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FORUMS Gear Reviews Lens Reviews 
Thread started 12 Aug 2018 (Sunday) 17:33
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TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND Jeff USN Photog 72-76 (showing now: Jeff USN Photog 72-76)
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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 Jeff USN Photog 72-76

 
Jeff ­ USN ­ Photog ­ 72-76
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Aug 12, 2018 17:33 |  #1

I decided to buy myself a retirement gift, a lens I normally wouldn’t buy. I had thought of the Canon 28-300 but two things held me back, one is the cost (facing Social Security in 2 months) and the bigger thing is the weight.
I don’t have any telephoto primes but I do have a 10-22, 18-135 STM, 55-250 STM, and a 35mm F/2 and my only white lens a Canon 100-400 with 2x teleconverter. I am happy with all the zoom lens and the 100-400 is really sharp, AND heavy – some years back I carried it for 10 hours at Disney World around my neck (it still hurts ROFL).
In looking at all the lenses out there I decided I would look for a super-telephoto zoom lens, something that I could carry when going places with my wife and not have to carry a camera back and a bevy of lenses, and then having to change them out in the field.

In looking at reviews I decided to try the Tamron 18-400. It is heavier than the STM’s but about half the weight of the 100-400. How would it perform? I made the assumption that it wouldn’t be as sharp as the 100-400 by a long shot but for carrying around my neck potentially for an all day walkabout and being able to cover almost any situation I thought I might run into it seemed like it would fit the bill.

The build quality seems to be very good. The zooming mechanism is fairly tight but I like that since it will probably loosen up over time. The manual focus has a relatively short throw making getting manual focus a bit tough, also the Canon 80D’s viewfinder is not really designed for manual focusing. The autofocus is adequate not super fast but not bad either. The focus is accurate, not complaints on my part. The only image I took with manual focus was of a jet flying overhead at 400mm handheld. In my shooting I didn’t really notice any real optical defects such as vignetting, however on the jet shot there appears to a little in the corners when shooting straight up. It is a slow lens and really needs a nice day to get the best results. Today was totally overcast, the clouds only breaking long enough to shoot the jet.

The zoom range is phenomenal and the sharpness is acceptable. All these shots except for the two shots of my 4x5 B&J were handheld and at f/8, ISO 2000 or 640. The macro will focus down to about 18 inches from the film-plane.

This is not a lens if you are looking for large blowups, it will be a bit soft but for personal photography and sharing better shots with people it is very good and it is "one lens to do it all"

All shots are straight from the camera, large fine, no processing at all.

18mm the white angel is barely seen in the center back of the gravestones, shows the reach of this lens

IMAGE: http://i63.tinypic.com/j8iotz.jpg

400mm

IMAGE: http://i65.tinypic.com/o9nxuc.jpg

400mm grackle 15 feet from camera

IMAGE: http://i67.tinypic.com/2mrb0bm.jpg

77mm my late son's gravesite about 6 feet from camera

IMAGE: http://i68.tinypic.com/14trg39.jpg

400mm tripod assisted 5 feet from camera

IMAGE: http://i63.tinypic.com/2zrmg3p.jpg

339mm bee 4 feet from camera

IMAGE: http://i66.tinypic.com/20pogva.jpg

IMAGE: http://i65.tinypic.com/206oadt.jpg

"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
"Free advice is seldom cheap" Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #59
I might not always be right, but I am never wrong! Once I thought I was wrong but I was mistaken!

  
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Bassat
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Aug 12, 2018 18:15 |  #2
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Nice photos from a 'do-it-all' lens.

Just curious, did you serve on the Enterprise (I think?)? Were you involved in any Apollo program recovery missions? My cousin was a US Navy Photographer in the late '60s/early '70s.




  
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Jeff ­ USN ­ Photog ­ 72-76
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Aug 12, 2018 18:33 as a reply to  @ Bassat's post |  #3

I was on the USS Independence CV-62. Nope we were not involved with any NASA operations. Navy Photographer, best job in the Navy!!!

Went to photo school in Pensacola, then stationed at the main lab there, NASP, then the USS Independence.


"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
"Free advice is seldom cheap" Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #59
I might not always be right, but I am never wrong! Once I thought I was wrong but I was mistaken!

  
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duckster
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Jan 21, 2019 13:30 |  #4

It has been a few months now, any new updates for this lens?




  
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Jeff ­ USN ­ Photog ­ 72-76
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Jan 24, 2019 18:05 |  #5

It is a good lens but needs a fair amount of light, I have found that the raw images are a tad soft but sharpen right up.

Good walking around lens if you can only carry one lens


"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
"Free advice is seldom cheap" Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #59
I might not always be right, but I am never wrong! Once I thought I was wrong but I was mistaken!

  
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LoneRider
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Feb 01, 2019 17:47 |  #6

Well, as much as I wanted to like this lens I have decided to return it...

I did quite a few test shots comparing it to my EF-S 18-135 IS USM and EF 70-300mm IS II USM mounted on my EOS M50. With the exception of obvious increased softness at 400mm, it was pretty much indistinguishable from the Canon lenses at 18mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 135mm, 200mm and 300mm.

While it might be a viable option for someone who doesn't have other lenses to cover its range, the "all in one" aspect just didn't impress me as much as I thought it would. Additionally, the zoom ring is quite non-linear. It zooms smooth and easy and with expected resistance from 18mm to about 70mm where it hits a wall of increased resistance to push past to 100mm and beyond. Not sure if this is intentional or just on my copy but I found it very annoying.

Throughout the entire range focus was a noticeably slow and it seemed to have moments where it really hunted when it shouldn't have needed to. I even had to manually focus it on one test shot of a red rose with clear petals. Both the 18-135mm and 70-300mm Canon lenses focus faster and never had any hunt issues during my test shots.

While nice and compact considering it's range, it is thicker and only about 1/2" shorter than the 70-300mm Canon, mind you the 70-300mm IS II USM is an EF lens providing full frame coverage, whereas the Tamron is EF-S and the vignette is there throughout the complete zoom range. If you use it on a FF body it requires about 1.3x crop to get rid of. I think it is too big for a "walk around" lens to be on the camera

The absolute killer though was when being used on my EOS R in crop mode, it gave my camera a seizure - stuttery focus with fast short range back and forth without locking, erratic operation and after turning the camera off and back on, I found that all of my custom button assignments had been wiped out/reset.

Given the non-linear zoom pressure, focus speed, focus issues, and softness at 400mm I don't think it is a $650 lens. To me, it "feels" more like what I would expect from a $400-$450 lens. If I were to hold, examine, and play with it side by side with the Canon 70-300mm ($499) knowing nothing about them and going only on an initial impression, I would guess the Canon to be the more expensive lens, even considering the additional range of the Tamron.

So all things considered, it just was not the "one to do it all" solution I was hoping for and its shortcomings are not outweighed by not having to carry a second lens and occasionally swapping between them.

If you have an 18-135mm or even an 18-55mm kit lens and wanting to get something in the 300-400mm range, I would recommend the Canon 70-300mm IS II USM. While I didn't specifically test it, I would bet that taking a 300mm shot from the Canon to the same framing of the Tamron at 400mm, it would provide better IQ than the Tamron at 400mm.


Wayne...
~I don't suffer from gear ADD, I embrace and enjoy it...~
Canon EOS R, Panasonic G9, GX9, and a bunch of glass...

  
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duckster
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Feb 03, 2019 07:04 as a reply to  @ LoneRider's post |  #7

I have the 2 USM Canon lenses that you mention, the 18-135 and the 70-300 and I agree that I have found them to be great. The idea of one lens to replace both of them was interesting but sounds like it might be better to stay with the kit I have, as I mostly do sports shooting and fast AF is important to me.




  
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DC ­ Fan
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Feb 05, 2019 08:12 |  #8

Bought one last autumn. Works well enough for those who want to carry only one lens and who face uncontrolled situations.


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daleg
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Jul 15, 2019 00:50 |  #9

jeff -

if you ever have the opportunity, try the Sony DSC RX10 IV. while it's only a 1" sensor, its Zeiss lens is an FOV equiv. of 24-600mm and it's easy on the neck and shoulders. I know many L lenses and 1DX's that have been set aside in favor of this "little" Sony. generally, I'm not a Sony fan. Digitally, I shoot Canon (1DX2, 5D4, 1D4, 5D, 7D2, SL2, SL1 & SL1 IR), Nikon (D850, Df - lots of legacy glass from film days, etc.), and Fuji (X-H1, X-T1, X-E1 & X100S). So, I'm not a Sony fanboy.

Lens wise, this Sony is not on par with the 600/4 IS II or III - but what other lens is? I also own and sometimes use the Canon 28-300mm L IS (I also still have the older 35-350mm L) - but they are used mostly on a monopod with or without a Wimberley Sidekick - not a light rig. I own both Nikon and Canon mount versions of the Tamron 28-300mm VC PZD lenses - but the results, while decent, don't measure up to my L lenses.

Many wildlife photogs seem drawn to this Sony. Check out the thread at - https://photography-on-the.net …read.php?t=1486​722&page=1

have fun and enjoy!
dale




  
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Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD, reviewed by Jeff USN Photog 72-76
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