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4.5 out of 5 stars
Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD XLD for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
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126 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2010
Style Name: NikonVerified Purchase
I've been considering the Nikon 70-300mm VR Lens Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras for quite a while, but glad that Amazon had an issue recently and stopped selling it directly (not sure why).

I noticed that this Tamron lens goes to f4 instead of f4.5 and has an Ultrasonic Drive (USD) for autofocus (AF) which is on par with Nikon and Canon technologies. I've also been watching eBay to see what kind of price I could pickup the Nikon for used or refurbished and found I could buy the Tamron for about the same price new(after $50 rebate) with a 6 year warranty. I'm not sure why, but there are a ton of the Nikon lenses being sold refurbished, which only have a one year warranty. There are several comments here on Amazon about reviewers getting a bad copy of the lens. So I figured I would take a chance on the Tamron lens, glad I did!

I started taking sports pictures at my son's football games and have been blown away by the speed of the USD. My camera is a Nikon D90 and taking photos at 4.5fps was easy with continuous AF.
I took some shots all the way out at 300mm and this lens produced very sharp results with great depth-of-field and Bokeh. This lens works with full frame FX and cropped frame DX cameras, so the zoom on my D90 is fantastic. Rarely did I have any results that weren't excellent.

The Tamron lens also has their XLD (extra low dispersion glass) that seems pretty evident in the sharpness and lack of chromatic aberration. This is Tamron's first lens to incorporate all of these high end technologies and I think they got it right.

Several of the shots I took were of kids running at high speed and I purposely slowed the shutter down to capture some of the motion in the images. Tamron's VC (vibration correction) performed stellar with my erratic panning and hand holding. I did a test with it off and the difference is dramatic. My other Nikon lenses with VR perform well, but the Tamron VC has got them beat for sure.

I love competion, because it makes everyone better. I'd say in this case, Tamron has finally put out a product that beats Nikon.
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227 of 237 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: CanonVerified Purchase
Pros:

* Great Price for all the professional features
* Image Quality on par with Canon L series

Cons:

* Location of zoom and focus ring
Overview

I was lucky to get myself a copy of this one-shot wonder on Amazon. After I received it, I did some quick test. Since we are still under house arrest because of taking care of our newborn, I have yet to test this lens in the field to the fullest extent. The Tamron is a full frame lens and on a 1.6 cropped sensor, the focal length is converted 112-480mm. This lens is my second Tamron in my bag. My first Tamron lens was the SP 17-50mm F2.8. The 17-50mm lands a special spot in my heart not only because its stunning image quality along with a great pricing, but it's also my first professional lens and I have done tons of portfolio work with it. As of today, this lens is still my main workhorse and all the images you see here were taken with it.

What's in the box? It comes with the usual stuff that one would expect, front, rear cap, user's manual, etc. FYI, just like many third party brand, all Tamron lenses come with a lens hood. This one is no exception, it comes with large flower petal lens hood. No lens pouch included and no warranty card either. Tamron has moved from traditional mail-in warranty registration to online registration.

My initial response when I took it out of box - this is a sturdy, solid, well constructed lens inside a plastic barrel. Some may be disappointed because its plastic look and feel. But for me, I find this lens is made with quality material and the plastic finish does not bother me at all. No weather seal protection which I don't expect to see one at this price range. If you expected this lens to be light because of the plastic finish. Wrong! This lens weights 765g. How heavy is 765g? It is equivalent to 2 cans of 12oz soda. It is about the same as the Canon 70-200mm f4L IS and 130g more than its main competitor, the Canon 70-300mm IS. It is a great balance with my Canon 40D but a bit front heavy on my Rebel XT. Based on the weight, I believe Tamron's target audience for this lens is for photographers using professional or semi-professional bodies.

The barrel of the lens protruding out when changing the focal length. The front element does not rotate so this is a plus for the polarizer filter users. The rubber zoom ring is wide and handling is great. There is no zoom creep - the lens barrel does not sliding back and forth when the camera is tilted. The focusing ring is smaller than that of the zoom ring and it is less dampened than the zoom ring. A distance scale window is located near the lens mount. There are two switches on the lens, AF/MF and VC (vibration compensation). The location of the switch is on the left side near the lens mount and they can be easily accessed with your fingers without moving your hand away from the camera. Ergonomically, it meets my expectation except for the location of the zoom and focusing ring which will be discussed later.

USD and HD Video shooting

This lens is the first lens featuring Tamron's version of ultra sonic motor, USD (ultrasonic silent drive). Something worth mentioning is that Sony owns 11% of Tamron. Because of this, I was suspecting the USD is based on the same platform as Sony's SSM (Super Sonic Motor) technology. Per Tamron EU, they claimed the USD is "Tamron's very own ultrasonic auto-focus drive mechanism." Regardless who owns the technology, the focusing speed is amazing - silent and quick just like Canon's USM. How does it compare to Canon's USM? Honestly, I can't tell the differences after I did some side by side comparison.

If you are familiar with Tamron's past lens design pattern, you will notice that the focus path is reduced on the lenses with conventional focusing motor. The purpose is to increasing the focusing speed where the focusing ring only rotates 30 - 50 degrees. The increase of speed does come with a disadvantage which is that manual focusing becomes more difficult. On my Tamron 17-50mm, I don't even bother with using the manual focusing. When the focusing speed is increased by the implementation of the new USD, Tamron increases the focus path and now you can turn the focusing ring ~ 180 degree. This allows photographers to fine tune the focusing. I believe this is also a plus for shooting HD video with DSLR where photographer can smoothly switching the focus from one point of interest to another.

Image quality

Now the image quality from this lens. The main competitor here is the Canon 70-300mm IS. However, by the time writing his review, I no longer have the Canon with me. So I will compare it against one of sharpest consumer zoom lenses ever made, the Canon 70-200mm F4 IS. Both images were obtained with the same setting - 70mm, F4, 0.8 sec and ISO100 on tripod with IS off. Both images were taken with a Canon 40D.

Sample Image

100% Cropped

As you can see the Canon produce images with higher center sharpness and overall contrast. But the Tamron holds its ground pretty well. The IQ of from center of the image produced by the Canon is slightly better than that of the Tamron. When it comes to the corners, to my surprise, the Tamron starts to catch up with its competitor. Although the differences between the two are insignificant. The Canon is a $1200 lens, 3 times more than that of the Tamron. I will let you be the judge. see [...] for the sample images

Vibration compensation (VC)

This is the 4th Tamron lens that features the VC. Although the company just joins the market of optical image stabilization, it provides a stunning 4-stop stabilization. To activate the VC, just simply switch the VC from off to on. Unlike Canon IS, it does not have a mode 1 or mode 2 for panning. The VC has its own way to detects vertical or horizontal movement and makes proper adjustment for stabilizing images when shooting panning. Like Canon's IS, user's must turn off VC when using the lens on a tripod. Below are a few images taken with the Tamron. The slowest shutter speed I can get to with the VC is 1/30 second @ 300mm for a sharp image.

The Drawback

After a using this lens from a short trip to the local park. my biggest disappointment is the location of the zoom ring and focus ring. By comparing the Tamron and the Canon, you will notice that the Canon zoom ring is closer to the lens mount. Why is this important? It is important when you reverse-store your lens hood, you can still zoom the lens and leave the focus in AF, which leaves you a fully functional lens. The Tamron has a gigantic flower hood. Once I reversed it, it will cover the entire zoom ring and you can't zoom the lens at all. This means to zoom the lens, I have to either leave the hood in the forward position all the time or have it removed all the time.
Tamron 70-300mm SPii USD VC Di on Canon 40D

Lens hood blocking the zoom ring

The location of the focusing ring is at a bad location. If you look closely at the Canon L series lenses, you will notice that the focusing ring is always in front of the zoom ring. It is close to the lens mount and it makes balancing the camera difficult when manual focusing since both hands are too close to the camera and leaves the heavy front part of the lens without any support.

Verdict

Friends asked me, what do I plan to do with this lens? Besides using it for travel, this will be my primary lens to replace the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS for my studio work. Because of its narrow view angle, I am able to place my light extremely close to my subject to create the dramatic lighting that I like. This lens comes with all the features that I will need for my work. The VC will reduce blur and provide more sharp photos. The USD provides a fast and silent focus to ensure a moment is well captured. The full time manual not only makes this lens the best in its class but also a powerful tools when it comes to fine-tuning focus without changing metering.

I used to use the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS for my studio work and its 1500g of weight shows little mercy on my shoulder and neck after hours of shooting. In addition, the 2.8 is way overkill for a control environment shoot where I usually work between f5.6 to f11 @ 1/250s. The Tamron has everything I need and nothing I don't. Not to mentioned the price is only $399 (with Tamron $50 rebate, ends 12/31). I can now leave the 70-200mm for shooting weddings and events.

The draw back of this lens is the location of the focusing and zoom rings. The focusing ring location is no ideal for shooting with manual focus. The zoom ring will be blocked by the lens hood when it is stored in reverse position. For this price, I am not complaining, at least not for my studio work where I rarely use lens hood. I can see this becoming a problem when using in the field where I have to remove my lens hood first in order to zoom. A few seconds wasted may lose a chance to capture something amazing.

How does this lens affect Tamron as a company? This lens is not only a milestone in the history of the company, but also a gateway to the next level of lens manufacturing. For the longest time, the company mainly focus in the consumer market due to the lack of optical image stabilization and ultrasonic focus motor. With the recent development of USD and VC, I can see these being implemented into their fast lenses like the 70-200mm and 28-75mm - the two key lenses for professional photography. A 28-75mm f2.8 with VC USD would be a nice addition to the full-frame collection, where Canon has yet stabilized their 24-70mm 2.8L. Bottom line is, great products along with competitive price and a 6-year warranty will attract many semi-professional and pros to switch or use it as their backup.

Anton
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116 of 122 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2010
Style Name: Nikon
I use this product as an addition to my Nikon 18-105mm lens. Some people may consider the 18-200mm a better option because you don't need to carry around two lenses. The optical quality of the Tamron is better from 200-300mm (I don't own the 18-200mm, but have seen samples and MTF charts).

Compared to the Nikon 70-300mm, the Tamron starts at f/4 vs f/4.5. Images are sharp and full of contrast using the Standard picture control on my Nikon D90 (and even more so with the Vivid PC). Backgrounds are nicely defocused at longer focal lengths providing pleasant bokeh. The VC mechanism makes some noise when starting up but is very effective in reducing shake in lower light or max telephoto pictures. Tamron is building up a reputation of quality with their Super Performance (SP) series lenses. The lens has full time manual focus override (just grab the focus ring) and NO zoom creep when holding the lens downward.

Fully extended with the hood, this lens is large. I don't mind. It looks similar to a 70-200 but lighter in weight. The build quality is excellent, this feels like a "pro" grade lens.

I would highly recommend this lens for DX (105-450mm equivalent) or FX users. The front element is flat (not recessed) so either use the hood or a filter.

EDIT 11/13/10 - QUALITY CONTROL PROBLEMS
I have emailed Tamron customer support with the following message about autofocus issues:
"The lens and the camera (Nikon D90) are both set for AF yet the motor does not start to autofocus. When switching the lens to manual focus it will work fine. The AF was working one moment and then suddenly stopped and will no longer focus. I have checked the contacts on the lens and inspected the lens mount."

I am awaiting response and will keep you updated on the progress.

I have only deducted one star from this review because when AF is working properly, the lens is great. Just purchase it keeping in mind this issue.

EDIT 12/4/10 - LENS RECEIVED FROM TAMRON
I received the lens on November 30 in brand new condition. The autofocus was fixed and the lens was cleaned and calibrated. I'm really impressed with Tamron's customer support.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2011
Style Name: Canon
This is the best budget telephoto lens your money can buy. Prior to buying this lens I had the Canon 70-300 IS USM lens on my Canon 40D. It was pretty good on a 40D. However the Canon 7D sensor exposed the limitations of the Canon 70-300 IS glass. It was then that I stumbled on this little gem of a lens. This lens not only beats its Canon counterpart on the price point but also in terms of Image Quality.

The lens is sharp at almost all focal lengths and apertures. It is sharp even at 300 mm. The second thing that impressed me was its Image Stabilization (IS). It's IS is simply phenomenal. With the Canon 70-300 IS I was able to get decently sharp images at 1/30 s at 250 mm, after this the images would be blurry. However with this lens, you feel that the stabilization just locks the image. I was able to get images with acceptable sharpness even at 1/8 s at 300mm. The bokeh is also amazing. The distortion and chromatic aberration also seems to be minimal. I have uploaded a couple of images in the sample image gallery to show the strength of this lens. I haven't tested it's the Auto focus speed. However going by other user experiences, this doesn't seem to be a problem.

The only problem I noticed was the placement of the zoom ring of the lens and the focus ring. This is little bit of a problem because, if you have the hood attached backwards when you are not using it then you can't zoom the lens. Also since the the focus ring is placed pretty close to the resting position of your hand while holding the camera and lens, there is a chance that you might unknowingly hold the focus ring during the AF process which can result in out of focus images. However, if you remember not to hold the focus ring then this is only a minor annoyance.

I ended up paying about $350 after the rebate. For this price, this is the best lens you can get in this category. For some one who has a limited budget and for whom photography is just a hobby not a profession the value that his lens presents is hard to beat.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2011
Style Name: CanonVerified Purchase
I sell my work through stock photo sites. Recreationaly, I walk a lot and always have my camera with me. Wanting a lighter lens than my L lenses that I use for work I thought I'd give this a try. Try as I might I just can't give this one a five star rating. Don't get me wrong its a good lens but here is the review and why.

First Impression:
I opened up the lens and was pleased with the build quality. No its not on par with Canon's L lenses but it is tight, made with quality (if plastic) materials, and controls are smooth and well damped. There is no lens creep when pointed down. While good sized it is not overly heavy (it is a 300mm so its not like your normal lens) but has nice heft. A tripod foot would have been nice. The lens extends when zoomed so it gets considerably longer at 300mm a concession to it price I'm sure. I bought a UV filter so I installed it right away. Incidentally the front element doesn't rotate so polarizing and special effect filters are easily used. Since it was night time no shooting till the next day.

Shooting my first memory card was mixed. The ergonomics of this lens were all wrong. When I wanted to focus I was on the zoom ring and vice versa. When zooming it was backward from my other lenses. I am a creature of habit and I don't know if I can get used to this. Well I got through the first session and went in to see the results. How disappointing. 1 out of 3 were excellent the others were unusable. The reason... out of focus. I thought I got a lemon but the ones that were in focus were very impressive but I can't use a lens that is inconsistent. Setting it up on a tripod and turning off the VC (stabilization) I thought I would do some controlled test shots at about 30 feet. All of them were spot on and very impressive. Only thing I noticed was they were about 1/3 stop too dark but this isn't bad as it controls the highlights better and many shoot this way all the time. So what went wrong with my initial photos. I thought maybe that it was the VC so I turned it back on and removed it from the tripod and took some more shots being very careful and checking the auto focus with every shot. Then I noticed it would snap to focus (quickly I might add) and I would bump it ever so slightly out of focus with the full time manual focus. I don't have that problem with my other lenses because my hand rests on the zoom ring naturally and with this lens my hand is on the focus ring. Sounds like a simple solution and it is but you have to consciously think about it with every shot. GET THAT HAND OFF OF THE FOCUS RING. Problem solved.... but I still forget.

OK now the facts of how the lens performed
Lens sharpness: I thought was very good 70mm to good 300mm and this comparing to my outstanding Canon 300mm f4 L. I really was pleasantly surprised here.
Auto-focus: After the trial and error (read above) Spot On, quiet and OK fast. The full time manual is nice too if I can get used to where the focus ring is. Hunts a little in low light.
VC Stabilization: Very good but slightly noisy at start up and shutting off. Does it give me 4 stops I don't know but 300mm at 1/100 sec is really good. Not sure I would trust it beyond that.
Metering accuracy: About 1/3 stop too dark. In many cases this is good as it keeps highlights from being blown.
CAs: None worth noting but about a pixel on the 50d @ 300mm
LoCA: Present and annoying in highlights. Bokeh highlights look busy. When bokeh doesn't have highlights bokeh is smooth and nice.
Contrast: Very nice. Most economy zooms fail here. Not so this one. Contrast is very good even at 300mm.
Ergonomics: SUCK and if you think this doesn't matter THINK AGAIN.
Build Quality: Good to very good.
Image Quality: Very good at short focal lengths and good even at 300mm wide open.

Conclusion: This is a quality built lens. It has many Pro features such as full time manual focus that is useable with nicely damped focus ring. The VC is up to all standards and very nice to use as is the new almost silent USD type focus. The Image quality is as good as lenses costing double and this is not an exaggeration. While I am going to keep this lens I probably will always be hampered with the slow handling because of the mentioned ergonomics. It is a nice range of focal lengths and light enough to carry on long hikes without being obtrusive. This was my main purpose. The zoom I used to carry out weighed this lens by almost 700 grams (35-350 Canon L). For the size, weight reduction, image quality, and low price the value of this lens is fantastic. I will always be a Canon L lens fanatic for work. Nothing beats them but they are heavy. For recreational photos its nice to carry something less but still get good quality shots. This lens does that.
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2011
Style Name: NikonVerified Purchase
I ordered this lens from Amazon after researching it, because many people were claiming that both the vibration compensation and the sharpness were at least as good (and perhaps better) than the analogous but higher-priced lens from Nikon (Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras). The Tamron lens is also a little faster at the short end (f/4 vs f/4.5).

However, when I received the Tamron lens, it was immediately obvious that my Nikon D90 was grossly underexposing with the Tamron lens when using matrix metering. I carefully measured it under various conditions, and it generally underexposed by two full stops. After some more research, I found that this is a common problem with this particular Tamron lens on Nikon camera bodies. I called Tamron, who said they have seen some metering problems, and they suggested I return it to my place of purchase. I returned it to Amazon, and went to a local camera shop. There, the owner and I went through his entire stock of Tamron 70-300mm VC lenses, testing against my camera and his camera, and they all had severe metering problems (usually underexposing). This wasn't a problem with my particular camera (the problems were consistent on my camera and his camera). Of course, one could try to compensate while using the lens (e.g., setting +2 EC), but the underexposure was a bit variable with conditions, and one would have to keep remembering to play with the EC every time the lens was switched.

Alternatively, DPreviews has some folks on the forums who claim they have sent this lens into Tamron for service, and received it metering correctly. If you want to save some money, it might be worthwhile for you to try the same thing. For me, I could not see spending about $400 on a lens that does not come close to metering correctly, even if it might be a fixable problem. I eventually purchased the analogous lens from Nikon and have been extremely happy with it.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
Style Name: CanonVerified Purchase
I am an avid amateur photographer and have owned more digital slr's and lenses than I can remember from Nikon and Canon. I currently own a Canon 1D Mark IV and wanted a lightweight walk around zoom to complement some of my heavier L glass. I think Tamron has knocked it out of the park with this lens. The new USD motor is very quiet and focuses very quickly in one shot and servo mode. The VC outperforms any of the IS lenses I own.
Much to my amazement the AF goes from infinity to a shorter distance quickly and without any hunting. Results may vary on lesser Canon bodies. It has been a while since I have owned the Canon 70-300mm IS so I cannot give a direct comparison.
I pre-ordered this lens on August 11th and received it Oct 6th for those of you waiting of one.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2010
Style Name: NikonVerified Purchase
I just recieved this lens yesterday and I am extremely impressed with it.

This is an instant classic.

The lens, shot on a Nikon D3, is sharp at all apertures and across the frame. It is, like almost all lenses, slightly sharper when stopped down, but even F5.6 shots are "very sharp."

The vibration control (VC) is perfect. At 300mm, I was able to *consistently* get sharp shots with shutter speeds as slow as 1/8 of a second. 1/15 was even better, and 1/20 gave a nearly 100% keeper rate. By far the best VR system that I have seen in any camera system or lens.

This lens is extremely long, especially when zoomed. It is not particularly heavy, but the build quality is what I would call "very solid" and "near-pro."

The autofocus and VC system are a bit noisey. The auto-focus is also slower than my Nikkor 24-70 2.8 pro lens, but that is absolutely expected in a lens of this class and length. I would call the autofocus accuracy excellent, and the speed is very acceptable.

I own a lot of Nikon Nikkor lenses, including a number of pro lenses. I only own one other third-party lens, the Tokina 11-16mm DX lens. This Tamron is a keeper, however, and I suspect that it beats the Nikon 70-300mm VR in sharpness and VC/VR.

If you don't need an f2.8 zoom, this lens is a no-brainer.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2010
Style Name: NikonVerified Purchase
First this is a big lens. It will take up space in your camera bag. However, you will want it to take up that space because it is so sharp that you'll end up relying on it for a good number of shots. The Vibration Control is the most surprising thing about this lens. Press the shutter release halfway and you'll see the viewfinder just lock in rock steady. It's really amazing.

The lens hood is big and when reversed it will cover up the zoom room making it a must to either use the hood or not have it mounted. You won't be able to use the lens well with the hood stored in the reverse position.

Color is a bit on the cool side but that's not bad because when taking shots of brightly colored flowers, your shots won't be over saturated like many Sony point and shoots.

Overall, this lens it a really impressive photographic tool. Highly recommend.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2011
Style Name: CanonVerified Purchase
OWNER AND OWNERSHIP
===================

I'm an amateur photographer with about 10 years experience using SLRs of various kinds. I shoot in a variety of settings, but mainly candids, portraits, travel and nature. I purchased this lens from Amazon in late December of 2010. Since then, I've taken about 500 images using this lens.

GEAR
====

I did a lot of comparing between this lens and the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 L (an odd comparison, I know, but it's what I had to work with). I also use a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 and a Tamron 17-50mm SP f/2.8 (the older version, not stabilized). The body I use is a Canon 10D.

VERDICT
=======

An excellent lens for the money, most useful in situations where you've got plenty of light to work with, but also useful in lower-light situations with subjects that don't move much. Are there better lenses? Of course. But this lens gives you a lot of bang for your buck. And as a photographer on a budget, I find that very, very appealing.

Here are a few informal observations on this lens...

PROS
====

If you're talking price-to-performance ratios, it's hard to think of another EF-compatible lens that comes close at this price point. Perhaps the EF-S 50-250 (cheaper, but 50mm shorter and for EF-S-compatible cameras only, which left me out in the cold) or the EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS (which is $100 more).

1. VC. Tamron's implementation of image stabilization works quite very well. I can often get a reasonably sharp image at speeds as slow as 1/8s. (I have steady hands, though).

2. USD. Subjectively, as fast and quiet as the USM on my EF 50mm f/1.4. Perhaps just a bit slower than the USM on the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8. And perhaps a tad noisier, though in practice the difference in noise is negligible. Definitely much quieter than my 17-50.

3. Autofocus (in good lighting). I shot a couple hundred stills of my family sledding downhill in the snow. Most of them were at 200-300mm. I got a good number of keepers, and in general the focus was fast and accurate, even on these quickly moving targets.

4. Sharpness and detail. I can get some very detailed results from this lens, picking out individual eyelashes and fine skin wrinkles. This is true at all focal lengths. Great image quality for the money.

5. Full time manual focus. Very nice not to have to flip a switch first. I don't use it much, though.

5. Build quality. Lots of talk out there about whether or not this lens is "L quality" in its build. IMO, the build is not L-grade, but it's very good for the price. It's plastic, but it's solid. It feels nicer than my 17-50 f/2.8. No lens creep, and the resistance from the zoom ring feels about right.

6. Warranty. Six years, and from all I've read, Tamron's service is very good. (For being so expensive, Canon's warranties are incredibly short. Canon, why not stand behind your pricey products like you mean it?)

CONS
====

1. Exposure issues. This is by far my biggest gripe with this lens. My copy tends to overexpose by about +2/3 stop. This leads to blown out highlights in very bright settings, so you have to compensate by adjusting your EV accordingly.

2. Size. Fully extended and with the hood on, this thing is a beast - over 11 inches long! Too bad it's not a fixed-length zoom, but that's probably not realistic at this price point.

3. Hood. It's ginormous. Does it really need to be this big? Also when you reverse-mount the hood for storage, it covers the zoom ring. So you can't just whip out the lens and shoot; you have to remove the hood first. Annoying.

4. Fine detail. I realize I'm contradicting myself a bit. But other lenses can beat the Tamron in terms of capturing fine detail. I did a side-by-side comparison between the Tamron and the Canon EF 200mm f/2.8 L. Lighting, focal length, and settings were identical. The Canon did a better job at catching more detail. But again, is this a fair comparison? Not really. The Canon costs twice as much and it's a prime.

5. Low light focusing. I took this lens to an indoor basketball game a couple weeks ago and ran across some problems focusing in the darker areas of the gymnasium. The 200mm f/2.8 had no problems in the same areas.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
===================

This is the first telephoto zoom I've owned in a long time. At first, I was rather disgruntled with problems with the lens. But I later realized that these "problems" were due to my own inexperience or weaknesses in my technique:

1. Unless you're shooting in very bright light, you'll have to bump up the ISO to get a fast enough shutter speed. A higher ISO means you'll lose detail in your images. So if your images seem to lack detail, it might not be the optics; it might be the sensitivity at which you're shooting.

2. There's an inverse relationship between focal length and depth of field. At 300mm, your depth of field gets very thin indeed, even when you stop down. Your autofocus technique has to be spot on. In many cases, if your images look soft or lack detail, it may be that your focus wasn't quite where it needed to be. That can be caused by you, the lens, or the camera.

3. Bob Atkins has posted a well-written review of this lens. There's also a helpful review at Photozone.de, a well-respected site for lens reviews.
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