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

reviewer#10960 date: Mar-3-2013
sharpness: 4
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 5
overall: 4.2
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 70-400/4-5.6 G
Sony 135/1.8 ZA
Sony 85/1.4 ZA
price paid:350 USD (new)
positive:Great general use tele-zoom lens;
6-year warranty;
$350 after rebate;
USD is on par with SSM;
Excellent print quality up to 20"x30".
negative:Decent AF accuracy prior to recalibration;
No VC;
If you are picky, some distortion can be noticeable on portrait (head) shots.;
Heavy vigneting from F4 till F5.6 (Easy fix in post-production);
Poor 300mm IQ at any F-stop.
comment:The best bang for a buck for Alpha system among all tele-zooms available so far. Its price positions it among other easy-choice lenses with very high IQ. It's a Sony 70-300 G sibling without a focus limiter. AF speed and accuracy is good enough for slow moving subjects but for action shots I'd look for a lens with a focus distance limiter.
My copy had a front focus issue and was sent to Tamron for recalibration. Since then no missed focus images for slow moving subjects. Exif reads "70-300mm F4.0-5.6 SSM"!
The lens is worth way more than the price paid. I'm keeping it as a backup if I ever find an as worthy tele-zoom-bang-for-a-buck-lens.

Tamron SP 70-300 USD AF Speed Test

Its performance is not as solid at the long end but one can't complain about it for this ridiculously low price. Here you can see some samples in DNG at 300mm:

Here you can find comparison shots between Tamron and Sony 70-400 G at the long end with a subject near the infinity mark in DNG:

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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