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Lens review

2011-02-04
 

Tamron SP 70-300 mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD

1. Introduction

Originally posted 2011-02-01 on Optyczne.pl

What type of lens is currently the most common on the market? If you start to think about it the answer might surprise you. The biggest number of models you can find in the class of amateur telephoto lenses with focal lengths starting from 50-100 mm and ending at 300 mm. Saying “amateur lenses” we mean such devices which aperture ranges from f/4.0 or f/4.5 at the shortest focal length to f/5.6 –f/5.8 at the longest focal length.

In order not to sound groundless let’s make a list of such models available on the market nowadays. The list, in alphabetical order, is presented below (the prices according to B&H):

  1. Canon EF 70–300 mm f/4.0–5.6 IS USM – 529 $
  2. Canon EF 70–300 mm f/4.0–5.6 L IS USM – 1599 $
  3. Canon EF 70–300 mm f/4.5–5.6 DO IS USM – 1299 $
  4. Canon EF 75–300 mm f/4.0-f/5.6 III – 155 $
  5. Canon EF 75–300 mm f/4.0-f/5.6 III USM – 190 $
  6. Nikkor AF 70–300 mm f/4–5.6G – 125 $
  7. Nikkor AF-S 55–300 mm f/4.5-f/5.6G VR ED – 330 $
  8. Nikkor AF-S 70–300 mm f/4.5-f/5.6G IF-ED VR – 455 $
  9. Olympus ZD 70–300 mm f/4.0–5.6 – 339 $
  10. Pentax DA 55–300 mm f/4.0–5.8 ED – 350 $
  11. Sigma 70–300 mm f/4.0–5.6 DG Macro – 169 $
  12. Sigma 70–300 mm f/4.0–5.6 APO DG Macro – 209 $
  13. Sigma 70–300 mm f/4.0–5.6 DG OS – 359 $
  14. Sony 70–300 mm f/4.5-f/5.6 G SSM – 850 $
  15. Sony 75–300 mm f/4.5-f/5.6 – 250 $
  16. Tamron AF 70–300 mm f/4.0–5.6 Di LD Macro – 165 $
  17. Tamron SP 70–300mm f/4.0–5.6 Di VC USD – 449 $

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As you see currently we have as many as 17 models on offer. Of course you should take into account also the second-hand market where you can still find many 75-300 mm class Canon lenses, gone out of production recently, and even such models, tested by us, as the Canon EF 100–300 mm USM, the Canon EF 90–300 mm USM or the Nikkor AF 70–300 mm f/4–5.6D ED

As you might guess the competition in this segment is fierce. That’s why the decision of the Tamron company to launch a new lens, featuring for the first time an ultrasonic autofocus motor (USD), exactly in this overcrowded segment we found rather puzzling. However, taking into account the fact that the Tamron lens costs more or less the same as its stabilized equivalents from Canon, Nikon and Sigma and assuming that for such a price we will get an efficient autofocus, stabilization and good optical properties, we admit the lens has a potential to stir things up on the market. Will it be really the case? Find out reading the next chapters of this review.

We would like to thank the Foto-Technika company for providing us the lens for testing purposes.

You are also invited to get acquainted with our test procedure, described in the article "How do we test lenses?" If you feel it’s still not enough, please go to our FAQ section where you can find some further explanation.


Tamron SP 70-300 mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD - Introduction

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