The Tamron 18-400 F3.5-6.3 wants to be the only lens you’ll ever need. In my experience, lenses of this nature tend to offer zoom versatility at the cost of sharpness, especially at the telephoto end of the zoom range. But I was pleasantly surprised by how solid this ‘ultra-telephoto’ performs at all focal lengths in bright, direct light.

More specifically, I found it produced adequately sharp images throughout the zoom range with acceptable levels of CA, distortion and vignetting. It’s also a fun lens to use, given its focal length range and reasonable size. As a bonus, it also offers a surprisingly close focus distance at the long end (see image at the bottom of this page).

See our Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 sample gallery

Available for both Canon and Nikon APS-C camera bodies (it offers an equivalent zoom range of 27-600mm on Nikon's DX format, and 29-640mm on a Canon) I used the 18-400mm with the Canon EOS 80D, and and in terms of size and balance, it proved a good pairing. Despite having a plastic housing, the 18-400mm is reassuringly solid, and unlike some cheaper zooms the mount is made of metal. A small rubber ring around the mount is a reminder that the lens is also moisture-resistant.

Vibration Control is a useful feature given the insane zoom range – I definitely noticed it kicking in while shooting.

The wide, 27mm equivalent. And the tele, 600mm equivalent.

The lens also offers a nifty locking mechanism when zoomed to 18mm. This is a great way to avoid the dreaded ‘lens creep,’ though I found even without using the lock, the lens never crept when left at or near 18mm. The body also offers an AF/MF toggle, in addition to a VC on/off switch.

Overall, the Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 strikes me as a great and versatile lens for most daylight shooting scenarios. Travelers in particular will find it useful. And though it is heftier than your average kit lens, at 24.9oz / 705g, it shouldn't weigh you down too much.

I was impressed by the close focus distance when shooting at the tele end.
400 mm | 1/1600 sec | F6.3 | ISO 800