Convenience is something we’re all guilty of craving. And when it comes to photography, superzoom lenses offer a tantalisingly easy option for photographers. Superzooms are typically aimed at enthusiast-level photographers looking for an all-in-one solution. Their large focal ranges allow you to shoot subjects as diverse as landscapes and wildlife, without ever having to change lenses. This is great for travelling, and days out where you can only take one lens.
In this respect the Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD certainly delivers. It’s designed specifically for APS-C DSLRs, and offers an 18.8x zoom with a full-frame equivalent focal range of 24.8-465mm. Plus, there’s a 39cm minimum focusing distance throughout the focal range, which provides a reasonable 1:2.9 macro reproduction at 300mm. It’s not going to get you nose to nose with a tiny insect, but could prove to be a useful feature in less demanding macro situations.
Features & handling
The overall design looks more refined than older Tamron lenses. The 16-300mm feels well-built, and features a splash-proof design making it ideal for outdoor use. With 16 elements in 12 groups it weighs just 540g, which is about twice as heavy as a kit lens. But this is still reasonably light for a lens, and especially for one that provides a focal length that extends beyond 400mm.
To help with shooting at longer focal lengths and in low light, the Tamron offers vibration control (VC). This allows you to obtain sharper shots at slower shutter speeds than you would normally use for a given focal length.
Focusing is fast, silent and internal, so the front element doesn’t rotate. Overall AF is good, although it does occasionally struggle to focus on subjects at 300mm. At 16mm it had no such problems. The Tamron 16-300mm is available for three mounts – Canon, Nikon and Sony A.
Superzooms are a ‘Jack of all trades’ lens type, and it’s this level of convenience that’s made them so popular. But with such a great promise of convenience there will always be a sacrifice. And with all superzooms it’s image quality.
At 16mm the lens suffers from a noticeable amount of barrel distortion, and at 300mm it suffers from pincushion distortion. Throughout the focal range chromatic aberration is visible, but this and the distortion can be easily corrected.
As far as superzooms go, the Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD is a good performer and offers one of the largest focal ranges available. At £529 it’s reasonably priced, and provides both vibration control and a splash-proof design. It certainly doesn’t offer the ultimate in image quality. But for Canon, Nikon and Sony users who want reasonable images in a convenient package, this lens is absolutely perfect.
- Street price: £399 (Price as of June 2016)
- Full frame or APS-C: APS-C
- Lens mount: Canon, Nikon, Sony
- Max aperture: f/3.5-6.3
- Min aperture: f/22-40
- Minimum focus distance: 39cm
- Filter size: 67mm
- Weight: 540g
- Visit: www.tamron.eu/uk
This review was first published in the September 2014 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.