Steve's Conclusion and Samples

Steve's SnapShot

  • All-in-one 16-300mm zoom lens
  • 35mm equivalent of 24.8-465mm
  • f/3.5-6.3
  • Piezo Drive
  • VC vibration correction
  • Macro 1:2.9
  • Moisture-Resistant construction
  • Di-II lens, made specifically for APS-C sized image senors
  • Includes lens cap and hood
  • Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts
Pros
  • Compact lens with an incredible zoom range
  • Rubber rings make focus and zoom easy to control
  • Touch AF and VC switches don't changed by accident
  • Easy to read numbers on the lens
  • Very good image quality
Cons
  • Not as sharp as some available all-in-one lenses
  • VC still left some of our handheld image soft/blurry
Bottom Line
The Tamron 16-300MM F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens is a versatile and affordable compact all-in-one lens that will greatly lighten your camera bag while traveling. Featuring the biggest zoom range of their AIO lenses, and one of the lowest price tags, it is great for those looking for a bargain.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for an affordable and compact lens that is ready for any shooting situation. Allows you to carry less and be ready for all.
Tamron's 16-300MM F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, a recent addition to their AIO line of APS-C lenses, further increases the ability and versatility of what a single lens is capable of. Bringing you an optical zoom range of 18.8x, a range that was previously only available on point-n-shoot cameras, Tamron has made it easier than ever to carry your dSLR on a long trip or vacation; without needing a bag full of lenses. In addition to this fantastic zoom range, it also has great macro capabilities focusing down to 1:2.9. Auto focus is controlled by the Tamron's Piezo Drive, giving it incredibly fast and quiet focusing capabilities. The lens is topped off with their very capable VC (vibration correction) system to help steady the lens when handheld. This assists you with both tracking your subject as well as holding the camera steady in low-light situations. The lens is available in Canon, Nikon and Sony A mounts. The Sony mount lens does not include the VC, since image stabilization is built into those cameras.

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 size 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 a smaller image circle than is required to cover a full-frame sensor. This adds a magnification to the lens making it the 35mm equivalent of 24.8-465mm instead of the 16-300mm that it is listed at. This range allows you to keep this lens on your camera for almost any situation that you will come across, greatly lightening the load of what you will have to carry in your bag.

The new Tamron 16-300mm has a layout opposite of the 18-270mm lens that we have previously reviewed. With the large rubber zoom ring at the end of the lens and the smaller focus ring on the inside, it may take a little getting used to if you are upgrading and used to the previous layout. The focus ring turns smoothly and steadily, allowing for easy and accurate manual focusing. Turning the zoom ring is a little different, while it turns smoothly, it takes different amounts of pressure to turn it at different places in the zoom range. Along the side of the lens you will find the AF and VC switches. Both switches take a firm push and have a distinct snap when toggled, so you are sure that have made a switch. At the wide end, the lens can be locked into place for safe travel.

Our sample images for the 16-300mm lens were taken with a Canon 60D in either Program or Aperture Priority modes. Tamron has done an excellent job of increasing the image quality of this all-in-one compared to the last one we tested (18-270mm). All of our images were much sharper than from the previous lens, with distortions and aberrations controlled better as well. You can see from many of the samples how versatile the lens really is, with the incredible wide end that is wider than most kit lenses, all the way to the 300mm telephoto end. We did have a little trouble shooting handheld at the full telephoto zoom, as the VC did not work as well as we had hoped, softening many of the images. Macro shooting was also easy, as the camera had no problems getting the lens to focus quickly when up close.

Bottom Line - Tamron's all-in-one 16-300MM F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens offers a true option for anyone that would prefer to only carry their crop body dSLR with a single lens. Providing you with a zoom range normally only found on a compact digicam or bridge camera, this lens surpasses other all-in-one lenses on both the wide and telephoto ends. It does come up a little short on the sharpness that a Canon or Nikon lens will have, but at a much more affordable price of US $629.00 compared to the $1,000 to $2,700 you will pay for the equivalents.

























All of our samples were taken in either Program or Aperture Priority mode with the VC on unless noted otherwise.
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16mm
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141mm
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300mm
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