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Thread started 03 May 2018 (Thursday) 19:40
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TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND Mike Photo (showing now: Mike Photo)
Overall Rating5.5
Overall Image Quality6.5
Value for Money7.5
Bokeh5
Sharpness5.5
Contrast5
Focusing6
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Got What I Expected8
Ownership Status: "have borrowed"

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List all reviews of Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD, reviewed by Mike Photo

 
Mike ­ Photo
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Location: Boston, Ma
     
May 03, 2018 19:40 |  #1

So Tamron sent me their new super telephoto lens 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD to test out and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with the community.

I wrote out a full in-depth review discussing image quality, build, and with more examples etc... over at Fstoppers.com (external link) So please head over there and check it out if you're looking for an affordable and versatile all in one APS-C lens.

This new lens like all Tamron's newest lenses shares a much improved overall design aesthetic. Has a minimum focusing distance of 17", and a magnification ratio of 1:2.9. Not to mention vibration compensation and compatibility with Tamron's new TAP-In USB console.

I’d say this lens is for anyone who is looking for something better for family photos while traveling or at sporting events. Anyone looking to get past the 200mm range for a decent price for the occasional wildlife or shot of the Moon. Someone who is looking to upgrade from a kit lens or get more variety of shots while out shooting. If you're pixel peeping and looking for the sharpest details at 400mm than you might be disappointed, and I’m willing to bet you already knew that. However, if you're the photographer that doesn't need the best of the best but would rather have one lens to capture all those epic adventures while still enjoying being in the moment. This lens is probably for you.

What I Liked

  • Vibration Compensation (VC) especially at 400mm
  • TAP-In USB Console compatible
  • Overall design aesthetic
  • Insane 18-400mm range
  • Overall image quality in real-world usage


What I Didn't Like

  • Variable aperture is always a disappointment but for its range, I think it's reasonable
  • No true weather sealing
  • Although easily fixed the pincushion distortion amount was surprising


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Snydremark
my very own Lightrules moment
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Location: Issaquah, WA USA
     
May 04, 2018 11:47 |  #2

Nice, Mike. I've been using one for a general travel lens for several months and basically concur with all points. As an enthusiast level hobby shooter, used to the results from the 'L' series zooms, I am mildly disappointed in the final results from the perspective of "I know what I *could* have had"...but, that is pretty well offset by not having lugged 8lbs of lenses around when I was just wandering/visiting a place without specific results planned for the outing/trip.

The one thing I sort of feel is missing there is the speed/perf of servo focusing with this lens; it's *slow*, especially compared any of Canon's USM lenses I've seen. And it is jerky, for lack of a better word, when adjusting during servo focus, making it quite difficult to track a subject that is moving to/from the camera at any signficant angle. This is probably the most disappointing thing I've found with this lens (for me, paired with a 7DII) in the time I've owned it.

Otherwise, no surprises from it being a superzoom other than happily outperforming any of the previous 18-200(250/270)s that I've attempted to add to the kit for small kit travel purposes. I imagine this one will live in the kit for quite a while.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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Sibil
Cream of the Crop
7,015 posts
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Joined Jan 2009
Location: SoCal
     
May 05, 2018 10:18 |  #3

Thank you for the review. I am very tempted to get this lens as a one lens solution to an upcoming tourist-type trip to Seattle. The idea of not having to carry a backpack full of lenses around, all day, is very appealing.




  
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duckster
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Jun 03, 2018 09:06 |  #4

Thanks for the review. I will be traveling to Namibia in July and have been trying to figure out a reasonably light camera kit for the trip. It will include some driving photo opportunity through Etosha Park. From a size and weight perspective, I am thinking of taking my Canon T3i as a body and I have a 50 mm 1.8 STM, a 18-135 and a 70-300 USM. I was thinking that maybe the Tamron would replace either of those zooms and then just take it plus the 50mm. Do you think the sharpness is adequate for a wildlife (big game) lens?




  
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Mike ­ Photo
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Jun 06, 2018 04:25 as a reply to  @ duckster's post |  #5

Hi

Ive been to Africa several times and I tend to use my 18-35 and 70-200. So I think that lens range covers that very well. Plus the added reach for wildlife will def give you great results. My trips are usually assignments so carrying a bunch of gear is just part of the job. That being said if If I had to have one lens and knew I would be doing some wildlife or safari I wouldn't hesitate to use this lens.

I would be very surprised if someone took this lens to Africa and came back unhappy with their images. I recommend picking it up before the trip so you can get a feel for what its capable of. Know where its sharpest and where is faults are for your specific style and taste. You should do this for any new lens and you'll get better results when you use the lens with this knowledge.

have a great trip.

Mike


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duckster
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Post edited 2 months ago by duckster.
     
Jun 06, 2018 10:15 as a reply to  @ Mike Photo's post |  #6

Thank you for the information. I have been happy with the Canon 18-135 USM and 70-300 USM as far as image quality and speed/accuracy of focus but I have mostly used these lenses for sports. I have not done a lot of dedicated wildlife/landscape photography (Just do it for fun, not a pro). I would guess that the faster f2.8 lenses are not absolutely needed for daytime safari shots? I have rented the Canon 70-200 f2,8 for some indoor sports and it is a great lens. Also have rented the Canon 100-400 F4.5-5.6 for outdoor sports but it is a big, heavy lens.

It is quite possible that I am overthinking it and would be just fine with the lenses that I have! Just thought it was possible to need more than 300 mm on the top end.




  
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Snydremark
my very own Lightrules moment
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Gallery: 44 photos
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Location: Issaquah, WA USA
     
Jun 06, 2018 16:02 |  #7

duckster wrote in post #18640236 (external link)
Thank you for the information. I have been happy with the Canon 18-135 USM and 70-300 USM as far as image quality and speed/accuracy of focus but I have mostly used these lenses for sports. I have not done a lot of dedicated wildlife/landscape photography (Just do it for fun, not a pro). I would guess that the faster f2.8 lenses are not absolutely needed for daytime safari shots? I have rented the Canon 70-200 f2,8 for some indoor sports and it is a great lens. Also have rented the Canon 100-400 F4.5-5.6 for outdoor sports but it is a big, heavy lens.

It is quite possible that I am overthinking it and would be just fine with the lenses that I have! Just thought it was possible to need more than 300 mm on the top end.

300 > 400mm gives you about a 25% increase in your subject size within the frame; at the distances that you're likely to be taking pictures you appreciate the results from, that difference can probably be made up by a moderate crop. I do not believe the results with the Tamron would be better than the results from the 70-300, slightly cropped, in most cases. The advantage of the Tam in this scenario would be not having to consider changing out lenses.

A few zoo examples in way less than ideal lighting conditions, shot using a 7DII and this lens:

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1758/42489050202_6826b9aa63_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/27JB​uk5  (external link) Elephant electrician-4728 (external link) by Eric (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1727/42541048271_b69b07de38_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/27Pc​Zxv  (external link) chimpanzee-4775 (external link) by Eric (external link), on Flickr

Note these two, in particular, that were shot at ISO 12,800 due to lack of light.

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1744/41818140164_9c7a39efbd_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/26Hj​U9C  (external link) HowlerPortrait-4702 (external link) by Eric (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1726/42489019872_52ee5ca912_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/27JB​kj9  (external link) Littlephant-4599 (external link) by Eric (external link), on Flickr

You can't really get a good shot in darker conditions than I shot these in darker conditions without a longer shutter speed and/or shooting from a tripod anyway. So, if these are even remotely acceptable for your eye, you should have much better light out on the actual plains. I'd be sure to click through and look at the expanded sizes directly on Flickr.

I would expect the 70-300 to perform roughly the same, and possibly *slightly* better in the same conditions.

- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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duckster
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Jun 06, 2018 18:21 |  #8

I have used the 70-300 for a lot of outdoor sports and it has served well. Just don’t have much experience with wildlife on a safari type situation. Out in the western USA, the ranges are likely to be quite long so as much reach as you can get would be best but some of the safari photos I see from the national parks looks like the photographer can get fairly close, like within 100 yards




  
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Snydremark
my very own Lightrules moment
18,249 posts
Gallery: 44 photos
Likes: 1337
Joined Mar 2009
Location: Issaquah, WA USA
     
Jun 06, 2018 18:56 |  #9

duckster wrote in post #18640497 (external link)
I have used the 70-300 for a lot of outdoor sports and it has served well. Just don’t have much experience with wildlife on a safari type situation. Out in the western USA, the ranges are likely to be quite long so as much reach as you can get would be best but some of the safari photos I see from the national parks looks like the photographer can get fairly close, like within 100 yards

One of my coworkers just got back from Africa, where he shot with his 16-50 and 55-210 on an A6000 and he had some GREAT shots of big cats, plus some elephants that were close enough to the safari rigs that he didn't even need a 'long' zoom. Says he's have liked some extra reach for a few shots, but those two were sufficient for probably 95% of what he shot.


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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Jeff ­ USN ­ Photog ­ 72-76
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Aug 10, 2018 05:36 |  #10

Thank you Mike, I am going to Hunts on Saturday for tax-free weekend and had thought of a second 55-250 or a 70-300 but since I already have a 55-250, just that my son seems to wan to keep it in his bag, it doesn't make sense to duplicate lenses. My 100-400 was heavy 15 years ago for carrying around so this lens seems to fit a niche for going to Beavertail or antiquing with the wife. I would like the Canon 28-300 but can't justify the price and it is still a heavy lens.

I will be trying it out over the next few weeks and let you know what I think.


Current stable Canon 80D, 70D both with vertical grips, 10-20 EF-IS 35 f2 EF IS
18-135 EF IS 55-250 EF IS STM 100 EF "L" Macro IS 100-400 EF "L" IS 2x EF Tele-converter
Link below is to my "photo pages" and has a shot of my camera collection
http://www.disneyphoto​s.us (external link)

  
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Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD, reviewed by Mike Photo
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