Well I thought I would try my hand at a little lens review, and that would be one for my new baby, affectionately known as the SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF). It replaces its almost identically identically named precursor, which lacks two important letters, “VC”. And of course I have the Nikon mount version. I picked it up for $750 at ECS (www.cameras.net.au) in person (i.e. no pastage) and it is a local version with Australian warranty.
Unfortunately I don't have a lot to compare it to – only the Nikon 18-55 3.5-5.6 kit lens. In comparison to that, the Tamron is (a) heavier; (b) bigger (it carries a 72mm filter thread versus 52 on the kit lens); (c) a little slower to focus; and (d) a little noisier.
BUT it's significantly faster (2.8 all the way) and I think a little bit sharper. It also feels a lot better in the hand, and the build quality seems to be much better. The VC also works a treat and I'm getting keepers hand held at 1/15th.
The focus ring is quite light, but very smooth. The zoom is significantly heavier, but also silky smooth.
One little problem I have from time to time, although becoming less frequent (although at the moment about once every session of use) is that the lens' electronics seem to lock up – my D90 reports “f--” and it won't autofocus, meter, or allow me to open the shutter. Turning the camera off and back on sometimes fixes it, however, sometimes I have to give the lens a little turn back and forth (as if I were taking it off the body).
A little research (i.e. googling “D90 f--”) brings up a whole bunch of hits of what appears to be a loss of contact between the lens from the body, mostly happening with Tamron lenses, but also troubling a range of Nikon lenses. Most accounts seem to back my experience of it happening less and less as you go along and change lenses on your camera a few times.
Anyway, on to the images. All taken with a D90 at ISO 200.
The first is 40mm, 1/30th f8.
The second is 50mm, 1/60th. f.28.
And the third is at 50mm, 1/50th, f2.8