Conclusion

What we like What we don't
  • Good sharpness at F4, particularly at the long end of the zoom
  • Fringing (chromatic aberration) is well-controlled
  • Out-of-focus highlights are impressively smooth
  • Vibration Compensation is very effective
  • Represents great value for money
  • Solid build quality, weather sealed
  • Internal zoom and focus
  • Distortion well-controlled
  • Good minimum focus distance
  • Ergonomics can be hit and miss
  • Autofocus motor slower than first-party options
  • Shooting at minimum focus distance and max zoom can leave your subjects looking slightly hazy
  • Patterns in flare can be distracting
  • No focus limiter
  • AF can hunt moving from near to far objects

Overall conclusion

The Tamron 70-210mm F4 is a great telephoto lens option with relatively few shortcomings considering its reasonable price point. Its optical performance should represent a meaningful upgrade for those using entry-level 55-200mm or 55-250mm kit zooms, and the F4 aperture saves weight and expense compared to constant F2.8 aperture alternatives.

Canon EOS 80D | ISO 100 | 1/2000 sec | F4 | 70mm

It must be said that both the current Canon and Nikon alternatives have more conventional ergonomics (i.e. zoom and focus ring placement), faster autofocus motors and of course their respective camera bodies offer built-in profiles to automatically correct for vignetting and chromatic aberration (CA). Our direct comparison with the Canon 70-200mm F4L II IS shows that lens to be a generally better performer, especially wide-open. But in our experience the Tamron balances well on more entry-level cameras, the autofocus kept up just fine with everything we threw at it, and if you take the time to shoot Raw, the lack of in-camera optical corrections is neither here nor there.

If you're looking for corner-to-corner sharpness at 50MP, there are better lenses on the market, albeit for more money. But if you're shopping for an F4 telezoom for day-to-day portrait and action shooting, it's well worth giving the Tamron a closer look.


What we think


Carey Rose
Reviews Editor
Tamron's been on something of a roll in recent years, churning out lenses that are very good optically while still coming in at a reasonable price point. This Tamron 70-210mm F4 is no different. Although I'm not the biggest fan of the zoom ring placement, I found it a capable shooting companion for everything from motocross to portraits, and with how good cameras are these days for high ISO shooting, rarely found myself wishing for the extra stop of light (and extra heft) of an F2.8 zoom.

Rishi Sanyal
Science Editor
While it's not the fastest to focus nor the sharpest zoom of its type, the Tamron 70-210mm F4 does offer competitive optical performance compared even to on-brand offerings, particularly when stopped down. And it does so at a fraction of the cost.

Compared to...

The Tamron 70-210mm F4, flanked by current Canon and Nikon alternatives.

Tamron joins first-party Canon and Nikon 70-200mm F4 lenses in the marketplace, and we've done some shooting with all of them back-to-back to see how they stack up.

The new Canon 70-200mm F4L IS II has just been released, but our initial comparison shooting shows that it's generally sharper - particularly at the wide and telephoto ends of the zoom and at the lens' widest apertures. We still think that the Tamron will easily be good enough for users who aren't using 50MP camera bodies, and it's hard to argue with the MSRP of $799 versus $1299 for the new Canon.

Against the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F4G, the Tamron actually offers broadly comparable performance in terms of sharpness across the frame, which is no small feat considering the Nikon is the most expensive of the bunch with an MSRP of $1399.


Scoring

Tamron 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD
Category: Telephoto Lens
Optical Quality
Build Quality
Autofocus
Image Stabilization
Ergonomics and Handling
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The Tamron 70-210mm F4 represents a fantastic value in its segment. While it isn't the sharpest option for demanding uses and the ergonomics might turn some users off, the overall image quality, stabilization and inclusion of weather sealing make it a truly compelling option for Canon and Nikon DSLR users.
Good for
DSLR users looking to upgrade their kit telephoto zooms and those wanting to photograph moving subjects in good light, portrait shooters and outdoor events.
Not so good for
Those shooting in dim environments and need a wider aperture, those shooting on the highest megapixel bodies and need the best sharpness they can get.
80%
Overall score

Sample gallery

Time spent in the field and behind the lens is an important aspect of DPReview camera and lens testing. Below is a comprehensive set of samples from the Tamron 70-210mm F4.

Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.