Value and Versatility - with Limitations

Started May 21, 2014 | User reviews
ProfessorLarry New Member • Posts: 6
Value and Versatility - with Limitations
7

I bought this lens to upgrade from a venerable Nikkor 18-200 F/3.5-5.6G ED VR II. I kept waiting for test results and samples to appear but finally decided to just take the plunge based on published specs alone. After two days of test shooting and use (including reference shots of macro-algae specimens for my coastal scientist wife) I can say this is a very good and versatile lens with definite limitations. The accompanying sample photos were taken with a Nikon D7100 and are presented with no PP.

Build quality of this lens is very good, with weather sealing that is important in my work. The zoom ring is a little stiff but fairly even. There is no zoom creep when carrying the camera face down even without the zoom lock on (much better than the old Nikkor, which always slid open and had no lock). The focus ring turns easily and smoothly and can be used to manually focus even with AF on. AF is quiet, quick, and reasonably crisp. (AF was used in all the accompanying samples.)

The first two samples are hand-held from the same position at 16mm and 300mm showing the extreme range of the zoom (18.8:1). The VC (image stabilization) is very effective in hand-held telephoto and macro shots. Some corner fall-off can be seen in the telephoto shot.

16mm

300mm

The third shot shows the excellent close-up capability (focusing down to 15" at full telephoto); bokeh is good.

300mm, closest focus

The weakness of this lens is endemic to the class of extended zooms: optical distortion. As the following shots show, at the longest focal length, there is definite pin-cushion distortion, which is still evident down to 50mm. At the wide angle end we find pronounced barrel distortion (with what looks like elements of complex "mustache" distortion).

300mm

16mm

50mm

Overall, this lens has a lot going for it. For the photographer who wants to travel light and keep only one lens on the camera most or all the time, this may be the best solution out there--and at a reasonable price. It is a tad lighter and a bit skinnier than the Nikon alternative. It is not overly soft throughout its zoom range. The loss of an extra half stop at the telephoto end will not be a problem under most circumstances considering how easy it is to crank up the ISO these days with only a little extra noise.

The most serious gotcha is the optical distortion that comes with the compromises super-zooms inevitably make. For general photography, the distortion will not be too much of a drawback (you would not even notice it in scenes like the first shots above). It is probably an acceptable price in exchange for the simplicity and versatility of one lens that goes from very wide angle to long telephoto. On the other hand, a photographer who shoots architectural photos or street scenes will probably find the bowed buildings and bulging facades unacceptable. Neither is this lens a low-light champ nor will it be the choice for serious portrait work. All of these more specialized niches are much better served by appropriate prime lenses or more limited-range zooms with wider apertures.

The rating of this lens really depends on the application. For the intended audience, I would rate it 4.5 stars with the one caveat--if the distortion is acceptable to the user.

 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
4.5
Average community score
4.1
Nikon D7100 Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
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GDB Contributing Member • Posts: 980
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

Thanks, Larry, for your quick up-to-date review.  The lens seems pretty nice, albeit the expected distortions.  I loved your blooming flower macro.  I wonder what could be done in ACR or maybe PhotoNinja to quickly fix the barrel, pincushion, and mustache distortions?  Seems like you could find reasonable settings, say in PN, and save the settings for most of your shots. I look forward to further reviews, including yours, Larry.

Thanks so much, Larry.

Gary

 GDB's gear list:GDB's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM +4 more
JohnNewman
JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

Again, many thanks Larry for your continued review of this lens. I'm been considering both this and the new Nikon 18-300 as a general walk around lens.

For the Nikon, I guess a lens profile for Lightroom may appear sooner than the Tamron but for general purposes this is not vital.

In favour of the Tammy, the extra 2mm on the short end will, I think, be very useful and, of course in the UK it's about £100 cheaper.

I can't yet find find any user reviews of the Nikon so may wait a week or 2 before a decision but your comments are very helpful so thanks again.

Best regards

John

 JohnNewman's gear list:JohnNewman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
John P Roskos Regular Member • Posts: 295
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

Just received this lens in our hands for about 30 minutes a couple we took all hand held first at 16 then zoom to 300 from same spot. Early feelings are lens is going to be a keeper not as good as a prime but well made and will make a good walk around lens.

Kawika Nui Contributing Member • Posts: 832
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to post this informative review.

At full size the 300mm zoom of the house looks very soft, and the plants by the door are quite lacking in sharp detail.  It's a pity.

leerob
leerob Senior Member • Posts: 2,346
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

ProfessorLarry wrote:

I bought this lens to upgrade from a venerable Nikkor 18-200 F/3.5-5.6G ED VR II. I kept waiting for test results and samples to appear but finally decided to just take the plunge based on published specs alone. After two days of test shooting and use (including reference shots of macro-algae specimens for my coastal scientist wife) I can say this is a very good and versatile lens with definite limitations. The accompanying sample photos were taken with a Nikon D7100 and are presented with no PP.

Build quality of this lens is very good, with weather sealing that is important in my work. The zoom ring is a little stiff but fairly even. There is no zoom creep when carrying the camera face down even without the zoom lock on (much better than the old Nikkor, which always slid open and had no lock). The focus ring turns easily and smoothly and can be used to manually focus even with AF on. AF is quiet, quick, and reasonably crisp. (AF was used in all the accompanying samples.)

The first two samples are hand-held from the same position at 16mm and 300mm showing the extreme range of the zoom (18.8:1). The VC (image stabilization) is very effective in hand-held telephoto and macro shots. Some corner fall-off can be seen in the telephoto shot.

16mm

300mm

The third shot shows the excellent close-up capability (focusing down to 15" at full telephoto); bokeh is good.

300mm, closest focus

The weakness of this lens is endemic to the class of extended zooms: optical distortion. As the following shots show, at the longest focal length, there is definite pin-cushion distortion, which is still evident down to 50mm. At the wide angle end we find pronounced barrel distortion (with what looks like elements of complex "mustache" distortion).

300mm

16mm

50mm

Overall, this lens has a lot going for it. For the photographer who wants to travel light and keep only one lens on the camera most or all the time, this may be the best solution out there--and at a reasonable price. It is a tad lighter and a bit skinnier than the Nikon alternative. It is not overly soft throughout its zoom range. The loss of an extra half stop at the telephoto end will not be a problem under most circumstances considering how easy it is to crank up the ISO these days with only a little extra noise.

The most serious gotcha is the optical distortion that comes with the compromises super-zooms inevitably make. For general photography, the distortion will not be too much of a drawback (you would not even notice it in scenes like the first shots above). It is probably an acceptable price in exchange for the simplicity and versatility of one lens that goes from very wide angle to long telephoto. On the other hand, a photographer who shoots architectural photos or street scenes will probably find the bowed buildings and bulging facades unacceptable. Neither is this lens a low-light champ nor will it be the choice for serious portrait work. All of these more specialized niches are much better served by appropriate prime lenses or more limited-range zooms with wider apertures.

The rating of this lens really depends on the application. For the intended audience, I would rate it 4.5 stars with the one caveat--if the distortion is acceptable to the user.

I bought this this lens recently to replace Nikon 18-200.

I'm still not sure, if I'll like it, because its sharpness is very bad. Looks almost like shooting through a haze. I'll try it one more time to confirm and if it will be as un-sharp in my next session I'll send it back.

-- hide signature --

Adam Kielcz

 leerob's gear list:leerob's gear list
Leica X Vario Leica C Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Leica C-Lux Nikon D7100 +5 more
Rick_Hunter Senior Member • Posts: 1,021
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

I understand that this is an old thread. One thing niggles me: how can you possibly give 4,5 stars to a lens that's so soft? I am looking the pictures in the OP at full size and it's very soft both at both ends... I have seen superzoom bridge cameras with better image quality than that...

 Rick_Hunter's gear list:Rick_Hunter's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Nikon D600 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +11 more
leerob
leerob Senior Member • Posts: 2,346
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

leerob wrote:

ProfessorLarry wrote:

I bought this lens to upgrade from a venerable Nikkor 18-200 F/3.5-5.6G ED VR II. I kept waiting for test results and samples to appear but finally decided to just take the plunge based on published specs alone. After two days of test shooting and use (including reference shots of macro-algae specimens for my coastal scientist wife) I can say this is a very good and versatile lens with definite limitations. The accompanying sample photos were taken with a Nikon D7100 and are presented with no PP.

Build quality of this lens is very good, with weather sealing that is important in my work. The zoom ring is a little stiff but fairly even. There is no zoom creep when carrying the camera face down even without the zoom lock on (much better than the old Nikkor, which always slid open and had no lock). The focus ring turns easily and smoothly and can be used to manually focus even with AF on. AF is quiet, quick, and reasonably crisp. (AF was used in all the accompanying samples.)

The first two samples are hand-held from the same position at 16mm and 300mm showing the extreme range of the zoom (18.8:1). The VC (image stabilization) is very effective in hand-held telephoto and macro shots. Some corner fall-off can be seen in the telephoto shot.

16mm

300mm

The third shot shows the excellent close-up capability (focusing down to 15" at full telephoto); bokeh is good.

300mm, closest focus

The weakness of this lens is endemic to the class of extended zooms: optical distortion. As the following shots show, at the longest focal length, there is definite pin-cushion distortion, which is still evident down to 50mm. At the wide angle end we find pronounced barrel distortion (with what looks like elements of complex "mustache" distortion).

300mm

16mm

50mm

Overall, this lens has a lot going for it. For the photographer who wants to travel light and keep only one lens on the camera most or all the time, this may be the best solution out there--and at a reasonable price. It is a tad lighter and a bit skinnier than the Nikon alternative. It is not overly soft throughout its zoom range. The loss of an extra half stop at the telephoto end will not be a problem under most circumstances considering how easy it is to crank up the ISO these days with only a little extra noise.

The most serious gotcha is the optical distortion that comes with the compromises super-zooms inevitably make. For general photography, the distortion will not be too much of a drawback (you would not even notice it in scenes like the first shots above). It is probably an acceptable price in exchange for the simplicity and versatility of one lens that goes from very wide angle to long telephoto. On the other hand, a photographer who shoots architectural photos or street scenes will probably find the bowed buildings and bulging facades unacceptable. Neither is this lens a low-light champ nor will it be the choice for serious portrait work. All of these more specialized niches are much better served by appropriate prime lenses or more limited-range zooms with wider apertures.

The rating of this lens really depends on the application. For the intended audience, I would rate it 4.5 stars with the one caveat--if the distortion is acceptable to the user.

I bought this this lens recently to replace Nikon 18-200.

I'm still not sure, if I'll like it, because its sharpness is very bad. Looks almost like shooting through a haze. I'll try it one more time to confirm and if it will be as un-sharp in my next session I'll send it back.

Here's a few pics from my backyard.

What do you see?

-- hide signature --

Adam Kielcz

 leerob's gear list:leerob's gear list
Leica X Vario Leica C Leica D-Lux (Typ 109) Leica C-Lux Nikon D7100 +5 more
rxb dc Senior Member • Posts: 2,100
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

Lee:

All except the last photo have photos have multiple planes so hard to see image degradation in the corners where one would most expect it.

The last photo seems out of focus as I cannot read the numbers on the clock. Did you use a tripod?

Take a look at a comparison I did of the Tamron 16-300 vs. Canon 50, 10-18 and Tamron 16-300 at equivalent magnifications at ~f6 and f9.

While the Tamron 16-300 was not the sharpest and had more chromatic aberration but overall, the results were very, very decent.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3763737

-- hide signature --

Safety Warning: Bad taste unmitigated by moderate skill

 rxb dc's gear list:rxb dc's gear list
Canon EOS 700D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM +9 more
Vegas Cowboy New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Value and Versatility - with Limitations

ok

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Canon EOS Rebel T6i
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