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

Tamron's feature-rich new 70-300mm telephoto lens aims to go top of the class

Our Verdict

For

  • Fast and near-silent USD autofocus, with full-time manual override
  • Very effective 4-stop Vibration Correction
  • Sharp at all but the longest zoom setting

Against

  • Lacks sharpness at 300mm zoom setting with widest f/5.6 aperture
  • £50 more expensive than Sigma's 70-300mm OS lens

Build quality and handling

Tamron sp 70-300mm f/4-5.6 di vc usd review

Build quality is a cut above most Tamron lenses, and the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD feels robust, sturdy and well finished. It's no lightweight at 765g and is actually one of the heaviest lenses in its class.

This is no bad thing because, along with the VR system, it helps to combat camera shake at long telephoto zoom settings, especially when panning. The lens is quite chunky too, measuring 82 x 143mm and extending in length to 280mm at its longest zoom setting, with the petal-shaped hood fitted.

The only slight letdown in handling is that the zoom ring of our review sample was slightly lacking in smoothness. However, the focus ring was silky smooth, both in manual focus mode and when using manual override in autofocus mode.

Performance

Tamron sp 70-300mm f/4-5.6 di vc usd review

Things start off well at the 70mm end of the zoom range and good optical performance is maintained up to a focal length of around 250mm. At the maximum 300mm telephoto setting, however, sharpness takes a nosedive, and you really need to reduce the aperture from its maximum setting of f/5.6 to f/8 to get decent results. In fact, at 300mm, the lens is only really sharp between f/8 and f/16.

At least using the lens 'wide open' isn't as critical as it might be, due to the highly effective 4-stop stabiliser. Distortions and chromatic aberrations are well controlled, and the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens is notably better than Tamron's older 70-300mm Macro lens in these respects.

The ring-type Ultrasonic Drive (USD) autofocus is also massively quicker and much better suited to sports and wildlife photography.

Sample image:

Tamron sp 70-300mm f/4-5.6 di vc usd review

Taken at 300mm, f/5.6

See full-res image

Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Maximum Focal Length300 mm
Minimum Focal Length70 mm
Lens Mount TypeNikon F
Maximum Aperture Wide4
Maximum Aperture Tele5.6
Optical Zoom4.2x
Brand NameTamron
Filter Attachment Diameter62 mm
Lens TypeTelephoto Zoom
Application/UsageCamera
Minimum Focus Distance1.50 m
Minimum Aperture32
Depth142.7 mm
Compatibility

Nikon DSLR Cameras

Magnification0.25x
ManufacturerTamron Co., Ltd
Product ModelA005
Product NameA005 Lens
Manufacturer Part Number5658
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.tamron.com
Marketing Information

This premium, state-of-the-art, telephoto zoom lens is the culmination of decades of outstanding innovation in ultra-long-range zoom optics by Tamron. It provides professional and enthusiast users of full-frame and APS-C format digital SLR cameras with the ultimate in image quality and handling in the telephoto zoom class. Built to exacting SP (Superior Performance) standards, it delivers ultra-high resolution across the image field at all focal lengths, along with the first-ever USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) for extraordinary auto-focusing speed and responsiveness. To assure razor sharp imaging when shooting handheld, the SP 70-300mm incorporates VC (Vibration Compensation), Tamron's exclusive low-friction tri-axial image stabilization system acclaimed for its unsurpassed anti-shake performance.

Weight (Approximate)765 g