Tamron 28-300

Tamron 28-300

This is the old Tamron 28-300 review. Tamron has made an update on this lens below:

*UPDATE* For Nikon and Canon DSLR users: Tamron released the Tamron 28-300 VC. See my complete Tamron 28-300 VC Review.

Tamron 28-300mm Lens

Lens Score (APS-C Sensor)
Optical Quality: 4 Stars (4 / 5)
Build Quality: 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
Value for Money: 5 Stars (5 / 5)

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I tested the Nikon mount. They also have it for Canon, Pentax and Sony mounts.

This lens is an excellent upgrade to the old Tamron 28-200mm. I loved the Tamron 28-200mm, but this upgrade completely outdated the old lens.

I used it on my Nikon D600 DSLR camera. This lens is great as a walk around lens and vacation lens.

I loved the idea of not having to carry too many lenses during vacation and just focus on enjoying and capturing the moments with my family.

How about optical quality? The answer might surprise you.

This lens is the sharpest super zoom lens for BOTH full frame or cropped sensor camera.

I just can’t believe the result that came from this lens. It’s outstanding. The sharpness is just amazing for a super zoom lens.

Needless to say, the Tamron 28-300mm is my new love. It has replaced the faithful 28-200mm.

The 28-300mm zoom range is a bit awkward if you are using a cropped sensor camera. If you’re using a cropped sensor, I’d recommend you take a look at the Tamron 18-270mm lens instead as this will give you a better range.

However, if you are a full frame or film camera user, I’d recommend you give the 28-300mm a try.

Technical Specs

All in all, the specs are very similar to the old 28-200mm. Some noticeable differences are: it’s has more elements, slightly bigger and a tad heavier.

Official Name:
Tamron AF28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro

Focal Length Markings:
28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm and 300mm

Features:
AF – Autofocus. Allows the lens to focus automatically on your subject.

XR – Extra Refractive Index Glass to make the lens shorter and more compact.

Di – Can be used with both full frame or cropped sensor camera.

LD – Low Dispersion Glass to reduce chromatic aberration at the telephoto end.

Aspherical – To minimize the lens’ aberration and distortion.

IF – Internal Focusing. Lens will not change dimension during autofocus. Front element will not rotate, so you can use a polarizing filter with no problems.

Macro – Stupid marketing term to confuse you. This is not a real 1:1 macro lens and I wouldn’t recommend using it for macro photography. The term “Macro” here means this lens can focus closer to the subject, but not 1:1 (the image size in the sensor is equal to the subject’s actual size).

Full Technical Specs (from Tamron’s website):

Technical Specifications
Groups / Elements 13 / 15
Angle of View 75°-8°
Number of Blade Diaphragm 9
Minimum Aperture f/22
Minimum Focusing Distance 19.3in.(0.49m) (entire zoom range)
Filter Thread 62mm
Weight 420g (14.8oz)
Dimension (Diameter x Length) ø2.9 x 3.3in. (ø73 x 83.7mm)
Macro Magnification Ratio 1:2.9

Optical Performance

Sharpness

Like the 28-200mm, center sharpness is excellent at any aperture, except at 300mm where it gets a bit soft. Border sharpness is also excellent except on 28mm at f/3.5 and 300mm at f/6.3 due to vignetting.

To get the sharpest result, shoot at f/5.6 on the 28-70mm range and at f/8 on the 70-300mm range. If you are using a full frame DSLR, shoot at f/8 for maximum sharpness.

I will be posting the sharpness result table of this lens soon…

Distortion

Barrel distortion is visible at 28mm. There is a slight pincushion distortion at 300mm. However, overall, the distortion won’t affect the real world performance of the lens. Any other focal length has no distortion issue. See my grid distortion test below.

Tamron 28-300mm Distortion Test at 28mm

Distortion Test at 28mm


Tamron 28-300mm Distortion Test at 50mm

Distortion Test at 50mm


Tamron 28-300mm Distortion Test at 100mm

Distortion Test at 100mm


Tamron 28-300mm Distortion Test at 200mm

Distortion Test at 200mm


Tamron 28-300mm Distortion Test at 300mm

Distortion Test at 300mm

Vignetting

Vignetting is only visible on 28mm at f/3.8 and 300mm at f/6.3. On the other focal length it’s less visible. To eliminate vignetting, shoot at the optimal aperture: f/5.6 on 28-70mm and f/8 on 70-300mm for a cropped sensor DSLR. To achieve the same result with a full frame DSLR, always use f/8. See my vignetting test below (for cropped sensor).

Tamron 28-300mm Vignetting Test at 28mm

Vignetting Test at 28mm


Tamron 28-300mm Vignetting Test at 50mm

Vignetting Test at 50mm


Tamron 28-300mm Vignetting Test at 100mm

Vignetting Test at 100mm


Tamron 28-300mm Vignetting Test at 200mm

Vignetting Test at 200mm


Tamron 28-300mm Vignetting Test at 300mm

Vignetting Test at 300mm

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is also well controlled at this lens, except on 28mm f/3.5 and 300mm at f/6.3. To counter this, stop down to f/5.6 on 28mm and to f/8 at 300mm. Or you can just shoot RAW and correct in post processing.

Build Quality

Materials

Plastic, better than the old 28-200mm. Made in Japan.

Zoom Ring

Excellent and smooth. The zoom lock mechanism to prevent your lens from extending while you tilt your camera, is a very handy feature to have.

Focusing

The IF (Internal Focusing) mechanism prevents the front element from rotating. So, using a polarizer won’t be a problem. The autofocus speed is pretty fast and accurate.

At 300mm, when the maximum aperture drops to f/6.3, the autofocus tends to hunt when shooting in low light. Switch to manual focus in this situation.

Note to Nikon Users: Unfortunately, this lens does NOT have a Built in Motor. This means you can’t autofocus if you’re using an entry level Nikon DSLR camera such as Nikon D40, D40x, D60, D5000, D5100, D3000 and D3100.

Compatibility

Here are the conclusion for this lens:

The Di designation means you can use this lens for BOTH cropped sensor or full frame sensor DSLR and the lens performs extremely well on both cameras.

Sample Image

Below are some sample shots taken with this lens.

Tamron 28-300mm Sample Image 1

Sample Image 1


Tamron 28-300mm Sample Image 2

Sample Image 2


Tamron 28-300mm Sample Image 3

Sample Image 3


Tamron 28-300mm Sample Image 4

Sample Image 4


Tamron 28-300mm Sample Image 5

Sample Image 5

Conclusions

Drawbacks

  • Focus hunting in low light situation, especially on 300mm.
  • Visible chromatic aberration. To counter, stop down to f/5.6 or more or shoot RAW.
  • A bit soft at 300mm.

Positives

  • Still compact and low light.
  • Excellent optical quality for a super zoom lens.
  • Excellent value for money.
  • A great all in one lens solution for non-professional use or travel.

Good For

All in one lens solution for full frame camera. If you are using a cropped sensor, you’ll have to live with the not-so-wide zoom range, but you’ll get excellent image quality.

Not So Good For

Professional photography who needs fast aperture and strong build quality. Also, not so good for photography in extreme weather.

What Others Are Saying…

by “D. Smith”

I love taking photos, but I hate carrying lots of equipment when photography is not the focus of my journey, so I looked to find a lens that was light, inexpensive, a useful focal range and decent sharpness given all of the above. I believe the Tamron fits the bill…
Click here to read the full review

by “Gadgester”

Great quality, terrific value. In real world shooting I’m very happy with the result, and I really don’t think buying an official Canon lens would make much of a difference…
Click here to read the full review

Where to Buy

Tamron 28-300mm Lens

Lens Score (APS-C Sensor)
Optical Quality: 4 Stars (4 / 5)
Build Quality: 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)
Value for Money: 5 Stars (5 / 5)

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Support this site, buy the lens using the links below to recommended online stores:

For Nikon DSLR

For Canon DSLR

For Sony DSLR

For Pentax DSLR

Do check out my Tamron 28-300 VC review before you buy this lens, especially if you’re using a Canon or Nikon DSLR. Thanks for reading my Tamron 28-300 review!

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