AP was the first UK outlet to get hands-on with Tamron’s new superzoom, which covers an astonishing zoom range and benefits from a light and compact form factor. Michael Topham tests the first working sample
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD review: Introduction
Superzoom lenses have been, and always will be, a popular choice for many photographers. They’re often the first lens people look at after growing out of a standard kit lens and are typically defined by a moderate wideangle start and a reasonably long telephoto finish, differentiating from standard zooms which end at a short telephoto length and tele-zooms which start and end entirely in the telephoto range.
The strong interest from those who want to enjoy wideangle to ultra-telephoto photography using a single lens has seen many lens manufacturers develop their line-ups – the most recent being Tamron which has just announced the world’s first ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens for APS-C DSLR cameras, which covers an astonishing focal length range of 18-400mm.
Unlike your average superzoom that typically offers a focal length of 18mm at the wide end to anything from 125mm to 270mm at its longest telephoto zoom setting, the lens we’re focusing on here brags a 22.2x zoom ratio and boasts an effective range that’s equivalent to 27-600mm in 35mm terms when the 1.5x crop factor is considered. On Canon APS-C DSLRs, which enforce a 1.6x multiplication factor, it’s equivalent to a slightly longer 29-640mm zoom.
Ever since Tamron launched its first superzoom in the form of the AF 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 Aspherical lens in 1992, we’ve seen the manufacturer strive to develop a stronghold in this zoom category. This latest all-in-one zoom exemplifies how far lens design has come in 25 years, but can a lens that attempts to be successful across such a broad focal range produce acceptable results and a level of performance that meets our expectations? With one of the world’s first working samples in our possession, we gave it a thorough test to find out how it performs.