lives up to the old one.

    @Antonis X, I’m not sure what you are talking about regarding CA and vignetting for the Nikon mount. The reviews I’ve seen had those at normal levels, the biggest beef being with the AF speed…..

    • Jon Paul

      Yeah, that’s right, David. Although, mine is the one without the AF motor (it’s got the AF screw setup), and it has really fast focus so maybe it’s just the ‘AF-S’ version that’s got focus speed problems.

      • Anonymous

        Right you are. I’ve owned both versions. On a D80, the older non-BIM lens is faster focusing… I wish Tamron would finally put a faster AF on the market. They would do a killing if they did.

    • @David
      On Photozone.de are extensive tests of farious lenses. I compared their findings for my own 18-200, that I want to replace, with their findings on the old Tamron 17-50 and the Nikon 17-55. On that basis I concluded that the amount of CAs in the Tamron were worse than my old lens and did not outweigh the greater sharpness nor that it’s a F2.8. Therefor I would not change… for now.
      But as I explained in a reply to Jon Paul, I have my own set of reasonings. And when the CAs are better and the sharpness is at least equal to the old one… 😉

      • David C

        Cool, by the way, which camera do you own and which kind of CA, because D300 and I think D90 and newer cameras have CA removal built into their JPG engines. But it doesn’t handle all CA. Might be a good excuse for a new camera body 🙂

        • I now use mainly D300 and shoot only RAW. But I found some JPEG/NEFs in my archive. They were shot with a 18-200. The D300 indeed does, in the JPEGs, change the purple CA to a large degree into neutral to blue-ish CA. That’s much more pleasing to the eye. Especailly when occuring against a nice blue sky 🙂

          So, I am afraid you will have to upgrade to another camera body. 😉

  • Jon Paul

    I’m hoping they’re going down their line and adding vibration reduction. I would snap up a VC version of their FF 28-75 2.8 lens faster than you can say knife.

  • townerboy

    Where is Nikon? NO!! For Real, Where is Nikon? I want to hear that Nikon is actually keeping up with the Joneses. I want to hear Nikon with a new D800 that is 24mp or hell i will take it to be 18mp.

    I don’t want Nikon to announce to me and YES i will be pulling out my hair if they do, a D700s with only 12.1 mp and a updated video. I will be mad. I want to drop my D300 and get with the rest of the crowd and get a FULL FRAME.

    WHERE IS NIKON? and the new lenses also.

    Someone is asleep at the switch at Nikon.

  • JC

    omg…I just ordered the old one last Friday…and it will be here tomorrow…

    • MW

      Return it.

      • JC

        I don’t know if it’s worth $200 plus shipping to just get VC…I wonder if VC is really necessary with f2.8

        • Good lord yes it is! And this looks like a new formula to accomodate the VC. Might be totally different for resolution (better?).

          • JC

            Is VC any good compared to VR?

          • I imagine VC would use the same tech. Everybody uses the same accelerometers as far as I can tell, but everybody’s implementation and glass will be different.

            Time will tell.

  • Ronan

    Nikon 17-55mm 2.8 kicks those in the dust.

    • For sharpness. VR would be REAAAAAL nice though.

      • Ronan

        Sharpness and colors and everything else. But yes, VR would be nice.

      • Jon Paul

        Color maybe (but digital nixes that because you can correct it post-process), but not sharpness. They’re identical for sharpness.

        • ¡¿?!

          I’d like to see some pics to back that up. I’m in Portland, OR if anybody wants to give their Tamron a go side by side with my 17-55 Nikkor.

        • Ronan

          After owning the first version and seeing how much LESS sharp it is compared to the Nikon, i HIGHLY doubt their new one is THAT much better. Especially for $700 WITH VR.

          BIG LOL!

      • Anonymous

        I’m hoping that Nikon have a 17-55 VR in development !

  • shivas

    you still can’t compare it to the 17-55 f/2.8 for sharpness, QC, and build quality. . .but I would consider the a tamron 70-200 f/2.8 with VC!!

    If sample variation wasn’t an issue, I’d sell my nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 and get the tammy 17-50 and 70-200 with VC when they are out and available. . .

    best thing about this? Puts pressure on Nikon. . .esp with all their DX lens releases. . .

  • JC

    OK…let me ask you guys about this. I bought the older version from B&H and it will be here tomorrow. I can either keep it or return it and wait for the new version. Including the return of filter and filter itself the price difference between keeping it or not will be about $250.

    I don’t think Tamron is doing anything about it’s focusing motor (otherwise they would have bragged about it.) So it comes down to the matter if VC and less CA worth extra $250 to me.

    I am certainly budget-limited as whatever I saved will go toward a flash light. So it’s more like the decision between a $250 flash light and VC/less CA.

    Now I am debating really hard…..give me some suggestion!

    • jay

      This lens (without VC) is so good, i was considering getting two just in case they don’t make them anymore. Definitely worth getting one regardless how good the the VC version is.

  • rick

    The people still try to compare Tamron 17-50 with Nikon 17-55… its no way to compare… the focus of Tamron its very slow and construction its not good… did you guys try to use Tamron vs Nikon at night for example?

    Tamron doens’t any lens in their lineup that can compare with Nikon Pro-Glass…

    • thats true, however there are some exceptions to the rule. Like 90 macro against nikon lineup. if you need macro, 105VR have worse bokeh and is virtually identical. Also, it is questionable how built quality and focusing is important for final photos. Many people still manual focus (especially in low light) and while tamron appears much cheaper, it takes some beating so that could hardly be issue.
      Of course buy nikon if you can, better resell value and overall, but there is no reason why one cannot make lot of moneys ergh, good pictures, with tamron.

    • You can compare them:

      And for sure if the Nikon is 3 times as expensive as the Tamron. Heck, if the Tamron is broken I still can buy 2 new ones befor I need to replace the Nikon anyway!

    • David C

      I would get the 17-55 if they added VR, but I’m getting the Tamron. I could buy multiple Tamrons for the cost of the 17-55 and it doesn’t have VR. People say it doesn’t need VR because its primarily wide, but then why does Nikon make the 18-55 VR, the 18-105 VR, the 16-85 VR? VR (or Tamron’s VC) will help me quite a bit with indoor shooting and I am looking forward to getting it.

      The Tamron now puts pressure on Nikon and both the 17-55 f/2.8 AND the 16-85 VR. I hope Nikon responds and if they do, I’ll consider switching, but until then, its the Tamron VC!!

      • Ronan

        Because theirs a huge difference in lens and glass quality.

        If you don’t know that, then i’m glad your getting the Tamron. Leave the pro glass to the pro’s…

        • @Ronan
          I am a pro and use all kinds of glass. Real pro’s look at their needs to accomplish their goals and invest accordingly. Only hobbyist have the luxery to be so pedantic as stating “Leave the pro glass to the pro’s…”

          This lens, if it turns out ok, could fill a need I have for a small part of my business. If I can accomplish that against a third of the cost of what an other lens would cost me? Great! $$$

  • low

    woohoo dx! fx shooters keep pouting! i keeed!!

  • Nau

    3rd parrty full frame lens …………….please : )

  • Zorro

    Get with the strength. DX is where it’s at!

  • Photo Dan

    Sorry, dream all you want folks, but this baby is not going to compare in IQ to the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8. That lens rocks all around, and you’d be hard pressed to tell me that a lens that costs practically 50% less will give you the same quality results.

    I’m sure it will be a good to excellent lens, but not a near perfect lens like the 17-55. But you will save money and the IQ difference will be negligible for the casual shooter who does not know otherwise. Although I admit, I am intrigued by the VR component. Just my .02

    • Jon Paul

      Dan, have you tried it? This lens does compare to the IQ of the 17-55, in fact it’s identical. I’ve tried both and I’m telling you there’s no difference that I could see, and I don’t consider myself a casual shooter. slrgear.com actually has better numbers for the Tamron in sharpness and CA. photozone.de also has better numbers for the Tamron in sharpness but not CA.
      I’m just saying that in a blind comparison, I don’t think anyone could know which lens took a particular picture without looking at metadata. I’d be willing to borrow my neighbor’s 17-55 and try this out with anyone who doubts.

      • Sure! Please do!

        • Jon Paul

          I’m going to ask my neighbor to lend me his 17-55 for a few days, and I’ll post the comparison pictures for whoever wants to see them. Just shoot me an email at jonnyp427 at yahoo dot com if you’re interested in seeing the results.

      • Ronan

        I’ll tell you right now.

        The Nikon wins hands down.

        Theirs a reason pro dx shooter use it, and it’s not because its written Nikon on it.

    • jay

      Dan, maybe you did not get a good copy of the Tamron. The color is actually better than the Nikon.

  • Tobi

    this is a new lens with a new formula you cant equate it in any way with the older 17-50 tamron.. untill we see the delivered product any comments regarding its quality is pointless.

    however I am very keen on this lens.

  • JC

    Not the best lens comparison I have seen…

    • Ronan

      Thats such a bad uncontrolled comparaison…

      And even at that, the Nikon wins by a lot, LOL!

    • Jon Paul


  • Joe

    I hope they offer a version without the built-in motor..

    If its just me or the motor on The D300 is just crazy fast compare to lens’ motor or even to AF-S

  • Anonymous

    Sorry guys. The old Tamron cannot compete with the Nikon 16-85mm, let alone the 17-55mm, in terms of sharpness and colour. I have used both the Tammy and the 16-85mm.

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