As a professional photographer, I take my equipment very seriously. It has to be reliable and it has to be sharp, consistently. Most professionals default to the big brands - Nikon and Canon (I am a former Canon shooter, turned Nikon). Although their quality tends to be high, so is their price tag! Enter in third party lens makers - such as Tamron.
Tamron is beginning to take notes from Sigma - restructuring their production process and creating higher quality lenses. The Tamron 15-30mm wide angle lens is case-in-point.
This lens will compete with Nikon and Canon's 16-35ish range. At 15mm the lens provides a more creative perspective in portraits or wider landscapes, and at 30mm a more standard wide angle portrait range. Within this range is the highly popular 24mm range (24mm seems to be replacing 35mm in a lot of wedding photographers' camera bags).
For me, this is a must. I rarely shoot with anything narrower than f/2.8 (I do have a Nikon 24-120mm f/4, which I like but I got at a ridiculously cheap price). The f/2.8 constant aperture provides more flexibility to shoot in lower light. With f/2.8 and a really wide angle perspective, I can get my shutter speeds fairly low while keeping crisp focus.
VC is Tamron's version of IS (Canon) or VR (Nikon) - it helps correct camera shake at slower shutter speeds. Although it won't help with moving subjects (i.e. slow shutter speeds and people), it is great for landscapes. In my tests, I was able to handhold as low as 1-second shutter speeds and still get solid results.
Although this lens doesn't come cheap, it beats out both Nikon and Canon by hundreds of dollars. There are lesser expensive options with narrower aperture - Canon makes a great 17-40mm f/4 and Nikon has similar offerings. But if you want f/2.8 in a wide angle zoom it's going to cost a bit. At $1,199 the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 is a bargin! Not only is it a great wide angle zoom range and has f/2.8, but it also adds the VC - of which neither Canon nor Nikon offer at this time.
This has become a staple in my camera bag. In fact, I find myself using this lens more often than my 35mm f/1.4. The lens is a monster in size and a bit heavy, which some might not like. But when it comes to image quality and features (VC, wide aperture, great focal range), and paired with what I believe is a reasonable price tag... well, I can't help but highly recommend. I love this lens!
Sample image I took with the Tamron 15-30mm lens
Amazon Price: $1,199.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 26, 2015)