Photography News Issue 49

Photography News | Issue 49 | photographynews.co.uk

41

First tests

Tamron 18-400mmf/3.5-6.3Di II VCHLD £649.99

Superzooms are popular one lens solutions when youwant to travel light without compromising your creative options too much. This new Tamron has a zoom range of 22.2x, the widest range you can get for APS-C DSLRs. In Nikon, this equates to a 35mm focal length equivalent of 27mm to 600mm; in Canon 29mm to 620mm. If that sounds impressive on paper, it is. In practice, it’s amazing. Fit the lens on the camera and without changing position, zoom from one end of the lens to the other, and the effect is truly remarkable. From something tiny in the frame at 18mm to frame- filling at 400mm is a big sell in itself. However, this lens has more. There’s Tamron’s VC technology to help eliminate camera shake which on this lens offers a 2.5EV benefit and autofocusing is handled by Tamron’s HLM (High/Low torque-modulated Drive) motor for smooth, quiet and fast operation. Using an HLD motor also helps in keeping the lens nicely compact. The modest maximum aperture necessitates dipping into your camera’s higher ISO settings on less bright days, although that is not an

issue with newer cameras and if you need to shoot at ISO 800, then image quality is not impacted too greatly. I used the lens on a Canon EOS 200D, a tiny, lightweight DSLR and the lens was the senior partner in this combination. At the shorter focal lengths I was happy with the shots at 1/60sec or even slower, but I was aware of the odd less sharp image at the longer focal lengths so tried to keep shutter speeds higher. Optically, this lens is a decent performer and while handling is good, it is worth saying that it needs sound technique to get sharp shots at the longer focal lengths andwhenyou start getting close to the subject – the focuses as close as 45cm. The VC technology helps, but camera shake and inaccurate focusing is a risk. As far as supports go, I’d suggest a good monopod as a minimum and if you do use a tripod remember you are going to have a front-heavy combination that could be easily wind- affected so be careful at those slower shutter speeds. At 18mm the centre looks crisp from f/3.5 with softer edges and stopping down improves the whole image. If

Right Two shots taken from the same spot illustrate the pulling power of this Tamron shots at three focal lengths. The camera was mounted on a GitzoSystematic tripod. Images were shot on a Canon EOS 200D and the Raw files were processed in Lightroomwith no sharpening applied. In-camera mask applied in editingwill makemore of this – and any other – lens. superzoom. Below Test sharpening or unsharp

18mm

400mm

Specs

Format APS-C only Mount Canon EF-S, Nikon DX Construction 16 elements in 11 groups Special lens elements

Three LD (Low Dispersion) ele- ments, two moulded aspherical elements, one hybrid aspherical Coatings BBAR (Broad Band Anti Reflection) Filter size 72mm Aperture range F/3.5-6.3 to f/22-40 Diaphragm Seven rounded blades Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 45cm Focus limiter No. There is a zoom lock but at 18mm only Maximummagnification 1:2.9 Distance scale No Depth-of-field scale No Image stabilizer Tamron Vibration Compensation (VC) with 2.5EV benefit Tripod collar No Lens hood HB028 supplied Weather-sealed Features moisture-resistant seals Dimensions 123.9x79mm Weight 710g Contact Intro2020.com

Having one lens for every occasion sounds tempting and this Tamron’s 22.2x zoom range is remarkable and it does a great job of pulling in distant detail. The downside is that at the 400mm end it’s the 35mm equivalent of a 600mm (Nikon) or 620mm (Canon) which means it needs careful focusing and, preferably, a support to ensure good sharpness. No tripod mount is supplied which means relying on the camera being fitted to the support, which isn’t ideal. Packing so much into a superzoommeans compromises and the optical performance of this lens is decent without being stunning; however, if you want a single lens solution at a more than reasonable price, this 22.2x zoom is worth a look. Pros Great focal length range, coverage, good value, compact, good minimum focus Cons Needs sound technique at the long end, optically less strong at the smaller apertures you can, stop down to f/8 for a solid showing and don’t go far beyond as diffraction softens the results. F/8 is again the best aperture setting to use at the 100mm setting although it’s prettygoodat thewider settings too. The same can’t be said at the smaller settings; f/22 and f/32 are best avoided if you can. At the 400mm end, open aperture performance was good and improved, especially the edges, at f/8 and f/11 and those settings are advised if you want the best performance. Such a wide focal length means the supplied lens hood does not help to combat flare, but this superzoom seemedgood in that respect and images remained high contrast even shooting towards the sun. WC Verdict

18mm

10

10mm

400mm

F/3.5

F/5.6

F/6.3

F/4

F/6.3

F/8

F/5.6

F/8

F/11

F/8

F/11

F/16

F/11

F/16

F/22

F/16

F/22

F/32

F/22

F/32

F/40

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