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Gear Announcements

Pricing and Availability of Tamron’s new 15-30mm F/2.8 VC Announced

By Anthony Thurston on December 19th 2014

I am not sure about you all, but one of the lens announcements that excited me the most coming out of the Photokina/PhotoPlus gauntlet this year was the Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 VC. This is a full frame, wide angle lens, with image stabilization and an F/2.8 aperture. Until now, though, we had no details on pricing or availability… tamron-15-30mm2

Pricing and Availability of Tamron 15-30mm F/2.8 VC

Tamron has announced the availability and price of the lens in Japan. According to the Tamron release, the lens will start shipping on December 25th with a suggested retail price of ¥140,000, or $1,178. Historically, lenses are still less expensive here in the US than Japanese exchange rates let on, so if we were to guess, the US price will be somewhere around the $1,000 mark. Which, if true, makes this lens even more exciting as it would be many times cheaper than competing lenses, plus have the benefits of image stabilization. tamron-15-30mm

[REWIND: Tamron Announces New 15-30mm F/2.8 VC]

Tamron has really stepped up their game, and along with Sigma, are really giving Nikon and Canon a kick in the the behind with regards to updating and releasing new lenses. Assuming the performance of this lens is similar to its competitors, which given Tamron’s recent history is not a huge leap, this will force Canon/Nikon to either lower the price of their offerings or release new versions which clearly out perform/out feature this new one from Tamron.

You can watch B&H’s Tamron 15-30mm page for updates when the US Price/Availability are confirmed (likely fairly soon).

What are your thoughts on the pricing/performance of this lens? Do you think it will match up well compared to the Canon/Nikon equivalents? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. 

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jesper Ek

    Need it!

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  2. Nicolaas Strik

    If this lens is priced around $1000 like the author stated, I will get in line for one, especially if it is as sharp as my Tamron 70-200 2.8!

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  3. Michael Suchosky

    Is 2.8 truly necessary for event photographers nowadays?

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    • Matthew Saville

      Michael,

      In short, no it’s not. Over the past decade, DSLR-owning event photographers have been screaming about how they can’t live without clean ISO 800, then clean ISO 1600, then ISO 3200, and so on and so forth. Every time another stop becomes “available”, they magically can’t live without it.

      Personally, I drew the line at around ISO 3200. It seemed to be the ISO I used 90% of the time, with my 2.8 zooms, for wedding photojournalism in dimly lit churches and reception halls.

      Somehow, with the right lighting setup and shooting technique, I didn’t really NEED ISO 6400 when it came along. In fact, the more I started using primes, the more I started finding myself bumping my ISO back DOWN, lol.

      It depends which focal lengths you’re talking about, but for the most part, ultra-wide shooting, especially with a stabilized lens, is just fine at f/4. In fact I prefer the DOF that f/4 gives when shooting ultra-wide anyways, it allows me to worry less about nailing focus. I stop my Rokinon 14mm down to f/4 pretty much all the time.

      There’s always those handful of folks who push the envelope so hard that yes, they’ll need f/2.8. And they’d take f/2 if they could have it, and they’ll gladly take ISO 6400, 12800, and so on and so forth.

      But for the most part, full-frame’s overall image quality has gotten to the point that f/2.8 zooms are no longer mission-critical, in my opinion. They’re nice to have, especially in the 70-200 range where shutter speeds start to matter more, but all in all, f/4 zooms are the new “professional standard” IMO.

      =Matt=

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    • robert s

      2.8 is not only because of more light, but for shallower dof and makes your images stand out. its the difference between shooting at 1.4 to a 1.8 prime. the shallower dof creates a different unique look you cannot achieve with an f/4 vs the 2.8. thats the main difference.

      lets not forget brighter viewfinder.

      and no f/4 is not the new pro standard. not for photojournalists, wedding protogs or sports photogs. no far from it.

      Matt, youre a landscape photog. you shoot at f/16 and up so who are you to decide for wedding pros like me that f/4 is the norm?

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    • Matthew Saville

      Robert, I’m not just a landscape photographer, I’m also an astro-landscape photographer, (and don’t forget a full-time wedding photographer as well) …so I probably shoot wide open on all of my lenses 100X more often than I shoot stopped down.

      Still, my point remains- most photographers these days don’t need f/2.8 at every focal length on a full-frame DSLR. F/4 is still bright and shallow, considering the sensor size, compared to all the f/2.8 zooms on 1.5x crop sensors that pros are often switching to with the systems like the Fuji X-T1…

      Anyone who has one of the latest DSLRs that can do clean ISO 6400 or even 12800, depending on your personal standards, is losing a reason to “demand” f/2.8. Serious photographers may still consider it to be absolutely necessary, and for plenty of applications it is, but I’m speaking based on my experience with all kinds of different “event” photographers.

      There’s also a huge difference between f/2.8 at an ultra-wide focal length, and f/2.8 at a telephoto focal length. I can totally see how an event photographer would hold onto a 70-200 2.8 till the day they die, but wider than 50mm, and with stabilization, not so much. I know oodles of event shooters who go for the likes of the Canon 17-40, 16-35 IS, and the Nikon 16-36 VR as well, for weddings and other things.

      If you’ll notice, I’m spending an equal amount of time arguing both sides of the debate, BTW. I’m just as pissed off at Canon for making a 11-24 f/4 instead of a 14-24 f/2.8 or 16-35 f/2.8, actually. Different lenses serve different applications, and different lineups NEED different improvements more desperately than others.

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  4. Stephen Velasquez

    This lens sounds awesome but I love attaching my circular ND 10stop filter on my 16-35 mm f/4 VR lens. I see this being useful for videographers, concert photographers, astro photography and anyone who needs f/2.8 at those wide angles. Will I sell my wide angle lens for this one, no.

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  5. William Emmett

    I’m not a fan of the design of the front element. I do like to add all sorts of filters to some of my landscape shots. With Tamron lenses I look for “SP” in the lens name plate. This means “special glass” almost like “L” quality. This lens does not seem to have it. Weather or not this lens will be stellar, or just another UWA will depend on how it will be used in the field, and this will take time. The only lens I own with such a bulb like outer element is a 8mm Rokinon fisheye. The outer element is difficult to protect, unable to mount any type of filter, but the hood is removable. I’ll just keep shooting my Canon EF 16-35 f2.8L USM, from a tripod.

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    • adam sanford

      I just don’t get why landscapers need an f/2.8 lens. I see folks shoot landscapes with f/2.8 glass when landscapes are so often an ISO 100 / Tripod / f/8 to f/11 (if not focus stacked) sort of process.

      So I applauded Canon’s decision to finally give us the landscape lens we needed and leave it at f/4. It p—– off the event/sports/astro folks of course, but that’s not who it was made for.

      I see this Tamron as the opposite of that — this will be a compelling events/sports lens, and though a zoom for astro is less than ideal f/2.8 will be appreciated.

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    • Heshan Fernando

      Just so you know, this is an SP lens. At least the official specs seem to say so. So don’t let that hold you back if you want this lens :)

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    • Matthew Saville

      Adam, landscape photographers split into two categories: Those who shoot everything at f/16 at whatever shutter speed they need to get the job done, and those who shoot at night some of the time, at ISOs and shutter speeds that are quite aperture-hungry.

      The folks who don’t need f/2.8 are already quite happy with their f/4 zoom kits, especially lately with the newest ones that are so dang sharp. The others, well, they’ll always be chasing the next good f/2.8 zoom that allows them to shoot astro-landscapes.

      Then I suppose there’s the idiots who lug around f/2.8 glass even though they always shoot stopped down anyways, but we’ll write those folks off as insecure gear snobs.

      =Matt=

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    • robert s

      ***Then I suppose there’s the idiots who lug around f/2.8 glass even though they always shoot stopped down anyways, but we’ll write those folks off as insecure gear snobs.**

      unnecessary comment. dude your out. no respect.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Robert, I was actually kinda serious about that statement, however it was also meant as an eye-roll joke, and I certainly wasn’t talking about anyone here in particular. I have no idea what you shoot or how you shoot it, for example.

      I do know that for quite a while now lenses like the 70-200 f/4’s from both Canon and Nikon have offered equal or greater sharpness than their f/2.8 siblings, at roughly a 1 lb weight savings and a significant cost savings. Yet I still see rich hobbyists and pros alike lugging around the 2.8’s….even though they spend all day at f/8.

      If you buy a lens just because it’s seen as a champion performer, and you never actually utilize a main feature that justifies its cost and weight, then you’re not spending your money wisely, and in my opinion you are either insecure about something, or at the very least you have a slightly unhealthy addiction to status symbols…

      Call me an opinionated hater, but my main goal is NOT to offend existing gear owners who choose not to shoot wide open all the time. In fact it’s pretty easy to get out of the category of folks I’d call insecure gear snobs- all you have to do is push the envelope once in a while. Or, in the case of the likes of the Nikon 14-24, there is simply no other zoom that goes to 14mm and offers similar sharpness, so even f/11-loving landscape shooters must lug it around of they crave that focal range.

      My real goal here, is to assist new buyers so that they get the right lens or camera for their needs. It is very common for new photographers to fixate on the most exotic, desirable lenses just because they’re popular, even before these photographers have a chance to discern their own style and realize which focal lengths are their favorite, which apertures they actually need, and so on and so forth.

      I’m a huge fan of fully developing ones’ style with just a kit lens or two and a cheap 1.8 prime maybe, and THEN spending the big bucks on favorite lenses that perfectly fit your shooting style.

      =Matt=

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  6. Shawn Conrad

    With that front element and integral lens hood it just makes it dead in the water for any legit landscape photographers. The least they could do would be to make the lens hood removable so you could at least engineer workarounds like with the 14-28.

    For now my amazing 16-35 F4 L will do the job.

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    • robert s

      the 14-24 AFS doesnt have a removeable hood either and many use that for landscapes. they buy those wonderpana filter holder.

      I think the problem lies in the FL and going wider. to get corner to corner sharpness they need to use the bulbuos front design. im certain after many see the performance, the $1000 price tag as well, many will sell their gear to get this.

      I have a feeling someone will make a blueprint people will be able to download to send to a 3d printer place and get it made for cheap. if later on I decide to do so I might make one myself. but I havent used a filter in the longest time. I just shoot two images with different exposure and blend it in PS if I need to. easy peasey. sky from here, earth from there.

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    • Shawn Conrad

      Thanks for the correction, never really looked that closely at the 14-24 or the Lee SW-150 setup.

      Regardless though this lens would really have to be special to give anyone a reason to switch from the 16-35 especially if they have invested as much as I have in filters. Unless of course astrophotography was your thing, but then I’d just get the Samyang 14mm.

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    • robert s

      no not into astrophotography at all.

      I have a feeling many will sell their gear and buy this Tamron. well wait for reviews. im eyeing two people Jared Polin and Thom Hogan. the rest are all crap or very fishy as every gear they review is the best thing since sliced bread so youd buy it and possibly use their sponsored link so they can make some cash off of you.

      I also have a feeling people will buy for the price performance and compromise on the filters. and like I said, Im certain someone will design an release a blueprint for this so people can get a filter holder printed for chips.

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    • adam sanford

      Robert is 100% correct. Once a lens (for FF) dips under 16mm FL, the front element has to get quite bulbous and front filtering becomes sufficiently problematic that a lot of manufacturers give up on making the lens hood modular.

      But even if you retrofit a 14-something or 15-something zoom to take front filters, you are generally crippled for options. Consider: I can stack two NDs and an independent CPL in front of my 16-35, and I’m tapped into the entire 4×6/4×4 ecosystem, which is a standard for landscapers — so I get all kinds of options and price points. But if you go with a 14- or 15- zoom and go with an outrigger like a Lee SW150, Wonderpana, etc., they force you to massive filters and limit you to how much you can stack without vignetting. And aftermarket / DIY / rapid prototyped square filter holders for 14- and 15- zooms are one-offs for each lens design and often lack vital creature comforts, like independent rotation of two filters, smooth glides for filter insertion, UV resistance, etc.

      In short: the filtering options/flexibility/convenience wheels really do come off the bus with FLs under 16mm. I’m shocked Tamron shot themselves in the foot with the 15mm call. A Tamron 16-35 f/2.8 IS would crush the Canon equivalent event lens *and* still allow filtering for landscapers. Chasing the Nikkor here for only one more measly mm wider FL seems absurd to me.

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    • Shawn Conrad

      Now that is the type of lens I’d be interested in. :)

      In the end though I’d be lost without the ability to use my Lee Big and Little Stoppers.

      If I actually lived somewhere I didn’t have to drive 6 hours to get away from the light pollution this lens would surely be on my list. Besides that I’m sure it will be a great seller. I need my 100mm filters though! :)

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    • Heshan Fernando

      Some dude on YouTube actually held this lens and said that the Lee 100 mm system should work. Who knows though.

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    • Heshan Fernando

      I have to agree with Adam here. Why they didn’t just start at 16 is beyond me. As someone who is interested in both landscapes and astrophotography, I was hoping for a lens that could do it all. However, with the desire for conventional filters, it seems that the Canon and Rokinon combo is best for me.

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    • Matthew Saville

      I agree, I’m surprised Tamron tried to do middle-of-the-road and beat both the Nikon 14-24 and the Canon 16-35. What they wound up with was a lens that doesn’t accept front filters, doesn’t go to 14mm, doesn’t go to 35mm, doesn’t weigh less than the already brick-like 14-24… It’s going to be a no-go for many, many photogs.

      Having said that, I’m still betting there will be PLENTY more jumping to buy it. 15-30 2.8, even with a bulbous front element and a two-brick weight, is very tempting at just $1K including stabilization. For every person like myself who is a total weight weenie backpacker, there are plenty of wedding photographer cross-fit fans who are ready to go…

      =Matt=

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  7. robert s

    pluses

    -MTF shows it sharper than the 14-24 AFS. (not a canon user so dont know about comparison) I think this will be true though and will outperform the nkon and I have a feeling any other WA zoom. well wait and see.

    -weather sealing gasket (from the image)

    -front flourine coating. makes it non stick to dirt and easy to clean. keeps coatings on longer from wiping with lens cloth. there is a certain amount of wipes a lens can take before the front coating deteriorates.

    -PRICE! for $1000, it will flatten any competition. Im certain without a doubt. if they get the sh*t together with QC and focus issues, it will be amazingly successful. 3rd party MFR are stealing a huge chunk of oems sales.

    -weight and bulk (I like big hefty lenses) but thats just a personal preference.

    -VC and 2.8 the first in the industry. excellent for videogs. VC is also very good. some have said better than nikons VR

    minuses

    -bulbous front cant use screw in filters. im sure there will be a version mount that will allow cokin type filters. I have a feeling someone will release some diy blueprint someone can use and have it made at a 3d printing place. I might make something later as im a great DIYer. personally I dont even use a filter but with the option of the mount its just an inconvenience for what youre getting here. it may not be for some.

    -weight and bulk- to some this is a turn off. for me its a turn on. love the stability it adds. 1.1kg can be tiring to carry. Ive been bodybuilding for 4 years. no problem for me.

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    • robert s

      I have their 17-35 2.8-4 whih is a nice lens. from a very unscientific comparison, to my eyes it outperorms the 17-35 AFS (nikon thieves rip people off with this 14 YO dinasour at $1800!!)

      this will be a sweet upgrade. im getting mine. huge smile on my face. about time too. those ridiculous prices are just crazy for this bad economy.

      now, killer lens, killer price. OEM are sweating for sure.

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    • adam sanford

      Robert, a DIY rapid proto solution for a front filter option might work, but you’ll likely need the larger 150mm square filters. (But then again, the epic Nikon 14-24 needs to use those already.)

      I think if you are front filtering regularly, sticking with 16mm and up keeps you in much larger and more economical 4×6 / 4×4 filter ecosystem. Your options get severely limited and either time or money prohibitive depending on whether you want to buy or build.

      But I do appreciate that some landscapers love getting wider than 16mm on full frame. Go to town if that’s your thing!

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    • robert s

      @adam sanford

      Im not a landscape photographer. im a pro wedding photog. I could go with something like the 16-35VR. I usually shoot at f/4-5. but ive been in this “wait and see” situation for some time now wanting to upgrade my tamron 17-35 2.8-4 but didnt find anything that really fit my needs. spec wise, performance wise and most definitely price wise..there was a three way slider for this and when you slide one of them one way, one or two of the other sliders moved the other way.

      this tamron brings all 3 sliders far to the right of what I need more than any other lens.

      for me
      ***1st Price $1000 for what youre getting this is an AMAZING offer and if the performance lines up with the MTF and what tamron says (will beat, not match the 14-24), it will CRUSH any competition.
      ***2nd performance. we dont know yet, but MTF shows it kicking the 14-24 AFS but..and thats not an easy feat. even if they matched it, id be happy cause the 14-24 is a shorter range and no VR
      ***3rd specs. 15mm (vs 14 on the nikon) is way more than fine for me. even 17mm is way to far when shooting people since they get too warped/stretched and 30mm is even better but not perfect as 35mm was what id have liked. im just being spoiled here. VC to boot, damn this is an amazing feat.

      as far as filter holder..its not important now. I dont use filters and I still have the tamron 17-35 I could use. for now this 15-30 2.8 seems like it will do everything I need. it fits my list PERFECTLY. I have a feeling this will kill any competition. canon hasnt made anything like the 14-24 ever and even the nikon with its amazing performance doesnt have VR. this tamron has VR 2.8 and will probably surpass the nikon (even if it matches thats already a huge win) so for nikon canon and sony owners, tons of people will be buying this. my only concern is they get QC fixed properly.

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  8. adam sanford

    That hood is INTEGRAL (?!) and the 15mm side of the FL range drive a bulbous front element that eliminates the front filter threads. Those are two horrific nut-punches to landscapers. Front filtering is essential for them, and they’ll be stuck hand-holding 4×6 / 4×4 filters in front of the lens or hoping that the Lee SW150 or Wonderpana systems will work around that hood… without vignetting …at maybe only the 24-30mm end. Ouch ouch ouch.

    Those decisions relegate this lens to being an event/sports/videography product. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s appeal will be somewhat limited as a result.

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    • Matthew Saville

      I think you’re right for the most part, but there is indeed a whole new generation of landscape shooters who are dragging around gigantic adapter systems for their 14-24’s, and happily.

      Personally, I’d much, much rather see a simple 16mm f/2.8 or f/4 prime that accepts 77mm filter threads, or 82mm if it’s absolutely necessary to achieve sharp corners.

      IMO such a lens would be awesome compared to the bulbous, no-filters, distortion-crazy 14’s out there…

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    • adam sanford

      Agree. That’s a gap I’d like to see filled. Canon’s widest prime that has front filterability is a 20mm fossil from 20 years ago. All Canon landscapers who want front filterability either have to get the various UWA zooms or go third party.

      Zeiss has a 15mm lens with an integral hood that hood allows front filters, but it takes a comical 95mm front filter. No thank you.

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    • Matthew Saville

      One of the first ultra-wides I ever bought was a Tokina 17mm f/3.5, I used it on both DX and FX and had a blast with it. Decently sharp until the very edges, but boat-loads of flare bubbles.

      Maybe Rokinon will beat everyone to it. They’re missing a full-frame between the 14 and 24…

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  9. adam sanford

    Tamron may be a little too late to the party to make much hay with this lens. At least on the Canon side, photogs unhappy with the 16-35 F/2.8L II (which was not that sharp outside of center until about f/5.6) have already migrated en masse to the wonderful new 16-35 F/4L IS.

    …*except* for the event photogs, who have clung to their f/2.8 glass like treasured cargo (Lest we forget, when event photogs touch f/4 zooms they break out into anaphylactic shock).

    So I see Tamron’s limited opportunity here with Canon to be with the UWA f/2.8 crowd who want better sharpness. The image-stabilized UWA zoom ship has sailed already.

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    • Arnold Ziffel

      I have the 16-35 f4L and it is indeed a keeper. I couldn’t justify the tamron right now.

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    • robert s

      I think they came to the party at exactly the perfect time. economy is bad, and OEM are charging crazy prices for lenses. Tamrons steam rolling them all with this lens for less money better specs and im almost certain better performance.

      how do you know that “everyone” migrated to the 16-35 f/4? thats just your opinion.

      trust me, this Tamron is going to steal a lot of sales. migrated or not. like the sigma 35mm ART thats killing nikon canon sales.

      my friends selling his 14-24 AFS the second he see a real world test showing this being on par or better. hell pocket the extra $500

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    • adam sanford

      Robert, I can’t give you numbers, but I am a regular on Canon Rumors forums, which is full of hundreds of Canon shooters who intensely discuss how their gear gets it done or lets them down. *So* many landscapers were stuck with two decent but not great options with the 16-35 f/2.8L II and the 17-40 f/4L. They adapted Nikon 14-24’s onto Frankenstein-like mounts just to get a better UWA zoom.

      As a result, the response to the 16-35 F/4L IS was *overwhelming*. The tests are terrific, the reviews are terrific, and the price was shockingly reasonable for a clear best-they’ve-ever-made class of lens. And not surprisingly, a great number of folks sold their old 16-35s and 17-40s and picked up the new 16-35 right on the spot.

      I am not opposed to Sigma, Tamron, or other 3rd party lens makers. I’m just saying Tamron’s *opportunity to steal Canon landscapers’ dollars* is all but gone — so many just invested in another landscape lens and won’t be on the market again for some time, especially not for a lens that limits your front filtering options.

      Tamron *will* get event and videography business with an IS f/2.8 zoom, though. It should make Tamron some good money.

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    • robert s

      ***** And not surprisingly, a great number of folks sold their old 16-35s and 17-40s and picked up the new 16-35 right on the spot.****

      I think people will have no problem doing it again. selling their lens for this one. $1000 2.8 with VC and (supposedly) killer performance, that (suposedly) outperforms the best in the industry the 14-24. time will tell. but once a lens gets good feedback, it catches on and gets passed around the web very quickly. I think they will have excellent success.

      I think the article said they posted..this tamron is supposed to be good enough to possible try to take advantage of sonys upcoming 46mp sensor.

      Im not asking for much. I just want it to have decent flare control. I like flare in my images so not an issue. and I want it to be quite useable at 2.8

      this lens blends both nikon 14-24 2.8 and 16-35 VR together in a package for $1000
      and the same on canons side.

      with the corrective elements shown in the elements/groups diagram, this is built to deliver.

      economy is very hard and a lot of people are buying used because they cant afford the crazy price tags anymore. i wouldnt care of the lens sold for $1300 truthfully. if it bests the 14-24 and has VC then its still worth it. only time will tell what this lens can do. I think oem’s price tags are crazy over the top.

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    • Matthew Saville

      My thoughts exactly, Adam. I don’t know where Tamron is going with this. It’s not really possible for a lens to be sharper than the 14-24, even in the 36 megapixel range, and the Tamron is heavier, bigger, and loses 1mm on the wide end. So unless boat-loads of 50 MP bodies are right around the corner and the 14-24 completely falls apart on them, (which I doubt, …this lens’ market is only for Canon 16-35 2.8 mk2 owners who have been dumb enough to convince themselves to hang onto their horribly soft excuses for ultra-wide zooms just because f/2.8 is so much more useful than f/4 these days despite incredible improvements in high ISO.

      (Yes I’m being snide and sarcastic)

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    • Matthew Saville

      Ehh Crap Robert you do have a good point. stabilization and 14-24 performance for $1K is kinda tempting. Forget what I just said. I’m just bitter any time a lens gets heavier instead of lighter.

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  10. Miguel Quiles

    I’m buying this thing ASAP!

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