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Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO review

December 2008 | By Andy Westlake

The latest design to emerge from the stable of superzoom experts Tamron, the AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO was announced in July 2008. The length of the zoom range is almost as remarkable as that of the lens's name itself, with the 15x ratio covering everything from a 28mm equivalent wideangle to a 420mm equivalent telephoto. This is unprecedented in terms of SLR optics, and is clearly aimed at users upgrading from superzoom digicams who require a similar focal length range without the inconvenience of changing lenses. It also makes a compelling option as an all-in-one travel/'walkabout' solution. A minimum focus distance of just 0.5m throughout the zoom range, and the incorporation of optical image stabilization (or 'Vibration Compensation' as Tamron call it) enhance the lens's flexibility still further. It is available only in mounts for Canon and Nikon DSLRs; presumably Pentax and Sony owners will continue to be served by Tamron's existing 18-250mm F3.5-6.3, with image stabilization provided by the camera body.

Making a lens with such an extraordinary range is always gong to require some pretty clever engineering, and Tamron's design team have clearly been burning the midnight oil on this one. The optical formula features no fewer than 18 elements in 13 groups, including three aspherical elements and two Low Dispersion (LD) glass elements for the control of aberrations. A 'double-trombone' mechanical design allows the lens to almost double in length between 18mm and 270mm, whilst keeping the overall size and weight very similar to competing 18-200mm lenses.

The 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 VC will compete head-to-head in the 'stabilized superzoom' market with the Canon EF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 IS, Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX, and Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS, but offering the benefit of substantially extended telephoto range. Tamron hails it as 'The Ultimate All-In-One Zoom: Longest, Steadiest Lens On Earth', and while it seems likely that this phrase may have lost something in translation, it does give a good impression the lens's appeal. But can such a general-purpose optic actually be any good?

Headline features

  • 27-405mm equivalent focal length range; F3.5-6.3 maximum aperture
  • Vibration Compensation (VC) optical image stabilisation (up to 4 stops)
  • Available for Canon EF mount and Nikon F mount (APS-C/DX format DSLRs only)

Angle of view

The pictures below illustrate the (frankly extraordinary) focal length range from wide to telephoto (on Nikon DX format, 1.5x).

18mm (27mm equivalent) 270mm (405mm equivalent)

Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO specifications

Street price • US: $599
• UK: £450
Date introduced July 2008
Maximum format size APS-C/DX
Focal length 18-270mm
35mm equivalent focal length
• 27-405mm (1.5x DX)
• 29-432mm (1.6x APS-C)
Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C) 74º - 6º
Maximum aperture F3.5-6.3
Minimum aperture F22-40
Lens Construction • 18 elements/13 groups
• 2 LD glass elements
• 3 aspherical elements
Number of diaphragm blades 7, rounded
Minimum focus 0.49m
Maximum magnification 0.29x
AF motor type Micro Motor
Focus method Internal
Image stabilization • Yes, up to 4 stops
Filter thread • 72mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories* • Front and rear caps
• Lens Hood AB0003
Weight 560 g (19.8 oz)
Dimensions 80 mm diameter x 101 mm length
(3.1 x 3.9 in)
Lens Mount Canon EF, Nikon F

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X, Y, and Z and ideally A, B, and C.

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Total comments: 5

Cheap...Abysmal!!! Used lightly for two years and kept out of heat, cold and moisture (I live in San Diego coast with a year average of 64F) and in a humidity controlled safe - zoom started to bind, then froze, breaking an integral post from within. With over 30 years mechanical, engineering and electronic experience, I disassembled. I was able to repair the barrel post, but zoom still stiff at end limits. Cannot improve this, since it's due to wear on cheap plastic moving parts. During reassembly, AF switch broke molded pins no wider than 5 human hairs rendering that useless. Observations of design and construction of Tamron lenses based on this cheaply constructed lens? It's built as if disposable. Brittle, poor quality materials. Will wear out after 5-10,000 exposures or less than 2 years use. More concerning: The lenses yield soft results (read the reviews). It's a few hundred bucks better spent toward nice heavy "L" lens. Don't waste your time or money being frustrated.


Tamron decline to update my firmware - my lens will not work on my Canon 70D
I just bought a canon 70D body and i love it.
It works great with my sigma lens.
But my Tamron lens 18-270MM F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens didn't work with the body.
While filming video the camera shuts down and say "Ensure a lens is attached".
I contact Tamron regarding this issue. They told me that it needs a firmware update and that i should send my lens with proof of purchase.
They send me an estimate to service and update my lens for $218!!!
I talk with the manager, my lens is 4 yrs old and still under the Tamron 6yr warranty. He declined to give me the warranty service and update the firmware on my lens.
At this point i am very disappointed at Tamron and i will never get an other Tamron lens.
This lens is now useless and i can't used it on my Canon 70D Body. Tamron doesn't stand for what it promise. Don't buy a Tamron lens.

1 upvote


Comment edited 17 seconds after posting

I bought this lens and really liked it at first thinking wow what a great all around carry lens with in One month I had dust inside and its really letting me down it looses contact with the connections and then I loose the shot. I should have stayed with canon . I tried to save money but now Im paying for it. sucks to be me


Highly recommended, Super sharp and versatile

Total comments: 5