There are many people interested in photography and many of them eventually choose to become DSLR camera owners and users, and once they have forked out huge amounts of money for their chosen DSLR camera they then find that their spending is far from over, as they begin to look into the accessories to go with their cameras and realise that they are all very expensive.
As a pro photographer and someone that has now written many reviews on cameras and the accessories that go with them I have been asked a lot recently if there are any lenses for DSLR`s that can cover a large zoom range rather than having to change lens all the time.
The most common and actually the best way to work with a DSLR is to have a lens that does maybe from 18mm to between 55 and 70mm, then a further lens that will cover you from between 55mm and anything up to about 400mm but this means two lenses and lots of changing the lens for the job in hand, as a Pro I do not mind this but most amateurs cannot be bothered lugging two or more lenses around and do not feel confident about changing them outdoors for the fear of dust getting into both lens and camera.
There are some lenses out there that offer a large zoom capacity in the one lens but the good ones are usually very expensive and even then they do not offer as good quality images as the smaller zoom lenses and until recently trying to find a fairly inexpensive lens that could offer large zoom functions and good quality images was very difficult and I would have advise against it.
Having now used the Tamron 28 - 300mm lens however I can now say to people that this might be what they are looking for, at under £300 it is certainly not expensive (I have lenses that cost six times that much) and having a good build quality and producing a very decent image quality, it really is an option for those that do not want to go down the two or more lens route.
This Tamron lens is available to fit almost all makes of DSLR camera including Pentax, Nikon, Canon and Sony, I have only used it on a Sony A700 but although it will perform slightly different with other brands what I have to say here about it will pretty much cover them all.
The first thing that I would have said in the past about lenses like this is that they usually perform better at the wider angle end of the scale (between 28 and about 70 - 100mm) and then they often would show some purple fringing and chromatic aberration at between around the 200 - 300mm end and although this is still the case it is much less so and even zoomed all the way in to 300mm this lens could produce some very useable images and although as a professional I would not have been happy with them if trying to sell them or producing them for a customer, if I were taking them for my own enjoyment then they would just about pass.
Amateur photographers looking to spend this amount of money on a high zoom lens I am sure would be very happy with it and professionals or serious high end users or semi pro`s would look to spend much more on lenses and have a few different ones so we now know where this lens is aimed and for that it works well enough.
Another problem with zoom lenses such as this is something called lens creep, this is when you are perhaps shooting down on a subject and the weight of the lens or perhaps a lens hood on it will cause the lens to creep out and change the zoom distance unwontedly, I am happy to say this problem doesn't exist on this lens at all or at least it never happened to me in over a month's heavy use.
The other thing that Tamron have managed with this lens is to create a very compact lens with high zoom functions and this is achieved using a mixture of glass-moulded and hybrid elements. Tamron have also managed to get this lens just right for the digital market by using a blend of multiple lens coatings to prevent the ghosting and flare that can be caused by internal reflections from the sensor.
The quality of the images that this lens produced would get about a 8 out of ten at wider angles and about a 6 out of ten when zoomed in tight, this is actually not that bad when you consider that I have rated much more expensive lenses lower but you do need to take into account that the very best super sharp images that you see in wildlife magazines and the likes could never be achieved with lenses such as this so do not expect too much.
The untrained eye will probably find nothing wrong at all with the images produced by this lens and therefore this lens is just fine for amateur use, Myself and other pros would instantly however notice a lack of sharpness and would also detect that the vivid colour reproduction of some of the high end lenses simply isn't there, the optical performance of a shorter range zoom lens just isn't there but this is still a very decent and certainly very useful lens that offers a great option to those who want it all in one package.
Maximum Format Size - 35mm
Focal Length - 28-300mm
Maximum Aperture - f/3.5-5.6
Lens Construction - 18 elements/13 groups, XR, LD, Aspherical, VC
Minimum Focus - 49cm
Focus Method - AF/MF
Filter Thread - 67mm
Weight - 555g
Dimensions - 78x99mm
The first question is would I recommend this to a friend and the answer is yes as long as they were an amateur photographer and were not going to expect miracles from it.
I enjoyed using this lens, it felt good and worked well in use and it is a well made unit that I am sure would offer good longevity, which is important in any item costing a few hundred quid.
The final images were of a decent standard, there were some problems with chromatic aberration and the colour reproduction was below par but this would only be picked out by a trained eye and the images would be perfectly acceptable to most.
It offers the choice of a huge zoom range in a single lens and that is something most beginners long for and it offers it at a very decent price so value for money in my opinion is very good as long as you do remember that in digital photography you almost always get what you pay for and when you consider that a similar lens from Canon would cost about three times as much you know what level you are playing at.
LOOKS / DESIGN - 7/10
BUILD QUALITY - 8/10
OPTICAL QUALITY - 7/10
MECHANICAL QUALITY - 8/10
PERFORMANCE - 8/10
IMAGE QUALITY - 6.5/10
VALUE FOR MONEY - 8/10
OVERALL - 7/10
** Please note that the quick rating guide below is not really applicable to this product so I have just given the four stars that the product is worth overall to every section.**
Thanks for reading