"Oh no no no!" my purest photography partner-in-crime exclaimed on hearing my plan to buy the tamron 18-250mm "Not a superzoom! Everyone knows they are rubbish! Just use your legs and walk about a bit more!" I took her criticism on board then promptly ignored it, so a little over a year ago became the proud but occasionally convert owner of the 18-250mm tamron.
Why own a 'superzoom'?
Basically, I just wasn't an organised enough photographer - I kept missing photos as I just didn't have the right lens on. Or because I was busy changing lenses (I shudder to think at the amount of dirt that must be on my sensor given my multiple changes in any photography day out.) Therefore, despite fully understanding that larger zoom range = poor overall quality, I figured I was willing to trade off some quality for convenience, sanity and a less sore back from lugging round lenses after a day out.
Why tha tamron?
Basically the price, and the range, were right. And in general its reputation for quality, although clearly not at the level of canon's, was fairly good.
And how is it?
Well, its range (18mm to 250mm, film equivilent 28 to 400mm) is amazing, and it has meant missing photos due to having the 'wrong' lens on is now a thing of a past. Its build is sturdy and reassuring but can make my little EOS feel a little unbalanced due to its weighty 430g mass. You also have to be careful to click the 'lock' on when just carrying it around else it snakes out to its full length.
The most important point is however of course the end photo quality: was my purist friend correct in her judgement of a superzoom as producing "rubbish" pictures correct? Well, yes and no. The images at 18mm I find embarrassing - the edges seem so distorted that I sometimes feel I have a fisheye on instead of a straightforward lens - but all the 'non-extreme' photos are perfectly adequate, and personally I also have no gripes about those produced at the long end of the zoom either, although I've noted from other internet reviews some owners do. Colours come out fairly faithfully and overall the images are easily as sharp as the 'classical kit ' 18-55mm canon, but not as good for exampled as the canon 50mm prime - but again, you'd expect that.
Overall no regrets. Yes, some quality has been sacrificed for range but its 'good enough' for an enthusiastic amateur such as myself and for the price (now around £225 for a canon fit) there are no obvious rivals. Recommended.