Review system76: System76 Pangolin Review: A 15-Inch Linux Laptop for the Masses

System76 Pangolin Review: A 15-Inch Linux Laptop for the Masses

Linux may not have evolved (yet!) into the mainstream desktop operating system its advocates had hoped for, but fans of free software have never had it so good. Dell, Lenovo, HP, Purism, and System76 all sell excellent Linux-based hardware. Time-travel back to 2012 to shout the good news and you’ll have trouble convincing even the Linux faithful that the future is even brighter than they’re dreaming.

Yet here we are. For the past six weeks, I’ve been working on a System76 Pangolin laptop without ever giving a thought to the fact that I am not using Windows. Everything just works. The operating system is integrated with the hardware. The hardware is outstanding (more on that below), and I am hard-pressed to find anything to complain about.

AMD Inside

Photograph: System76

System76 has been making Linux laptops longer than most of the big names it now competes against, and in most respects, it’s way ahead. The Pangolin line launched two years ago as the company’s first AMD laptop, and the latest iteration features a Ryzen 7 6800U processor, with 32 gigabytes of RAM and up to 16 terabytes of SSD storage. 

The 16-terabyte model does not come cheap. The base Pangolin is a reasonable $1,299, which gets you a single 250-gigabyte SSD (with a slot for a second). Fully decked out at 16 terabytes, you’re looking at $4,213. Most people don’t need that much storage, but I especially like having two drive slots, which gives you the flexibility to upgrade down the road.

The 15-inch screen is my least favorite part of this laptop—it’s just too big for me—but if you love a huge screen and a 10-key number pad, the Pangolin delivers. This laptop gets some major bonus points for the matte display, as it reduces the amount of glare, making it easier to read. The screen has a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution and a 144-Hz refresh rate, which is nice for gaming too. Unlike some of System76’s other laptops, there is no 4K option for the Pangolin, which is a shame.

The size makes the Pangolin on the heavy side at just shy of 4 pounds. That’s not overly heavy for a 15-inch laptop, but it definitely feels large coming from a 2.5-pound 13-inch laptop. The build quality is great. It’s not quite ThinkPad-level great, but it’s as close as you’re going to get without buying a ThinkPad.

This Pangolin remains impressively thin at under an inch, despite the plethora of ports that System76 has packed in. There’s Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, a single USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port (with DisplayPort support, but not Thunderbolt), three USB-A ports, a 3.5-mm headphone/microphone combo jack, and a full-size SD card reader (which can be used to boot as well). I can’t tell you how much I miss full-size SD card readers. Also note that, unlike the previous model, this laptop can charge over USB-C. System76 provides a barrel-style charge cord, but I primarily charged it using my own USB-C charger (this Satechi).

System76 has included a physical webcam kill switch for privacy. I was curious how this works, and after a bit of tinkering, I discovered that it does indeed completely cut off power to the camera. It’s a nice little feature for those that want it—saves you some electrical tape.

2022 at System76: A Year in Review

It’s that time of year again…to end it! In preparation for the New Year, we’re taking a look back at the milestones we reached in 2022.


This year, we’ve moved into a new phase across a number of projects. It feels like we’re further honing our craft in these areas to the point where we’re reaching a next step as a company, and we’re excited for what’s to come!

The Launch Keyboard Line

Following the release of the Launch Configurable Keyboard in 2021, 2022 saw the addition of two more open source keyboards: The Launch Lite and the Launch Heavy. The 65% Launch Lite and full-sized Launch Heavy rounded out our keyboard line with both a smaller, portable option and a 105-key keyboard with a NumPad.

Next up, we’re looking into adding ISO and other layouts to these three keyboards; more on that in 2023!

Thelio Redesign

Our flagship open hardware desktop got a sizable redesign this fall. We slimmed down the wood wrapping on Thelio desktops into a sleeker accent panel on the front of the system. In addition to enjoying a more modern design, Thelio users now have the option to swap accents whenever they please. You can match your mood, your environment, your workflow, even your holiday socks. Accents include Walnut or Birch wood, laser-etched PCB traces, and Neptune Blue, Martian Red, and Farout Pink powder-coated aluminum.

As a fun project, you can also opt to make your own DIY accent with the Maker Accent! Check out our guide on best practices for working with the raw aluminum panel…and show us your design when it’s done!

Pop!_OS 22.

04 LTS

The latest long-term support release of Pop!_OS introduced Automatic Updates and the System76 Scheduler. With Automatic Updates, users can schedule a day and time to update their OS and applications. Meanwhile, the System76 Scheduler increases your system’s performance by having your computer prioritize the window in focus, aka directing more resources to the one you’re working in.

And on a proud note: Linux Unplugged announced Pop!_OS as Best Desktop Linux Distro of 2022!

COSMIC DE (Scroll down for the latest news!)

On the software side, we’re building our own desktop environment (user interface + the underlying software that makes it function) for Pop!_OS, with the help of open source projects such as iced-tk, Slint, Smithay, and many more. This venture will help us accomplish a few things all at once:

  • Transitioning Pop!_OS to the Rust codebase, which is more secure and less resource-intensive
  • Give our engineers and UX designers more flexibility in adding new features
  • Further refining the UX of Pop!_OS to be more in line with our philosophy
  • Contributing back to the open source community by sharing and collaborating with development projects used in COSMIC DE

Last month, we posted an update on where things stand with this project and what we hope to achieve. This month, we have a smaller update for you below!

Desktop Giveaway: NVIDIA RTX A4500-Powered Thelio Mira Workstation

PNY, NVIDIA, and System76 have teamed up to give away a System76 Thelio Mira Workstation! Check out the Watch3Win contest for details on entering. There are 16 ways to enter! Deadline for entry is January 31st.


Launch Heavy has arrived!

As we said above, our fully configurable, fully open source full-sized keyboard is finally here!

Thelio Mega redesign

Now that Thelio Mega has been redesigned, swappable accents are now available with four out of our five desktop options! The new designs take some work to scale up to larger sizes, so last up is Thelio Massive.

New desktop processors

Thelio and Thelio Major join Thelio Mira in offering AMD Ryzen™ 7000-Series processor options alongside 13th Gen Intel. These AMD processors feature significantly higher clock speeds from the previous generation (~4. 5GHz vs ~3.5GHz).

Thelio Major also has an Intel i9-13900KS option, a 24-core, 32-thread behemoth that’s 10% faster than the previous top i9-13900K model. For tasks like compiling code or rendering video, this saves users a lot of waiting.


Hello, hello! Alex here again with the latest on the upcoming COSMIC DE. While festive December makes it one of the slower months for finishing such a massive engineering venture, our code savants have been maintaining steady forward progress to our destination.

Slint toolkit

The developers of Slint reached out to System76 inquiring about integrating their toolkit into Pop!_OS COSMIC. While the Iced toolkit is designed for Rust-based software, Slint provides development resources to developers writing in other programming languages as well. For example, this second toolkit would enable JavaScript developers to build JavaScript applications or applets for COSMIC DE.


Accessibility is always a factor to consider when talking about toolkits. Are the applications developed on and for Pop!_OS compatible with accessibility features like screen readers? We took a look at AccessKit, a project written in Rust which aims to combine accessibility code from various UI toolkits across the open source ecosystem into a cross-platform, multi-language accessibility infrastructure. Their AT-SPI (Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface) integration is coming along nicely, so it may be time to integrate AccessKit into COSMIC DE.

Top Bar Redesign & Applets

The right corner menu of the top bar is being reworked into several different menus, called applets. Each applet has its own focus and icon, so your computer settings can be viewed at a glance from the desktop. As of now, these are the applets used in COSMIC DE:

  • Audio
  • Battery
  • Graphics
  • Network
  • Notifications
  • Power
  • Time
  • Workspaces

As of this month, these applets are now integrated in iced. New features are making their way into the applets as well, like with the Power & Battery applet. Here, we’ve added a toggle for battery-safe charging, which extends the lifespan of your battery by only charging your system up to 80%. The battery icons will change to reflect this mode.

Open source contributions

Open source is a give and take; with the help of existing projects, we can build COSMIC DE to provide the experience we envision. In turn, the pieces we add are contributed back to those projects and help them grow stronger.

In December, our engineer Michael added .svg styling support to COSMIC DE to support our icons. This support is now merged into Iced!

MouseListener is another feature awaiting approval to merge with Iced. This feature allows programmers to set application functionality to respond to mouse inputs — things like clicking-and-dragging a window, right-clicking to open a menu, or middle-click to open a file are made possible with MouseListener.

Jeremy, System76’s Principal Engineer, is now a member of the Rust-windowing group on GitHub. Using their Softbuffer tool, he’s created a software rendering (CPU rendering) backend for Iced, which will be submitted to the project in the near future.

That’s all for this month! Happy New Year to everyone who made this year possible. (And a special secret shoutout to the Illuminati, who may or may not have made everyone make this year possible.)

Fallout 76 Review | GameMAG



This is not how we envisioned Fallout’s online debut. Big review of Fallout 76


Alexey Sarafanov (ASarafanov)


Mikhail Shaginyan (ACE)

Denis Korolev (SkyerIst)

22. 11.2018 17:34


popular emotion articles




Bethesda Game Studios


Bethesda Softworks



An online version of Fallout’s cult series could have appeared a long time ago, but due to rights issues, this hasn’t happened all these years. At least some implementation of this concept, we received only now – with the release of Fallout 76 .

The game tells the story of the inhabitants of Vault 76, who are faced with the task of reviving the US state of Virginia 25 years after a nuclear war. The plot begins after a noisy party in honor of the opening of the shelter doors. In the morning, your character wakes up alone, and after choosing the appearance, local robots teach you the basics of gameplay, telling you about the need to use stimulants and S.P.E.C.I.A.L. “.

At the same time, the hero finds several notes from the caretaker of the shelter, who needs to get to the nuclear warheads. Now your main task is to find the caretaker.

The player starts his adventure in the wasteland with a weak character – all his parameters are equal to one. The hero is given a pack of cards with perks: each card belongs to a certain S.P.E.C.I.A.L. and has a level of pumping. Inserting these cards into options unlocks new perks. The number of inserted cards is limited by the level of the parameter: the sum of the card levels should not exceed the level of your current S.P.E.C.I.A.L. Let’s say if our strength is pumped by six, then we can insert six cards with level one, or two with level three.

Standard cards are upgraded up to three levels and their properties are enhanced, however, there are versions without upgrading, as well as legendary cards that can only be used after a certain level.

Cards are issued for leveling up a character and can be passed on to other players. To upgrade a card, you need a duplicate of it. Three duplicates make a third-level card.

The system turned out to be really interesting and opens up with friends from a new side, as the exchange of cards can make survival and combat easier.

At the same time, pumping has become less transparent. In Fallout 4 , it was clear what needed to be done and what to upgrade in order to get a certain skill or perk. In Fallout 76 , skills drop out randomly in cards, so you can only level up, hoping that with the next Level Up you will get the right one. This becomes a big problem when, for example, you need a “gunsmith” card to upgrade your weapons more efficiently, but where to get it is not clear. Pray to the god of randomness.

Also, sometimes the game somehow incomprehensible, perhaps randomly gives you additional sets of cards without increasing the level. Why this happens and how to influence it, we still do not understand. And this is sad, because the role-playing system allows you to create interesting and more flexible builds than in Fallout 4 .

Crafting and building in Fallout 76 has also been changed. You can build your camp in almost any territory by placing a portable C.A.M.P. on the ground, which outlines the area available to you. Feels like it’s less than Fallout 4 , and the number of items is also less than before. Nevertheless, a lot of fittings and various decorations, defensive buildings, electrical appliances, and so on appeared here. For example, you can now put locks on your devices and doors to prevent other players from using them.

However, the ability to make some interesting mechanisms disappeared somewhere. Now you cannot build traps for animals and monsters, you cannot also create a device that cleanses you of radiation, and some other things familiar from the last game.

In Fallout 76 , the ammo crafting workbench from New Vegas returned, while others were carried over from the fourth installment of the series: the weapon workbench, the armor workbench, the power armor workbench, the cooking area.

Building and crafting requires resources, which are obtained from the trash collected as you explore the game world. Or from special mining devices at public bases – special workbenches, upon capturing which you get a resource collection point. There are about five of these on the map. This greatly reduces the amount of grinding, especially if you study the wasteland closely. Capturing these points also provides you with some rare ingredients in the required amount.

If you wish, you can grow the ingredients by hand on your own C.A.M.P. base, so that you always have at hand, for example, glue, which is needed absolutely always and everywhere.

The system is interesting and will appeal to everyone who liked crafting and building in Fallout 4 . However, even here it was not without drawbacks. In Fallout 76 , there is no infinite workbench from the fourth part, there is a small chest of Vault-Tec that limits you in your adventures. The purpose of its existence is absolutely incomprehensible – it is constantly overflowing, as a result, you have to throw away cool guns and armor, which you absolutely don’t want to do.

Standard world situation Fallout 76 : The player, after completing a difficult quest, returns home with a ton of loot, including a couple of high-level cannons, but cannot put everything in the chest due to limited space. This huge miscalculation of designers causes the most negative emotions, up to the desire to abandon the game.

Survival system leaves even more mixed impressions. As mentioned above, the player needs to drink and eat. And if everything is fine with water (you can build a water purifier in your home, and you will never suffer from dehydration), then everything is completely sad with the power system. You can only really eat food that you have prepared by hand, but the problem is that food has an expiration date and it rots too quickly. It gets ridiculous: you got ready to go, prepared a meal for the character, decided that you would go on foot, and not by fast moving, but by the time you find yourself in a hot shootout on the quest, all the food in your inventory is rotten, and if there is, then you will contract diseases and get negative bonuses.

Taking into account the fact that you cannot find normal food anywhere nearby, and there is often nowhere to cook it in the middle of a field or a lair of super mutants, this problem will haunt you constantly and simply ruin the experience of the game.

Fast travel helps a little, but some areas you haven’t been to yet can’t teleport. In addition, if you constantly use fast travel, then you will definitely miss new interesting locations and additional quests.

Fallout 76 also has weapon wear, but fortunately, resources for repairs are almost always available, and you can take an extensive arsenal with you, so it’s not as scary as food horrors.

The choice of guns in Fallout 76 is huge: there are familiar types of weapons from previous parts, as well as new options, such as single-shot muskets that fire lead balls (very powerful weapons against strong enemies, although very slow), new smoothbore pistols, double-barreled shotguns, rocket launchers and so on.

V.A.T.S. has been adapted for online mode and works the same way as in Fallout 4 , but at the same time it has lost the stylish time dilation and spectacular cut-scenes with limbs blown off. This is sad, but expected, given the multiplayer format of the project.

You will have to shoot at an extensive bestiary in which you will meet both old and new opponents. The monsters associated with the history of West Virginia are really interesting: rajabs, mega-sloths, mothman, flatwood monsters, white creatures and others. Some of them will be associated with interesting quests. You definitely won’t have time to get bored of the variety of enemies, besides, the local riddle with the Burnt Ones will not give you rest. You will be interested to know where they came from, why they freeze in strange poses and why the whole world of the game is inhabited by them.

The concept of location design continues the ideas of the previous parts, offering a deep exploration of the environment. The world of Fallout 76 is interesting, really big and rich. At the same time, there is not a single NPC here, except for talking robots. Bethesda managed to make locations that are visible from afar, and you want to go and see what’s there. Factories, cafes, buildings, city streets, bunkers, mines, unique buildings, villages – Virginia abounds with all this.

The areas are varied and filled with loot, and the developers encourage curiosity. Even in the most inconspicuous areas, you can find a voice recording with a quest, a Vault Boy bobblehead with temporary bonuses, a box with lids, a blueprint for a workbench, weapon modifications, and much more.

The quests in the game are interesting, except for the main plot, which looks like a set of audio messages with the character’s story. In side missions, the game is revealed much better. If you read notes and messages on terminals, listen to audio diaries, you will be able to enjoy the depth of the lore – it is spelled out perfectly here.

Fallout 76 cannot be called a full-fledged numbered part of the series, but the project takes the role of a branch more than confidently. The game explains all the logical fan questions, including why the Brotherhood of Steel is in the game, why there was no mention of Vault 76, why the Enclave is in the game, and why there are so many robots around, but no human NPCs. And a lot of other questions that will be of interest to those who follow lore Fallout will not go unnoticed.

Despite the fact that F76 has very interesting quests, like the mission with the Fire Breathers faction and the quest with the Goldmine Mining Factory project, the storytelling style is very tiring. You, like in old RPGs, need to read tons of text. Of course, the messages are well written, and part of the story of the game is revealed through the environment, but there is no beautiful production with expensive videos and nice camera work during the dialogues (as well as the dialogues themselves) in the project. But the tasks could be much more interesting with the participation of full-fledged NPCs and other attributes of past games in the series and the modern industry as a whole.

On the other hand, given that there are very few real players on the huge map, the feeling of loneliness while exploring the environment and learning history through long-abandoned locations creates a feeling of isolation and creates a deep atmosphere.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few memorable quests. Most of the time is taken away by missions in the style of “go, collect, bring” and “go, kill”. There are a lot more of them than we would like, and the main problem is that they almost do not carry an interesting story, but rest only on addictive mechanics.

And we were categorically disappointed by joint assignments. In Fallout 76 these missions are made as public events from the first Destiny , the only difference is that they are heavily bugged and sometimes they simply cannot be completed alone. The situation is often repeated when only you come to such an event, where you meet a huge flock of ghouls, which immediately crushes you in quantity. It is absolutely impossible to do something in this case.

Sometimes high level enemies just appear out of thin air. Possibly a bug, but it is likely that this is just a “genius” game design, as such tasks do not have level recommendations, and a squad of super opponents can appear out of nowhere with a huge difference in strength compared to other enemies of the event.

Given the game’s online orientation, the interaction between users was a complete letdown. It is impossible to play normal PvP mode, because no one plays it. There are only two competitive modes. In one, we are offered to stand on one of the two belligerents and defend the fort. The problem is that there is no matchmaking and players need to first come to the skirmish site in a certain location … It is quite obvious that out of 25 people who are wandering somewhere on a huge map, no one will ever gather for full-fledged PvP in this case. In general, it is not clear what the developers were thinking when they did this. It feels like game designers have never created or even played multiplayer games.

In another mode, you need to tune in to the wave in your Pip-Boy, and if three other players do this together with you, the hunt will begin. As I wrote above, no one plays these modes. You can wait for hours for one of the players to take part in the competition, but in fact nothing happens – it’s easier to forget and continue to do more productive things.

Visual overview

Addictive gameplay

Atmosphere – it envelops and absorbs

Dull AI

nauseating graphics

Tough bosses

Lots of bugs

creation of char



We found it funny, even very


Lots of loot

difficulty due to the number of enemies

Monotony – having to repeat the same actions thousands of times

Open world

This soundtrack makes you want to listen to holes

Giant robots, again

Popular series – this game already has millions of fans

Famous developer – we love and respect him

Violence and blood

Cool guns

Subtitles for the deaf and dumb

Asshole rupture detected

Suitcases did not arrive

deal with it always online

The visual overview is based on the main features of the game and
addition to the main review.

Surprisingly, the presence of special PvP modes in the game is not even directly mentioned anywhere, so many users simply do not know about the existence of these options. It is possible that Bethesda itself forgot about PvP in Fallout 76 . The only option to fight with a real player is to find him in the open world and shoot. If he responds in kind, a duel will begin.

You can also trade with other gamers if you offer an exchange, show a couple of gestures, or team up to complete quests together. But even this almost never happens due to the catastrophically weak density of players scattered across a huge map. Therefore, it is better to play Fallout 76 with friends.

Another stupid decision of the developers is to put you on the wanted list for accidentally hitting another player’s building with a bullet or an axe. If you are fighting a legendary super mutant, and the wave from your grenade explosion accidentally touches someone’s building, then a reward of several dozen caps is automatically hung for your game head. This means that the display of all players from the map disappears for you, and for them you are a red dot that you need to kill and deprive of the loot. Almost like in the TV series “ Black Mirror ”.

Moreover, if you die, your trash, which is used for crafting, remains lying on the corpse. It can be picked up by any player, as well as you, if after the revival you manage to reach your body first. Fortunately, armor, weapons, ammo and medicines always remain with you.

It’s a shame that Zenimax didn’t seem to focus test and missed the opportunity to make a full multiplayer Fallout . I wish there were more interactions between players, more cooperative missions, more PvP activities… The developers didn’t even make public dungeons for the group. If you do not have a friend with the game, then you definitely will not get the proper pleasure from Fallout 76 .

Other things made it to release in a simplified form. Fallout 76 introduced new disease and mutation mechanics, but Bethesda was originally presented in a much more colorful way. Mutations are obtained from a strong exposure to radiation and can give you both a positive and a negative bonus. In turn, diseases add only negative bonuses and come from sleeping on the floor, staying in water for a long time and eating rotten meat.

I received a mutation that took away one point of intelligence, but allowed me to jump three times higher than usual. The other allowed you to carry more cargo and move faster. At the same time, radiation infection was not limited in time and took almost half the health. And you can get sick, for example, with bone worms, due to which the damage to your limbs will be increased.

All this is very interesting, but at the presentation of Todd Howard promised almost visual changes, for example, in the form of a third hand. In practice, we get a change in stats, which sometimes have little effect on gameplay. Diseases appear on average for 15-30 minutes and are treated with medicines. Mutations disappear after taking antiradin…

The technical component of the project is generally a complete failure. Fallout 76 came out so raw that we still don’t quite understand how Sony and Microsoft missed it on the market. The framerate sags regularly and very strongly under a variety of circumstances, even on the most powerful console – Xbox One X . The servers are terrible and sometimes just unavailable – and you can’t play. Often you get into a world with a high ping, and then the gameplay turns into hell. Shots are registered three to five seconds after hitting, objects are collected with a delay, players move in jerks, you are constantly thrown back … Add to this a very unstable frame rate and you get just an indescribable cocktail of feces that the developers give you to drink at full cost.

The graphics are very jagged. Of course, the location design looks atmospheric, there are many interesting places, but sometimes the lighting simply breaks down. There are two non-playable times of day in Fallout 76 – early morning (not always) and night. In the first case, a cotton-like haze may appear, through which a huge bright sprite of the rays of the sun hits you directly into the camera. In such joy, absolutely nothing is visible at a distance of two meters. Fortunately, the weather changes quickly, and such trash happens mainly in forest and mountainous areas.

At night, the whole game in any open space turns into a gray mess without shadows and light sources. The picture in this case looks like a disgusting gray mess, in which it is difficult to distinguish between objects, and even more so small items when collecting loot.

These issues were not present in Fallout 4 , which looked and worked much better. One gets the impression that most of the game was made not by Bethesda , but by Chinese outsourcers together with the Vietnamese. ..

The game is full of bugs. Enemies appear out of thin air. In quests where you have to shoot waves of enemies, the last enemy constantly gets stuck in the textures, and you have to go and look for him in order to activate the desired script. Sometimes you can’t even get out of the workbench: the character does not react to your actions, and the animation plays twice.

The economy in the game is broken. You can trade with dedicated robots, but the entire range is prohibitively expensive. For example, stimpacks that you use in large quantities during battles cost almost 100 caps apiece. Considering that you can find no more than 5-10 caps in the wasteland, and the reward for a difficult and long quest is about 60-70 caps, and you constantly spend about 10-20 caps to quickly move around the map, it is easier to look for medicines and other things in the wasteland.

Blueprints for building various items such as tables or chairs can cost a whopping 250-300 caps, which is on average half of your budget at levels 15-16. At the same time, you can sell your things for a miserable 1-5 caps, a maximum of 10-50. And then, this applies to very strong guns in excellent condition and rare power armor…

  • Comments
  • Forum

    Fallout 76 needs some serious work. Strange decisions made by game designers make it difficult to comfortably explore an interesting world. Interaction with other players is minimal and completely unjustified for an online project. Sometimes you get the feeling that there is no online at all. The new mechanics don’t look as impressive as they promised us in early presentations, and the lack of optimization on consoles, a ton of bugs, and a terrible economy completely spoil the experience. It’s a shame that behind a thick layer of problems, few dare to appreciate the interesting world and the work of the scriptwriters, who appropriately entered a sufficient number of interesting quests into the lore of the universe. For Fallout 76 has already released a 50 GB patch, which at first glance slightly improved the optimization and closed some of the problems, for example, with the display of the interface that went beyond the screen. But in order to save the game, this is clearly not enough. Bethesda needs to rethink their production process, do some serious work on all the bugs, add full-fledged NPC quests and normal PvP. Now we have a very raw alpha version of a potentially good game, and not a full-fledged continuation of the cult and respected series.

    Game completed on:


    Correct topics:


    evil shit

    not necessary

    5 5-6
    public catering

    just right

    very cool


    Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.

    8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) (A16) Lens Review – Part 1 – Introduction, Construction, Specifications

    Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF ) (A16) is a versatile zoom lens designed for installation on digital SLR cameras with an APS-C format matrix (about 24×16 mm in size). An important feature of the lens is the high aperture of F / 2.8, which remains unchanged over the entire range of focal lengths.

    In addition to the text review that you are currently reading, there is its video version –
    for those who are more comfortable watching and listening than reading: pixel scale 1:1.

    I note that the text version is still somewhat more detailed,
    allows you to consider the given crops for an arbitrarily long time,
    and also allows you to download full-size images.

    The letters included in the full name of the lens tell a lot about its most important properties. “SP” stands for “Super Performance” as Tamron labels its highest quality models. The abbreviation “AF” indicates the presence of Auto Focus, the abbreviation “Di” (from Digitally Integrated Design) indicates that the lens is designed for digital cameras, and the Roman deuce “II” clarifies – “with an APS-C format matrix.” The abbreviation “IF” stands for “Internal Focusing” (internal focusing).

    The active use of aspherical elements in the optical scheme is indicated by the abbreviations “XR” (Extra Refractive Index) – such lenses optimize the distribution of optical power and reduce various aberrations to an absolute minimum, while ensuring the compactness of the product as a whole; as well as “LD” (Low Dispersion) – such elements reduce longitudinal and transverse chromatic aberrations, which is the most important factor for obtaining high image quality over the entire zoom range.

    More specifically, the optical design of the Tamron 17-50/2.8 (A16) lens consists of 16 elements in 13 groups, including 1 LD element, 1 XR element and 2 hybrid aspherical elements. The seven aperture blades are rounded to create soft bokeh in out-of-focus areas.

    Multilayer antireflection coatings are applied not only to single elements in the optical scheme, but also to the inner surfaces of elements glued into a group (Internal Surface Coating). According to the manufacturer, this approach reduces the risk of glare and halos in the pictures to an absolute minimum.

    The name of the lens also includes the additional designation A16 – this is how Tamron numbers each of its products.

    The Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) (A16) lens is available in mount versions for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony systems. This is not a new model, it has been consistently popular with photographers for many years.

    The Tamron lens (A16) should be distinguished from the SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) (B005) version, which, unlike the hero of our review, is equipped with an image stabilization system (hence the “VC” in name, Vibration Correction), but it is significantly more expensive. This modification is available only for Canon and Nikon systems.

    The finish of the body is good, the lens looks solid and durable. It’s not that tiny, but very small, by the standards of SLR cameras, and weighs a little – 434 grams (in the Nikon version; I had a lens with a D5200 camera on the test).

    There are two control rings on the frame. Closer to the camera is the zoom ring, or zoom. It is wide, about three centimeters, has a rubber corrugation. The rotation is not quite “like clockwork”, but soft enough, while working, it does not distract attention to itself. Rotation range optimal – 90 degrees. As the focal length increases, the lens barrel extends evenly, and not too much; on the range from 17 to 50 mm, the total travel is quite moderate 3 centimeters.

    The lens barrel has a focal length scale marked 17, 24, 35 and 50mm. These are absolute values; when installed on cameras with a “cropped”, as many say, APS-C format matrix, for which it is designed, the equivalent focal length increases. The manufacturer indicates the average conversion factor – 1.55x, and a more accurate value can be obtained based on the size of the matrix of a particular camera model. For example, for Nikon D5200 it turns out 1.52x (in this case, the physical zoom range of 17-50 mm turns into 26-76 mm “in film equivalent”), and for Canon cameras the coefficient will be 1.6x (and the zoom range is about 27-80 equiv. mm).

    The rotation of the zoom ring can be locked (only in one position, 17mm) to prevent unintentional changes in focal length. To do this, move a small latch marked LOCK towards the camera.

    The manual focus ring is located closer to the front lens. It is narrower than the zoom ring – on the order of a centimeter; perhaps because manual focus is a much less frequently used feature than zooming.

    On the left of the frame, just under the thumb of the left hand, is the AF / MF focus mode switch (in the illustration it is to the left of the “50” mark):

    The rotation range of the manual focus ring is small, about 45 degrees. The focusing distance scale is made in two units of measurement – in meters and feet:

    The minimum focusing distance is 27 cm, which is very small for a lens of this type. In this case, the maximum scale is approximately 1:4.5, that is, you can get a magnification of 0.22x – quite strong for a lens that is not specialized for macro photography.

    The Tamron 17-50/2.8 (A16) lens has internal focusing, that is, the front lens does not rotate or extend when focusing. This allows you to use gradient and polarizing filters with all the conveniences. The thread diameter for their installation is 67 mm.

    The lens does not have an aperture ring (the aperture is set in the camera), and accordingly, there is no depth of field scale.

    Bayonet fastening – metal, reliable. Not plastic, like many budget zoom lenses:

    The lens comes with a lens hood (model DA09), which is made of thick plastic. Its shape is typical for wide-angle lenses – two large petals (top and bottom) and two smaller ones (on the sides). The inner surface is corrugated.

    Don’t be surprised if you see 2875 on the lens hood (and it is produced by Tamron itself and third-party manufacturers). It’s just that this model also fits the Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F / 2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical lens [ IF]MACRO.

    The lens hood is clearly fixed in the bayonet mount, and in the transport position it can be turned towards the camera, while the focusing ring is almost completely covered, however, access to the zoom ring is preserved, so that if necessary, taking the camera out of the bag, you can start working very quickly. quickly, leaving the hood upside down.

    If you are considering purchasing the Tamron 17-50/2.8 (A16) as your standard zoom lens, alternative options are available. For example, Sigma AF 17-50mm F / 2.8 EX DC OS HSM, which matches it in basic parameters (zoom 17-50 mm and constant aperture F / 2.8). While working on the review, I managed to get this model for a while and compare the two lenses.

    The lenses are similar in most respects. Sigma also has a metal bayonet mount, internal focusing, zooming by extending the tube. The diaphragm is also seven-bladed with rounded petals. The frame has both an AF/MF switch and a 17mm zoom lock. Quality finish.

    Although these lenses are in the same weight class, the Sigma is still somewhat larger than the Tamron and heavier (565 grams vs. 434). The diameter of the front lens is also larger (the thread for filters is 77 and 67 mm, respectively).

    The essential difference is that that Sigma, unlike Tamron, is equipped with an optical image stabilization system, and therefore its cost is higher. How much higher is difficult to say unambiguously; depends both on the place of purchase, its reliability and official delivery, and on the current moment. Now the search shows a difference in price from 10 to 50 percent.

    Another important point, in my opinion, is the direction of rotation of the zoom ring. There is no single standard for which direction rotation takes the lens to telephoto (often referred to as T), and which direction to wide angle (W). Some manufacturers have the wide-angle position on the scale on the left, and the tele-position on the right (it turns out like W-T), but for others it is the other way around (T-W). In our case, Sigma has focal lengths from 17 to 50 mm (W-T), and Tamron – from 50 to 17 mm (T-W), and this is preserved in the modifications of these lenses for different systems (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony) .

    I tested lenses with a Nikon D5200 camera. It turned out that the direction of Tamron (T-W) coincided with that adopted in the Nikon system, and Sigma (W-T) had to be rotated “in the opposite” direction.

    Since when writing reviews (and I did about four hundred of them) I have to constantly jump from system to system, I already know that in the first couple of hours you get used to the direction of rotation, and then this is no longer a problem. However, if you remain within the same system, but at the same time you have several lenses in your arsenal that rotate in different directions, then, in my opinion, this is not very convenient. Of course, you can get used to everything in the world, but still keep in mind that for Sigma 17-50 / 2.8, the direction of rotation of the zoom ring coincides with the Canon (W-T) system, while for Tamron 17-50 / 2.8 – with Nikon, Pentax and Sony (T-W).

    Specifications Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) (A16)

    Manufacturer Tamron
    Model Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF)
    Item No. A16
    Bayonet Canon EF-S, Nikon F (DX), Pentax KAF, Sony Alpha
    Focal length 17–50 mm
    APS-C 35mm focal length about 26–78 eq. mm

    27-80 for Canon
    26-76 for Nikon

    Zoom ratio 2.95x
    Angle of view 78° – 31°
    Optical design 16 elements in 13 groups, including 1 LD (low dispersion), 1 XR (super high refraction) and 2 hybrid aspheric 9 elements0433
    Aperture blades 7, rounded
    Maximum aperture F/2.8
    Minimum aperture F/32
    Iris step 1/3 EV (aperture set in camera)
    Diaphragm ring No
    Distance scale Yes, in meters (0. 27, 0.5, 0.7. 1, 3) and feet (0.89, 1.5, 2, 3, 7), infinity
    Depth of field scale No
    Zoom control Manual, ring rotation, with extension tube, with 17 mm detent
    Zoom scale marking 17 – 24 – 36 – 50 mm
    Focus range 27 cm – ∞
    Maximum magnification 0.22x (1:4.5)
    Image stabilization No
    AF/MF switch On lens barrel
    Ring Drive MF Mechanical
    Internal focus Yes
    Filter thread 67 mm
    Protected version No
    Maximum diameter 74.