Pretty decent travel lens – Good initial impression

Started May 29, 2014 | User reviews
NikonianBob New Member • Posts: 1
Pretty decent travel lens – Good initial impression

I have been looking for a travel lens for an upcoming trip where luggage space will be limited. I’ve spent a lot of time reading reviews on all the other super-zoom lenses and all seemed to fall short on both long and short ends. Since this is a brand new lens, there were no reviews to be found. I decided to take the plunge and do my own testing since my local camera shop has a 2 week return policy.

I am an amateur photographer and my testing is by no means scientific. My sole criteria is will this lens do the well enough to leave other lenses behind.

I took several shots with the Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro and compared against a Tamron SP 70-300MM F/4-5.6 Di VC USD for the long to mid-range zoom, a Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX for the mid-range to wide angle, and a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM for the really wide end. Testing was done on a Nikon D7100.

Many of my test shots were taken on a hillside with lots of trees and a series of high tension lines to determine how sharp the images could be capturing the fine details of several power lines. To make if fair, the camera was tripod mounted.

I was pleasantly surprised to find very acceptable performance in all focal lengths. With a criteria of sharpness and major distortion., the individual lenses compared against this Tamron 16-300 all outperformed the Tamron 16-300, but not by much. Detail is pretty good as the power lines in the images were fairly crisp and I can clearly make out the nuts and bolts on the towers at least 150 feet away at 300mm. In a test macro shot, I can clearly see a fine spider web between leaves in the image taken about 4 feet away.

The biggest variance was the change in focal length when focusing on close objects. Per other reviews, this is an issue with all super zoom lenses as well. You will only get a true 300 mm with focus set to infinity. At about 6 feet, the effective focal length was about 135 mm when compared with the Nikon 18-140. The exif data reports the shot was at 300 mm even though the effective focal length was far less.

Vignetting on the wide end is typical of all zoom lenses shot wide open. Stop it down a few stops and vignetting disappears. There is actually less vignetting with this lens at 18 mm than the Nikon 18-140.

The VR is as good as the Nikon 18-140 and Tamron 70-300. Focusing is fast and quiet. The feel of the zoom is a little rough but for me this is not a big deal. Macro performance is OK and it will get the job done on a trip, but it is not a substitute for a close focusing fast 100mm macro lens.

I did not experience zoom creep. but the lens has a lock button to lock at 16mm just in case.

This lens meets my criteria for a travel lens and produced better than expected results. My rating of 4 starts is taking into consideration the lens is what it is in it's class of a superzoom and not as compared to very expensive fast lenses. It is not a replacement for other more specialized zoom lenses. The Nikon 18-140 and Tamron 70-300 tested against the Tamron 16-300 are near the top of their class of lens shot on a D7100. As said before there is a difference, but not a vast one.

When purchasing, one must consider this lens for what it is and don’t expect it to do everything perfectly. For me this is a travel lens that will produce very nice images. Instead of 4 lenses, I will only take the Tamron 16-300 and a Nikon 50mm f1.4 for low light. For a beginning photographer that only wants one lens, this will do a good job and as one gets more discerning with time, this will still be a great travel lens to have in your collection.

My wife is a professional product photographer. This new Tamron 16-300 lens is presently out on a 7-day shoot. Stay tuned for a performance update on her production shooting experience.

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
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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: Pretty decent travel lens – Good initial impression

Thanks Bob.  Any chance of seeing those photos you refer to?

 MarioV's gear list:MarioV's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P900 Canon G3 X Panasonic ZS100 Nikon D5200 Canon EOS M100 +1 more
Giklab Contributing Member • Posts: 787
Re: Pretty decent travel lens – Good initial impression

I believe you might actually be the first to revie this lens.

 Giklab's gear list:Giklab's gear list
Canon EOS 80D Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Tamron SP AF 180mm F/3.5 Di LD (IF) Macro Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD +3 more
JohnNewman Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Pretty decent travel lens – Good initial impression

Giklab wrote:

I believe you might actually be the first to revie this lens.

Don't think so but doesn't matter as very helpful review. Other reviews (largely) seem to be fairly impressed bearing in mind that this type of lens always has compromises. Personally I'm torn between this and the Nikon 18-300 (new version).

Thanks again to the OP for his useful comments.



 JohnNewman's gear list:JohnNewman's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Reverend Ray New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Pretty decent travel lens – Good initial impression

Thanks so much.  I have a canon 18x135 and considered it pretty good.  The pictures saw on the flickr were as good as anything the canon lens has done.  The ranger is much greater on the telephoto and that is what I would want as we are in Durango, Co and do a lot in the mountains.

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