First Impressions: Very Good

Started May 20, 2014 | User reviews
ProfessorLarry New Member • Posts: 6
First Impressions: Very Good
3

I have been watching for tests of this lens but decided to take the plunge and pre-ordered one as an upgrade replacement for my venerable DX AF-S Nikkor 18-200 3.5-5.6 G ED. I wanted the Tamron for its increased zoom range, weather seals (I do a lot of photo support for my wife, a coastal scientist), and better close-up (.39m vs .5m).

First impressions (on a Nikon D7100): (1) The zoom is a tad stiffer than the Nikkor but acceptable. (2) The manual focus ring is noticeably easier and smoother than the Nikkor. (3) The VC (image stabilization) is very good for both hand-held telephoto and macro close-up. (4) Even without the zoom lock on, there is no zoom creep with the camera carried face-down (an extremely annoying aspect of the Nikkor, which always slides open and has no lock). (5) Focusing is fast, quiet, and precise. (6) Judging IQ will take more than a couple dozen trial shots, but at full crop, the images appear to be as good or better than the Nikkor, although noticeably soft compared to a prime lens.

For my purposes, where I keep one lens on my camera almost all the time, I think this is the right lens. Amateur samples on some of the Japanese sites suggest that distortion (barrel and "moustache") might be a little higher than discriminating photographers will tolerate, but acceptable for general photography. The loss of another 1/2 stop on the telephoto end compared to the Nikon is more than made up for by the other gains.

After I really put it through its paces, I'll add an update.

 ProfessorLarry's gear list:ProfessorLarry's gear list
Nikon D5100 Tamron SP AF 60mm F2 Di II LD IF Macro Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
Lens • Canon EF-S, Nikon F (DX), Sony/Minolta Alpha • B016
Announced: Feb 6, 2014
ProfessorLarry's score
4.0
Average community score
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Nikon D7100 Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
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MarioV Veteran Member • Posts: 6,781
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

Thanks Professor.

Would greatly appreciate if you are able to post a 16mm and 300mm shot of the same scene.

Looking for edge performance and general detail levels.

Many thanks.

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Tony Defriez Regular Member • Posts: 126
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

I normally don't visit this forum as I tend to buy OEM lenses but I needed a reasonably priced travel lens (Canon does not really have anything in the range or size). So I ordered and expect delivery of the Canon version in the next few days - hopefully I can post some images this weekend (Canon 7D and SL1 bodies)

GDB Contributing Member • Posts: 981
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

As an avid backpacker, hiker, and traveler, I am anxious to hear other reviews and further reviews from you.  This lens could replace two to three lenses that I usually take into the woods with me.  It would replace my Canon 15-85mm (which is so sharp but a tad heavy), my 18-55mm STM, which is fine for a kit lens, and my 55-250mm, which is pretty nice for an inexpensive lens. It might also replace my Tokina 11-16mm.  However, the 11-16mm at 2.8 is a great night lens.

If you hear or see any more reviews of the 16-300mm, post your observations.

Thanks,

Gary

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OP ProfessorLarry New Member • Posts: 6
Re: First Impressions: Very Good
1

Here are two handheld shots, AE/AF from same position. I apologize that they are not at the same aperture, but they were just grab shots. I'll do more thorough and proper testing next.

Some falloff at corners evident in telephoto shot.

(1) 16mm, f10, 1/400 @ ISO 800

(2) 300mm, f6.3, 1/500 @ ISO 800

 ProfessorLarry's gear list:ProfessorLarry's gear list
Nikon D5100 Tamron SP AF 60mm F2 Di II LD IF Macro Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
JohnNewman
JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

Thanks for taking the time to put together your thoughts. I also have the D7100 (currently with the Nikon 18-140 which I am quite pleased with). I had considered buying the 55-300 zoom but this would have quite an overlap so the Tammy 16-300 is very attractive as an all-in-one solution.

I guess we're all aware that such a lens isn't going to compete with primes but we don't expect it to.  If I get the Tamron in due course, I will add to my collection of primes for special purposes but it would be good to have the 16-300 range for general purposes.

Thanks again and look forward to any further cooents if you get the chance.

Regards

John

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MarioV Veteran Member • Posts: 6,781
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

ProfessorLarry wrote:

Here are two handheld shots, AE/AF from same position. I apologize that they are not at the same aperture, but they were just grab shots. I'll do more thorough and proper testing next.

Some falloff at corners evident in telephoto shot.

Thank you very much for posting those shots.

The wide angle is very good. Use-able across the whole frame without any obvious distortions. Tele is pretty good. Lens may not be the sharpest, but applying a minimal amount of sharpening to taste and some PP/brightening, I think they both look very good at normal screen size and reasonably good at 100% casual peeping.

Overall, I'd be pretty happy with this lens. Quality is good and convenience very good.

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JohnNewman
JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

ProfessorLarry wrote:

Here are two handheld shots, AE/AF from same position. I apologize that they are not at the same aperture, but they were just grab shots. I'll do more thorough and proper testing next.

Some falloff at corners evident in telephoto shot.

(1) 16mm, f10, 1/400 @ ISO 800

(2) 300mm, f6.3, 1/500 @ ISO 800

Sorry, meant to ask previously but can you confirm or not whether the lens is internal focusing (i.e. does the front revolve or not). Just wondering as I often use grad filters and it would be good to know either way.

Many thanks

John

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OP ProfessorLarry New Member • Posts: 6
Re: First Impressions: Very Good
1

The Tamron 16-300mm is internal focusing. I explored the distortion issue today with some tripod shots. At 16mm (sample 1) there is pronounced barrel distortion that appears to have complex (mustache) components; at 300mm (2) we now have mild pin-cushion distortion; surprisingly, even at 50mm (3) the pin-cushion distortion is evident. I would not recommend this for architectural shots, although post-processing correction might save some shots.

(1) 16mm

(2) 300mm

(3) 50mm

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Nikon D5100 Tamron SP AF 60mm F2 Di II LD IF Macro Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
edmode68 New Member • Posts: 3
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

just bought the lens today< i'll test it out more this following week in Hawaii.

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Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
edmode68 New Member • Posts: 3
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

16mm  using Canon 70D

300mm Using Canon 70D

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Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
Mark Pitcavage New Member • Posts: 2
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

I took the Tamron out for its first test spin this past Saturday on my Canon 70D.  I spent 16 hours driving around back-country ohio (for my blog, http://www.unearthedohio.com), taking roadside photography shots.  About half were handheld, the other half used a car window mount (a ballhead mounted to a car window--equivalent to a tripod in terms of stability in most circumstances).

My first reactions were fairly negative and at the moment I feel disappointed.  I did not expect it to be a whizbang lens, but even given my expectations, the photos were less sharp than I had hoped they would be.  The lens was often slow to focus and when the autofocus was set to a distant point, sometimes had difficulty resolving any focus at all.  One set of five bracketing shots I took had some odd blurs or smears on them that I can't account for.  Luckily, that only showed up once.

Roadside photography, which often requires fast in-and-out photography (because of other traffic, mostly), can really use a good flexible lens (even a good superzoom), because often one doesn't have the time to change out a lens.  But my first reaction is that the Tamron may be inferior to the 18-135mm kit lens I had been using.

I am a relative novice at serious photography, having been at it only a little more than a year, so take these impressions with a healthy grain of salt.

wihakowi Regular Member • Posts: 242
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

Mark Pitcavage wrote:

... I spent 16 hours driving around back-country ohio (for my blog, http://www.unearthedohio.com), taking roadside photography shots. About half were handheld, the other half used a car window mount (a ballhead mounted to a car window--equivalent to a tripod in terms of stability in most circumstances.

Not meant to be a condescending question, but can we assume that you had the engine shut off while shooting? Engine vibration in any vehicle is one of the most pernicious causes of horrible optical results - whether photographing or using a scope or binoculars. Your mention of having to deal with traffic made me wonder.

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edmode68 New Member • Posts: 3
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

used this lens for a week in Hawaii and I must say that it's an awesome travel lens. I used to  travel with 3 lenses (Canon L Lenses are too heavy). this lens is awesome, it's 16mm really  gave me the flexibility to shoot in tight spaces. The above images were captured with the Canon 70D, this lens lets you reach out and touch someone from so far away. It's very light and very fast as well. Overall, I was a happy shooter.

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Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
JohnNewman
JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

edmode68 wrote:

used this lens for a week in Hawaii and I must say that it's an awesome travel lens. I used to travel with 3 lenses (Canon L Lenses are too heavy). this lens is awesome, it's 16mm really gave me the flexibility to shoot in tight spaces. The above images were captured with the Canon 70D, this lens lets you reach out and touch someone from so far away. It's very light and very fast as well. Overall, I was a happy shooter.

I'm glad you're pleased with the lens but, with the greatest respect, the shots you've posted above and previously are putting me off it. They look very soft and poorly focused. Of course, it may be that the quality of the uploading has made them suffer or there may be another reason but, looking at the full size images, personally I couldn't accept the lack of quality. I'm not trying to offend but, surely, if you're used to L lenses, you must see the difference? Guess there's no free lunch

Best regards

John

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wihakowi Regular Member • Posts: 242
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

JohnNewman wrote:

I'm glad you're pleased with the lens but, with the greatest respect, the shots you've posted above and previously are putting me off it. They look very soft and poorly focused. Of course, it may be that the quality of the uploading has made them suffer or there may be another reason but, looking at the full size images, personally I couldn't accept the lack of quality. I'm not trying to offend but, surely, if you're used to L lenses, you must see the difference? Guess there's no free lunch

Best regards

John

Well, uhm, I think it's obvious that at least one, and probably both, of these shots was taken through a window. Certainly no free lunch under those shooting conditions - "super-zoom", Canon L or any other lens!

OP - Show us some of your shots taken under "better" conditions!?

Steve

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Mark Pitcavage New Member • Posts: 2
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

wihakowi wrote:

Mark Pitcavage wrote:

... I spent 16 hours driving around back-country ohio (for my blog, http://www.unearthedohio.com), taking roadside photography shots. About half were handheld, the other half used a car window mount (a ballhead mounted to a car window--equivalent to a tripod in terms of stability in most circumstances.

Not meant to be a condescending question, but can we assume that you had the engine shut off while shooting? Engine vibration in any vehicle is one of the most pernicious causes of horrible optical results - whether photographing or using a scope or binoculars. Your mention of having to deal with traffic made me wonder.

Whether I had the engine on or off is irrelevant, because the same conditions applied for both the 18-135mm lens and the Tamron.  Typically, I take my photographs with the engine running, because I have a smooth engine and I have learned from experience that there is no appreciable difference in photo quality whether engine is on or off (other factors, like wind that can shake an entire vehicle, are more relevant).  But, as I said, it doesn't matter, because both lenses had the same conditions and the Tamron performed poorly in comparison.

JohnNewman
JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: First Impressions: Very Good

wihakowi wrote:

JohnNewman wrote:

I'm glad you're pleased with the lens but, with the greatest respect, the shots you've posted above and previously are putting me off it. They look very soft and poorly focused. Of course, it may be that the quality of the uploading has made them suffer or there may be another reason but, looking at the full size images, personally I couldn't accept the lack of quality. I'm not trying to offend but, surely, if you're used to L lenses, you must see the difference? Guess there's no free lunch

Best regards

John

Well, uhm, I think it's obvious that at least one, and probably both, of these shots was taken through a window. Certainly no free lunch under those shooting conditions - "super-zoom", Canon L or any other lens!

OP - Show us some of your shots taken under "better" conditions!?

Steve

Agreed, shooting through a window is like having a dirty filter on the lens, but some of the earlier shots posted by the same gentleman were not (IMHO) of the best quality. Having seen some reasonable shots with this lens I do wonder if there is a sample variation?

I have seen some very good images with the NEW Nikon 18-300 which, at the moment, is pushing me in that direction, even though it's a bit dearer and loses that extra 2mm on the wide end.

Still, early days and unless I can see comparable quality to my Nikon 18-140 (which is pretty good for a so-called "kit" lens) the jury is still out for me at the moment.

I really want to like the Tamron but haven't fallen for it yet

John

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