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Tamron 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) AF

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Reviews Views Date of last review
24 162780 Feb 10, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $453.56
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.29
8.25
8.0
18_250mm

Specifications:
Di II: Lenses are designed for exclusive use on digital cameras with smaller-size imagers and inherit all of the benefits of our Di products. These lenses are not designed for conventional cameras and digital cameras with image sensors larger than 24mm x 16mm.


Tamron's new high-power zoom lens is a photographer's dream come true it is the result of Tamron's continuing mission to develop the world's most unique "one-lens-does-it-all" zooms to satisfy our customers' desire. While conventional 35mm film cameras required two lenses to cover 28-388mm, Tamron's new zoom is 13.9X, the world's most powerful zoom delivering enormous photographic freedom in a single compact lens. The life of a digital photographer has never been better.

Model A018
Lens Construction (Groups/Elements) 13/16
Angle of View
(Equivalent to APS-C size) Diagonal 7533'-623'
Horizontal 6536'-519'
Vertical 4621'-319'
Diaphragm Blade Number 7
Minimum Aperture F/22
Minimum Focus Distance 17.7in.(0.45m)
Macro Magnification Ratio 1:3.5 (at f=250mm MFD 0.45m)
Filter Diameter 62
Weight 430g (15.2oz)
Diameter x Length 2.9 x 3.3in.
(74.4 x 84.3mm)
Accessory Flower shaped lens hood
Mount Canon AF-D, Sony/Maxxum AF-D, Nikon AF-D, Pentax/Samsung AF


 


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veezchick
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Registered: Feb 10, 2011
Location: United States
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Review Date: Feb 10, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $480.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: price, versatility
Cons:
soft, slow AF, chromatic abberation at long FLs

I am disappointed with this lens and would NOT recommend it to anyone. I'm a semi-pro shooter using this lens on a Pentax K20D. I get great results from all my lenses but this one. I have calibrated front/back focus as well as possible and am still disappointed in the sharpness. The AF is slow and hunts a LOT (and I do mean a LOT). Chromatic aberrations are really bad at longer FLs and wider apertures. Lens creep is REALLY bad (it has a lock, but Id prefer not to use it). In hindsight, I dont know how or understand why this lens won so many awards or got such great reviews (which are how I based my purchase decision). For the new or recreational shooter with lower expectations, maybe this lens will do. But if youre an experienced shooter looking for decent AF and good sharpness, look elsewhere. As for me, Im sticking with Sigma and Pentax lenses.

Feb 10, 2011
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aVOLanche
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Registered: Apr 7, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 159
Review Date: Dec 10, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $300.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Range Price
Cons:
Soft at longer FLs Slow AF No IS

I bought this after owning a Tamron 28-200 LD years ago...partly on the basis of a couple of reviews.I was disappointed in it.The AF was not very good(main problem).In decent light it was adequate.In anything approaching low light,it hunted a LOT.

I also felt the lens was too soft,especially at FLs over about 135mm.

I ended up selling it and getting the Tamron 18-270mm VC.It's a better lens and the VC is outstanding.It's AF is better and the optics are improved from the "250".


Dec 10, 2010
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cjwhitsett
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Registered: Mar 18, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 434
Review Date: Dec 13, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Small, light, amazingly flexible, IQ at mid range and stopped down a couple stops, reasonably fast focusing in good light, ability to take satisfactory close-ups.
Cons:
A bit soft at 200-250, distortion at wide end, small max apertures, not low-light friendly, CA

I like this lens. It was my only lens for about 1.5 years.

When I first started putting together a kit, I told myself that I wanted a setup that could do reasonably well (keep in mind "reasonably well" means very different things for someone starting out compared to a pro) in most shooting situations. I bought this lens and have had few regrets. I've used it for landscapes of all sorts, portraits, outdoor sports, wildlife, macro stuff ... just trying out all sorts of different avenues of photography, and for all these avenues, it has done reasonably well and allowed me to take home some photos I can be proud of.

Obviously, it's not going to compare to lenses of less ambitious focal length, but don't write it off, especially if you can't afford multiple lenses. It's not a "bad" lens at all.

Unless you think a large chunk of your work will be indoors and/or shooting architecture at wide angles (where there's some noticeable distortion), I'd recommend this lens to you.


Dec 13, 2009
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zenzi
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Registered: Jul 6, 2006
Location: France
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 18, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: small, light, easy to travel, wide angle and excellent zoom
Cons:
image is deformed at 18mm, quality may be poor at big apertures, zoom only usable in bright light

I've been pretty happy about the Tamron 17-250mm:
- it has the best trans-standard zoom, from very wide angle at 17mm to strong zoom at 250mm. It can be used in lots of different circumstances from architecture shots, holiday shots to portraits. It can also be used for macro pictures. I don't need to carry several optics with me anymore.
- it is very light and easy to carry around for travel. I used to travel with my Canon 17-55mm f2.8 but now I changed to the Tamron, being much smaller and lighter.
- it is quite cheap...

However, there are some setbacks that you need to be aware of:
- Aperture is not that good, especially when using the zoom. Sharpness is also not at its best when reaching maximum aperture, especially at 3.5.
- Due to low 6.3 aperture at 250mm, you can only use the zoom in bright light. Most of the time under 1/250s, your shot will be blury.

However, I have made quite a lot of nice shots thanks to the Tamron, so I definitely recommand it.

Here are some examples from my Mexican holidays:
18mm at f7.1 and 1/160s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4953 (it's the best quality you can get)
18mm at f3.5 and 1/10s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4909
18mm at f3.5 and 1/2s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4929 (you'd better hold your breath while you shoot)
23mm at f3.5 and 1/30s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4938 (I had to sharpen the picture a little bit)
23mm at f5.0 and 1/80s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4944
29mm at f5.6 and 1/60s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4862
42mm at f4.5 and 1/13s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4942
129mm at f8.0 and 1/320s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4951
168mm at f7.1 and 1/250s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4827
250mm at f6.3 and 1/100s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4919 (definitely lacking sharpness)
250mm at f6.3 and 1/160s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4825 (a bit better)
250mm at f6.3 and 1/320: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4842 (not blury anymore but not best sharpness)
250mm at f7.1 and 1/320s: http://www.zenzi.org/bigphoto.php?photo=4921 (better quality)


Nov 18, 2008
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NJ Bob
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Registered: Apr 28, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 7
Review Date: Sep 15, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: If I could only have one lense, this would be it.
Cons:
Small lock button.

I have the Canon 75-300. Its rated pretty bad but I think it takes really good pictures. So thats who I am, I'm not the best judge but I wanted a lense so I wouldn't have to change while I was on the hikes or driving in the car. This lense does it all for me, from inside the house with the grandkids to pulling over in the car and taking shots out the window and hiking. I never leave home without it. As to wether its sharp or not, nobody has ever complained when I send out the slide shows. If I'm at an old iron mine, I don't have to back up very far to fit everything in the picture, or scenery, its just great. If I see a bird or a bear, I can get it with this lens and with the crop factor its about 28X400. I had the Tamron 28-300 and was not satisfied with the 28 end. It was never wide enough, sometimes you can't get back far enough to fit your picture in, with the 18-250 you can do it. If it was image stabilized it would be even better. Bob

Sep 15, 2008
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opusthecat
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Registered: Jul 27, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 14
Review Date: Aug 24, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Size, range, price, great wide angle images
Cons:
Horrible zoom images, lack of image stabilization, f/stop not consistent across range

I had high hopes for this lens after reading the reviews. My experience with it was quite different. I have used it extensively for a year now and am lucky if I get 20% usable shots. It has a great wide angle with no vignetting and most wide shots are sharp and contrasty---I love it. BUT, as soon as I get over 70mm my shot ratio decreases terribly, even in shutter speeds of 1200-2500 and a normal ISO of 200-400, the pictures are overwhelmingly soft. At a family picnic in full sunlight, it was embarrassing that the point-and-shooters got more quality pics than I did with my "big, expensive camera". I bought this lens for the versatility of events like that and for traveling but you just can't hand-hold it and get good shots on the fly. Too bad because I love the size package of the lens and the idea but the execution is not worth losing great pics to.

Aug 24, 2008
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Dirk Hiemstra
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Registered: Nov 22, 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 19, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $350.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Range, sharpness, IQ
Cons:
None for the purpose I use this lens

For everyday use this lens is excellent. I have the motorised version for Nikon D40/D60 and it is fast and silent. Faster than most screwdrive lenses but not as fast as AF-S. Although all depend on range (18-250 is more range than any other lense). For specialities I use other lenses, for day to day family use I use this one. Super ! Better (sharper) than Tamron 18-200. Worth every penny.

Jul 19, 2008
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BODYBOARDER
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Registered: Jul 9, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 9, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Lightweight for its zoom range. Excellent results. Works well with Pentax.
Cons:
None really.

I've had this lens for 14 months now fitted to a Pentax K100D.
Although the lens is slow compared to primes the Pentax has little noise up to iso800 and combined with the anti shake I can take hand held shots in low light. The need for flash is minimal. The anti shake on the camera probably gives you a couple of stops grace bringing this lens right up there in terms of practicality. I have a number of other lenses but this one hasn't been off the camera since I've had it. Auto focus is quick and accurate. If you look at the distance scale it does tend to front focus at wide settings but I think this is due to the huge depth of field and the camera stopping once it has hit focus. The pictures always look ok even when zoomed in on the pc. Although this is a subjective view I think the results from this lens are better than the kit lens. I've used this lens for panoramas, portraits, action shots and holiday snaps. My 50mm prime might beat it if serious portraits are required but to be honest you would have to take a good look to tell the difference.
The surprising quality of results and sheer versatility of this lens means that it will rarely be removed from my camera.


Jul 9, 2008
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lextalionis
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Registered: Jul 28, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 1076
Review Date: Mar 13, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $475.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Nice walk-around lens if you are not a purist/perfectionist photographer. A definite upgrade from the kit lens.
Cons:
Soft on either end, and noisy AF, and the zoom lock is required to take on/off the lens due to the focus ring being so close to the camera-end of the lens.

I would say at $475 this lens is a fair deal. Good for those traveling photogs that don't have to pride themselves on perfect shots.

If you like and/or have primes in your bag, you may just be a little upset with this one.

Here are some sample photos taken with a Canon XTi:

Sample Photos

-Roy


Mar 13, 2008
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Eric Gottesman
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Registered: Jan 1, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 565
Review Date: Feb 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $399.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent for one lens solution to leave bag behind, .45m MFD through range for quick macro, weight, compact at wide angle. Zoom lock at 18mm.
Cons:
none for what it is. It's not meant to be a fast lens. Good lighting, tripod or steady hand is a must. Real long at 250mm. Hood is small and flimsy compared to older Tamron 28-200 I have.

You have to spend 2X - 3X as much to get the lower f for speed at that zoom range. I know that's too rich for me right now. I find it's great for well lit shooting and for a walkaround lens outdoors. I plan on getting a 580 flash to help me out if/when needed. I take a tripod wherever I go so I can use the long range of the lens. If indoors, I have been using a 50mm 1.8 so I have low light situations covered (night time in the house). For $500 (this lens and 50mm 1.8) I can't think of a better combo.

Bottom line, it's an excellent upgrade from kit if you can't quite take the next leap into L lenses just yet. I've read up on most of the lenses in this price range and I don't see anything that offers what this lens does.

I use this lens on an Xti and consider myself a quick learning intermediate. If I had to shoot for a living, I'd want faster lenses, but that's a lot of money! If it were real important, I could always rent a nice L lens for an event.

-Eric


Feb 5, 2008
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davidmarsh
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Registered: Oct 26, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 140
Review Date: Jan 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 6 

Pros: crisp for non L lens, good colours
Cons:
zoom range to long, at 250 you need a large ISO that only then creates noise

In sunny climates you may be able to use this lens on full zoom with only an ISO fo 500. However, in the UK in our dismal gray cloudy summers, you need approx 640 to 1000 ISO just to stop the shaking. I posted a review on our disapointement with the noise levels on the Canon 40D. With this lens and the 40D we feel you may as well forget photographing anything! Indeed, we are selling our two month old Tamron on ebay! Sad, as when you get a good image, it look great but the zoom range is just to big.

We feel it is better to have a shorter range and thus lower ISOs. The trouble with noise is that if you have any asperations of selling your images, this will kill your chances.

As for evening phorography forget it. Sure, on wide open shots at the 18mm end of the lens, you get OK results. I understand the lens is designed as a 'one stop' solution but when this is at the sacrifice of really crisp noisless images, it is not worth it in our opinion.


Jan 20, 2008
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eseavey
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Registered: Oct 14, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 4, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: range, sharpness, CA, flare, contract, close range performance (macro 1:3.5), size, little vignetting.
Cons:
zoom creep, hopefully VC will come in the future for Canon and Nikon versions, slow AF, barrel distortion at 18mm.

At $500 a 18-250mm lens...what would you expect? I expected a pretty mediocre lens. However, this lens does a lot and with only few compromises. AF is a little on the slow side, but very accurate. Adding Tamron's vibration Control would be a great feature for the Nikon and Canon versions. There is some barrel distortion at 18mm, so for wide angle architecture photos it may not always be suitable, otherwise it is fine. I must say this lens is very sharp, crisp and has little CA. Flowers come out beautiful with the 1:3.5 ratio. All this in a small package and very good price!! Cameras with built-in image stabilizers such as Pentax and Sony will have sharp photos even under low light conditions despite the f/3.5-6.3 max aperture (compared to f/1.4 primes). Is it a professional grade lens? No, it is not wise to soak it in the rain or drop it on concrete. Metal Canon L series lenses, for example, would do better under extreme conditions, at a much higher price.

I'd say this is a great amateur lens, capable of producing great photos!!


Jan 4, 2008
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supermatch
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Registered: Dec 7, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great range, light, compact, good quality. Perfect travel, carry everyday, all day lens. Does exactly what it's meant to do, perfectly.
Cons:
Gets a tad soft after 220mm, slightly warm tone of Tamrons are great for people, but doesn't help Canon cameras' poor incandescent white balance.

I've been contemplating on getting the Tamron 18-200 for a few years. The 18-200 was soft at the tele end from about 150mm on, so I opted for Tamron 24-135SP which I replaced with Canon 28-135IS. The 18-250 lens gives you good image quality from 18-220, so it definitely was a no-brainer. It now replaces the Canon 28-135 IS as a one-lens solution. It's that good.

If you're looking for an all-around, travel, have-something-at-that-special-moment lens, this is it. I have a couple of big Canon bodies and huge Canon L lenses in their heavy and huge bags, which I do take to "events" where prints of 8x10 or larger are the norm. But, even the 30D with 24-105L and 70-200L are just too cumbersome to carry around all the time...I used to, but not anymore... So, I bought a Rebel XT (real cheap these days) and put this lens on it....awesome! A tiny $10 samsonite bag holds: Rebel XT, Tamron 18-250, Canon 50mm (in case I need print quality), and a $30 Sunpack bounce flash. This setup (works as a backup too) I have with me all the time! Photography is a hobby and it's better to have something to shoot those "moments" with than to only wish you had the 25 lbs. gear! I've missed a lot of great moments because I didn't have my "HEAVY" gear.

The Tamron 18-250 does exactly what it's supposed to do: One Lens Solution, compact and featherweight. Good IQ (equal or better than kit lens and many non-L lenses), Good contrast and saturation, No focus issues....Let me sidetrack...If you have focus issues, have your body and lenses calibrated. At first I thought the lenses produced front/back focus issues more, but found out that the combination of lens and body is at fault, if not the shooter. Oddly enough, recently my 30D back-focused more than 50% of the time with all 12 Canon lenses I own, but was focusing dead on with 4 different Tamron lenses. I had the body calibrated and was afraid the Tamrons wouldn't work, but now it focuses perfectly with both Canon and Tamron lenses...go figure. I stopped being skeptical of 3rd party lenses. I guess if they want to compete against Canon, they have to make 'em just as good or better at a lower cost.

I'm a pixel-peeping, MTF, intensive sharpness/focus testing, measurebating geek, and this lens satisfies me. Not for tack sharp IQ, but the fact that you have a light carry lens with you all the time, or travel, or when you don't want to grab attention. With a huge zoom range, I can finally work on composition instead of wasting time wondering which lens to mount next.

Anyway, on to the review. "is it sharp?" - yes it is. Is it as sharp as a prime? no...neither is my 24-105f4L when compared to a prime. Sharp sweet spot is 24mm~180mm, f4.5~f10 which is still huge. Color is a little warm compared to Canon which gives a little warmth and feel to the photos. I like... but under Canon's Incandescent white balance indoors it can be a little too orange/yellow. Carry a white card or Expodisc or just use flash. Do I miss IS? yes, but surprisingly this lens with a Rebel XT is so lightweight and short, I don't get a lot of blurring than expected. With the weight of a non IS 70-200 f4 L on a 30D, I get less than 30% hits at 1/focal length rule or slower speed, but with this extra-light setup, my hands shake less and I'm able hand hold 1/80th of a second at 200mm with more than 50% hits!!! Amazing! Tele even at f6.3 can produce nice background bokeh. The focus is fast! Really fast! People that claim that their Canon USM is faster are misleading. Many non USM Canon lenses are louder, slower, and hunts more than this Tamron. I believe the sound makes the lens seem slower than it is.

The verdict: Highly recommend. But, if you're a serious pixel-peeping addict and are looking for top image quality ONLY, and can spend a little more money, then turn to the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 plus Canon 70-300 IS to get the same range. The 18-250 is a great pro-sumer setup and will satisfy most on a budget or need a light carry-everyday setup. I, as a pixel-peeper (shame on me), would not use it for events, weddings or photo-shoots where large prints are needed. I think I'm finally ending my pixel-peeping "sharpness" addiction after trying this lens because the convenience of having 18-250mm at will is incredible! Coupled with a Rebel XT body and a wrist strap, I can stuff it in my jacket pocket and have it with me all the time. It's more than good enough to create excellents photos. Plus, when traveling, thieves won't pay as much attention....it's terrible to have your most expensive gear stolen.


Dec 7, 2007
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Don Farra
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Registered: Sep 4, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sep 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Lightweight, wide zoom ratio, no lens wobble, and priced within reach. No focusing hunting observed.
Cons:
Lens hood used with S5 built in flash at wide angle setting results in half moon shadow. Lacks VR.

Perfect for candids. Small size, doesn't draw attention to the photographer, like a professional 70-200 2.8 lens. Well rounded performance and all lens distortions are correctable, resulting in some nice images. Wide zoom range, small and lightweight make this lens ideal for hiking, travel and hand held (daylight) photography.

Sep 5, 2007
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George James
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Registered: Aug 20, 2007
Location: United States
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Review Date: Aug 20, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $500.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Great range for a walk-around camera. Had to get used to this lense more than any other I have used. Reasonably sharp if you can hold the lense steady.
Cons:
Should have incorporated Tamron's image stabilizer. You need a tripod with out an IS. I need to use Photoshop to tweak most of the shots.



Aug 20, 2007
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TVRguy
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Registered: Feb 18, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 603
Review Date: Aug 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $369.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Light, compact, great range
Cons:
Not utlimate best image quality (but meets expectations), slow on long end (er, and mid- and wide end!)

OK, I've had mine for a week and have taken a few "bellweather" shots with it (at least for my purposes).

The highs:
- Focusing is just fine, even for kids. Seems fast enough. I also have a 17-40 F4L and a 70-200 F4L, so I've seen REALLY fast AF - and this ain't it - but I haven't missed a shot of my kids yet due to slow AF. Good enough

- Image quality. This is a big subjective area. I'll elaborate below

- Small size and weight. Works well with my Rebel XT. Not as small/light as the kit lens, but that's understandable


The lows:
- The small max apertures have me struggling with ISO and steady hands at anything above about 135mm. Cries out for a flash (and requires one indoors)

- Generally soft shots at almost all apertures

- The extending barrel feels fragile and takes up space

- The zoom lock switch is one more thing to remember before using the camera

- No Image Stabilization!


I took off my 17-40 and put this thing on... and realized I had to learn to use this lens more than any other I'd had so far. The compromises it presents mean more work for the photographer. I have been spoiled by constant F/4 lenses....

I have concluded the following:
- It needs higher ISO, i.e. 400 or above, outdoors, without flash, unless in bright sunlight (unless you want to shoot wide open - good luck!)

- Even stopped down, requires more sharpening than my L lenses, and maybe a touch more contrast/saturation adjustment

With this "vacation" lens, the decisions Canon made with the Rebel XT body all start to make sense. For many consumers, a lens like this may be the only one they have. Consequently, the standard settings for contrast/saturation/sharpening all of a sudden make sense (I toned those down with my L glass, or really shot RAW most of the time).

The image quality (given the above adjustments to JPEGs) is ultimately adequate for the purpose. Now that I've taken a few shots with it that I've scrutinized, I'd say for fine art bigger than 8x10 or maybe 11x14, this is not the best lens - it's just not sharp enough to give that kind of detail. In a pinch it'll do, so it's perfect for a hobbyist to take on a family trip and not be stuck with a P+S... i.e. break out the tripod, flip it to RAW, stop it down to F/8 or F/11, and get a "decent" shot. But the results won't touch what the L lenses do at least in terms of sharpness and CA. I've got those lenses too, and I can generally tell which shots came from this lens vs. the others.

That said, I'm happy with the purchase. It seems people are having problems with the Sigma 18-200 OS, which is the one I originally wanted... this lens with IS would be a nice thing (if they maintained the small size/weight.

I'm happy with mine - and for those "prosumers" who are thinking of getting it. go for it, it's well matched to the Rebel bodies and can give pretty good shots. Just be prepared to manage the camera shake (especially at 250mm, F/8 for decent image quality.... you need ISO 400, or even 800).

-Glenn


Aug 14, 2007
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Tamron 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) AF

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
24 162780 Feb 10, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $453.56
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.29
8.25
8.0
18_250mm


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