Tamron AF 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) A-mount lens review by chrishurley

reviewer#4879 date: Feb-19-2009
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:lots
price paid:
positive:Compact Size
Extremely useful range
Seems well built
negative:Don't like the double-throw barrel extension.
Slow aperture
comment:I've tried to make my ratings fair- I don't want to give this lens a 5, simply because it is the best superzoom. Obviously, its going to have compromises, but it manages them quite well.

I had the Sony version of the 18-250mm for a brief time and I was really stunned by how slow it was to focus compared to the 28-105/3.5-4.5. The colors also seemed sort of cold- so I sold it quickly without a lot of study.

People keep talking about how great the 18-250's are though, which prompted me to try again when I found one with a nice rebate. I picked the Tamron because of the 6 year warranty, appearance/build and the much better price.

Surprise, surprise- this is becoming my favorite lens. It is sluggish to focus, but its not nearly as bad as I remember. Is it possible that the slower gearing actually makes it focus faster in practice than the Sony? probably not. The focus speed is completely tolerable for me and I'm finding that if I can get it to focus on something moving once, it can keep up from there. Manual assist is a possibility here.

I've been shooting out the 18-250 against the Sigma 17-70, the Sony 16-80 and the Sony 70-300G.

While all of those lenses focus faster, the 18-250 puts up quite a fight in the IQ department. Outdoor colors in good light are quite pleasant. Indoor shots (with bounced flash) are also working for me.

In real life shots, the 250mm end seems sharp enough to me. I shot it against the 100-300APO and the 70-300G outdoors and couldn't tell a huge difference in the results, as far as sharpness goes. Test shots against a lens box with fine print revealed the 70-300G being sharper at 250mm wide open but stopping down the 18-250mm did help.

18mm is wider than I'm used to shooting, as the 28-105/3.4-4.5 is my normal walkaround. Its not as wide as 16mm, but it makes for a good walkaround.

Most of my shooting is handled from 100mm under, but it sure is nice to have the extra reach for those few shots here and there.

In good light, the color seems satisfying to me, compared to my other lenses.

I'm sure that more dedicated lenses will do better than this one in certain circumstances, but in practice, I'm not finding much at all to complain about. I'm sorry that I waited so long to buy one of these lenses. I'd buy it again, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a single-lens solution (even if they didn't always shoot that way).

And for the record, IT HAS CIRCULAR APERTURE, just like the Sony. Evidently, Tamron doesn't see this as a significant enough feature to list it on their website, but it is circular aperture. It also doesn't have that awful dustrap grip that the sony has.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 36
  • sharpness: 4.44
  • color: 4.64
  • build: 4.33
  • distortion: 4.08
  • flare control: 4.42
  • overall: 4.38
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