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

reviewer#5314 date: Apr-30-2009
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 3
distortion: 3
flare control: 4
overall: 3.6
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony 18-70mm kit lens.
Sigma 17-70mm.
Tamron 55-200mm.
price paid:Ł250 used
positive:Huge zoom range.
Compact and light for range.
Sharpness.
Colour.
negative:Slow autofocus.
Distortion.
Slow, suffers in poor light.
comment:This is an early reflection on my use of this lens, so its not fully comprehensive. From the reviews, particularly on PhotoclubAlpha, my expectations were quite high. However when I got hold of a second-hand copy my reaction to using it was disappointment.

I knew there would be some wide angle barrel distortion but what I saw at 18mm was worse than expected. Zooming a bit to 20mm improves things a lot, but zooming only a little bit longer and it flips to pin-cushion. OK, this can be corrected in PP, and for a lot of subjects it is not an issue, but it's something I'd rather not have to deal with. Also I don't know if this varies between copies although I don't see why it should.

And autofocus is s-l-o-w, although I should add that this did improve a bit after I got an A700 body and put it on that. Using A or C mode autofocus on the A700 helps, but at the cost of some battery life.

Of course both of these are known issues with superzooms, and maybe I'm being a bit critical. But over its range I'd prefer the much cheaper Tamron 55-200mm, and for wider angle I prefer the Sigma 17-70mm.

However on sharpness, colour, flare my impressions so far are that the 18-250 ain't bad. And it does have the huge advantage of covering such a big zoom range.

Will I keep it? I'm not sure yet, so I'll probably hang onto it for now and see if it grows on me. But it will probably only get used in those situations where I don't want to carry spare lenses around with me, or in situations where dust might be a bigger than normal problem.

The score of 3 for build rating may seem a bit harsh, as mine is a second hand copy bought on eBay, and I don't feel I got the full story about how much use it had previously been given. Although it looks fine cosmetically it feels a bit sloppy mechanically, so it either came out of the box like that or it is not coping with use that well. Of course eBay is not really the best place to buy a lens, ideally you need to handle it first, but there you go.

Update: Sold it.

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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