My Review of Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3, March 2015

I was invited to test this Tamron lens for The Journal (the Royal Photographic Society’s monthly members only magazine), and my review was featured in the March 2015 issue.

Here’s the full article I wrote, followed by the edited version that was printed in The Journal.

‘Model of camera/ kit tested: Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII VC PZD Macro

What sort of photography you do:Fine Art, textured, creative

What you expected from this camera/kit: A versatile lens with a wide range of focal lengths.

Did it meet these expectations? This could include:

Useability and handling: The lens was surprisingly compact and lightweight – having never used a lens with a focal length longer than 200mm I had been expecting the Tamron to be large and heavy. It was easy to hold in my not-very-large hands, comfortable to use and the zoom operated smoothly. There is a manual focus switch on the lens barrel to utilise the precision focussing most likely needed for macro images.

Lens – what’s provided and what’s available: The vibration compensation was a welcome feature, and enabled me to take many photographs in low light and at a relatively slow shutter speed (e.g. 1/15 second at f6.3 ISO 800) that were still sharp. There is a switch on the barrel to turn VC off when using a tripod, but it is also worth bearing in mind that leaving it switched on uses more of one’s camera battery power. The zoom lock is another great feature that allows for the lens barrel to be locked into position when not in use, so that it does not extend to longer focal lengths due to its weight when carried over the shoulder.

Image quality: I was shooting in RAW format and the image quality was generally very good, although tended to peak at the middle apertures and focal lengths. There was some purple fringing around tree branches shot against a bright sky at 16mm, but this was mostly removed in post-production.

Features you like: The Vibration Compensation was invaluable.

What you did with it – describe how you used the camera during the testing period: I tested the Tamron lens out over the period of a few days, starting at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire to try out the 300mm end of the lens photographing some animals, and finished off at home in my office for some macro work.

What situation is this lens good for; would you use it instead of your own kit for that particular situation?: I would certainly use this lens for holidays and travel, as it covers such a range of focal lengths packed into a lightweight body which makes it ideal for exploring new cities and places when carrying a full camera bag of heavy gear is not desirable. It would also have its place in street photography, being quite compact and discreet. All in all the Tamron is a flexible lens that suits a wide variety of photographic situations, and will appeal to both beginners and enthusiasts.’

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