Tamron 28-300 VR vs Canon 28-300 L IS Review

Started Jul 5, 2009 | Discussions thread
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LugerMan Regular Member • Posts: 289
Tamron 28-300 VR vs Canon 28-300 L IS Review


This is not a question, but more of a note for information.

Not a review but an real life comparison.

I have been on the quest for one ultimate lens for 28-300 range. As many of us have been.

I am a semi pro level, have done some pro work in the past and doing photography work now in a photojournalistic style.

Have shot some weddings as well. Yes I do use Canon 5D , and used to have a Canon 20D .

I love everything big and bulky it translates in to quality for me, so I naturally started out with the most expensive choice possible, the canon 28-300 L IS lens.

No I did not just rent the lens, I purchased it used , but in perfect shape, and yes I used it for 2 years. It was perfect.. it can cover the event perfectly.

Outside wide open no problem, flash wide open no problem. Did 2 weddings, used it for candid shots, life was good.

Then last year I went to Vegas and decided to use it for walk about lens, well ... big mistake… It was a drag about lens at best …

Yes I had my primes with me, and I carry around 50mm 1.4 for the dark light. But, by day 2 I gave up on everything in the bag but the 28-300.

I did survive and no it was not easy. Pictures turned out grate and it looked like all was worth it.

But this year when I started thinking about vacation , my back and my shoulder reminded me what a pain that was to take that lens everywhere.

And I mean everywhere, we did go to restaurants and I was making pictures there, so it was there and we did walk around the Vegas and it was there.
Heavy, heavy and heavy is all I can say.

So this year, I decided to search around for a lighter lens. Yes I wanted quality and no money is not a limiting factor… well to a degree.

And Yes a idea of 2 bodies and 3 primes walked in to my head more than ones. And yes I do have my New Sigma 50 , Canon 85 and 135 L setup. Perfect for dark light.

But dragging all that for a week every day, and not get paid for it … not for me ... not anymore.

So I decided to go 3ed party zooms. Spend 3 month reading reviews and not so much reviews…

Tamron 28-300 VR looked good on paper.

But everyone comparing it to primes and specialized lenses. I was not able to find a comparison to the best on the market but the same purpose lens.

Then only option really 28-300 Canon L glass.

Yes I had Sigmas and Tamrons for primes. Some are good some are well not so much. I try to keep the good once.

I also had 28-300 Tamrons before , the old models and they lasted for about a week tops.

But I did it anyway. I went to a local camera shop, they matched the price from B&H and I got the new Tamron 28-300 VR

And went on vacation the next day. Yes I know it’s like taking new boots on the hiking trip. But I did test a lens a bit before.

Long story short, I got back, loaded the pictures and started looking at them.

Well some small problems, like the lens has a very shallow DOF at 300 and a quick shutter for moving birds is a must as I soon learned.

And It does back focus a bit, but it is actually very useful, because all the DOF gets used that way. So the first ½ inch is in focus so as the other 3-5 inches behind it depending on the distance.

And Yes macro is way better then on Canon monster.

Then I had to crop one shot to a 200% and it was a distant shot and I did not like it, and then I looked at my Canon 28-300 L shot with a similar distant shots and same lightning…

And did not like it as well. And then I started comparing shots at same focal settings from the same distance.

The results are : the lens produces very similar sharpening at all settings. By the time it is stepped down to f8 there is no difference. To my eye anyway.

I did not ran any resolution charts or corner to corner sharpness tests. But to the eye at 200% crop from a 5D there is no difference to the eye.

Contrast maybe different and the canon is more contrasty, but it actually not so good at the bright light as you missing your dynamic range a bit more on the Canon.

Yes I shoot RAW and only RAW. Because you never know when a good shot may come about and I was able to compare the pictures of a very similar setup.

If anything the VR is better than IS on the Canon. I can hold it at 1/15 easy. You cannot do a 200% cop on that shot, but at 50% it is better than Canon.

It looks like the Tamron keeps compensating after a 3-5 seconds of a shutter push, where as Canon kind of freezes after 3 seconds and you have to push the button again to restart the IS.

If you up for big and bulky, go for the Canon it will turn a head of every person passing by and it is a like wearing a sign: I am a pro photographer you cannot come close to what I have, it is so big and shiny and gray, and cost a ton of money.

If you up for making good pictures at ¼ of the price and not loosing much quality, maybe some corner sharpness, then go for the Tamron.

I know I will never look back. And Yes I sold the canon 28-300 L to get some more primes.

I hope this will help to make some decisions for someone, because I know I was not able to find this type of comparison before.

Thanks for reading my long post.


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