Gallery and impressions: The Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 is light, sharp and stabilized
|Shot on the Canon EOS 80D.
ISO 800 | 154mm | 1/200 sec | F5.6
The Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di VC USD is a well-priced ($800) telephoto lens with a useful zoom range. Available in both Canon EF and Nikon F mount, this lens is useful on both full-frame and crop bodies, offering a 150-600mm equiv. field of view on the latter. We first saw it at PPE 2017 and were impressed by its reasonable size and weight given its reach – at 1.11 kg / 2.45 lb - it is the lightest lens in its class.
See our Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 sample gallery Optically, the 100-400mm is constructed of 17 elements arranged in 11 groups, including low-dispersion elements to correct for aberrations. It also features multiple coatings to reduce ghosting and flare, as well as a protective fluorine coating on the front element. Image stabilization is crucial when it comes to long zoom lenses and Tamron's optical Vibration Correction system offers the equivalent of 4 stops of correction (CIPA rated).
|Shown with the optional tripod collar attached, sold separately for $130.|
- 100-400mm zoom range
- 150-600mm equiv. field of view on APS-C
- F4.5-6.3 maximum aperture
- VC Image stablization
- Dust and moisture resistant
- Silent AF
- Florine coating on front element
- Minimum focus distance: 1.5m
- Maximum magnification ratio: 1:3.6
- Filter thread: 67mm
- Available in Canon EF and Nikon F mount
Wildlife and outdoor sports shooters can take solace in the fact that this lens is moisture resistant, with eight rubber gaskets, including one at the base of the lens mount. It's compatible with Tamron's TAP-in Console, allowing users to update firmware and/or fine-tune AF. It can also be used with the company's 1.4X and 2X teleconverters. An A035TM accessory tripod collar is sold separately for $130.
|Shot on the Canon EOS 5DS R.
ISO 200 | 100mm | 1/1600 sec | F4.5
Design and Handling
According to Tamron the lightweight design of this lens is mostly due to its magnesium alloy internal construction, though it is worth noting the outer shell of the lens is plastic (the lens mount is metal). The lens telescopes when zoomed, increasing in length about 50%. At its most compact it is about 20 cm / 7.8 in long.
Well-constructed, solid feeling and well-balanced, nothing rattles around inside the lens when shaken (my favorite test). Zooming from 100mm to 400mm requires a one quarter turn of the large rubberized zoom ring (located at the front of the lens).
'Lens creep' is an annoying fact of life when using telescoping lenses, fortunately it was not an issue during field testing. Just in case, there is a lock on the lens barrel (which can only be used when the zoom is retracted in to 100mm).
Toward the base of the lens barrel you'll find an AF/MF switch as well as as a controller for selecting one's VC (vibration compensation) mode: Mode 1 is for normal stabilization, Mode 2 is for use when panning. Users can also turn off VC completely, which useful if you're on a tripod. Just below the focus ring is the focus distance scale window.
|Hand-held at 400mm, shot using a 1/125 sec shutter because I live in Seattle and it is always dark outside. Shot on the Canon EOS 80D
ISO 800 | 400mm | 1/125 sec | F6.3
Tamron is pitching this lens as appropriate for sports and wildlife shooters, two groups that require reliable AF and effective stabilization. Fortunately, our real world usage shows the 100-400mm excelling in both areas.
The image stabilization system proved effective at helping to eliminate camera shake at shutter speeds I'd ordinarily not feel comfortable using, given the focal length used. The moment you engage AF the IS system kicks in – with one's eye to the finder the effectiveness of the compensation is immediately apparent.
Autofocus is both silent (hello ultrasonic drive) and fast (powered by two processors). Acquisition is nearly instant in AF-S and it's equally fast and impressive in AF-C. Users can expect it to maintain focus on the moving subjects they point it at, assuming their camera body is up to the challenge.
|The lens is sharp through the zoom range, out of focus areas are also inoffensive. Shot on the Canon EOS 5DS R.
ISO 400 | 400mm | 1/500 sec | F6.3
Though this lens has a slow maximum aperture and is best used for daylight shooting, all signs point to it being optically very good. Our copy of the 100-400mm was well-centered and universally sharp across the frame at all focal lengths we shot. Ghosting and flare are rare.
Chromatic aberration is also really well controlled, though it does appears in some images. Lateral CA is well controlled in this lens, and when it's there it's easy to correct in Adobe Camera Raw and other Raw processing programs. However axial CA, which you can see as green fringing in this shot, is more difficult to correct for but generally isn't very severe with this lens. We also noted some vignetting when used on full-frame, but that is also fairly easy to correct in post.
Bokeh is about what we would expect for a complex telephoto lens. Ironically, it looks nice and smooth toward the shorter end, but as you get to the long end out-of-focus highlights show odd patterns. We expect this has to do with how smooth the glass surfaces can be polished for a lens at this price point.
|For travel photographers looking for a casual, lightweight telephoto lens to explore with, the Tamron 100-400 F4.5-6.3 is a solid choice. Shot on the EOS 5DS R.
ISO 400 | 143mm | 1/1250 sec | F5
The Tamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 is a great telephoto lens for daylight photography, whether your subjects are moving or not. It offers fast, silent autofocus, good stabilization and is optically impressive at all focal lengths. All that comes in a weather-resistant package that also happens to be the lightest in its class.
Priced the same as the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM, the most obvious difference between the two is the Tamron is faster on the wide end, F4.5 vs F5 (and it's also a hair lighter). That aside, the two offer very similar features like image stabilization, multi layer coatings and special elements for dealing with CA. We'll have to revisit the Sigma to see just how well the two compare. But having spent a good amount of time with the Tamron, we feel comfortable giving it our recommendation.
What we like:
- Sharp, versatile zoom range on both APS-C and full-frame
- Lightest lens in its class
- Moisture and dust resistant
- Impressive image stablization
- Silent AF is fast and accurate
What we don’t:
- Slow aperture range
- Pricey tripod collar sold separately
- Vignettes on full-frame (though easy to correct)
|Forever Stalled by Domenick Creaco|
from The End of the Road
|Lost, But Not Forever by Domenick Creaco|
from Lost and found
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.
Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, as well as objects.
Seagate has introduced new high-capacity hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs.
The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers.
Manfrotto has introduced a new two-in-one tripod to its Befree lineup. Called the Befree 2N1, this new addition is both a tripod and monopod in one and is available with both of Manfrotto's locking mechanisms.
This new high dynamic range editing software comes with an AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine for improved photo merging.
Apple has unveiled the next generation of its iPhone X in the form of three variants: the 5.8" iPhone XS and 6.5" iPhone XS Max with OLED screens, and the 6.1" iPhone XR with an LCD and single rear camera.
Ahead of the launch of the CamRanger II the company has announced a mini version of its wireless remote control system that it says has a longer range than the original in a body half the size.
Lens manufacturer Sigma has announced a trio of fast cinema lenses for full-frame camera systems, that it says will also be available in the future in the LPL mount for Arri’s large format camera system.
LumaPod is a a new tripod being funded on Kickstarter that takes just four seconds to set up and uses patented tension technology to keep your shots steady in a compact design.
X-Rite ColorChecker Video XL is an oversized color target for wide-angle, long distance, and aerial shooting.
ExperimentalOptics has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its second lens design, a 35mm F2.7 lens it claims is the world's 'smallest fastest pancake lens.'
The new XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR and XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR are aimed at enthusiasts and professionals, and add considerable versatility to Fujifilm's growing XF lens lineup. We've been taking a look.
The Getty family is working to regain control of stock photo agency Getty Images, according to multiple reports published late last week.
The Phoneslinger line, a modular bag system for mobile photographers, has been launched on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.
CamRanger has announced the impending arrival of its CamRanger 2 wireless tethering and trigger system, complete with redesigned apps, updated wireless features, and support for select Sony and Fujifilm systems.
As well as high-resolution stills, the new Nikon Z7 also shoots 4K video and 120p HD video. We recently spent two days with director Chris Hershman, shooting a music video on the Z7 for pop artist Emily Blue.
London’s National Portrait Gallery has released the shortlist for its annual Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, ahead of the winner being announced in October.
Lighting manufacturer Profoto is teasing users with a video clip that includes frames of a new light it will announce later this month. The launch as billed as ‘something big’ for ‘something small’.
Amid all the excitement surrounding the launch of the Nikon Z-series recently, you could be forgiven for missing the official unveiling of Nikon's new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm F5.6E PF ED VR. In this article, wildlife photographer Roie Galitz shares his impressions.