Don’t forget, you can watch the Tamron 70-300mm video review
Tamron produce lenses compatible with many camera manufacturers and the Tamron 70-300mm telephoto lens is a good example of a multipurpose lens suitable for those on a budget. It weighs 435g, which is lighter than the majority of competing lenses from other manufacturers which have the same focal range. It is important to note that the magnification levels when using this lens will vary depending upon the size of the sensor within your digital camera. When using a cropped sensor digital camera such as the Canon EOS 50D, the image will be cropped, making it look magnified unto 1.6 times the actual focal length you are using. So, for example, taking a photo at 300mm will in effect be 480mm. If, however, a full frame digital camera is used, such as the Canon EOS 5D, the image captured will be the same as the focal length of the lens.
Tamron 70-300mm Lens construction
The lens looks sturdy and feels surprisingly light. The outer casing is plastic, and the zoom and focusing ring has a rubber coating. The zoom feels suitably tight when moving through the focal lengths, however when in manual focus mode, the focus ring feels a bit loose, and it can be a bit tricky keeping the subject in focus once you’ve located the right position. When using the autofocus, the motor is noticeably louder than alternative lenses such as the Canon 70-300mm – which has a quieter and faster USM ring motor. It also takes quite a while to focus in on a subject, and is even more noticeable when in macro mode. The macro mode itself is perfectly ample, however it requires the lens barrel to be extended to a minimum of 180mm before you can switch the macro on. This also means you need to be standing a minimum of 1 metre away from your target to be able to focus adequately.
Tamron 70-300mm image quality
Alternative lenses to the Tamron 70-300mm
There are a number of lens manufacturers who produce lenses at the 70-300mm focal range. Sigma for example produce a 70-300mm APO Macro lens which is of a similar quality and price point to the Tamron 70-300mm. The next level up from the Sigma and Tamron lenses would be the Canon 70-300mm IS USM and Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm which include image stabilisation technology (VR – Vibration Reduction – with the Nikon lenses). These are typically twice the price but have the advantage of quicker focusing mechanisms and image stabilisation. For those who have a Nikon camera, Nikon also produce a budget 70-300mm lens which, brand new, can be purchased for as little as £100. Finally, for Canon users, there is a Canon 70-300mm DO USM lens. DO stands for diffractive optics, and is noticeably shorter than the standard 70-300mm. This comes at a price however, and the lens also has a wider diameter.
The Tamron 70-300mm isn’t going to win any awards for it’s image and build quality, however it is very cheap compared to the alternatives out there. The images that can be produced with this lens are perfectly adequate, especially in better lighting conditions, and the macro function adds an extra level of versatility.