Top critical review
505 of 514 people found this helpful
Finally the "all in one lens?" YES, BUT....
on 14 February 2011
....Versatility never comes without cost:
+ First impression when mounted to my t2i was "wow". I could hardly believe how small this thing really is considering it's zoom range! It's also very light (only a tiny little bit heavier than a Tamron 17-50 2.8!)
You can carry it around easily and my t2i felt very well balanced with it. - A good start
+ the lens comes with a lens hood (you see Canon!?) and with a 5 years warranty. That's quite a package, even though the lens hood (being suitable for all offered focal lengths) cannot really help when you are zoomed in to the max.
+- the lens is manufactured in China. Quality appearance is ok, but nothing to rave about
+- considering it's enormous range, I was surprised how sharp this lens can get. Resolution is not the reason why I finally opted against the product. It never really gets razor sharp, but at least at most focal lengths it will get the job done. As long as you don't plan to print really big, contemplate your pictures at 100% view on a monitor, or plan to crop details, things will look quite all right (i will upload a few samples, to show you). There are only a few focal lengths at which it delivers really poor resolution unless stopped down at least two f-stops. Unfortunately two rather important settings are among these problematic ones. At the end of the zoom range (250-270 mm f 6.3) and at it's beginning (18 mm f 3.5) pictures can look plainly soft. Especially at the long end, this can be very disturbing as you need a whole lot of light anyway when shooting at 270mm. At f8 things look better, but you won't blur your background that easily and of course you will need quite bright light to get these shots free of shake.
- As I just said, the lens isn't what you would call fast at any rate. Moreover you need to stop it down to gain decent IQ at some settings and last but not least, it's higher minimum apertures kick in rather early (e.g. at a "portrait length" of 100mm it is already 5.6!) - a major draw-back for a so called "all purpose lens". I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who plans to shoot a lot in low light.
+- Vignetting is visible but I've seen worse (especially if you (again) take into account the long range). It also can be corrected quite easily.
- Purple fringing can be a problem at almost all focal lengths. Stopping down helps but it does not reduce CAs to zero.
- Contrast in general is not the strong point of this lens. between 24 and - say - 200mm it is alright when stopped down a little. In general I had more work to fine tune contrast than usual.
+- Due to the somewhat weak contrast colours aren't too snappy and sometimes I felt, I could see some kind of yellowish cast. In general, however, colours looked good to me.
+ I had no problems with flares
+ The IS-System of the lens works quite fine and without too much noise (only a faint zzzzzzzzz). I wouldn't expect it to give you more than two to two an a half f-stops.
When using your camera on a tripod you should definitely switch it off, as it visibly degrades IQ when used with a tripod
+- The new piezo drive was one of the reasons for me to give this lens a try (I don't like the focussing speed of my Canon 55-250 IS, which is both slow and noisy).
The Tamron 18-270 PZD focus is almost inaudible and in general quite precise. Focussing speed however is not impressive. I believe there are many micro-motor AF-systems out there that do the job quicker.
This system here is by no means comparable to Canon's USM...too bad
+++ Nothing to complain about here. Within a twist of a zoom-ring you can take almost every picture stye from landscape via Portrait to wild-life close-ups (if the beasts don't move too quick). The capabilities of this lens in this respect are nothing short of amazing. The one thing it doesn't do too well is macro.
If you are the kind of photographer that shoots mainly in bright light,
if you usually watch your photos on smaller screens or prints,
if you're not a "pixel-peeper"
if you do not like carrying lenses around or just don't want to switch them
if you're looking for a light all-round travel lens
if you are more than anything a spontaneous photographer
the Tamron 18-270 3.5-6-3 pzd is made just for you.
if you are seeking the "perfect picture"
if you like snappy colours and contrasts
if you are a "sharpness-victim"
if you like to print big or crop your images to point out details
if you're searching for high end built quality
You will have to look elsewhere and make your compromises on versatility instead of image quality.
Now please. don't take my 3-star-rating too negatively. I don't mean to bash this product, but to give you an impression of my experiences as objectively as possible.
The TAMRON 18-270 offers a great solution for people that appreciate versatility more than anything else.
As a super-zoom it is definitely worth a try. However imho too many compromises have to be made to buy this flexibility. And since you don't buy it for peanuts, I can't give it my recommendations without reservations.
Good luck with your decision