Tamron vs. Canon f/2.8 zoom bokeh comparison

Which bokeh do you like best?

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still
Aug 25, 2003
Reaction score
Lawrence, KS
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Here is the bokeh comparison between the Canon L f/2.8 24-70 and Tamron f/2.8 28-75. For giggles I tossed in the Canon 50mm f/1.4.

I am going post them with letters for ID. You look at them, and tell me which you think looks best, and which you think is which lens. I'll reveal the actual lenses next week on Friday. I think I got all the exif data removed, but if not please don't cheat and look.

There is a example of the originals from each, and then 3 100% examples from each. This is supposed to be a bokeh comparison, but one of the examples shows a sharp portion of the photo. It's overcast here today. Normally I'd try for a bokeh test with back lit foliage in the background; maybe I'll get a chance to do that before I reveal the lenses.

I used AF, and tried to focus on the subject's right eye (on the left side in these photos). All were shot ISO 100 @ f/2.8 @ 1/500th @ 50mm with a Canon 5D hand held, and received my standard processing. Once again the Canon L 24-70 at f/2.8 was about 1/3rd stop darker than the Tamron at f/2.8, and at least 1/2 stop darker than the 50mm at f/2.8. I evened out the exposure.

Batman had crimes to stop, and wasn't very patient with me; I tried to keep things as similar as possible. :)

Lens A:

Lens B:

Lens C:

Lens A:

Lens B:

Lens C:

Lens A:

Lens B:

Lens C:

Lens A:

Lens B:

Lens C:

So what do you think?
The differences in bokeh don't look to be all that much between the 3 lenses, though to my eye lens A has a cleaner bokeh to it. Lenses B and C have hardly any difference between them at all.
Further I think that in printing the difference in bokehs will probably not show up much at all - the noise present in B and C will likley all be lost in a print.

A, however, appears to also be sharper than B and C in the sharpness tests - if you look at the eyelashes there is definatly a difference in performance between A and the other two lenses.

I think (and I am guessing) that A is the prime whilst B and C are the two zooms. From the results of this test I think there is little to no difference between B and C and that A is giving the best overall performance.
It would be interesting to see the test done with a static setup - ie a static subect - so that the lighting remains perfectly the same and also so that we know there is little change of there being any focus errors present (even though in this case the child has clearly had his legs glued to the ground ;))

edit - C appears to be a bit less contrasty than the other two - though I am not sure if this is a feature of the lens or the changing angle of light on the subject
Wow, I am impressed. I'm pretty sure I can tell which is the 50mm f/1.4, the other two are quite close. I think I have it figured out, but I could be wrong which is exciting.
Gotta say, its hard to tell at crop. But at 100% A does look a little different. Not sure which one I like, but if I had to pick A looks to be a little clearner for my taste, but it is VERY hard to pick!

I gotta say I like A better, thinking it's the prime?
My guess:
A= Canon 50mm
B= Canon 24-70
C= Tamron 28-75
Okay, no one is having any problems spotting the prime. So here's the $900 question: which do you like better between B and C?

On a side note I think true bokeh connoisseurs might do some bitching about the Canon 50mm f/1.4 bokeh. If someone showed me this and asked whether it was from a prime or zoom I'd probably guess a zoom.
Last edited:
C looks the "cleaner shot" to my eyes - though I am not sure how much cleaner it would be when printed out. Printing tends to remove a lot of noise from shots. I would say C myself
I think A's the cleaner shot and can see nothing wrong with its bokeh
A is better than B, B is better than C, just my opinion. B and C look very close though.
I think A's the cleaner shot and can see nothing wrong with its bokeh

It looks like ripples in a pond. The circles have borders. Check out the bokeh from a 1960's Takumar 50mm f/1.4 or Zeiss. The Canon isn't even in the same league. But that's only if I'm photo-geekin', and I've made a New Years resolution not to be that guy, in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.... ;)

EDIT: Okay, I take that back about the Zeiss. I was trying to find some examples, and I ran across a bunch of photos I took with Zeiss lenses (80mm f/2.8 & 150mm f/4) on a Hasselblad. That bokeh sucks! Man, nostalgia can cloud the mind, but thankfully my eyes can see the truth!
Last edited:
I really can't tell between B and C, but A blows them both away in overall quality IMO.

I'm currently saving up for the Nikon 24-70, but I don't know if I should try and go down the route of primes and keep my 24-120 VR as a "walk-around" lens. I've used the new 50mm f/1.4G, and it's a DREAM to work with, much easier to work with then the D models, you can get a better grip and the clarity is so 3 dimentional, but I don't know how much i'd be really using it and I don't know if I could justify it. Before setting up some primes, I'm really hoping this year Nikon's going to make a 24mm f/1.4 and a new 85mm f/1.8.

I've printed phenomenal looking 12x18's from my D700/24-120VR, but 12x18 is easy for 12MP. I haven't done a 20x30 with the combination, but will be very soon and i'm thinking things are going to be just fine.

When you know and work within the 24-120's limitations it really isn't that bad, especially compared to the huge size of the D3/700's pixels.

I think that's what we're seeing here to an extent with the tamron and the canon 24-70. Use them both on a 5DII or 1DsIII and I think the difference will be more obvious.
A is the best, but both of the lenses are the same.

Most reactions

New Topics