The Beauty of Going Wide With The Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC

0.6 sec at f - 11, ISO 160. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC.
0.6 sec at f – 11, ISO 160. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC.


When you want to capture minute details you use a macro lens. Portraits are usually shot in the telephoto range. 35mm or 50mm prime lenses can be great for street photography. The beauty of shooting wide-angle is that it allows the information to be presented within the context of its surrounding and allows a story to unfoldThe interplay of the subjects in your frame is one of the most important aspects of a photograph. and having a wider angle of view helps you do that. The wider the angle, the more elements of a story you can capture in one frame. There is a lens and focal length for everything. When you want to tell a story, you shoot wide.

Sharp, fast, vibration comensation, weather sealing, eBand coatings... Could this be the best wide angle zoom on the market?
Sharp, fast, vibration compensation, weather sealing, eBand coatings… Could this be the best wide angle zoom on the market?

The 15-30 f/2.8 VC USD wide-angle zoom lens is the new wide-angle beast from Tamron. This is a full frame, wide-angle zoom that manages stay sharp throughout the zoom range, and has Vibration Compensation (optical stabilization) to top it all off..

Just making a lens that does what it is supposed to is one thing. Making a lens that produces sharp images, edge to edge, is another. Then make it a zoom, super-wide angle, and for good measure, throw in a constant f/2.8 aperture. That is a challenging lens to produce. Tamron has managed to not only produce that lens, but do it a cost that is extremely competitive in the marketplace. No lens at this price point has the same set of features.

Tamron has been steadily releasing award-winning lenses that have continued to surprise the industry. If you are looking to round out your lens bag, this beauty presents an attractive option to fill in that wide end of the focal range. This lens also completes Tamron’s zoom lens ‘trifecta’, consisting of the most used focal ranges of todays photo professionals. You can now cover a huge focal range from 15mm all the way through to 200mm, in three fast lenses- all with serious image stabilization.

Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 VC, Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 VC. The Trifecta of Tamron.

If you want to include a lot of information in one frame, wider is better. Landscape, architecture, reportage, environmental portraiture, and video production are all styles that all but impossible without by a wide field of view. The wide focal length gives you the deeper depth of field needed to capture unpredictable scenes, large vistas and huge buildings and still have everything in focus. There is so much in the world that is worth capturing, and capturing more of it one frame is an exciting prospect. For me, it is a practice in composition, color and light every shot. There is a whole wide world out there, why not shoot wide?

The MPEX Learning Studio hosts photowalks every month and the latest was at the Ohio Statehouse. I knew that I wanted to take this lens the second I heard that it had arrived at the shop. The main curiosity I had about the lens was the sharpness. I am very familiar with the stabilization the comes with the Vibration Compensation, and it is always amazing. Up to 4 full stops of stabilization, so with lens I was able to handhold very slow shutter speeds. But what I really wanted to see was how it renders detail and color.

1-3 sec at f - 11, ISO 160. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC
1-3 sec at f – 11, ISO 160. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC

As it turns out, it is one of the most beautiful and versatile lenses for shooting a range of subjects, and architecture is one of them. I think that the images speak for themselves. Without much effort, the Tamron 15-30mm VC USD brings a ton of sharpness with very little of the barrel distortion you would expect from a lens this wide. I was instantly impressed with the image quality and I was not dissapointed when I moved the files to my computer, either.

And for those that would  jump at the chance to reduce the number of lenses in their bag, this lens brings plenty of versatility. The range of 15-30mm is amazingly useful and a lot of ground covered with this one lens.  Add to that the high end coating and components, we are looking at a high end lens with some serious image quality. This could be the only lens that you own and you would be in good shape.

Tamron's new nano coating.
Tamron’s new nano coating.

“This new coating technique developed by Tamron deploys a nano-structured layer (1nm = 1/1,000,000mm) of ultra-low refractive index, with dimensions smaller than the wavelengths of visible rays of light. This nano-structured layer coupled with the sophisticated multiple layer coatings underneath, yields significant anti-reflection properties, efficiently reducing undesired flare and ghosting to an absolute minimum to deliver sharp, crisp images.”

Tamron 15-30 f/2.8 VC USD

A side effect of having a super-wide angle of view (like 15mm) is that the front lens element is large and bulbous. Because of that a filter cannot be attached to the front of the lens, Tamron dealt with this by using a Fluorine coating on this lens.

Tamron’s website explains the Fluorine coating like quite well. “Due to the large diameter and the prominent convex profile of the front element, it is not practical to deploy a protective filter. For the first time, a fluorine coating is applied to the front element, which repels water or any type of dirt, while making it easier to remove such smudge when contaminated.”

1-3 sec at f - 11, ISO 320. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC.
1-3 sec at f – 11, ISO 320. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC.

1.6 sec at f - 11, ISO 320. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC.
1.6 sec at f – 11, ISO 320. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC.
0.5 sec at f - 18, ISO 160. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC.
0.5 sec at f – 18, ISO 160. Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 VC.

The 15-30mm VC USD is one of the most exciting wide-angle lenses to come out in recent memory, and seeing is believing with this lens. It is a serious piece of hardware that does things that no other lens does. It’s a magic combination. Sharp (as a tack), wide (15mm!), fast (f/2.8), and stabilized (Vibration Compensation is fantastic). Come in to the shop to check it out for yourself!

1-4 sec at f - 11, ISO 160. 15-30mm F2.8 VC.
1-4 sec at f – 11, ISO 160. 15-30mm F2.8 VC.

The Ohio Statehouse walk was just one of many photowalks that the MPEX Learning Studio hosts, in addition to many different photography classes! The next photowalk is down in Cincinnati in the OTR (Over-the-Rhine) area to capture street and architecture images! Check out the Calendar to see what class is best for you!

1-8 sec at f - 11 ISO 800FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS

TJ Hansen

Photographer at

4 thoughts on “The Beauty of Going Wide With The Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC

    1. It is very tough! This lens has raised the bar for the wide angle at that price point. The VC helps too, as I have handheld this lens at 1/10 sec!


  1. I own this lens and have yet to use it for landscape (coming soon) . I purchased mine for live music photography. Which it excels at by the way. F/2.8 is a must in low light conditions. I’ve read where it’s actually a 3.3 aperture and focal lenght is about 16mm at its widest. It still works great in low light conditions especially with the VC. I do wish it was a true f/2.8 and went to 14mm . The autofocus is about Medium speed in low light and semi accurate. May be the operator thought.
    I’ve mainly told you the worst of the lens which really isn’t bad . If you can live with that it excels at everything else . I recommend this lens highly.
    Great review by the way


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