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 – In use
Image: Shot approximately halfway through the focal range at f/8, this image shows plenty of details in the horses’ hair
Combined with the might of the EOS 70D’s AF system, this lens performs with impressive speed, and without fuss or much whirring of cogs and motors. Tamron’s PZD system lives up to its billing, being quick and almost silent, and managing to maintain these characteristics even at the longer end of its zoom range, where some models begin to lack accuracy and definite action.
It only takes a quarter turn of the zoom ring to take the focal length from its widest to its longest position, so the speed at which we can reframe what we are shooting is almost as quick as the lens allows focus to be found.
When we convert the marked focal lengths into measurements we can relate to 35mm or full-frame systems, we are presented with the effects of a 25-465mm focal range. The significance of this is that most zooms of this type designed for APS-C cameras start at 18mm, or 28mm in full-frame language. That 2mm difference, which seems nothing when marked on a barrel, makes a whole focal-length step in the real world – we all understand the genuine difference switching from a 28mm to a 24mm lens can make. In this sense, then, it takes a tiny but important step beyond lenses such as Nikon’s AF-S DX 18-300mm, and offers something more in line with the kind of wideangles that bridge cameras offer.
As is usual with these mega-zooms, we are faced with the long-end focal lengths that are not always practical to use, as the maximum working aperture when we set the lens to 300mm is f/6.3. Requiring a shutter speed of 1/300sec to keep away from the effects of camera shake, we often need to increase our ISO to levels uncomfortable for the subject matter. However, in this model the application of Vibration Compensation is of great assistance, and often during this test it made the difference between a sharp and clear image, and one that would have been neither.