Tamron SP AF 70-300mm 4-5.6 Di USD A-mount lens review by icemantx

reviewer#10229 date: May-21-2012
sharpness: 4
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
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 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Minolta 100-300 APO D
Sigma 50-150 f2.8
Tamron 70-210 f3.5-4.5
Sony 70-300G
price paid:449 USD (new)
positive:Quick and silent focus
Focuses well in low light
Good build

negative:Soft wide open
Not as sharp as Minolta 100-300 APO D
comment:I bought this lens as a replacement for the Sony 70-300G I sold a year and a half ago. I sold the Sony in anticipation of this Tamron and hopes that it would be just as good as the Sony 70-300G and expected it to outclass the Minolta APO 100-300 APO D I acquired at the same time.

Maybe I got a bad copy or something, but in most cases, the Tamron USD was not as sharp as the Sony 70-300G or the Minolta 100-300 APO D. I took several hundred photos with each of these lenses and in the end, I had far more keepers with the Sony 70-300G and Minolta 100-300 APO D. I was surprised to say the least after reading the glowing reviews of this lens on Dyxum. The focusing was fairly quick, but I do miss the focus limiter of the Sony 70-300G when shooting birds in flight or fast moving objects.

The biggest surprise for me was how well the Minolta 100-300 APO D did against the Tamron. I was fully expecting to end up putting the Minolta back on eBay after comparing the two lenses. However, it is the Tamron that is heading back to B&H for a refund.

Based on the very positive reviews of the Tamron, I will chalk my Tamron up as a bad copy and maybe somewhere down the road I will try it out again. For now, I will use the Minolta 100-300 APO D and enjoy the Minolta colors and the diminutive size of this little gem.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 55
  • sharpness: 4.50
  • color: 4.38
  • build: 4.35
  • distortion: 4.62
  • flare control: 4.53
  • overall: 4.47
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