Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published November 2019

Introduction

We may have entered the dusk of the DSLR era but thanks to the immense existing user base, this doesn't mean that the related lens development has stopped - yet. A recent addition to the wealth of different ultra-wide lens options is the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 ("Generation 2"). It's not a completely new design but it's really more like a facelift primarily matching Tamron's current design languages. Relevant changes include a more efficient image stabilizer - now rated at 4.5 f-stops, a faster CPU for speedier AF as well as a new AX ("Anti-reflection eXpand") coating. Priced at around 1100EUR/1200USD, it is substantially more affordable than the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 USM L III and unlike the Tamron lens, the Canon doesn't even feature image stabilization.

There are two things about this lens that the spec sheet can only hint at, but which actually need to be experienced in reality: its size and weight. The image above gives an impression of the former, the weight needs to be felt, though. Weight as in 1.1 Kg. In terms of build quality, the G2 variant is clearly an improvement over its predecessor. There are still some plastic parts but they are of higher quality now and the base portion of the lens is actually made of metal. It's also moisture-proof. Fluorine Coating on the front element also helps to repel water drops as well as dust. There's an inner lens tube that moves when zooming but the outer physical length remains constant.

Like many recent ultra-wide zoom lenses, the Tamron features a huge front element, protected by a hood that actually consists of two parts: a fixed one on the outside, plus a smaller rippled inner one, that moves with the front group while zooming. If you want to use front filters, you will be out of luck here but you can at least take advantage of a rear filter holder for gelatin filters.

The SP 15-30/2.8 VC G2 uses Tamron's version of an ultrasonic drive called USD. AF operations are virtually silent and fast albeit the precision could have been better in our example at least. Manual focusing is always possible in one-shot AF mode.

Specifications
Optical construction18 elements in 13 groups inc. 2x molded aspherical, 1x XGM, 3x LD and 1x XLD
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.28m (max. magnification 1:5)
Dimensions98.4x145mm
Weight1100g
Filter size-
Hoodpetal-shaped (bayonet mount, built-in)
Other featuresmoisture resistant, rear filter holder (Canon EF)
MountsCanon EF, Nikon F