I've been waiting for this lens for quite a while. A normal range zoom lens with Anti-Shake tech built into it. Many will argue that, "is it necessary to have an Anti-Shake tech on a normal zoom lens?" I will say, "no it's not. But it's damn good to have". It doesn't hurt to have a sharp image and it doesn't hurt to have anti-shake tech to help out to achieve that.
Ultra Silent Drive (USD) Tamron's new 24-70 lens offers an ultrasonic AF motor called USD that silences while it's focusing and makes focusing much quicker. I have both Tamron's 28-75mm and now the new 24-70mm lens and I can say the new 24-70mm focuses just as fast as Nikon's or Canons. I don't have an exact figure but rough calculation is good enough for me.
Vibration Compensation (VC) The reason why I chose this lens to be my main. While it is not quite necessary to have VC in a normal range zoom lens, it is a damn good thing to have. Especially if you are shooting video with it. It's a shame my D700 can't shoot video but I am planning to upgrade (either to D800 or the rumored D600) and be able to shoot video. I haven't tried on D3s just yet but am excited to have a go with video recording. I have played with VC. For me, it's not quite there yet for compensating up to 4 stops but very close. If I am careful with my posture while shooting, maybe I can pull it off.
Build Quality It seems pretty darn good to me. I'm not really good with describing stuff sadly. The lens feels quite solid on my hand and it's thickness actually helps gripping for me. I don't have problem with zoom sliding down when the lens is facing down yet, but then again, I've only had this lens for a day. So for long run, I think it's a great idea to have a zoom-lock lever on the lens.
Image Quality It's way too early to say about image quality just yet, but I can point one thing out straight away though, vignetting at 24mm with aperture wide open. Also, at 24mm, there is quite noticeable distortion, too. But none of that matters too much to me. After all, my old Nikon AF-s 24-70mm f2.8 also had quite noticeable distortion at wide and also a bit of vignetting at wide open. I can also just use LR4's lens correction to get rid of these of course. However, somehow I had to set the lens Make manually as it didn't recognise Make of the lens. After getting the "Make" right, it automatically recognised the lens and corrected by itself.
Verdict It's a definite keeper. I fell in love with Tamron's 28-75mm when I was using Canon's film SLR camera. I bought 3 different copies of 28-75mm and keeping one for a backup normal zoom even now. It was such a great lens with amazing sharpness. Now 24-70mm VC is a total gem. I've decided to stick with this lens for as long as I can as a main normal zoom. The deciding fact is it's price, it's quality, and VC. I'm not going to give it points like other reviewers do, because, it doesn't matter how much point it gets in real life, and I haven't played with it long enough. But I love it for sure and it will be permanently on my D700 for a long, long time.
Additional Facts for Buyers
- Filter size is 82mm. Dang expensive. Sad that I can't share my other lenses' 77mm filters. Even my Cokin filters won't fit.
- Apparently Canon and Nikon mount are only getting VC. No VC for Sony's. But then again, Sony already have that in camera bodies.
- It's weight is 825g. It's definitely heavier than my 28-75mm, but it feels a bit lighter than Nikon's 24-70mm (902g). I know 902g and 825g isn't much difference, but I could definitely feel the difference when holding it.