If you're in the midst of a transition from film to digital imaging, you'll soon discover that your trusty 24mm wide-angle isn't very wide on your D-SLR. In fact, that all-encompassing 24mm now acts like a 36mm normal lens! This, you're finding out, is due to your image sensor's smaller size in comparison to 35mm. While this effect offers increased telephoto reach on the long end, it causes trouble for users of wide-angle lenses.
Tamron offers a handy solution for digital wide-angle work with its SP AF 17-35mm ƒ/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical (IF). Designed with the digital photographer in mind, the lens has a 35mm-equivalent focal length of about 26-53mm. (The exact figure depends on the size of your particular camera's image sensor.) It nicely covers the range your short lenses used to give you with film.
Working with the lens on a Nikon D100 in Yosemite Valley, Calif., the shorter focal lengths gave me a wide enough field to cover the vast expanse after a clearing storm. With a twist of the zoom ring and a flip of my tripod's pan-tilt head, I was able to execute a number of compositions quickly under changing conditions. Stopping down the lens provided good image quality along with the depth of field I needed.
The optic covers the full 35mm frame, so film shooters have a 17mm ultra-wide at their disposal. With the lens mounted, the view through a film camera's eyepiece is like sitting in a Cinemascope movie, especially at 20mm and wider. The angle of view exceeds 100 degrees, offering much potential for landscape work. (You might want to double-check that you didn't include your tripod in the bottom of your shot!)
My test lens worked perfectly with both my digital and film Nikon bodies. The zoom and manual-focus rings operated smoothly. Tamron makes the SP AF 17-35mm ƒ/2.8-4 Di in mounts for Canon, Konica Minolta, Nikon and Pentax. List Price: $817.95.