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
Photography has changed since I last owned an SLR some 20 years ago. At that time, for most of us, prints would be viewed at 6x4 or 7x5, or perhaps for that special one or two pictures enlarged to 10x8. Now we look at our photos on a large computer monitor or an HDTV at a much higher resolution than our old pictures would ever be viewed at and we expect them to still look good.
After much research I once again found that lenses are still all about compromise. The compromise of price against performance, of performance versus ease of use, of zoom versus prime, and many other compromises. As with most amateur photographers I don't have infinite funds and although without doubt a collection of Canon L series lenses would give the best image quality possible, I had to look at more realistic options.
I also wanted a lens with a large focal range so that I would not have to carry other lenses with me and I was initially going to buy the older version of this lens. After trying the two side by side though, the PZD version wins hands down. It is smaller, lighter, quieter, and much faster to focus than its older brother. I know the weight difference doesn't sound like much on paper, but the two lenses feel totally different on the camera. The older version feels heavy and bulky compared to the newer one. Also compared to the older version of the lens, the PZD motor is almost silent the focus locks on very quickly, as does the image stabilisation.
As for image quality - once again there are compromises. There is some vignetting at longer focal lengths and perhaps the images are a fraction soft around the edges, but these really are a small price to pay for the convenience of a lens that covers such a massive focal range. The lens also has more than acceptable macro functionality too, in fact the quality of macro images was one of the biggest surprises. I've uploaded a couple of pictures taken on my Canon EOS 500D on the first day I got the lens.
Overall: 4 stars - If you have grown used to the convenience of a compact superzoom camera and want that same zoom range on a DSLR then this is without doubt the lens for you.
Edit 11th May. One month on and I am still very happy with this lens. It has done everything I have asked of it. I have also uploaded a moon shot I took last night that came out surprisingly well.
on 14 February 2012
I've only had this Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD a couple of weeks now and have taken a couple of hundred images using it fitted to my Canon 600D / T3i. I purchased this lens in the UK for £425 and can immediately state that I'm very pleased with it.
Image quality wise I'd say that it's on par with the Canon kit lenses (EF-S 18-55 & 55-250), so don't expect this Tamron lens to provide you with ultra sharp images on your HDTV or monitor! As well as appearing a bit soft images also seem slightly flat on colour & contrast (though the time of year is a major factor here I suspect!), and certainly you'll need relatively good lighting conditions to get the best out of the very fast & accurate PZD auto-focusing system. The PDZ auto-focusing works well in "Quick" and "Live View" modes on the Canon 600D body.
Notwithstanding, the VC stability system certainly helps to keep "shake" to a minimum and really does make this lens easy to use at near maximum telephoto extensions when hand held. One point worth noting is that the view in the viewfinder jumps slightly to one side when the camera button is half pressed (VC & Autofocus engaged) - I've read somewhere that this is normal for this lens and does not affect the image recorded which naturally is what you see just before the shutter button is fully depressed.
Yes, the lens barrel will readily extend (creep) as soon as it's pointing down, but the 18mm position lock switch is readily accessible and easy to apply when the camera is not in use.
Given it's huge zoom range, compact size and it's fast accurate auto-focusing coupled with an excellent lens stabilizing facility then I'd certainly rate this lens as a MUST HAVE for everyday general use as it saves the hassle of trying to carry an array of other lenses - a definite 5 star!
on 24 January 2011
I bought one of these (it's PZD not PSD by the way Amazon!) about a week ago and have run a few hundred shots through it - I am delighted with my purchase. I use it coupled to my Canon EOS 550D and have yet to find any major issues with it, indoors or outdoors - and indeed, I'm intending leaving it on my camera for most of the time. Yes, as with all 'superzooms' you have to accept some compromises, but really, in day to day outdoor shooting this lens is as good as anything I've used before; all in one small compact package. It's much smaller and lighter than its non-PZD predecessor, and the zoom ring, AF and VC are all dramatically improved. If you need specialist prime lenses for particular kinds of precise shooting, then THAT'S a different matter, but if what you want is a great EVERYDAY lens, that will give you GREAT and SHARP photos all in one small, versatile package, then THIS is your baby. Just buy one - I doubt you'll be disappointed.
UPDATE: Just thought I'd add that I've been using this for some time now and my initial opinion has NOT changed. I've had some good results in all kinds of situations and conditions and it stays on my camera almost all of the time. I have read conflicting reports about this lens as I've 'scoured' the net, and it seems that some have received bad copies and have returned them, others (like me) are more than happy with their purchase. Everyone to their own I suppose. Don't get a 'Friday afternoon one' and I'll be surprised if you're not happy. On another site where I posted the same review, I was practically accused of being a 'plant' and someone connected to Tamron to push the benefits of giving Tamron lots of money for this lens. I assure you I'm not - indeed I am VERY new to photography so my opinions here are not professional in any way. All I know is that this lens works for me, and I'm certain will for you.
on 30 November 2011
I use this lens on an Eos 7D and bought it having previously owned a Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC HSM and a Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and quickly become sick and tired of both. The first thing I will say is that I will be sticking with the Tamron as a convenient travel lens.
It is lightweight and balances nicely on the camera. There is a little creep, but this is not a serious problem, unlike the Canon 18-200 which dropped with an audible plop every time the lens was even slightly inclined. Zoom is smooth and easy, and I found the autofocus and the image stabilisation fast and in the case of the latter startlingly good. All in all, I have found it easy to use and so far a reliable lens.
Image quality is good but not as good as the Canon, but I was happy to get rid of the excessive creep and gain the extra magnification. I have found it to be not quite as sharp as I would like throughout its range, and the people at Tamron could definitely improve this. It is, however, much much better than the Sigma 18-250 which I found awful in terms of both softness and chromatic aberration. The Tamron has some CA but it is not excessive and only occurs in very high contrast situations. I personally have not noticed any barrelling or vignetting with my lens, although others have.
In conclusion, I am happy with the Tamron but if I am going out to take some more specialised or critical photographs, I would always take a couple of better, albeit shorter focal range lenses. On this occasion I believe I have a good example of this lens. With the Canon and the Sigma I did not. Disturbingly, I do not believe that quality is consistent in any of the main lens manufacturers unless you up the price and quality quite a bit. Persuading a retailer to change a lens that is slightly too soft or has excessive creep can be nearly impossible.
Update in Feb 2012: Having had a lot of disappointments in auto focussing in winter light, I am no longer as happy with this lens. If you are using it in any other than strong light, you need to think about sticking to manual focus. In normal mid day flat winter light, not only does AF struggle and misfocus, but pictures can be quite soft and grainy.
on 5 April 2012
I am not too sure how to rate this
If you are used to a point and shot compact with high zoom, this is probably an excellent lens for you and you would give it 5 stars. It is some feat of optical engineering as the focal length range is extraordinary and nowhere in the travel is it very poor and most of the issues can be fixed in Lightroom or similar.
From my perspective, it was probably an impossible dream as it has barrel distortion that make walls look not straight and pin hole distortion at longer lengths plus the CA isn't controlled very well at the short end. Corners can be noticeably darker
The image stabilisation is pretty good- I was impressed
The AF isn't so hot, it is quite slow but does get there in the end as long as the subject isn't moving around too much. It had trouble with focusing on my kids when they were running at a diagonal to me
If you are happy changing lenses you might find the compromises made at either end a bit too much to cope with
In summary, the sheer range of this lens introduces all sorts of optical engineering problems that Tamron have done a pretty good job with. As a single lens as you would get on a compact it is a very good buy and if that is what you are going to do with it then great.
If you are OK with changing lenses I think you will find this a bit too weak at either end and the AF isn't what I would like to see and I think you will be disappointed and would give it a 1-2
I think Tamron have overdone it a bit and a slightly narrow range would have been nearly as good but optically stronger
on 25 March 2011
If you're buying this lens it's for convenience, not amazing IQ. So going in to it knowing that you will get great versatility for a relatively low price, don't be surprised that the image quality suffers even compared to the latest kit lenses.
Before buying I actually compared this lens to its predecessor (the non-PZD version). Conclusions are that it has been built to a smaller size and greater convenience, rather than to a high IQ. However, it's not massively obvious unless you are a pixel peeper - in which case, spend more money and get a better lens!
The PZD is a MASSIVE improvement on the focusing. It's not exactly lightening, but in low light it is easily the difference between missing a shot and capturing it.
If it hadn't been reduced to £500 (currently at £570) i probably would have got the older version, as it's not worth an extra £200-£250 (in my opinion), but for £500 I think you're getting a very good travel lens. You won't be blowing your pictures up to fill a wall, but they are perfectly respectable for the money.
I have used several SLR cameras in my life, but with the arrival of digital cameras, I went for the point and press type. This was great when I had a family and wanted to take quick snaps without a big camera to lug around.
However, I as time went by I wanted to return to my old hobby of photographing landscapes and flowers and found that the point and press could be quite limiting. I bought a Canon EOS Rebel T5i (a low end option for novices). While the camera is a huge leap ahead of the old SLRs I had in my youth, the lens it came with was rather disappointing, although better than the point and press. As a result I did a lot of research to find a good IF Macro Zoom lens. The Tamron seemed to fit the bill, so I went for it. I have not been disappointed at all. It is quiet, smooth and responsive. I am still learning all the things it can do, but it has made a huge difference. The camera body is just one part of photography. It is the lens that makes the difference. I would recommend this lens as a reasonably priced option for producing outstanding results. It tempts me out almost every day to take more pictures.
Imagine a zoom lens for a DSLR that offers the same range as you get on compact super zooms! Would that not be something?
Imagine a lens that let you go wide-angle at 18mm, and then zoom to 270mm and link that with the inherent quality of a DSLR. A breathtaking prospect.
Of course, all the websites will tell you that every zoom is a compromise, and that the greater the zoom range, the lower quality must follow at the two extremes. And even with zooms with half the range of this Tamron, this is noticeable.
But I bought this lens in hope that somehow the clever folk at Tamron had worked round the problems of delivering this flexibility.
I spent ages taking closeups and distance shots, on bright days and poor, of people and buildings. And the results showed that the compromises required had resulted in a lens that was just too soft to be happy with.
Focus was wrong at even standard focal lengths - not quite so much in the core 50mm-10mm range, but clearly soft.
At the extremes, there was real softness of focus, and distortion, and vignetting. It could be managed with a bit of work in Aperture / Photoshop etc, and the effects minimised. But I don't want to fight a lens, I want it to be right to begin with.
So then I realised that, rather than have this as my standard lens, it would sit in my bag with my camera and my 28mm-105mm zoom, and be swapped in only rarely for longer shots. And if that was true, why not return the Tamron and buy a longer zoom in the first place?
A good idea, and the nice folks at Tamron have tried, but all they have done, being honest, is prove that all zoom lenses are compromises, and this is more compromised than most.
So I returned it to Amazon.
on 30 August 2014
A great travel lens maybe, but with just too many compromises.
Lightweight with 18-270 focal lengths make impressive reading for those seeking a single lens for all purposes.
Image stabilisation is sound and for its price the focussing is pretty quiet and speedy enough
I bought this with the idea it would be useful for city breaks and longer holidays to far away places when carrying and changing lens can be awkward. But the compromises were a couple of steps too far.
The edges are way too soft at wide angles. The definition lacking at longer focal lengths.
If bought as a 'travel lens' then it's task is to provide memorable photos. Attached to a Canon 7D the tests I done demonstrated I would be very disappointed. Even at the 'sweet spot' of f8 I was left feeling "it's good, but not good enough"
Amazon were brilliant with their return service. Which means I am back to taking two (or more 'L' lens) but the hassle that might bring will be overcome knowing the lens I use will provide crystal clear photos time and again.
You pays your money and takes your choice. To me the choice was clear............ Unlike the many shots taken with this lens!