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Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro review

Light in weight and price for a full-frame telephoto zoom lens

Our Verdict

For

  • Only a third of the price of some budget telephoto zooms
  • Decent optical performance at the short end of the zoom range
  • Quite light in weight for a full-frame lens

Against

  • Lacks Tamron's Vibration Correction stabiliser
  • Poor sharpness in the 250-300mm zoom range
  • Basic autofocus system is very sluggish

One of Tamron's Digitally Integrated (Di) lenses, the AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro is designed for use on both full-frame and APS-C-sized cameras. It's available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony fit and, on APS-C bodies, the effective zoom range is 105-450mm or, for Canon cameras, a slightly longer 112-480mm.

For Nikon users, one point worth noting is that the original Nikon-fit version of this lens, made before February 2008, didn't feature a built-in autofocus motor, so can't autofocus on bodies such as the D3100 and D5100. Unlike Tamron's newer SP 70-300mm VC USD // lens, this one also lacks an optical stabiliser.

The optical design is based on 13 elements in nine groups, with a nine-blade diaphragm that enables an aperture range of f/4-5.6 to f/32-45. The smaller than usual minimum aperture is useful for extending depth of field in macro mode.

The macro facility is available in the 180-300mm focal length range, via a switch on the lens barrel, and offers a maximum 0.5x magnification when shooting at 300mm and the shortest focus distance of 95cm. It's a feature that's quite uncommon on telephoto zoom lenses but is shared by the Sigma 70-300mm APO Macro lens.

Autofocus is of the standard electric motor type, rather than Tamron's newer Piezo Drive (PZD) or Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) systems featured on some of its latest lenses, the latter being fitted to the Tamron SP 70-300mm VC USD.

The Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro lens also lacks internal focusing, so the front element extends and rotates during focusing.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Maximum Focal Length300 mm
Minimum Focal Length70 mm
Lens Mount TypeNikon F
Maximum Aperture Wide4
Maximum Aperture Tele5.6
Brand NameTamron
Filter Attachment Diameter62 mm
Lens TypeTelephoto Zoom
Application/UsageCamera
Minimum Focus Distance950 mm
Diameter76.6 mm
Depth116.5 mm
CompatibilityNikon DSLR Cameras
Magnification0.50x
ManufacturerTamron Co., Ltd
Product ModelA17
Product NameA17 AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens
Manufacturer Part NumberAF017NII-700
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.tamron.com
Marketing Information

With this 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens, flipping a macro switch in the focal length range of 180mm to 300mm obtains a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2 at a minimum focus distance as short as 37.4", enabling close-up shots of flowers, insects, and other objects that normally require the use of a specially designed macro lens. Moreover, this is a zoom lens that casually offers the distant capture and foreshortening effect pleasures of the 300mm ultra-telephoto world.

Weight (Approximate)435 g