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Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD review

Tamron 18-400mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens for Canon EFSuper zooms this is a separate category of lenses. What does it have to do with Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Is a super-super zoom. We have a 20x zoom on a crop matrix. If you stand at a football field, then with this range you can shoot about 2/3 of the entire field at 18mm and zoomed the player at the opposite end for the entire frame. Of course, this is very approximate, since fields come in a variety of sizes, but the zoom range is amazing.

I will clearly demonstrate the range of focal lengths 18-400mm:

focal length range 18-400mm

This is the first time I've encountered such a super-zoom lens in practice. I'm used to the 18-135mm crop range. When you pick up 18-400mm, it's a completely different matter. Despite the fact that the lens weighs only 700g. It seems a lot, but as for such a range, it is simply weightless. I compared the Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD with the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L USM, and the latter weighs twice as much, but at the same time gives only 4x zoom. By the way, in my video review you can see test photos for these lenses.

Side by side Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II and Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 Nano USM:

tamron 18-400 vs ef 18-135When the zoom is fully extended:

tamron 18-400 vs canon 18-135

I also compared the Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD with the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 Nano USM. In terms of the zoom range, as I wrote, this is heaven and earth. But optically Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 Nano USM surpasses Tamron's super-zoom in all respects, no matter how I test Canon's zoom is much sharper and more contrasting. And here we smoothly move on to the shortcomings of Tamron 18-400mm.

This is how they look side by side (from left to right) Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L, Canon EF-S 55-250mm f4.5-5.6 STM, Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II and Canon EF- S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 Nano USM.

comparison of telephoto and superzoom

What's the catch?

Naturally, such a range of focal lengths at such a price and such dimensions cannot be without compromises. The Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 pleased me at the wide 18mm angle and greatly disappointed me at the 200-400mm focal angle. At the long end, there is no need to talk about sharpness. Detail is frankly weak, chromatics above the roof and it is practically not treated. So, when buying such a lens, you must be prepared for sacrifices. Optics are clearly not for pixel shooters. The above category will love it very much Sigma 40mm f1.4ARTbut sigma has a completely different usage pattern and a different philosophy.

Who cares about this lens?

Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD is designed for travel photography, that is for traveling... They are not interested in shooting brick walls, it is not very suitable for indoor photography and I would not recommend it for commercial photographers... This is a purely amateur lens that reveals itself when you want to capture everything around you with emphasis on detail. And at the same time, you do not want to carry a bunch of interchangeable lenses with you (as I do :) and think, which one is right for me now. You just put this super zoom on your camera and enjoy shooting. For shooting landscapes I really liked it. I will say that despite its optical flaws, I enjoyed it.

One more question…

Can I take pictures with a dark super-zoom at night? Yes, you can. But wisely. People - with a flash. Landscapes - with tripod... I took the shot below at 400mm at night:

shooting on tamron 18-400mm at night

Naturally, I had to use a tripod and slow shutter speed. But, by and large, this is true for any lens. None matrix stubs and other bells and whistles do not replace the good old tripod. Curiously, if you reduce the image to 2000 pixels on the large side and sharpen it several times, then the detail becomes quite acceptable. True, chromatic aberrations never go away.

More details in my video review:

Also see: