Previous news story    Next news story

Just Posted: Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Review

By dpreview staff on Dec 3, 2012 at 19:27 GMT

Just Posted: Our review of the Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, prepared in partnership with DxOMark. In the last of our mini-series examining superzoom lenses for SLRs, we take a look at how Tamron's contender compares to its Sigma and Nikon counterparts that we reviewed recently. This type of all-in-one travel and 'walkaround' lens is enduringly popular, but how does this two-year-old design stand up against its brand-new competitors?

47
I own it
3
I want it
9
I had it
Discuss in the forums
139
I own it
32
I want it
13
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 60
NJOceanView
By NJOceanView (Dec 6, 2012)

I was surprised not to see some comments or data comparing this to the first version of this lens. Those who own that lens are probably wondering whether it's worth an upgrade other than the size and weight.

0 upvotes
robjons
By robjons (Dec 5, 2012)

Thanks for the review and especially for being clear about suggesting the Sigma over the Tamron. Nice to see an actual pick. I get tired of the conclusion, "it all depends on what your needs are..."

0 upvotes
waxwaine
By waxwaine (Dec 4, 2012)

A very useful lens IMHO, not for consolidated artist like the ones we can find here saying they don´t deserve this crappy lens. They are all made for Leica.

Seriously, I think it´s fine but they can do better, but then there could be no photo business anymore.

0 upvotes
matthiasbasler
By matthiasbasler (Dec 4, 2012)

I have this lens. Here is my personal impression:
- Not having to change lenses really IS comfortable.
- Image sharpness is good enough for travel photography. No point in using this lens with 24MP, but on my Nikon D5000 it's sharp enough for everyday use.
- It is clearly in an inferior position compared to the AF-S Nikkkor 70-300 1:4.5-5.6 KIT zoom lens (which is not a top lens either), both with respect of image quality and minimum aperture at 270mm.
- My lens arrived with a strong zoom creep. I sent it in to be repaired. Nikon re-adjusted it without any hassle. Afterwards it was much better. Meanwhile zoom creep is noticable again, but remains acceptable.
- One disturbing thing not mentioned in the review, is, that bright out-of-focus lights can appear not as blurred disks, but as rings! This was prominent on several real-world photos of mine, (e.g. with trees in the background where the sky peeped through the leaves). If you need a pleasent background blur, choose another lens!

2 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Dec 4, 2012)

A Question (of somebody who has not a lot of experience) about "contrast".

On the amazon.com Website, I have read a user-review by "Naftade" of this Tamron zoom lense. Naftade was making comments on the "contrast". From that user-review I got the impression that zoom-lenses (and also other lenses?) where not all equal when it comes to their contrast behavior.

Is that impression correct? Can the difference between lenses on the subject of "contrast" be sufficiently significant to influence a buying decision? If this is the case, could future lense review also rate the contrast?

Thanks in advsance for an answeer and explanations.

1 upvote
acidic
By acidic (Dec 4, 2012)

Some lenses are more contrasty than others. Whether it would factor into a buying decision depends on your shooting and post-processing style and how demanding you are. Personally, I might be willing to compromise and accept a slightly flat lens (depending what the benefits are), since it's pretty easy to make contrast corrections in post.

1 upvote
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Dec 4, 2012)

The performance wide open at 18mm is quite impressive, at least when the 18-270 PDZ is tested on the 7D, but if looking at DxO's test (resolution/profiles) of another sample of the same lens on the D7000, then the lens is much, much softer wide open, while the test results at f/8 is almost indistinguishable for the two cameras. Don't quite know what to make of that.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
zos xavius
By zos xavius (Dec 4, 2012)

Sample variation.

1 upvote
InTheMist
By InTheMist (Dec 4, 2012)

I have this lens for my D5100 that everyone in the house can grab. As an owner of a D800 and the Holy Trinity, I can say that yeah, its not bad - but you have to know what you're getting into:
A nice, compact, affordable do-it-all, but with compromises that will put pixel peepers off!
The VC is very aggressive. Great for video.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
gsum
By gsum (Dec 4, 2012)

Thanks for the review - very useful.

I'm beginning to lose faith in dxo. How can they give this milk bottle such a high rating? Looking at the real world samples, this lens doesn't resolve anywhere near the sensor resolution at any focal length.

2 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Dec 4, 2012)

Yeah, to me this thing relegates a DSLR into a small-senzor travelzoom category (aka Panny TZ-series) IQ-wise.

Nothing wrong with that, but a decent travelzoom is quite a lot more pocketable, I think.

0 upvotes
mehran langari
By mehran langari (Dec 4, 2012)

i wish i had that

0 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Dec 4, 2012)

Good grief! I thought the 18-300 was bad. This thing is a joke past 75mm.
Thanks for the review DPR.

2 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Dec 4, 2012)

A detail that I would like to see improved: In order to make it easy to compare the ratings of "Optical Quality", "Build Quality", ... of different zoom lenses, it is for me (and probably also for others) much simpler to have these ratings provided in form of a numerical values.

The graphical representation of the ratings (as provided in the review of the Tamron Lense) is surely nice; but it is not easy/convenient to compare graphs for two (or more than two) different lenses.

Therefore my suggestion: in future, could you please provide the ratings both in form of numerical values and in form of a graph?

Thanks in advance.

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (Dec 4, 2012)

I wonder how the Pentax version of this lens will fare on a Pentax body, especially the K-5 IIs :)

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
1 upvote
NiallM
By NiallM (Dec 4, 2012)

Just scour Flickr any time soon and there'll be a dedicated group for this particular lens. and some Pentaxians in that group..

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 4, 2012)

The sample images actually look very good. I could see this lens being useful for a traveller or tourist. Also really like when DPR shoots samples in London as it's much more interesting than Seattle (a nice city, but not nearly as much history and cool sites).

1 upvote
NiallM
By NiallM (Dec 4, 2012)

Kurt Cobain's bench is worth a 1,000 Buckingham palaces to some..just sayin..

0 upvotes
robjons
By robjons (Dec 5, 2012)

I value Cobain too, but that's hardly the big picture. In fact world history and development owe a lot to Buckingham Palace, even if indirectly.

0 upvotes
Lelitsch
By Lelitsch (Dec 4, 2012)

I have one question about the tests: Why do all the lenses tested so far seem to have much worse sharpness on a D7000 compared to the 7D? The glass is basically the same as well as the sensor resolution.

Also, one request: Would it be possible to match the intermediate tested focal lengths? The 18-250 has 80mm and 135mm while the 18-270 has 100mm and 200mm.

1 upvote
AP7
By AP7 (Dec 4, 2012)

I also have similar question. When I compare, I found that the test data for 35mm is missing from Sigma 18-200mm II lens.

I think it is better to fix the focal lengths (15/17/18mm, 24/28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70/80/85mm, 105/135mm, 200mm, 250/270/300mm) and f-stops in all test.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Nightwings
By Nightwings (Dec 4, 2012)

Not to toot slrgears horn .. but this is why I like their methods of plotting the weaknesses and strengths of the lens by mapping out a blur index graph. Theoretically, it should not make any difference what camera it's mounted on. (shrugs)

0 upvotes
MiLei
By MiLei (Dec 4, 2012)

I hate to see these lenses. I want them to Full Frame cameras also.

0 upvotes
ZorSy
By ZorSy (Dec 4, 2012)

hate them to exist or what? There are few offerings for FF in range 28-200/300, but combined with even more demanding sensors the compromise becomes more obvious than on DX.

0 upvotes
Retzius
By Retzius (Dec 4, 2012)

99% of the people who buy this lens won't read a review about it, or even check to see if one exists. Instead, how about we review the types of lenses that enthusiasts use, you know, the people who actually read lens reviews.

4 upvotes
Seagull TLR
By Seagull TLR (Dec 4, 2012)

Where did you get the figure 99% from?

8 upvotes
AP7
By AP7 (Dec 4, 2012)

Probably, his own research results. BTW, where it is published, any URL, etc?

0 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Dec 4, 2012)

I am one of those who is potentially interested to buy a similar lense...and who start to read reviews about them.

Thank you dpreview for making such reviews

3 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 4, 2012)

How about you either skip this review, or stop complaining and have a look at the sample images. They look quite good. And I guarantee if you saw an image from this lens at 18mm and one from an 18mm prime, you wouldn't be able to tell which lens shot which photo.

3 upvotes
Thoughts
By Thoughts (Dec 4, 2012)

I guess I am 1% of the people then. I read the review of the previous version. I think DPR did a good job. The lens served me two years till I moved to mirrorless camp.

1 upvote
Gordon W
By Gordon W (Dec 4, 2012)

A rather arrogant elitist attitude, Retzius. I'm a serious enthusiast and as a user of a Canon 18-200, I find these lenses very interesting and I greatly appreciate DPR doing a review of it. Convenience can outweigh perfect IQ. I've sold plenty of photos taken with the 18-200 and had no complaints from purchasers about IQ.

2 upvotes
Clint Dunn
By Clint Dunn (Dec 21, 2012)

It's ok...I agree with you Retzius. Lenses like this one will be sold by the thousands at your local mall.....bought by soccer Moms/Dads to go with their brand new Digital Rebel that they haven't got a clue how to use. 'So should I shoot RAW if I use this lens'?

Yeah...they won't be reading reviews...they don't even understand what a 18-270 focal range is.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Dec 4, 2012)

Amazing why a few totally similar lenses cannot be compared to each other in one single review. This way, you have to dig around and line-up each and every one yourself. Whatever.

4 upvotes
njlarsen
By njlarsen (Dec 3, 2012)

To make this kind of comparison worth while, we also need reviews of the Pana 14-140 and the similar Oly 14-150

Niels

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Dec 4, 2012)

http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympusm14-1504-5p6o20 http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcgh1/17

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 3, 2012)

The most interesting Tamron lens right now is the 24-70 2.8 VC followed by the 70-200 2.8 VC. Stabilized video with the normal zoom looks like a steadicam and and sharpness is quite good. Not as good as the Nikkor 24-70, but not too far off.

2 upvotes
Retzius
By Retzius (Dec 3, 2012)

Let me guess... its sharp stopped down to f8, soft wide open, especially at the long end, and is only recommended if you need an all-in-one convenience lens.

Am i right?

2 upvotes
AP7
By AP7 (Dec 3, 2012)

You are wrong. It is not soft wide open in all the focal lengths and also it is not sharp in f/8 in all the focal lengths.

That's why we need review and lens data!

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Dec 3, 2012)

Is that your standard line for every lens review? Doesn't your neck get tired from turning your nose up at some many optics?

2 upvotes
AP7
By AP7 (Dec 3, 2012)

Thanks for the review. Since test data are ready, please publish following lens review soon:

1. Canon EF-S 18-135mm STM
2. Sigma 18-200mm II DC OS HSM

Also, waiting for:

1. Canon 40mm STM
2. A group review of 18-105mm/125mm/135mm (Sony/Pentax/Canon/Nikon/Sigma)
3. A group review of 18-55mm
4. A group review of 55-200/250/300mm
5. A group review of 50mm f/1.8
6. A group review of 35mm f/1.8

Also, why dxomark does not show lens data for Sigma 18-250mm Macro? How does the resolution scale differ from that of dxomark limiting resolution profile (dxomark: 0-100, dpreview: 0-1875)?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
io_bg
By io_bg (Dec 3, 2012)

That's a good idea for the group reviews.

4 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Dec 3, 2012)

Surprising performance; sharp at wide angle (the hard part) and inferior to a Sigma lens at the other end. But I guess the whole point is convenience.

0 upvotes
AP7
By AP7 (Dec 4, 2012)

The optical performance of Sigma is getting very close to what you overall get from two kit lenses combo. The only issue is the price, which will get down over time.

Other than convenience, Sigma is better built, its front element does not rotate, has faster AF motor and distance scale, etc.

2 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Dec 3, 2012)

That Don't Impress Me Much

0 upvotes
zos xavius
By zos xavius (Dec 3, 2012)

What a piece of junk that isn't even as sharp as the lens it is replacing. How about a review of a real lens for a change?

4 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Dec 3, 2012)

it's things like this that make it all worthwhile

15 upvotes
KonstantinosK
By KonstantinosK (Dec 3, 2012)

Lol!

0 upvotes
KerryBE
By KerryBE (Dec 4, 2012)

For many this is a real lens.

0 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Dec 4, 2012)

Zos, do you mean by "real lens"?

0 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Dec 4, 2012)

A lens that produces pics at least as good as a small sensor camera, I should think.

To my mind there is not much point in getting an APS-C camera to put mediocre/poor lenses on.

2 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (Dec 4, 2012)

Haha, Simon. This lens has its place. Potential buyers just have to know the compromises. Thanks for the review.

0 upvotes
SunnyFlorida
By SunnyFlorida (Dec 3, 2012)

3 Super zooms in a row???

2 upvotes
ZorSy
By ZorSy (Dec 3, 2012)

so people can compare and pick one - DSLR cameras are replacing "superzoom" ones so I find DPR decision to compare the lot quite reasonable. These lenses are heavily compromised, without question. But for a large number of people traveling (light ), having 11-18+18-2xx kit for snapshots may be just right. Tamron used to have what was called "ultimate travel kit" - it seems they are sticking with that idea.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 3, 2012)

plenty more on the way :)

5 upvotes
SunnyFlorida
By SunnyFlorida (Dec 4, 2012)

Yep, and a lot more credibility on the way out

2 upvotes
Makinations
By Makinations (Dec 4, 2012)

Could you explain how they lose credibility by reviewing super zooms?

7 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Dec 4, 2012)

Barney, Thank you in advance for the "plenty more on the way".

Could you please make me some reading recommendations , which will help a "beginner" to better understand and better exploit what these review will describe? For excample recommandations about articles that explain (and illustrate with examples of photos) to beginners what is important for the selection of superzoom.

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Dec 4, 2012)

Barney, in an attempt to try explain my interest (these are of course the interests of just one type of your readers) in the superzoom reviews: after having read some years ago on your website a review about its predecessor, I bought an AF-S Nikkor 18-200 mm lense for my D5000. It is my only lense for that camera and I am quite satisfied with it.

But I am nevertheless interested to learn, whether there are substantialkly better lenses wit a similar zoom range (and a similar or lighter weight). It would be great for me, if I could read a good article (or a couple of them), which will help me to better understand which characteristics are important for zoom lenses and which help me to better benefit from your reviews.

My apologies for asking such questions which are probably quite dumb for the majority of those others more experienced users who read your reviews.

0 upvotes
JEROME NOLAS
By JEROME NOLAS (Dec 3, 2012)

I am surprised by the sharpness at the wide end...

2 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Dec 3, 2012)

Yeah..might as well tape the lens so it does not move out of he 18mm range.

4 upvotes
Total comments: 60