It seems like people always want me to name one lens. Then they set a dollar amount and through in the words “best”, and “low light”. I’m often left with one lens in mind by the time I get done reading the e-mail.

Enter the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens. At around $400 I would consider the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens to be the best bang for your buck. If you are new to DSLR cameras and some store clerk has got you cornered while trying to talk you into a kit lens, STOP, take a step back and run. Because that kit lens wont help anybody.

The Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 on the other hand will help you a lot.  First of all 17-50mm is a very good range for a crop sensor camera. Second the lens is f2.8 across all focal lengths, so you wont get the dreaded darkening effect caused by kit lenses. Lastly the lens is fairly sharp wide open, even in the corners, so it’s good for video and photography.

Tamron did have to cut a few corners to get the price tag down this low. For one this is a “digital lens”, which basically means that it’s only designed for crop sensor cameras. The Focusing motor on the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 is also quit loud, so you probably wont be sneaking up on anyone.  You can forget full time manual focus, and of course the lens is made out of plastic.

These problems aren’t as bad as you might think. Many of the mid range lenses on the market suffer from similar problems but lack the sharp picture and image quality. At a 3rd the price of Canon’s 17-55mm f2.8 lens you are probably able to over look Tamron’s faults.

As a first lens, or as a first Zoom lens in the mid to low budget category, I would definitely take a close look at the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens.

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