Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD

The Tamron 18-270mm offers good value for money, considering it covers such a wide range of focal lengths in one lens.


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This compact 18-270mm lens from Tamron offers a 15x equivalent zoom reach, ideal for use as an all-in-one lens. Don't fancy changing lenses constantly when travelling? This could be for you.

Design and features

Differentiating itself from previous Tamron lenses such as the existing 18-270mm, this lens uses the Piezo Drive motor for quick autofocusing performance. The lens has a lock on the barrel to help prevent lens creep (which does happen with this model if it's not locked in place) as well as a flower lens hood provided in the box. There's a pinch-to-remove lens cap and the filter thread is 62mm.

Tamron 18-270mm

A visual demonstration of the focal length extremes on the 18-270mm. 100 per cent crops inset.
(Credit: CBSi)

Along with the standard AF/MF and image stabilisation switches on the lens barrel, the zoom ring is coated in a ridged plastic, so too is the focus ring at the front. On our test camera, the Canon EOS 600D, the lens balanced well on the body, with a very similar feel to the 18-135mm lens from Canon that is a kit option on the 600D. This lens is designed for crop sensor cameras such as the 600D and comes in Nikon, Canon and Sony mounts.

Canon 18-135 vs Tamron 18-270

A comparison showing how compact the Tamron lens is compared to a Canon 18-135mm lens.
(Credit: CBSi)

Performance and image quality

Like any wide-angle to telephoto zoom this lens does display some barrel distortion at its widest end, evening out through the mid-range focal length.

There is a fair amount of softening on images taken at the telephoto end, noticeable when reviewing them at full magnification. There's also some chromatic aberration issues to be aware of, particularly at the telephoto end. The autofocus motor, while reasonably quick in good light, does sound quite loud compared to equivalent Canon lenses.

A comparison between the Canon 18-135mm lens and the 18-270mm from Tamron. Though they do not cover the same focal length at the telephoto end, they are of comparable size and from the 100 per cent crops inset, have very similar image quality.
(Credit: CBSi)

Another loud element to the Tamron is the image stabilisation system, which has an audible hum that can be heard during video recording if it's left activated. If you want to record video with this lens, you'll need to turn image stabilisation (or VC as it's labelled on the lens) off and use a tripod. That said, the image stabilisation is reasonably effective, particularly at the telephoto reach, allowing you to get a shake-free shot at shutter speeds above 1/50.

Image samples

Click each image for a full resolution JPEG from the 600D, taken with the Tamron lens.

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

The Tamron 18-270mm offers good value for money, considering it covers such a wide range of focal lengths in one lens. Photographers will need to consider the trade-offs for the low price compared to camera brand lenses from Canon and Nikon, which include soft images at full magnification as well as loud autofocus and image stabilisation.



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bhugg posted a comment   
Australia

I have to eat 'humble pie'! I was devastated on trying this lens with a full frame sensor (Canon 5D MkIII). I expected some vignetting from my research before buying but not to the extent that occurs. HOWEVER, the lens is intended for use with cropped sensor models and, on trying the same lens with my Canon 450D I am embarrassed by my outburst because the vignetting has gone away; practically zilch! I am now looking forward to trying it on the 7D and it may well end up being my 'walk around' lens of choice.
Cheers
Barry

 

bhugg posted a comment   
Australia

My Tamron 18-270 arrived this morning. Tried it on my 5D Mk III. Absolute garbage!!! Focus very soft through the range, and the vignetting is deplorable. I haven't got access to my 7D at the moment to try it with a cropped lense and I hope there is a big improvement. Absolutely unacceptable on a full frame sensor, in my humble view.
Barry

aslsw66 Facebook
8
Rating
 

"Overall, a great lense for travel. Feels well weighted on the Canon 550 body. Lighter than other lenses with wider apertures, so easy to carry around all day."

aslsw66 posted a review   

The Good:Zoom range: a little bit more at either end than most other lenses. Overall value-for-money.

The Bad:Softness, vignetting. Both can be managed.

I bought this lens prior to my current overseas trip, mainly to avoid having to carry a load of gear around - I'm working overseas and have the laptop, iPad etc. Also, I find I sometimes miss shots when swapping lenses.

After reading the reviews on this lens, I have learnt that most of them are quite true:

- can be a soft at the extreme ends. SOLUTION: Reduce the aperture.
- distortion at the wide end. SOLUTION: None! I like this effect. But it improves quite quickly at 35-50 range.
- sometimes severe vignetting at the wide end. SOLUTION: Reduce the aperture, fix afterwards in software, avoid lots of solid colours at the corners!

Overall, I'm quite happy with this lens. I always knew it would be a compromise, but value-for-money is excellent and I now know how to avoid major issues.

All of my photos using this lens are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anura/sets/72157627333020589/

 

aslsw66 posted a comment   

I bought this lens prior to my current overseas trip, mainly to avoid having to carry a load of gear around - I'm working overseas and have the laptop, iPad etc. Also, I find I sometimes miss shots when swapping lenses.

After reading the reviews on this lens, I have learnt that most of them are quite true:

- can be a soft at the extreme ends. SOLUTION: Reduce the aperture.
- distortion at the wide end. SOLUTION: None! I like this effect. But it improves quite quickly at 35-50 range.
- sometimes severe vignetting at the wide end. SOLUTION: Reduce the aperture, fix afterwards in software, avoid lots of solid colours at the corners!

Overall, I'm quite happy with this lens. I always knew it would be a compromise, but value-for-money is excellent and I now know how to avoid major issues.

All of my photos using this lens are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anura/sets/72157627333020589/

 

meltesch posted a reply   
Australia

Thanks for your comment - you said that these are your photos with this lens but what camera body do you use? Also have these all been edited?

 

meltesch posted a reply   
Australia

@aslsw66

 

IanF3 posted a comment   

The previous 18-270 wasn't soft at 270mm at least mins isn't. The link below was shot at 270mm on a Canon 50D.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mowog/3086664306/in/set-72157610802772969/lightbox/




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User Reviews / Comments  Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD

  • bhugg

    bhugg

    "I have to eat 'humble pie'! I was devastated on trying this lens with a full frame sensor (Canon 5D MkIII). I expected some vignetting from my research before buying but not to the extent that oc..."

  • bhugg

    bhugg

    "My Tamron 18-270 arrived this morning. Tried it on my 5D Mk III. Absolute garbage!!! Focus very soft through the range, and the vignetting is deplorable. I haven't got access to my 7D at the mo..."

  • aslsw66

    aslsw66

    Rating8

    "I bought this lens prior to my current overseas trip, mainly to avoid having to carry a load of gear around - I'm working overseas and have the laptop, iPad etc. Also, I find I sometimes miss shots..."

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