LensTip.com

Lens review

Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF)

21 August 2009
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • all-purpose focal lengths range,
  • very good frame center picture quality at shorter focal lengths,
  • coma relatively well corrected,
  • distortion and vignetting unobtrusive at longer focal lengths.

Cons:

  • very weak picture quality at longer focal lengths both in the center and on the frame edge.
  • dreadful macro mode performance,
  • noticeable vignetting at the shortest focal length,
  • the lack of stabilization and poor aperture limits the use of the lens to good conditions only or forces to use high ISO values,
  • autofocus audible and not very accurate,
  • distortion significantly pronounced at wideangle,
  • noticeable astigmatism,
  • significant chromatic aberration at both ends of the focal lengths range and at the maximum aperture.

It’s hard to write such an opinion but I must admit I haven’t tested a similarly weak lens for a very long time. Usually in the summary I try to include something positive about the tested devices – here it is really difficult because the Tamron 18-250 mm looks bad from almost every angle. You can say something good only about its 18-50 mm performance, which is like that of stabilized Canon and Nikon kit lenses.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - advertisement - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The price of the tested lens is 1899 PLN in the shop which lent it to us. There, we can also get a good Sigma 18-200 mm OS with the HSM motor and an image stabilization for 1699 PLN. A Canon 18-200 mm IS costs exactly the same amount of money as the Tamron tested by us. If we are interested in a megazoom , it would be definitely better to buy any of the 18-200 mm models. The Tamron 18-250 mm’ performance at its maximum focal length is so weak that these additional 50 mm will bring us almost no advantage.

Let’s notice one more thing. A set of optically good Canon lenses EF-S 18-55 IS and EF-S 55-250 IS, equipped with stabilization, will cost us about 1400 PLN so significantly cheaper than the Tamron 18-250 mm. The same is true for the Nikon system – for the AF-S 18-55 mm VR plus AF-S 55-200 VR set we will have to pay 500 PLN less than for the Tamron.. The comparison gets even worse with the Olympus – in that system for 1899 PLN we can get an E-420 reflex camera with a dual kit, including 14-42 and 40-150 lenses.

The Tamron 18-250 mm, for want of anything better, would be good for holiday photos, which we intend to print in the 10x15 or 13x18 cm format. It is, in fact, the only field where I see any use of such megazoom lenses. They are, in my opinion, by definition contradicting the idea of using reflex cameras. I do understand their existence, though, and I can even imagine a market segment where they would be useful – people going on long holiday trips, for example abroad. When every square centimeter in your bag counts, taking one lens only makes sense – a megazoom, after all, will enable us to take landscape and portrait shots and also pictures of animals situated near the horizon. Especially that, during such travels, the conditions are often lousy and the frequent change of lenses might be dangerous as it might allow dust and/or moisture ingress into the camera.

The problem is that the Tamron 18-250 mm wouldn’t be good even there - its high price and low picture quality is simply disqualifying. For less money we are able to buy a Canon PowerShot SX 10 IS, a Nikon P90, an Olympus SP-590 or a Panasonic DMC-FZ28 – all of them will be much more useful during a long trip and they can offer wider focal lengths range, often with an image stabilization system. The 10x15 or 13x18 cm format prints will be equally good from these cameras.

To sum up, it is really difficult to find any argument for buying the Tamron 18-250 mm. I suppose it is better to get interested in a bit weaker but also a lot cheaper Tamron 18-200 mm. When I have a choice between low picture quality for a lot of money and low picture quality for a more modest sum, I choose, of course, the latter option…

Sample shots:

Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/2000 sec., ISO 100
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.63 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 70 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 3.08 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 4.76 MB
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 4.4 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/640 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 200 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.03 MB
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 250 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.13 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 39 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/100 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.68 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 5.72 MB
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 129 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1250 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 3.55 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 18 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.8 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 50 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/1600 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.46 MB
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 100 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.6 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 183 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/800 sec., ISO 200
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.74 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 250 mm, f/9.0, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.98 MB
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Tamron AF 18-250 mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical (IF) - Summary
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 250 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/1000 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 3.7 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 250 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/500 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.76 MB
Camera: Canon 20D
Parameters: 250 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/320 sec., ISO 400
File: JPEG, 3504 x 2336 pix, 2.68 MB




Next chapter