Tamron SP AF 70-300mm 4-5.6 Di USD A-mount lens review by robberly12

reviewer#10321 date: Jun-24-2012
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 75-300 f/4.5-5.6
Sigma 18-250 f/3.5-6.3 HSM
price paid:350 USD (new)
positive:Sony G-series quality
Bargain price
Very sharp
Direct manual focus
Nearly silent focusing
Low distortion & CA
Great warranty
negative:Somewhat slow focus
Questionable quality control
comment:The Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di USD is an excellent quality telephoto zoom lens. It is nearly identical to the Sony 70-300G F4.5-5.6 lens in size, weight and image quality, but costs less than half as much. One of the few differences between it & the G-series lens is that it is actually a faster lens on the short end (f/4).

It is true direct manual focus lens, which allows the photographer to freely turn the focus ring in AF as well as MF mode. This makes it possible to lock focus of the lens in AF mode, but still fine tune the focus as necessary. The lens also includes a well-marked focus-distance window.

Auto-focus is nearly silent but, unfortunately, a little sluggish. In low-contrast situations, especially, focus will hunt before finally settling on a setting. Including a focus-limiter would have been helpful for situations like this. Focusing on birds-in-flight is also sometimes a hit & miss proposition.

Build quality seems generally good -- sturdy plastic with a metal mount. Quality-control of this Chinese-made lens, though, seems less than stellar. The lens stopped auto-focusing two months after I bought it. Fortunately, Tamron repaired the lens quickly under their excellent 6-year warranty. The other QC-issue I've encountered is that a couple times I've temporarily noticed intermittent electrical contact between the lens & camera body.

Images are sharp across the focal-length range with good colors & a low level of chromatic aberration. Flare is well controlled with Tamron's substantial lens hood.

On a side note, the lens physically worked well with my Kenko Teleplus MC4 1.4x DGX Teleconverter. It correctly reported the exif data, and I was able to autofocus at 300mm when the subject had good light and contrast. Image quality took a moderate hit but was still good enough that this lens-TC combination was useful to me.

The Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di USD is a high quality zoom lens at an unbeatable price. It is equivalent in quality to Sony's expensive G-series lens & blows away Sony's 75-300 kit lens!

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 54
  • sharpness: 4.49
  • color: 4.37
  • build: 4.35
  • distortion: 4.65
  • flare control: 4.54
  • overall: 4.48
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