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Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical IF Macro Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras (Model B003E) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Overall score: 73%
See review summary and sample images
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- AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC (Vibration Compensation) Tamron zoom lens
- Built-in vibration compensation for blur-free photos
- Low-dispersion glass and hybrid aspherical glass elements for superior image quality
- Optical zoom ratio: 15x (approximately)
- Minimum focus distance: 19.3 inches
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|Compatible Mountings||Canon EF-S|
|Item Dimensions||3.2 x 3.2 x 3.8 inches|
|Item Display Weight||1.21 pounds|
|Item Weight||1 pound|
|Maximum Aperture Range||3.5-6.3|
|Maximum Focal Length||270 mm|
|Minimum Focal Length||18 mm|
|Minimum Focal Range||19.3 inches|
|Photo Filter Thread Size||28 mm|
|Real Angle Of View||75|
|Shipping Weight||1.8 pounds|
Review summary from DPReview
The Tamron 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD is a perfectly competent superzoom that squeezes a huge focal length range into a compact package. Autofocus is slower than its competitors, however, and image quality is weak at the telephoto end.
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
Sample images from DPReview
Sample images for Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD
From the Manufacturer
With the advent of the latest 15x zoom lens from Tamron, the pioneer of high power zoom lenses, the high power zoom lens has steadily evolved from a 7.1x zoom to the world's largest zoom ratio of 15x by combining advanced high power zoom design technologies accumulated by Tamron since 1992. The lens covers an angle of view equivalent to that of a 28mm wide-angle to a 419mm ultra telephoto with just one lens, letting the user capture once-in-the-lifetime images of panoramic landscape images or close-up pictures of children smiling, without having to get too close to the subject and without having to change lenses.
Tamron 18-270mm Lens Features
Lenses are designed for exclusive use on digital cameras with smaller-size imagers and inherit all of the benefits of our Di products. These lenses are not designed for conventional cameras and digital cameras with image sensors larger than 24mm x 16mm.
15x Zoom Ratio
This lens covers an extremely broad range of focal lengths, from an extra-wide 18mm length to a telephoto 270mm length (the 35mm equivalent of 28mm to 419mm). The resulting 15x zoom ratio is the world's largest, representing a wide cross section of Tamron high-power zoom design technologies. Plus, the vibration compensation works throughout the entire zoom range, giving you the freedom to create a wide variety of images. The lens lets users capture once-in-a-lifetime panoramic landscape images or close-up pictures of children smiling, all without getting too close to the subject or changing lenses. Other details include a macro magnification range of 1:3.5, a minimum focusing distance of 19.3 inches, and a 72mm filter diameter. The lens, which measures 3.1 inches in diameter and 3.9 inches long, carries a six-year warranty.
Vibration Compensation (VC)
Shake can ruin your photos, particularly when taking telephoto shots or shooting in low light conditions.Simply flip the VC switch on and you'll notice the difference immediately.
- VC delivers blur free - handheld images for incredible results
- VC mechanism employs a three-coil system
- Lens element compensates for vibration using 3-steel balls (making movement quiet & smooth)
- Exceptional images at slower shutter speeds – reduces the need for a tripod
- Bring out contrast to motion & stillness
- Eliminate the need to shoot with a Flash
Low Dispersion (LD) Glass for Greater Lens Sharpness
Internal Focusing (IF) System
Internal focusing provides numerous practical benefits to photographers including a non-rotating front filter ring that facilitates the positioning of polarizing and graduated filters, and more predictable handling because the lens length does not change during focusing. Even more important, Tamron’s Internal Focusing (IF) system provides a much closer minimum focusing distance (MFD) throughout its entire focusing range. In addition, IF improves optical performance by minimizing illumination loss at the corners of the image field, and helps to suppress other aberrations that become more troublesome at different focusing positions.
Zoom Lock (ZL)
Another original Tamron mechanical engineering concept is the Zoom Lock (ZL), a simple convenience feature that prevents undesired extension of the lens barrel when carrying the camera/lens unit on a neck strap.
Anomalous Dispersion (AD) for Better Color Correction
Aspherical Lens Elements (ASL)
Tamron uses several hybrid Aspherical lens elements in many lenses bearing the Aspherical designation. These innovative optics allow us to achieve the ultimate in image quality, and at the same time produce lenses that offer remarkable zoom ranges in extraordinarily compact packages. By perfecting theses cutting-edge advances for series production, Tamron has advanced the state of optical design, and virtually eliminated spherical aberration and image distortion from the high-power-zoom series.Through the effective application of Hybrid Aspherical Technology, one lens element can take the place of multiple elements without compromising performance. This is what allows us to produce remarkably compact long-range lenses that deliver a uniformly high level of image quality at all focal lengths and apertures.
Top Customer Reviews
Overall, I'm very pleased with this new lens, it did better than I was expecting. The quality of the photos is almost on par as my Canon 70-300mm (but of course not my 70-200 f/2.8) with a much more usable range for an everyday lens. I also tend to have back problems, so the less weight I carry on vacations, the better!
A few negatives: the lens does not zoom smoothly through its whole range, particularly when zooming from wide to tele, and you only have f/6.3 when fully zoomed (common with superzooms). The zoom was nice and tight when I got the lens (as shown in the video) but after a few weeks of use, it creeps pretty badly. The lens hood is fairly small, may not work as well at the 150mm+ range (but nice that they include one at all!) Also a typical issue for super zooms, as the hood has to be designed to minimize vignetting at the wide end. No full-time manual focus, which I don't use enough typically to be bothered about. The focus ring is located at the front of the lens and it's pretty easy to switch back and forth and use it as needed, but this is definitely not a great lens for using manual focus on. Some distortion in images at both ends as you would expect for a super-zoom, the barrel distortion at the wide end in particular is fairly obvious, but correctable in most situations. CA and vignetting on my copy are reasonable for a lens in this price range, with CA most apparent at the upper end of the range. Macro feature is nice to have, but somewhat underwhelming performance and certainly no substitute for a true macro lens. The lens has a nice, solid feel to it, while still being fairly lightweight. I've used the Canon 70-300mm DO lens in the past which was comparable to this in size, but MUCH heavier. The focus is fairly quiet as well, not USM quiet, but considerably better than some other off-brand lenses I've used. As I usually find with off-brand lenses, the autofocus is not quite as fast and accurate as Canon lenses, but it seems considerably better than some other Tamron lenses I've used and not enough to be a problem for casual use.
I give the lens 5 stars, not because it takes the greatest photos you will ever see, but because it is the first super-zoom I have tried that performs good enough that I am willing to use it, as a best-in-its-class lens. It's a perfect lens in particular for any new DSLR owner that can't afford to invest thousands in really high quality and/or multiple lenses, or for someone like me that is often limited in the equipment they can carry at one time. The lack of smoothness in the zoom ring and the creep are the primary annoyances for me, but I've yet to use a long telephoto lens in this price range that doesn't creep, so hard to be really tough on it for that. I wouldn't use it as my primary sports lens (my f/2.8 will do that job far better) nor as an architectural wide angle lens but for a general all-purpose casual lens, it's got a great feature set and well worth considering.
I read some reviews that complained of chromatic aberration (CA). Yes, there is some at the edges, at some focal lengths and apertures. If you look at the test results ([...]) you will see that the lens performs excellently at around f-6.7 to f-8. Almost no CA and excellent sharpness. This lens simply wants to run best at about f-8. So, I've taken to using my camera in Av mode at f-8 when I'm using this lens. Excellent results with no visible CA.
I read some reviews that complained of 'softness' of the images in some situations. This is attributable to two issues. One is that if you let the camera program mode choose an aperture, you may get a very high number. At very high-number apertures (f-16+) the lens is limited in sharpness, not by any design fault, but by a basic law of physics. It's near the diffraction limit for that aperture. The second issue is that at long focal lengths the adaptive multi-point auto-focus algorithms mess up. If you're not watching carefully they may focus on a bush that's 50 feet away leaving the landscape that you were trying to capture out of focus. Blame the camera and not the lens. What I've been doing is using spot focus at longer focal lengths. Focus lock on what is supposed to be in focus and then frame the scene. Do that, and run Av mode at f-8 so you don't get high f-numbers, and 'softness' will not be an issue.
I've read some complaints of slowness or inconsistency of focus. This seems to come mainly from Nikon owners. For me, it focuses very quickly and quietly under all lighting situations. No problems at all. I've taken it out on a dark night and pointed it at a star and had focus lock within two seconds. I think the issue is more related to the focus algorithms running in the microprocessor in the camera body than to the lens itself. With my Canon XTi, I couldn't ask for better performance.
I've read complaints of 'lens creep'. That's the tendency of long-focal-length lenses to extend to their maximum focal length when hanging down, due to the weight of the front elements of the lens. Mine doesn't do it, yet. This could develop in the future. I don't expect it to be an issue, though. There's a simple lug that can lock the lens at the short focal length for carrying. While shooting I tend to support the weight of the camera and lens with my hand on the lens, and use the other hand on the body to work the controls and point. So lens 'lens creep' would not be an issue.
I've read some complaints of inconsistent force on the zoom ring required to zoom through the entire range. That's true. It does take a bit more force to zoom between the 70mm to about 120mm range. It's noticeable, and I wish it wasn't there, but I know why that is. Somewhere about 70mm the cams in the zoom mechanism go into a range where large amounts of extension occur with small zoom ring movement. While it's not desirable, it's also not at all a problem.
This lens is heavy, especially if you're used to the kit 18-55 lens. You'll get used to it and you'll be delighted if you're a Canon owner. If you're a Nikon owner you may have issues with focus in low light.
All-in-all I'm quite happy with the purchase and I don't hesitate to recommend this lens. But, to be really happy with it, you have to understand the compromises that are part of its design and how to work around them.
Edit: Almost a year later.
I've now had the lens for just about a year and I've taken thousands of pictures. Just about everything I initially said I would say again. Two things I'd add:
First, barrel distortion is quite noticeable at short focal lengths. This can be objectionable where there are things near the edges of the scene that should be straight lines (roof lines, highway bridges, etc.) that appear curved. This is expected with any lens at "fish eye" wide angle, and so it is with this lens. I've found that this effect can be entirely removed in a decent photo editing program like Gimp or Photoshop. Look in the menus for the tool for lens distortion effects.
Second, there is strange focusing behavior using this lens on my Canon XTi when using a circular polarizing filter. One should never attempt to use a simple polarizing filter on a digital SLR because they mess up the camera's auto focus. But circular polarizers are supposed to work, according to the literature. Still, the circular polarizer that I've been trying to use seems to cause the camera some focus indecision, especially with far focus. Don't count on being able to use a circular polarizing filter with this lens if you have a camera similar to mine. Of course, Nikon might behave differently.
Edit: Almost two years later.
This lens has become my primary lens. It's the lens that stays on my camera in the bag, with the other lenses in the pockets. It's just a fantastic general-shooting lens.
I've come to really appreciate the optical image stabilization. It's giving me an extra stop or two of usable range in low light. I would never have considered using an f3.5-6.3 lens in low light before this. But, Tamron's stabilization works. If the subject isn't moving, hand-held slow-shutter-speed photography is possible where it never was before except with a wide aperture lens. Just two days ago I was out in the boonies of Arizona shooting telephoto pix of javelina in low-light conditions that would have been impossible with any other lens.
After a considerable amount of use the lens has developed some tendency for 'lens creep' (see above). It's not a problem, but it does happen. Use the locking lug.
I remain delighted with this lens.
Edit: Almost 3 years later.
Nothing really to add. This remains my primary lens. Aperture priority at f6.7 to minimize chromatic aberration for general shooting.
Yup, "lens creep" has set in. Point the lens down at a steep angle and ploop, there go the front elements. A minor annoyance.
Glad I bought it.
Edit: Four years later.
I recently upgraded my Canon XTi body to a T3i body. This lens remains my primary lens. The T3i has better signal-to-noise ratio (translate: higher ISO capability) from the sensor than the older body, which combined with this lens significantly improves low-light performance. I've found myself doing much more creative low-light photography than I ever would have imagined possible just five years ago. Going out at night to set up scenes in moonlight or candlelight has become fun! This lens remains a perfect match for the Canon line of advanced amateur camera bodies with APS sensors.