Tamron 18-400. Takes some setup time, but a good lens

Started Dec 7, 2017 | User reviews thread
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Dragonrider Forum Member • Posts: 82
Tamron 18-400. Takes some setup time, but a good lens

For Good focus accuracy, this lens needs to be tuned with the Tap-In console and a LensAlign target. In my case, I had to tune all 24 set points to get the focus spot on. I set it up for the viewfinder AF in an SL2 and when done, the AF is on the money and the lens is quite sharp. The downside is that the live view AF is out in the trees and the same body is quite accurate in both viewfinder and Live View modes with a Canon 100-400 L II. I suspect Tamron's AF algorithm is substantially different than what Canon uses and Canon somehow has some compensation built in.

The Tap-In console lets you save the setup as a file, so easy to save setups for different cameras. When I get time, I will try setting the lens up for live view in the 70D and then tweaking the AFMA to bring the viewfinder in (the SL2 doesn't have micro adjust). That may make both focus methods accurate.

This lens shows pretty massive focus breathing at the longer focal lengths. At 6 ft, a 400mm setting results in about 150mm of reach, but at 100 ft. the lens is close to 400mm. I found that a 20mm extension tube substantially corrected the problem at close focus resulting in about 300mm of reach at 6 ft. and a focus range out to about 15 or 20 ft. I tried 36mm, and then 32mm extensions, but the lens would not autofocus properly. It might be happy with 25mm, but I don't have that tube. Here is an example of "400" mm at 6 ft. with a 20mm extension tube.

At the wide end and particularly at the long end, this lens has a fair bit of chromatic aberration. In most cases, selecting the "remove chromatic aberration" button in Lightroom will almost entirely clean up the problem. This example is a distance shot at 400mm (default settings in LR).

If you look at the trees to the side, you can see the issue. This image does not clean up well with the quickie button, but one click on the purple fringe in the manual correction mode of LR did a pretty good job.

I went to town yesterday and did a walkabout and shot over 100 random photos as a test to see if I had the lens set up properly. Of the lot, there were only two that were blurred and those were obvious operator wiggle problems.

All in all, I am very satisfied with this lens. It is much sharper than any previous super zoom I have seen and once set up, the AF is accurate and repeatable. The bokeh is quite decent. This shot is a typical mid range example.

BTW, this lens is designed to cover an APS C image field, but it does have a standard EF back end physically, so it will mount to a FF and it seems to work fine on my 5DSr (with the obvious need to be readjusted for best focus. Since the 5DSr has the option of producing APS C or H frames, this is actually a workable setup for JPEGs without any post processing or cropping.

 Dragonrider's gear list:Dragonrider's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS4 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 (TZ60) Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 Panasonic FZ80/FZ82 +48 more
Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
Lens • Canon EF-S, Nikon F (DX) • B028
Announced: Jun 23, 2017
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Canon EOS 5DS R Canon EOS 70D Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D / Kiss X9) Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3
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