Tamron SP AF 70-300mm 4-5.6 Di USD A-mount lens review by A68noob

reviewer#44548 date: Jul-11-2020
sharpness: 3.5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 3.9
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:Tamron 18-270
Sony 70-300G SSM
Minolta 70-210 F4 Beercan
price paid:100€ used
positive:+ for its price, good and beautiful build (i like it much more than the 3x expensive 70-300G sony)
+ good hood (especially its surface which is resistent to scratches.. compared to cheap and weak G hood)
+ fast and pretty silent AF (slightly inferior in both terms to G tho)
+ overall pretty much the best price/performance 70-300 from my experience.. but still nothing to brag about
+ at lower focal lenghts sharpness and colours were good
negative:- no zoom lock (but mine was luckily a bit stiff, so still no zoom creep - i would have still wished it had a lock)
- soft (I did a side by side test and the 70-210 beercan won.. nuff said. especially when compared at ~130mm, where max aperture is 5.6.. the stopped down beercan won easily)
- quite some CA (at least at 300mm). at some point as bad as beercan, easily worse than my Tamron 18-270.
- especially at 300mm a lot of pumping AF
- only 1:4 magnification @ 1,5m MFD
- the first lens i have ever had that had problems with the A68 built in 7,5x and 15x magnifier option - it would simply disrupt and therefore not allow me to precisely MF if AF didnt want to work properly
- this lens obviously needs some serious stopping down to perform well (+ fast enough shutter speed at 300mm).. resulting to be only an effective lens in nothing but the brightest daylight
comment:I originally started with 270mm Tamron with usually good results. Upgraded to Sony 70300G, but bit disappointed (especially in terms of price/performance). Bought this lens very cheap, mint 2nd hand to do some testing vs lenses stated above.. and I was just disappointed.

Yeah, it may be the best budget choice IF you really dont need great performance at 300mm, but if you own at least something compareable like a beercan i dont see a reason why you should need this lens.. especially for closeby animalhunting:
Beercan delivers 1:4 magnification at 1,1m while Tamron 1:4 at 1,5m.. but at 300mm F5,6, less DOF, way more light required for 1/300sec at least and similar CA. Beercan more reliable AF up close too and is generally bit sharper, has better colours and is even cheaper to get..

Apart from beautiful and nice build, cheap price and silent AF nothing else to fight my the long list of negative aspects. Bad performance up close, CA, much light required and especially the broken magnifier incamera option was the last dealbreaker for me.

Havent had flare issues due to big hood (good) and cant comment on distortion.

Disclaimer: My ratings are based on price/performance.

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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