Far better image quality than I dared hope for

Started Jun 28, 2015 | User reviews
Don Hutcheson New Member • Posts: 6
Far better image quality than I dared hope for
8

I bought this on a whim for a 5-day hike in the Grand Canyon 3 weeks ago. It saved me about 2 pounds carry-weight and changing lenses in the desert dust. It also brought back images of California Condors and distant crags I could never have reached with my normal travel lens (EFs 15-85). I took dozens of stitched panos and shot some great 1080p footage of boats shooting Granite Rapids. Macro was an unexpected bonus. And it did all this with far better image quality than I dared hope for.

I was willing to live with mediocre IQ in return for zoom range and portability, but I have to say I'm shocked at how good this lens is! It may not be Canon L quality but it's much better than I'd hoped.

Back home, I tested it against my EF 70-300 F4-5.6 and my old Pentax 6x7 300mm F4. To my surprise, the Tamron beat the other two for resolution (even in corners), contrast and flare. There's a little chromatic aberration, but that's easily dealt with in ACR.

I used to shoot 4x5 Velvia with Schneider, Zeiss and Rodenstock glass. I have several EOS L lenses. I operated my first drum-scanner in 1969. I've designed color computers and USM algorithms. I could recite nighquist theory forty years ago. I invented G7® and led the GRACoL® 2006 team. In other words, I know what razor-sharp resolution and good color mean.

If you spend your days pixel-peeping but never actually take photos, don't buy this lens. But if, like me, you've realised that great photos are not made by lens specifications, but rather by the eye and timing of the photographer, then the Tamron 16-300mm is likely to surprise and delight you. It's ever-ready versatility will let you take photos you'd otherwise have missed. Whether they turn out great of not, is up to you.

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Don Hutcheson
HutchColor, LLC
(Color Management Solutions)
New Jersey, USA
www.hutchcolor.com

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
Don Hutcheson's score
4.5
Average community score
4.1
Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro
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photog01
photog01 Contributing Member • Posts: 728
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

Thanx.  Very interesting and good to know.

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solster Forum Member • Posts: 79
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

I'm no lens expert but I made a bet on this one to mate my Sony A6000 even though it didn't come with Sony e mount. Don't regret it one bit. Thanks for the expert feedback.

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AdamT
AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 58,986
Comparison from me -------------->

Actually I`ve found this lens passes the pixel peeping test as far as sharpness goes - even across the frame at 16mm wideopen - better than the 18-270_PZD and almost as good as the 18-270 original ........ the long end lies inbeween too , the edges aren`t as good as the original massive 18-270 but better all over and especially edges than the 18-270 PZD ..... so a Winner on that score - add full time MF and a distance window and better handling than any of the 18-270s ......

is this the Ring type USD as in the 70-300 or is it the lousy short lived Micro USM as in the 18-270PZD ? . the handling suggests Ring USM but Micro USM and FT-MF + Distance scale has been done before in the Nikon 18-200 and Canon 50mm F1.4 ..

Where the lens is lousy (and typically Tamon) is the CA (Both types) - it`s high at 300mm to a degree that it`s likely not removable if near a blue sky , a real shame they don`t seem to be able to nail this as they`ve almost got the sharpness across the frame up to Orignal 18-270 standards (and that old heavy noisy slow AFing lens was the best Superzoom ever by Tamron Optically for DSLRs, it was even better than the non VC 18-250) . the VC isn`t as effective as the old noisy 18-270 PZD either by any stretch of the imagination but it is silent - the old lens would jump and scream but when it locked you could shoot 270mm at 10th sec .

Verdict from me - Stunning sharpness at both ends for such a range in such a small package , improved handling over the past lenses too but the Tamron Curse of high levels of CA still haunts their superzooms and the stabilization ain`t what it was in the 1st generation VC lenses, though it does lock a lot faster ...

Tested on a 100D - canon fit of course

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rxb dc Senior Member • Posts: 2,100
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

Don,

Thanks for the review. I've had the lens for just about a year now and I have found it very useful for pretty much the same reasons - versatile, including macro and you can really get shots which you otherwise might not.

I've done some reviews here  including samples etc. I did a comparison against ef-s 10-18, Canon 50 1.8 and Tamron 150-600 at matching focal lengths and the results were quite decent.

Thank you for sharing.

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OpticsEngineer Veteran Member • Posts: 6,515
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for
1

I got one of these for my Canon 70D and find it pretty good overall.    Really nice having that wide 16 mm.

Of course if ones interest is serious birding and wildlife, a regular telezoom would be better.  But for versatility and a reasonable cost, the 16-300 is a great buy.

Popular photography magazine also had a lot of nice things to say about this lenses macro capability with very little vignetting in macro.

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rjjr Forum Pro • Posts: 14,696
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

Don Hutcheson wrote:

I could recite nighquist theory forty years ago.

I think you mean "Nyquist" but I didn't get to it until a little over 30 years ago in my EE classes. 

ramgad Regular Member • Posts: 122
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

Similar experience here as well. Purchased the lens but was about 85% Sure I'd return it, but I've been surprised at how good the lens is. Not a great lens, especially near 300 mm, but quite good up to about 250 mm, probably keeping it.

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buybuybuy
buybuybuy Senior Member • Posts: 5,388
Re: Comparison from me -------------->

+57000 posts! Wow, I don't believe I've ever seen anyone with quite as many posts as you!!!

As for the Tamron, does it really perform better than a superzoom? On the DPR homepage, the P900 took an awesome close-up of the moon, after all.

AdamT
AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 58,986
Re: Comparison from me -------------->

+57000 posts! Wow, I don't believe I've ever seen anyone with quite as many posts as you!!!

it is spanning 16 years(I had to re-join in 2001/2 due to a forum fault but the counter and my details were kept .... also 2000-2003 were the hayday of DSLRs and chatting about what lenses work best and what don`t

As for the Tamron, does it really perform better than a superzoom? On the DPR homepage, the P900 took an awesome close-up of the moon, after all.

The P900`s IQ is pretty poor from what I`ve seen, there can`t be more than about 6Mp of detail in there at best .

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rxb dc Senior Member • Posts: 2,100
Its the systems : lens + camera + flashes....

buybuybuy wrote:

+57000 posts! Wow, I don't believe I've ever seen anyone with quite as many posts as you!!!

As for the Tamron, does it really perform better than a superzoom? On the DPR homepage, the P900 took an awesome close-up of the moon, after all.

The IQ is one aspect and even if it were the same as the P900, the reason I prefer it on my DSLR is because it goes with a camera I know inside out  - metering, AF, drive, ISO, exposure bracketing, FEB and so on. And I can  use my accessories such as flashes with it.

It may sound trivial but the shooting experience and familiarity with the equipment is really very important especially in time crunched situation so you are not hunting for menu options.

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buybuybuy
buybuybuy Senior Member • Posts: 5,388
Re: Its the systems : lens + camera + flashes....

rxb dc wrote:

buybuybuy wrote:

+57000 posts! Wow, I don't believe I've ever seen anyone with quite as many posts as you!!!

As for the Tamron, does it really perform better than a superzoom? On the DPR homepage, the P900 took an awesome close-up of the moon, after all.

The IQ is one aspect and even if it were the same as the P900, the reason I prefer it on my DSLR is because it goes with a camera I know inside out - metering, AF, drive, ISO, exposure bracketing, FEB and so on. And I can use my accessories such as flashes with it.

It may sound trivial but the shooting experience and familiarity with the equipment is really very important especially in time crunched situation so you are not hunting for menu options.

Yes, you're absolutely right about the familiarity aspect!

buybuybuy
buybuybuy Senior Member • Posts: 5,388
Re: Comparison from me -------------->

AdamT wrote:

+57000 posts! Wow, I don't believe I've ever seen anyone with quite as many posts as you!!!

it is spanning 16 years(I had to re-join in 2001/2 due to a forum fault but the counter and my details were kept .... also 2000-2003 were the hayday of DSLRs and chatting about what lenses work best and what don`t

As for the Tamron, does it really perform better than a superzoom? On the DPR homepage, the P900 took an awesome close-up of the moon, after all.

The P900`s IQ is pretty poor from what I`ve seen, there can`t be more than about 6Mp of detail in there at best .

Yes, upon closer inspection, it does fall short. I guess they made the sensor incredibly small (crop factor almost 6, isn't it?) to accommodate that huge zoom range.

alan e jones Regular Member • Posts: 196
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for
1

HI

I also have one of these tamron 16-300 and i like you are surprised at how good it is

I have a 100D i use this on i keep it it the car at all times... i used to use a canon 18-135 which was the best of 4 i tried The Tamron 16-300 is sharper at F8 (being fair i try to use this at F8  for best IQ) which surprised me

An even bigger surprise was i tested it against a canon 70-300 USM and the Tamron in my opinion beats it just ! especially at 200 and 300 mm

so yes i'm keeping it !!

regards

Alan

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jirvingw Forum Member • Posts: 88
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

I have had mine for a few weeks now, love it. I agree with all that has been said by the other posters.

CA is noticeable but largely correctable an ACR. As expected in wide range zooms it has some focus breathing at close range, but is an excellent close up lens. I think the effective zoom at 300mm is more like 250mm. I had a chance to compare with the Nikon 18-300, looks like the zoom magnification and focus breathing are comparable. I just compared looking thru the viewfinder using my d7000 and the Nikon on my brother in laws d-90.

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John

solster Forum Member • Posts: 79
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

Just curious: Has anyone tried this lens on a full-frame to check how it fares wrt to expected artifacts? (For example, the Canon 10-18mm STM despite being being EF-S like the Tamron 16-300mm, seems to fare quite well - so curious...)

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rxb dc Senior Member • Posts: 2,100
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for
1

solster wrote:

Just curious: Has anyone tried this lens on a full-frame to check how it fares wrt to expected artifacts? (For example, the Canon 10-18mm STM despite being being EF-S like the Tamron 16-300mm, seems to fare quite well - so curious...)

The lens is designed only for APS-C format - will likely cause damage on a FF camera.

BTW, the 10-18 is also APS-C only and will not work on FF.

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solster Forum Member • Posts: 79
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

rxb dc wrote:

solster wrote:

Just curious: Has anyone tried this lens on a full-frame to check how it fares wrt to expected artifacts? (For example, the Canon 10-18mm STM despite being being EF-S like the Tamron 16-300mm, seems to fare quite well - so curious...)

The lens is designed only for APS-C format - will likely cause damage on a FF camera.

BTW, the 10-18 is also APS-C only and will not work on FF.

Unless, I'm missing something specifically about this lens - the APSC lenses for, say, E-Mount (Sony E-mount that I have) do work on FF E-mounts with vignetting around the edges (and possibly other artifacts) because the sensor on FF is bigger. Unsure of damage to the camera though, so long its the same E-mount.

Would appreciate any feedback for Sony E-Mount use of this lens on FF...

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anisah
anisah Contributing Member • Posts: 522
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for
1

An interesting thread, which tends to support our experience. Planning a short trip to Europe from the UK next month we are trying to minimise the weight we carry. So, limited cameras, ie 1 DSLR with a single lens. We have resurrected our EOS40D, rather than use a 7D or a 5D3. The one lens was more of a problem, a choice of 3:

Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM
Sigma DC 18-125mm f3.8-5.6 OS HSM
Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro

So, we did a very non-scientific test by taking images with all 3, with the settings as close as possible to each other. Its obvious that the Canon and Sigma have nowhere near the reach of the Tamron, so settings were kept generally to between 24mm and about 110-125mm. The results really did suprise us, as the Tamron won out at every level. Here are some examples, slightly post processed to give some idea of the results:

24mm

110mm

Just for good measure we also tried the Tamron at 300mm, as there has been a lot of discussion about its capabilities at this length. This image is a crop of the central portion, with fairly minimal post processing.

300mm - small birds from about 20m

All images are of more than acceptable standards, in our opinion, so the decision was, for us, very easy - the Tamron travels with us. OK, there are some issues like avoiding using the lens wide open, f8 - f13 seems the best compromise, and you also have to give time for the VC to "kick in", but as far as image quality is concerned we hope that the results speak for the quality of the lens.

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OP Don Hutcheson New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Far better image quality than I dared hope for

rjjr wrote:

Don Hutcheson wrote:

I could recite nighquist theory forty years ago.

I think you mean "Nyquist" but I didn't get to it until a little over 30 years ago in my EE classes.

Oops!  I could recite it but apparently couldn't spell it!

Thanks for the correction.  I was pretty tired from a 5 day hike when I posted my review.

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Don Hutcheson
HutchColor, LLC
(Color Management Solutions)
New Jersey, USA
www.hutchcolor.com

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