Tamron 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 Di III RXD E-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#45645 date: Feb-16-2021
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony DT 55-300 SAM
Tamron 70-180 F2.8 VXD
Canon EF 70-300 IS II USM
Tamron SP 70-300 USD
Sony 70-300 G SSM II
Tamron 70-300 F4.5-6.3 RXD
Nikon DX AF-P 70-300 non-VR & VR
Sony A 70-400 G SSM
Canon EF 75-300 III USM
Minolta AF 75-300 "Big Beercan" & D
Minolta AF 100-300 APO & D
Minolta AF 100-400 APO
Sigma 100-400 DG HSM OS
price paid:500 USD (new)
Good central contrast
Quiet internal focus
Minimal breathing
Deep hood included
Lack of extraneous controls
Lens Compensation
"Camera-based lens unit firmware updates"
negative:Corners at wide end
Soft at long end
Lateral CA
Pincushion distortion
Frame rate limitation
comment:Purchased from Amazon with Prime. The second copy was more misaligned than the first with more purple fringing. The price has been reduced $50 since early January 2021. I expect further discounts eventually. I was attracted by the low weight of this zoom. My most used zoom has been the Sony DT 55-300 SAM, and the closest alternative so far has been adapting late 75-300 film zooms. This lens is approximately the same weight as those on their adapters. Like them it lacks optical stabilization. F6.3 seems to be the new F5.6. The older F5.6 zooms are brighter at their long ends. It uses the same 67 mm filter size as the other FE Tamrons.

This is the least expensive full-frame telephoto zoom for E-mount, and it is tied with the 28-60 kit zoom as the second cheapest full-frame zoom. It is around the same price as the Canon EF 70-300 F4-5.6 IS II USM. The other budget alternative besides adapting has been using one of the APS-C zooms. The rear element is quite recessed suggesting an SLR design. This copy seems reasonably well-aligned. "MADE IN CHINA"

This seems to use electronic focus compensation to approximate parfocal behavior with a varifocal design. A quick zoom action will throw the live-view image out of focus, but even in manual focus mode the lens will fairly quickly approximately refocus the image. Minolta Xi zooms had similar behavior which happened after a zoom was completed. The electronic refocusing happens continuously here, but it lags a bit. I believe some Sony zooms use the same method.

The zoom action feels fine--comparable to other 7x-300 zooms. The throw is around 90 degrees. The mechanism sounds and feels better than the Minoltas. The manual focus control is a bit gritty. It is also slightly closer to the camera than the rings on the OSD primes. Consistency, Tamron!

The focus shows slight breathing, meaning it lens loses some focal length with close focus but not as much as the Sony G zooms. The 55-300, 75-300's and Tamron SP 70-300 maintain their focal lengths at close focus.

The image quality is acceptable. The wide end is not great away from the center and the long end is a bit soft everywhere. My Canon 70-300 IS II has a minor alignment problem causing the right side to be worse than the left. Both sides of the Tamron are about as good as the poor side of the Canon. The DT 55-300 maintains better sharpness to the edges before vignetting. Image quality is better than the 75-300 and Minolta 100-x zooms.

Overall a decent native telephoto kit zoom. I prefer the lighter weight and lack of switches.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 1
  • sharpness: 4.00
  • color: 4.00
  • build: 4.00
  • distortion: 4.00
  • flare control: 4.00
  • overall: 4.00
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