Steve's Conclusion & Samples

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Steve's SnapShot
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  • Made specifically for APS-C or "Crop body" dSLRs
  • 18-270mm (15x) zoom range (approx. 28 - 419mm on APS-C cameras)
  • VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization system
  • PEIZO DRIVE AF motor (PZD)
  • Available in Canon and Nikon mounts (Nikon's require in-body focus motor for AF)

Pros
  • Very well built
  • Comfortable controls
  • Capable VC system
  • Very quiet and fast AF and VC
  • Incredibly compact
  • Amazing 15x optical zoom range
Cons
  • Images are soft throughout the zoom range at all aperture settings
  • Small amount of visible CA
  • Zoom ring is stiff but smooth
Bottom Line
Tamron's 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD (B008) All-In-One Zoom lens is unmatched with its compact size and versatility, allowing someone to carry just one lens instead of a bag full. The only thing holding it back is the softness of the images that it produces.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a compact lens that is capable of handling a wide variety of shooting situations with a nice broad zoom range.
Tamron's newest "All-In-One Zoom" lens, the 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD (B008) is a smaller, lighter version of their previous 18-270mm lens (the B003). This new version has been updated with a new Piezo Drive unit, which is a more efficient, quieter and faster autofocus motor. This drive is smaller and is a big help in cutting down on the lens's overall size and weight. Tamron has also included its "VC" (Vibration Compensation) system, which is an incredibly effective setup thanks to its tri-axial setup that allows it compensate for all camera shake, not just horizontal and vertical. This can provide up to 4 stops of compensation compared to a lens with no vibration compensation. This is an excellent addition and a great help when shooting at the telephoto end in any lighting condition.

Designed strictly for APS-C sized sensors on dSLR cameras, all of Tamron's Di II series lenses create an "ideal image circle" for this sensor. If you were to use this lens on a full frame dSLR or 35mm camera, you will see vignetting (darkening around the corner of the image) due to the smaller image circle. This adds a magnification to the lens making it the 35mm equivalent of 28-419mm instead of the 18-270mm that it is listed at. Currently, the B008 is available in both a Canon and Nikon mount. Nikon models require an internal focus motor in order to use the AF option on this lens.

With a traditional layout, focus on the front and zoom on the back, this is a solidly built, comfortable to hold and easy to operate lens. In manual focus mode, the focus ring turns with almost no resistance. The zoom ring, on the other hand, gives you plenty of resistance when zooming towards the telephoto end, but zooms back fairly easy. Even with this resistance, the action both ways is incredibly smooth. Its rubber rings allow you to operate the lens with ease, and the well-placed Manual/Auto focus and VC switches are always in reach, but hard enough to change that you will not accidentally move one. There is also a locking mechanism to lock the lens into the 18mm position. This helps to keep it safe during transportation and is great if you are caring the camera.

Our sample images for the B008 were taken using a Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i in Aperture Priority mode. The first thing that we noticed when looking at these images, is that they are all soft. At the wide end of the zoom, the images were noticeably soft no matter what the aperture was set to. On the telephoto end, the images did get sharper. We did also see some barrel distortion on the wide end and some chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range. Even our indoor samples, which we should see a clean crisp image throughout, were disappointing with most of the image lacking the crisp details we would like to see.  This issue has been talked about with the other Tamron lenses that include the VC function. While it does work great for reducing the camera shake, it might also be stopping you from getting a crisp, sharp image.

Bottom Line - Tamron's 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD (B008) All-In-One Zoom lens would be the perfect travel lens or just great for anyone who doesn't like to carry multiple lenses if it produced a sharp image. It's quite impressive when you consider Tamron packed a 15x optical zoom range and full set of features into such a compact body. Normally you would need multiple lenses, or a powerful Super-Zoom digicam to get this range. You can see some examples of just how broad the B008's range is on our sample images shown below. Unfortunately if you are planning  on capturing images with the intent of producing large prints, you might want to consider taking a close look at some of the other AIO lenses in this price range, due to the softness we saw during our tests. With a MSRP of US $649.00, the B008 is not overly expensive, however you may also want to look into a similar lens like the Canon EF-S 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 IS ($699.99) or the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II ($849.95). While they don't offer quite the telephoto range, they do offer superior image clarity and sharpness.























Sample Photos:
All photos taken using a Canon EOS Rebel T1i with the B008 attached, Aperture Priority or Manual modes, handheld with the VC system On, unless noted otherwise. 

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