Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II PZD MACRO A-mount lens review by Pallanza

reviewer#15267 date: Jun-7-2015
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.6
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP24MP24 MP36MP36 MP42MP42 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:SAL16105, SAL18250, Sigma 1,8/18-35mm.
price paid:494 €
positive:Long range, very versatile. Solid build. Good sharpness for a super-zoom. Not too heavy.
negative:Strong distortion (cushion) at the short end (up to ca. 50 mm), has to be corrected. Purple fringes at the long end, if high contrasts. Getting a bit soft at the long end, but up to 25%-crop still ok.
comment:My SAL16105 was going to cry for its third repair (!!), so I bought the Tam16300.
Before keeping it, I did some careful tests as to sharpness: an old wooden barn door, shooting from tripod, A77 at "P" and full aperture, different focal lengths. 16 shots for the Tam16300, the others less due to their shorter focal range.
I compared visual sharpness in the center, the edges and the corners; checked at 25, 50 and 100 % crop.

From these comparisons, my sharpness ratings for each lens over their focal lengths:
Tam16300: min = 4,19 mean = 4,31 max = 4,44
. Its difference between center and edge/corner is mostly 0.3 to 0.4.
SAL16105: min = 4,01 mean = 4,19 max = 4,23
SAL28250: min = 3,24 mean = 3,70 max = 3,94
Sigma1835: min = 4,87 mean = 4,90 max = 4,94

At 50 and 70 mm, the Tam16300 and the SAL16105 were almost identical. At 16mm the Tam16300 is about 0.3 better. The SAL18250 varies pretty strong: 3,94 at 35 mm and 3,2 at 50 mm.

Here at Dyxum, the SAL16105's sharpness is rated by 4,59
(SAL18250: 4,42; Sigma: 5,0).

Taking the SAL16105 as a reference, I'd have to rate the Tam16300's sharpness at 4,72. So in the Dyxum-scale I'll give 5.0.
Accordingly, I should downgrade the SAL18250's sharpness to 3,9.
(The Sigma1835 is playing in a league of its own, it should get a 5.4.)

In practical use, I liked the Tam16300 very much: versatile, no zoom creeping, appropriate focus speed in most situation, hunting was very seldom. As focussing is very silent, the lock-in signal has to be observed.
Distortion (cushion) at 16 - 35 mm is well visible in the view finder. In the images it can be found up to about 50 mm. It is pretty strong and has to be corrected in postprocessing. (DxO has announced an optical module for 6/15). I rated distortion = 4, because I do know the limits of super zoom (otherwise imho 3 would be more appropriate)

So for me the Tam16300 is a almost perfect travel and walk around lens and a very good replacement for my SAL16105 plus SAL18250.

Edit:
Having shot about 2 -3000 images, some additional experiences:
Sometimes, images are a bit soft. May be it is problem of focussing (I do not think so), may be it is a problem of automatic shutter speed and IBIS (A77). So I often take one or two "reserve" shots. And I take much more care when focussing.
The Tamron 16300 seems to need a bit more energy than my previous SAL16105. Instead of 700 -1000 images I now get 500 - 700.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 9
  • sharpness: 4.61
  • color: 4.67
  • build: 4.89
  • distortion: 3.89
  • flare control: 4.22
  • overall: 4.46
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