The Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD delivers a 10.7x zoom range, stretching from moderate wide-angle coverage to serious telephoto reach. This makes it ideal for walkabout and travel photography, avoiding the need to carry additional lenses and swap between them. It’s also useful in event photography, where you might miss a shot if you need to change the lens on your camera. Released in 2014, it represents a major revamp of the older Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Macro edition.
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F
Full frame: Yes
Lens construction: 19 elements in 15 groups
Angle of view: 75.4-8.25 degrees
Diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum aperture: f/22-40
Minimum focusing distance: 0.49m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.29x
Filter size: 67mm
A major update in the key features is that this lens replaces the basic electric autofocus motor of the previous edition with a PZD (Piezo Drive) system. As such, it’s quicker, whisper-quiet and enables full-time manual override of autofocus via its mechanically coupled focus ring. Both of the focus and zoom rings work with smooth precision. The newer lens also features weather-seals, including a rubber gasket on the mounting plate, which were absent in the earlier model. We also found the later ‘A010’ model to be very resistant to zoom creep, which was previously a problem.
Given that it’s usually preferable not to have to lug around a tripod for walkabout and travel photography, Tamron’s high-performance VC (Vibration Compensation) system is a welcome feature, which delivers good optical image stabilization.
The optical path includes 19 elements in all and boasts four LD (Low Dispersion) elements, three Molded-Glass Aspherical elements, one Hybrid Aspherical element, one XR (Extra Refractive Index) glass element, and one UXR (Ultra-Extra Refractive Index) element. The arrangement aims for enhanced clarity and sharpness, with reduced aberrations and physical size. BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coatings are also applied to minimize ghosting and flare.
Levels of sharpness are very good for a superzoom lens and distortions aren’t as bad as we’ve often seen from this type of lens. Autofocus is pretty fast and consistently accurate. Overall image quality isn’t as good as what we’d expect from a pair of mid-range standard and telephoto zooms but it’s not far behind.
Canon and Nikon both make 28-300mm superzooms. The versatile zoom range would be handy for travel photography but the Nikon is quite weighty at 800g and the Canon is frankly huge and weighs in at nearly 2kg. This Tamron is a more compact affair and tips the scales at just 540g, making it a much easier-going travel companion. A significant upgrade over the previous version, it has good overall performance and image quality. No longer in production, it makes a good second-hand buy.