18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens Review (Model B028)

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People migrating from a fixed lens camera to a DSLR love the impressive image quality they receive with more advanced camera systems. However, they often find themselves frustrated by the lack of large telephoto lenses at reasonable price points in the DSLR world. When you're used to shooting with a 30X or larger fixed zoom lens, it takes a change in mindset to begin shooting with DSLR lenses with far less telephoto capabilities.

Tamron's latest telephoto zoom lens, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens (Model B028), offers an impressive telephoto capability, while also delivering rarely seen versatility in the DSLR lens market. It's Tamron's first lens for APS-C image sensor DSLR cameras that reaches a 400mm focal length. 

This lens release comes 25 years after Tamron created its first zoom lens for DSLR cameras. It has versions compatible with both Nikon and Canon DSLRs.

CAMERAS USED

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For this review, we paired the Tamron 18-400mm lens with the Nikon D7500.

PROS & CONS

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Pros
  • Amazing focal range
  • Low price tag versus other large zoom lenses
  • Both Nikon DSLR and Canon DSLR versions available
  • Improved image quality throughout range versus previous Tamron zoom lenses
  • Easy to use controls on the lens
  • Lens moves through its zoom range smoothly
  • Reasonably good autofocus performance
  • Good beginner zoom lens
Cons
  • Image quality not good enough for advanced photographers
  • Noticeable barrel distortion at smallest focal length
  • Slight sharpness problem at maximum focal length
  • Some sharpness issues at high f-stop numbers
  • Some chromatic aberration problems
  • Not really a weatherproof model

KEY FEATURES

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  • Lens: Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD (model B028)
  • Focal Length: 18-400mm (28-620mm equivalent for Nikon an 29-640mm equivalent for Canon)
  • Maximum Aperture: F/3.5-6.3
  • Minimum Aperture: F/22-40
  • Minimum Object Distance: 17.7 inches
  • Physical Length (minimum): 4.8 inches (Nikon version) or 4.9 inches (Canon)
  • Physical Length (maximum) About 9 inches
  • Weight: 24.9 ounces (Nikon) or 25 ounces (Canon)
  • Angle of View: 75°33' - 4° APS-C 
  • Filter Size: 72mm
  • Maximum Diameter: 79mm
  • Vibration Compensation: About 2.5 stops

WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

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  • Zoom lens
  • Front lens cap
  • Rear lens cap
  • Lens hood

BUILD QUALITY & DESIGN

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For a zoom lens with a bargain price like the Tamron 18-400mm, the build quality of the lens is better than expected. The lens has a solid feel with no loose parts. After you set the focal length and focus point, the lens holds your settings well.

As you can see in this photo, the lens extends several inches when using the maximum telephoto focal length, so balancing the camera when hand-holding it can be a challenge. However, when attaching the camera to a tripod during my testing, I never felt like the tripod would tip. The weight of the lens is well distributed when the lens is fully extended.

This is not a lens designed as a weatherproof model. It does have a rubber gasket around the lens mount to provide a bit of protection against moisture, but we wouldn't recommend using this lens in rough weather without some sort of extra protection.

The design of the Tamron 18-400mm includes 16 lens elements in 11 groups and seven aperture blades. 

ERGONOMICS & FEATURES

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On the right side of the lens, you'll see the Lock toggle switch near the camera body. You would engage this switch when carrying the camera to prevent the lens from extending on its own as you move (called creeping). I didn't notice any problems with creep with the switch engaged or not engaged with this lens, however.

You also can see the name of the lens printed in the middle of the barrel.

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On the left side of the Tamron lens are two additional switches near the camera body. 

  • AF/MF Switch: You can switch between autofocus and manual focus with this toggle switch.
  • Vibration Compensation: You can toggle the VC on and off with this switch. Using Vibration Compensation will give you about a 2.5-stop advantage, but it does introduce some shutter lag to the lens.

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On the top of the Tamron lens, you'll see the white mark that indicates the current focal length setting. The focal lengths are printed on the lens. You'll adjust the focal length by twisting the wide ribbed ring on the left side of this photo, closer to the camera body.

The ribbed ring on the right side of the photo -- closer to the lens glass -- is the manual focus ring.

Both rings are of a good size to use comfortably.

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Now that you know all about the Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens features and specifications, it's time to check out its performance characteristics and see SAMPLE IMAGES. Please click over to the

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