If you are on the lookout for a single lens that features a focal length for any photographic occasion, Tamron’s 16-300mm 18.8x zoom might be the answer to your prayers. Damien Demolder tests one of the widest focal ranges on the market
Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro review
There was a time when bridge cameras were all the rage. This was the time when digital SLRs were a massive price, and digital compacts were not quite up to the job. It was also when the term ‘bridge camera’ was invented, because these all-in-one, multi-purpose zoom-lens cameras were literally a causeway, a step, a holding area, for photographers who really wanted a DSLR but who couldn’t justify the price.
When DSLRs eventually became more affordable, some manufacturers, Canon in particular, were surprised that there was still a demand for bridge cameras. People liked, and still do like, the convenience of a camera that does what a DSLR does, but which never needs the lens changing and never needs a bag to carry the extra lenses they no longer need.
A fear of dust on imaging sensors was another massive plus point for bridge cameras, as they never had to expose their innards to the elements. Also, people generally liked the convenience, while swallowing the disadvantages of the bridge camera’s inevitably smaller sensor.
Bridge cameras these days have much larger sensors, but you can get that same ‘bridge effect’ with an APS-C or full-frame DSLR if you find the right lens. Get a zoom that covers every focal length you will ever want to use, stick it on the camera and you’ll never have to take it off. This presents all the advantages of having a bridge camera, but with the quality advantage that a larger sensor affords. Great idea? Well, Tamron knows there are enough people who will think that it is for the company to justify the production of this all-encompassing 16-300mm mega-zoom.
While there are certainly advantages to using an APS-C sensor, there will also be costs in having a zoom with such a range. Unfortunately, the laws of optics dictate that some of those costs will be higher in a lens designed for APS-C sensors than they are for those designed for the thumbnail-sized sensors of the original bridge models.