Canon vs. Tamron lens review

Awhile back I was asked by a reader on Twitter what the difference between Canon and Tamron lenses were. For my own use I have always stuck to Canon lenses and really prefer some of their fast prime lenses or L series glass. In my experience with some other lens manufactures the sharpness of their glass can be pretty good, I have just had better results when it comes to autofocus and build quality with Canon lenses. I wanted to see though how a similar lens compared to each other, so I compared the classic 24-70mm L canon lens to a Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 lens. A little different range but both 2.8 lenses and good quality lenses. Here is a quick review of the differences between the two.

First of all in terms of clarity, sharpness and color accuracy the Tamron can really hold it’s ground against the Canon lens. I shot both lenses at 24mm and 50mm and at f/2.8, f/5.6 and f/11 and was actually pretty surprised that the Tamron held up against the canon on all shots even in the edge of the frame the sharpness was still there. Sometimes the Tamron lens was even a little bit sharper, but in terms of color the Canon definitely had a better color reproduction. Here are a few images for you to compare. The first set of images are shot at 24mm f/5.6 (Also the center section is zoomed in to give you a better view on sharpness) and the next 2 at 50mm f/5.6 and cropped in to a detail of the center of the image. In some instances the Tamron was actually a little sharper than the Canon.

canon 24-70


tamron 17-50

Canon at 50mm cropped in


Tamron at 50mm cropped

Where I feel both of these lenses really differ is in the build quality. The biggest difference between the 2 lenses is the focusing accuracy. This also holds true for a handful of other non-canon brands I have used over the years (some good sigma lenses have also done this to me). The tamron is much slower to focus and sometimes in lower light just can’t quite get the focus to catch on. Even shot with a 7D which in my mind has the best focusing system out there the Tamron lens did have difficulty when the light was a little low.

Overall the Tamron holds up very well in color accuracy and sharpness compared to the Canon and if you aren’t shooting fast action can be a good alternative to save a little bit of money.

You can view both lenses on Amazon. For 1/2 the price the Tamron is definitely a good lens but like I said above really depends on what you are shooting.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

Tamron AF 17-50mm

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Author: Mark Stagi

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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4 Comments

  1. The Canon 24-70/2.8 it’s my all time favorite and my wished lens ever, but it’s expensive and beyond my budget, after read this article I realized that I got another options (and maybe for now forget about the canon brand).
    But what do you think about the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR Di LD Aspherical (IF)? I think is closer in range than the 17-50mm, I’m longing for this range because my shootings is mainly on weddings and groups, I got covered the wide angle with a Sigma lens, but I need a mid-range lens, what are your thoughts on this lens?

  2. i also want to know about the tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. how does it fare when compared to canon 24-70mm f/2.8

  3. Are you using flash in that picture? Seem you using that,

  4. Nope, good old window light :)

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