Tamron's 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD was announced in December 2010, as a successor to the well-regarded AF 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO that we reviewed in December 2008. Compared to the previous version, its main attractions are a significant reduction in size and weight, and the addition of an 'Piezo Drive' motor for faster, quieter autofocus. At launch it was also the longest range superzoom available, although it's recently been surpassed by the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR in this respect.

As expected for a modern superzoom, the Canon and Nikon mount versions of the lens feature built-in optical image stabilization via Tamron's 'Vibration Control' system, which promises sharper hand held images at slow shutter speeds. The Sony mount version uses the same optics but without the image stabilization mechanism (and therefore drops 'VC' from its name), relying on the camera's built-in 'SteadyShot' system instead. Tamron doesn't make a Pentax-fit model, but the recently-announced Pentax smc DA 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 ED SDM is in all probability essentially the same lens, again without the VC module.

The Tamron 18-270mm's closest competitor is the Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-5.6 DC Macro OS HSM, a very similarly spec'ed lens that we reviewed recently. The Tamron has a slightly longer zoom range, but the Sigma can focus closer. In this review we'll attempt to nail down the other, less obvious differences between these two third-party contenders.

Headline features

  • Approx. 28-420mm equivalent focal length range; F3.5-6.3 maximum aperture
  • Available for Canon, Nikon, and Sony mounts (APS-C/DX format DSLRs only)
  • In-lens 'Vibration Control' optical image stabilization (excluding Sony version)
  • Piezo Drive (PZD) motor for autofocus
  • 0.49m closest focus (0.26x magnification)

Angle of view

The pictures below illustrate the focal length range from wide to telephoto (on Canon APS-C, 1.6x).

18mm (29mm equivalent) 270mm (430mm equivalent)

Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD specifications

 Price  • $650 (US)
 • £390 (UK)
 Manufacturer's product code  B008
 Date introduced  December 2010
 Maximum format size  APS-C/DX
 Focal length  18-270mm
 35mm equivalent focal length
 • 27-405mm (1.5x APS-C / DX)
 • 29-430mm (1.6x Canon APS-C)
 Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C)  75º - 6º
 Maximum aperture  F3.5-6.3
 Minimum aperture  F22-40
 Lens Construction  • 16 elements / 13 groups
 Number of diaphragm blades  7, rounded
 Minimum focus  0.49m
 Maximum magnification  0.26x
 AF motor type  • Piezo Drive (Micro-type ultrasonic)
 Focus method  Internal
 Image stabilization  • Yes
 Filter thread  • 62mm
 • Does not rotate on focus
 Supplied accessories*  • Front and rear caps
 • Petal-type DA18 Lens Hood 
 Weight  450 g (16.6 oz)
 Dimensions  74.4 mm diameter x 88 mm length (2.9 x 3.5 in)
 Lens Mount  Canon, Nikon, Sony

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area