Tamron AF70-300mm lens review
This Tamron takes zooming capability beyond your everyday kit lens
- Well built and powerful lens
- Great zoom performance.
- Can feel a bit heavy
- Lens can’t be used if hood is inverted
The Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di VC USD is a good addition for any growing camera setup. It can facilitate clear and bright looking shots at full zoom, and it's also useful for portraits.
Price$ 550.00 (AUD)
A basic DSLR kit lens will typically provide you with a range of 18mm to 55mm. This is an optimum range that allows you to take both near and wide angle shots, which makes it enough for most beginners and intermediate photographers.
The limitations of this range become apparent when you want to take photos of objects at a distance. Instead of capturing close-up detail when zoomed in, you will typically end up with wide angle and landscape shots.
The Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di VC USD lens is designed to compensate for this shortcoming, letting you zoom past the threshold of a stock kit lens. Certain tele-zoom lenses max out at 200mm, though lenses such as the Tamron one push the threshold to 300mm.
Large yet rugged
The SP 70-300mm comes with the features users have come to expect from Tamron lenes. Focus is handled by the Ultrasonic Silent Drive motor and stabilisation is carried out by the Vibration Compensation function.
Black polycarbonate is used for the body, which imbues the lens with a durable and high quality feel. The gold band characteristic of Tamron lenses is located between the zoom and focus rings.
A generously sized hood is provided, though it is so large that it covers the zoom and focus rings when worn inverted. Smaller Tamron lenses are usable with inverted hoods, though the SP 70-300mm hood is so large you will either have to wear it properly or take it off before use.
The lens’ extensive zoom range means it is big, as it has to accommodate all of its glass housed inside. It measures 142.7mm in length, which makes it twice the size of most basic kit lenses.
The lens weighs 765g, which can add up to close to a kilo once it is paired with a camera body. We found the SP 70-300mm was not too heavy to carry around and take shots with, though you may want to invest in a monopod if you plan to use it for extended periods.
The SP 70-300mm was tested against a first-party Nikon lens, the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. These are not competing lenses, as the Tamron is a secondary lens while the Nikon one is an all-in-one solution.
The Nikon lens was used for this test to compare the quality of shots of the Tamron at the same focal range. While the Nikon lens can zoom out as far back as 18mm, the range was kept to 200 and 300mm for comparison with the Tamron lens.
The lenses were mounted on a lower, mid-range DSLR camera, the Nikon D5200, for testing purposes. Photos were captured using the default factory settings and best quality JPEG settings. Photo resolution was set at 4496x3000 with a resulting file size of approximately 7MB. The resolution and size of the images was reduced for publishing. Photos were taken at the two furthest zoom lengths. The appeal of telephoto zoom lenses lies in the close-up capability, so that became the focus during testing.
The first set of photos was taken during cloudy daytime lighting conditions. The ISO and shutter speed settings on the camera were unchanged between the two lenses, and the f-stop was at f/5.6 for both lenses.
As can be seen in the photos, the photos with the Tamron lens were slightly brighter than the photos taken with the Nikon lens. The Tamron glass allowed more light in, resulting in the camera sensor capturing a slightly clearer image.
The second batch of photos was captured indoors during reduced lighting conditions. The distance from the seating area to the stage where the band was performing was approximately 150 metres.
Considering the distance, the SP 70-300mm did a good job of capturing the performers on stage. The vibration reduction and quick performance of the shutter helped keep the motion blur to a minimum, even without being mounted on a tripod.
The lens was only tested with scenery and concert settings, but the long zoom range makes it useful for many situations where a kit lens is not enough. Animals located at a distance are a good target for this lens.
It is a hard to find any faults with the SP 70-300mm. It is a well built lens and it performed well when we tested it, particularly against a first-party lens from a manufacturer such as Nikon.
The SP 70-300mm comes recommended if you already have an existing kit lens and you are looking to take photos at greater distance. The all-in-one design of the Nikon demonstrates how convenient it is to have a single powerful lens instead of two separate ones, so consider which approach works better for you before committing.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 2 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 3 Parrot Mambo Drone review
- 4 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 5 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- TV buying guide: What to look for when buying a TV in 2016
- Best iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus plans: Optus vs Telstra vs Vodafone vs Virgin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSenior Architect, Markets and ProductsNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (Java/J2EE/MyEclipse) 161007/AP/vmpAsia
- CCInfrastructure & Security Solution ArchitectVIC
- CCAcquisition Marketing Executive - B2BNSW
- FTProject ManagerSA
- FTSenior .Net Software EngineerVIC
- FTSalesforce Subject Matter ExpertNSW
- CCChange Manager - Telco projectsNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst - PIMAsia
- CCInformation Security Consultant - RSA ArcherNSW
- CCSAP Release & Deployment ManagerNSW
- CCContract IT Assistant (UNIX/Windows) 161028/ITA/003Asia
- CCAutomation Test AnalystNSW
- CCSAP GRC consultant with ABAP experience . Canberra LocationNSW
- PTService Management AnalystSA
- FTKronos AdministratorNSW
- FTProject Manager - FinanceNSW
- CCEnterprise ArchitectNSW
- FTTechnical Support Engineer | Cloud | Automation techsNSW
- CCContract Management SpecialistNSW
- CCSAP Finance Business AnalystNSW
- CC.Net DeveloperWA
- CCJava DeveloperNSW