An 18-250mm is an incredible range, taking the SLR superzoom, into new territory. This extremely versatile range will give you coverage for almost all subjects apart from the real extremes. But how does it perform? We are about to find out.
Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Specifications
- Focal length: 18-250mm
- Elements / construction: 13/16 elements/groups
- Angle of view: 65.36-5.19° (Horizontal – APS-C)
- Max Aperture: f/3.5-6.3
- Min Aperture: f/22
- Min focus distance; 0.45m
- Mount: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony
- Filter size: 62mm
- Length: 84.3mm
- Diameter: 74.4mm
- Weight: 0.43kg
- Price (SRP): £399.99
Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Build and Handling
From the wide-angle end, the front element extends almost 80mm on a double trombone to reach the longest focal length but the front element does not rotate during the process, which is smooth in operation. The extension does not show too much play but enables a compact build that is surprisingly small for it’s capabilities. The move in focal length is achieved by a well torqued and wide zoom ring sporting a decently ribbed gripping surface and manual focus is controlled by a much narrower ring forward of the main zoom ring. The AF does need turning off to be over-ridden but the lens was accurate in the Autofocus mode with little hunting on most subjects.
The autofocus is relatively quiet and reacts quickly enough for the type of lens, producing a slight low pitched whine and keeping up with slow flying birds, although it may struggle somewhat with fast moving sports or action.
The overall quality and feel of the lens is certainly an improvement on what we have come to expect from Tamron, who seem to be moving away from that plasticy look without loosing their identity.
Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Optical Quality
Tamron are certainly pushing hard at the optical boundaries with a near enough 14x zoom ratio but under the circumstances have done surprisingly well! Yes, there are compromises in the lens, but they have been well controlled during the optic’s optimisation. Resolution is better at the wide end of the range with good levels and doesn’t drop off to the extent that we have seen with some other lenses in the class, keeping to respectable figures at the long end despite the extra range. Conversely, chromatic aberration is at a peak at the short end when the aperture is wide open but, even here, just manages to stay inside acceptable parameters. The phenomenon reduces as the focal length extends, but never to the negligible extent and it would become a visible concern if you were trying to produce prints at A3 or above.
Distortion though does become the place where the extreme capabilities do show up and although the -1.4% barrel is not really noticeable at the longest focal length, the increase to –6% barrel at the wide end does mean that it becomes a problem if many straight lines are included in the image. Fortunately this is one of the easier anomalies to correct in post processing.
Despite this, the lens produces crisp images that show good colour rendition and decent contrast. Good technique is required though, as 250mm is getting on the long side for hand holding and lugging around a tripod somewhat defeats the idea of a lightweight lens for all occasions. At those lengths, the f/6.3 widest aperture needs decent light or higher ISO’s to achieve the shutter speeds required to get sharp images consistently.
Above left: The Tamron 18-250mm has good close up abilities.
Above: The Autofocus is quick enough to find and keep up with slow flying birds.
Left: Shot at 25mm, this image shows the ability of the Tamron 18-250mm lens to get the framing just right.
|Tamron AF 18-250mm at 18mm and f/8
||Tamron AF 18-250mm at 250mm and f/8
|Tamron AF 18-250mm at 18mm and f/3.5
||Tamron AF 18-250mm at 250mm and f/6.3
Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Verdict
As an extra long do-it-all lens this optic has a lot going for it, including decent close focus ability. The advantages of a single lens doing all have the plus points of keeping dust on sensors down as well as the weight saving over multi-lens kits and you still get the better image quality given by an SLR. Travellers will like it too.
In summary, the plus points of the Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD Asp (IF) Macro are:
Great focal range
Reasonable optical performance
The negative points are:
Distortion throughout the focal range
More expensive than some
Check out the latest price for the Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD Asp (IF) Macro here