This "standard" zoom for Canon, Nikon, Konica Minolta, and new Sony D-SLRs with APS-C-sized sensors isn't really standard at all: While most such lenses have variable maximum apertures (f/3.5- 4.5 is typical), this one stays at a fast f/2.8 throughout its focal- length range, about equivalent to 26-75mm in 35mm. This means you don't end up with slower shutter speeds as you zoom to the longer focal lengths at which camera shake is most damaging. That in turn lets you shoot handheld in lower light. And the compact Tamron focuses close -to less than 11 inches throughout its range, for a reproduction ratio of 1:4.5 at 50mm. About $450.
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