The Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD shares the same 15x magnification and variable aperture range as Tamron’s 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC lens which was first seen in 2008. This new and improved version is available in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts and is the company’s first to feature a Piezo Drive (PZD) autofocus motor.
The technology in the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II V C PZD has allowed the lens to be made smaller than the previous 18-270mm, making it more convenient and practical to carry, which is exactly what you want from a superzoom.
Featuring a construction of 16 glass elements in 13 groups it’s designed for APS-C D-SLRs rather than full-frame models and is equivalent to 27-405mm in film terms on a Nikon or Sony D-SLR (29-432mm on a Canon).
This extensive focal range is useful for anything from wide-angle landscapes to telephoto wildlife shots and it has the potential to be a handy travel zoom, saving you the hassle of carrying lots of lenses to cover the same focal lengths.
To stabilise shooting at the long end of the zoom, the lens uses Tamron’s Vibration Compensation (VC) system, and this enables you to shoot at shutter speeds around four stops slower than would otherwise be possible and still achieve sharp results. However, the VC system did produce a noticeable mechanical whirr – not a huge issue when shooting stills, but obvious when playing back HD videos. Weighing in at 450g, the lens is certainly lighter and more compact than its predecessor, but still feels solid.
The lens zoom ring is well rubberised giving a good grip, though our test subject was slightly smoother to use between 70 and 270mm. We also found it had a tendency to creep between 35mm and 190mm when slung over the shoulder, though there is a zoom lock which can be used to stop the lens extending past 18mm. The VC and MF/AF switches are easy to access and positive to use. Viewing our test shots, we spotted noticeable signs of vignetting at 18mm when shooting wide open (f/3.5), and although this improved at f/11 there was also some barrel distortion. Some fringeing and softness were also seen at the longer telephoto settings but we found the AF performance was smooth, fast and refined.
At £549, the 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD seems a bit too expensive – it’s £180 more than the previous model and £145 more than its closest rival – the Sigma’s 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM (£404). When it comes to the crunch, we’d be tempted to sacrifice the Tamron 18-270mm’s extra length in favour of the cheaper and still solid-performing Sigma 18-250mm.
- Street Price: £269
- Focal Length: 18-270mm
- Lens Mounts: Canon, Nikon, Sony
- APS-C equivalent: 27-405mm (at 1.5x Crop Factor), 29-432mm (at 1.6x)
- Maximum Aperture: f/3.5-6.3
- Minimum Aperture: f/22-40
- Diaphragm Blades: 7
- Lens Construction: 16 elements, 13 Groups
- Minimum Focus Distance: 49cm
- Maximum Magnification Ratio: 1:3.8
- Filter Thread: 62mm
- Weight: 450g
- Dimensions: 74.4x88mm
- Visit: www.tamron.eu/uk
This review was first published in the May 2013 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.