Now that I ordered my Canon 5D Mark III I can start buying some really good glass. Since I am mostly a run and gun shooter, I don’t have the luxury of time to swap out prime lenses out on the fly all day long, so that is why the first lens I want to buy is a 24-70mm f2.8.

Now I have used the Canon 24-70mm many times in the past and I really like it, but I got really excited when Lee Morris from turned me the new Tamron 24-70 VC lens that has VC or vibration control and is cheaper. The Canon 24-70 is $1,600 and the Tamron is $1,300. Lee had mixed results on which one is sharper so I thought I would give you guys another test.

  • Canon: Filter Thread 77 mm , 953 g, 12.19 cm length $1,600
  • Tamron Filter Thread 82 mm, 825 g , 11.68 cm length $1,300
  • Sigma Filter Thread 82 mm, 790 g, 9.40 cm length $900

I’m a bit biased already on this review because I really want to Tamron to win but that’s is why my good friend James Drake from 5KInsight is here to keep things in perspective. James is real smart guy, and has a lot of experience using really expensive glass, you should listen to him if he if we disagree. The reason why I want it to win is the Tamron has image stabilization which is awesome for video. For it to win, it needs to be just as sharp as the Canon and have a good working vibration control.

I think a lot of people that shoot video are frustrated that Canon didn’t give us a 24-70 with IS. I think Cannon lost an opportunity here and has left the door open for Tamron on this one. Important to note this is not the II version of the Canon lens that runs for $2,300.

So what I’m really hoping for in this test is the Tamron is to be just as sharp as the Canon because the 5D Mark III it is not the sharpest tool in the shed.


Right off the bat that Canon has a very stiff focus ring, I know from using my friends that is a couple years old the focus ring is a lot smoother than this one.

The all turn clockwise to extend the lens, however the Canon actually zooms when contracted which is backwards from the other two and all other lenses I have used. This can be frustrating.

Range of the focus ring and how well each manually focuses, Canon 120 degrees, Tamron 100 degrees, Sigma 85 degrees.


If there was an instance where in one test there was one lens sharper in the center but the other was sharper in the corner, I gave the win to the one sharpest in the center. When I had to spend more than 30 seconds trying to figure which one was sharpest I would call it a tie, sometimes it was so close.

For the most part they all tied in the middle f5.6 to f8 at both wide and tele.
Sigma did really well at f22 and f2.8 at 24mm.
The most glaring however was Sigma at 2.8 at 70mm.
Tamron won only once at f8 at 24mm but it had no glaring issues and way always ever so slightly behind the winners.

The Tamron VC is a lot quieter than my Canon 28-135 IS.

  • The first thing I wanted to know was how good was the VC or vibration control on the Tamron, so I ran a similar unscientific test like Lee Morris did, on this sign I am shaking it about the same amount as he did. And as you can see I got similar results. But that is not real world unless I drink a crap load of coffee, as you can see by these hand held shots it works amazingly well, almost like having a monopod. This shot looks like it is locked off on a tripod, but they are not, all are handheld using a black rapid strap, side to side it is usually smoother but here I did pretty well moving down. And when you put the Tamron on a glidecam like the the Blackbird I am reviewing, it makes flying a camera a lot easier for a beginner like myself. Sometimes you are not just doing camera movement but you are focusing at the same time, here with the Canon you can see how much more shake is happening while I zoom to my shoe, but with the Tamron you get smoother shots, and this is not easy because I am zoomed out to 70mm. Watch here as I struggle to framing up the pot in the right side of the frame, and watch how the Tamron helps ease it in to position.
  • The vibration compensation on the Tamron is a huge help when manually focusing, watch here at 70mm while punching in 10x how shaky it is, then with the Tamron it is easier to grab a quick focus.
  • The Tamron and the Sigma both have much more vignetting than the Canon does as you can see in the corners.
  • At 5.6 zoomed into 70mm the Sigma bounces back and has a slight edge on the Tamron for the corners and the center. However when the Canon steps in, it has a slight advantage over the Sigma at 5.6. I found the same thing as Lee Morris did at 5.6 comparing the Tamron to the Canon where the Canon is sharper in the center but in the edges I would say the Canon was a slight winner.
  • At f8 the Sigma and Tamron tie and here the Canon is a slight winner over the Tamron.
  • At f16 was a tie all around for both the center and the corners. If I had to look at it for more than 30 seconds to find a winner I call it a tie.
  • At f22 the Sigma beats the Canon.
  • Switching to 24mm at 2.8 we see again that the Sigma is noticeably bad compared to the Tamron in the corners, however the Sigma in the center beats the Tamron, and again the Sigma beats the Canon in the center.
  • At 5.6 the Sigma is razor sharp beating everyone in the center.
  • At f8 the Tamron beats the Canon and Sigma in the center and corners.
  • At f16 it was a tie all the way around
  • And at f22 another tie as well.
  • We did one quick test with Bokeh and to me they all looked similar, James thought that the Canon won slightly.
  • I did noticed that the focus speed for all three was the same, even when I was going from a close subject to a far subject even when the far subject had little or no contrast, none of them had to hunt around for focus like my cheaper lenses.

Sharpness Test Results

f2.8 70mm – Tamron beats Sigma (Sigma looks bad in the center and edges)
– Canon beats Tamron ever so slightly at center and edges

f5.6 70mm – Sigma beats Tamron at both center and edges
– Canon beats Sigma only at center, edges are a tie

f8.0 70mm – Sigma and Tamron tie
– Canon wins slightly

f16.0 70mm – All three tie

f22.0 70mm – Sigma does a nice job beating both Tamron and Canon


f2.8 24mm – Sigma beats Tamron in the center
– Tamron beats Sigma in the edges
– Sigma beats Canon in center
– Canon beats Sigma in the edges

f5.6 24mm – Sigma and Tamron tie
Sigma beats Canon in the center

f8.0 24mm – Tamron beats both Canon and Sigma

f16.0 24mm – All three tie

f22.0 24mm – All three tie

Tamron 24-70 2.8 with VC

Weather Resistant?

  • Canon is ‘sealed and gasketed against dust and moisture’,
  • Tamron “Moisture-resistant construction helps prevent water from penetrating the lens.”,
  • Sigma not weather proof.

Tamron 24-70 2.8 with VC


I am not an expert on bokeh, I used to think it was when you had more blades in the lens made prettier circles, but I am not seeing much ghosting or doubling of the blurry objects on any of them.
Where I need the VC the most is at 70mm and not so much at 24mm, I plan on buying L series glass for a 16-35mm some day.

Chromatic aberration

I really didn’t see that much difference this, I was not seeing any blue streaks or purple fringing when zoomed in 3:1.

Closest Macro Distances

  • Canon at  – 9″
  • Sigma at 7″
  • Tamron at 6.5″

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Products Used In This Video

Help me make more of these types of videos by purchasing gear from the links posted on my site. It costs you nothing extra, and helps support me to make more videos.

For those wondering the follow focus ring is by Foton Accessories.

Tamron 24-70mm 2.8
Tamron 24-70mm 2.8


  • Hey Dave love this video! You should do more videos of this length I love them it’s like watching a fimaking T.V show! Keep up the great work!

  • Nice tests. I actually was looking into getting a 5DIII soon and yesterday I was looking into the different lenses I want to get for it. I was literally going to e-mail this question and ask what your first lens was going to be haha. Well, perfect timing. Thanks!

  • Excellent review. Looks like the Tamron is the best all rounder for the price. And a steal compared to the 24-70 Canon II that just came out. At last there is an option to consider in this zoom range.

  • Thank you for the great review! What is the zoom lever?! I’ve seen a few products smilar to the one in video, it looks really sturdy! Can you give me a information about it? Thanks!

  • Dave, I think you should check out the focus breathing, if there is any- quite an important filmmaker concern with DSLR lenses and I’m sad… disappointed you didn’t include anything about it!

  • Awesome work, Dave! I was wondering about the focus ring tool that you used. Can you give as a name?

  • Hey Dave – I’m really digging the longer video reviews. When it comes to deciding which gear to go with I always write down or take a mental note of what my instant reaction is to something. Usually I go with that initial reaction even after analyzing it for a while. Nonetheless, the Tamron won out for me.

    As always, great work! Thanks – J

  • While I very much appreciate this in-depth review, I don’t really understand the focus among many DSLR video shooters on sharpness, particularly when dealing with objects far off in the distance and when considering video production, not still photography.

    For a video, if I was interviewing someone outdoors and had that building in the background, first of all I would be using an open aperture that would blur out the details of the building, so here is an example where sharpness is literally what I don’t want. Also when one considers that one of the primary adjustments video folks make to their DSLR picture profiles is turn sharpness all the way down for a more filmic look – it doesn’t make much sense to then turn around and start analyzing lens sharpness. Sharpness would become important for objects in the foreground (the interview subject for instance) but only the cheapest of lenses would have any trouble with that.

    Even 4K HD video is still low resolution when compared to frame sizes common in still imagery, so the ability for a lens to quickly capture and hold focus is much, much more important to me as a video guy than measuring sharpness.

  • Dave, does the zoom direction of the Tamron take some getting used to? For example, it appears that you need to turn it in an opposite direction than you would with the Canon 28-135.

  • Something else to consider…

    Last year I dropped my 7D and the lens on it. I bought CPS from Canon for $99 for that year. For that I got 30% off the repair, faster than normal service (almost same day they get it) and free shipping back. Well I just sent them the 24-70 2.8 because it was not fully zooming. Sent it 2nd day air on Wed. they got it on Friday – did $330 in repairs same day then took about $100 off that price and I got it today – Tuesday. Would have got it yesterday but it was memorial weekend. So – their repair department and the whole Gold CPS thing adds value that the others do not have.

    So consider that.

  • I never even considered the Tamron but after this video its the clear winner chicken dinner … VS is amazing … if you do video that should the only thing to consider … wow … Might stay on my camera body for a few weeks …

  • Great review Dave. I have a Tamron 17-50 VC and the VC makes a world of difference for video. Stills are a little soft but look good after some post processing. I tried tests with VC on and off and there’s a big difference!

  • Fantastic review, Dave. Great work, thanks. I actually shot my first short film with the 5D Mark III and just a borrowed Canon 24-70mm L f/2.8. It was great for that. But then this past weekend I used it to shoot a rub and gun event doc style, and found myself wanting the extra length and the macro option (not to mention IS) of the cheaper “kit” 24-105mm L f/4 IS.

    It’s only a stop slower than the 24-70, has IS, and after spending a day browsing stills shot with it on Flickr, I gotta say, for run and gun shooting style, I think the 24-105 is just a better choice. I have a set of fast primes from 16mm to 200mm for the 5D3, but in a doc style situation they just are not practical, as you said. And I’m a veteran broadcast news shooter used to carrying massive Sony and Panasonic cameras for TV news. You might want to compare the 24-105 to the Tamron before you pull the trigger. You know the 5D3 makes f/4 look like f/2.8 at higher ISOs… I’m totally re-evaluating what a “slow” lens is now, based on the low light performance of the 5D3.

  • Great review Dave. Just one question when using the Tamron did you have VC on or off for the star burst shot? I presume this would have been shot locked down on a tripod for this shot. If VR was on it may have shifted the lens slightly while on the tripod making it look a little softer. I always turn IS off on my Canon 24-105 when shooting on a tripod for stills. On a side note I would love to see a review betwen the Canon 24-105 f4 IS and the Canon 24-70 f2.8. I am sure there would be a number of people that would be interested in those results as well. Keep up the great work, your stuff is amazing! Cheers Adam

  • A follow up to Adam’s comments -> Dave, you might want to consider the Canon 24-105 into this mix. It’s an F/4 but that is less and less relevant with the high ISO capabilities of cameras like the 5D Mark III.

    It is nice and small and has IS too.

    I had the Canon 24-70 for years and never liked it. It always felt too big and clunky for what it was. Image quality was okay but it took a dive once the cameras reached the resolution of the 1DsMarkIII (or 5D Mark II.) This is especially apparent on the wide end.

    The Canon 24-105 can be a touch wonky in terms of distortion. It is not the lens to use for architecture. It can also show a bit of CA but I don’t know that it’s any better or worse than the Canon 24-70. But with the IS built in for video, its size and weight, its build quality, it’s pretty killer.

    Definitely worth considering as another option…

  • Dave, I’m on my 2nd Tamron 24-70 non VC and I judge it to be a fantastic all round lens, great for interview work and general stills shooting. (90% of my pics at When I can afford it will fork out the big$ for the brand new Canon 24-70. Don’t care for the ‘old’ 24-70 2,8L…WAY too heavy, and, except for slightly better corner sharpness, not any better than the Tammy, though 3X the cost!

  • same question about the follow focus attachment you guys were using. What is that product?
    (at the 10:00 mark)

  • Thanks Dave for the review!
    As several mentioned before me, I also would suggest that you add the EF 24-105 f/4 to the comparison.
    For a run and gun it certainly deserves your attention.

  • Hi Dave,

    I have 5D mk ii (body)
    im confused between

    Samyang 35mm f/1.4 and ROKINON 35MM F/1.4

    also their costs can fit with my budget

    which one is better?
    does the Samyang work auto on 5D or 7D ?

    thanks a lot

  • Hi Dave, I haven’t read this thread completely, but I do know you just picked up the MKIII with 70-200.. So what happened to the 24-70 that you seemed so intent on buying?! I ask because I’m in a similar boat – literally about to take the plunge and do the 24-70 bundle…


  • @Andy, I bought the Tamron. So far it has been great to shoot stills and video with. If you do buy from B&H please use a link off my gear page before buying, thanks!

  • Cheers Dave, I’m pretty much sold on the Tamron after watching this – price difference and stabilisation tips it for me. Still something about that red band though…. If I lived in the states I would do, but the shipping and duty costs too much extra.


  • I just received my copy of the Nikon version, seems fairly similar to the Nikon 24-70 but a little wider with more barrel distortion at 24 and slightly more vignetting. Very sharp with and without VC. It definitely helps video stability. Stills at 1/20 are way sharper with VC.
    My question/issue is that I noticed that when zoomed to 70 with the barrel extended, if you look at the end that attaches to the camera, a lot of circuitry is exposed around the optics. Could any dust, debris, etc. fall out of this area and into the sensor of my new D4 during heavy use? All my Nikon lenses are sealed where they attach to the camera.

  • Hello Dave!!

    Actually i have been following your website for quite a long time, and learning with you what you call “LEARNING DSLR VIDEO” and for that reason; i have almost the same gears that you have. I have a little question about Tamron 24-70 that you now have and it is being said that this lens has serious vignetting problem; so how would you see and rate and how serious it is a problem when you shoot videos with this lens? does vignetting noticeable in videos as well??


  • @Sam I wouldn’t call it a serious problem but when you compare it to the Canon it is noticeable. For he I think this is by far the best 24-70mm out there for video.

  • Thanx dave!

    For removing the doubts. I will certainly call it a sudden realization to me; that the problem isn’t with the lens it is there in my head so i have to first rectify that…

    Actually i bought this lens a month back, and am still to use it for videos. when i heard about vignetting issues, it really felt bad.

    can u please post some links of videos shot with this lens and 5d mkiii.


  • I am looking for a suggestion. I currently have a Canon 60D with a Tamron 24-70 2.8. I am getting a 5D Mk II in a couple of weeks, and am looking for suggestions for a lens for it somewhere in the $900-$1300 range. I thought about the kit lens but I would like something a little faster than f/4. Also, looking for zoom, not prime. I’m not opposed to a second Tamron, but thought a different lens might be nice.

  • Hi Dave,

    Picked up this lens a few days ago for my D800, but promptly returned it the next day after noticing that the rear element inverts when zooming and you can actually see circuit boards etc. with absolutely no protection. I just can’t see spending 1300 on a lens that is pretty likely to get dust/moisture inside of it with repeated use. Now I’m torn, the quality of the tamron seems incredible and has amazing application for video and stills, perhaps moreso than the nikon equivalent. Any thoughts on that (to me anyway) crazy design flaw?

  • Dave,

    Great comparison video! I currently have a T3i and use it primarily for video. I hope in the future to move to a 7D or FF (I haven’t made up my mind yet). I currently own the 18-55mm kit lens and Canon 50mm f/1.8. I’m looking to purchase a better everyday lens with a constant f/2.8. I’m considering the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD and the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM. Which one would you choose?

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