Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di VC USD Lens Review

Review posted 12/7/2010

Quick Take
  • Very well built
  • Comfortable controls
  • Fast AF thanks to the USD motor
  • Full-time MF allows for quick and easy AF override
  • Capable VC system
  • Compatible with both Full frame and Crop bodies
  • Awesome Price
  • Heavy, a tripod mount would come in handy
  • Zoom ring is not usable when lens hood is reversed
  • Small amount of CA visible in photos when pixel peeping (viewing at 100%)
  • Zoom ring had a bit too much resistance in my opinion
  • AF/MF and VC controls are very easy to accidentally bump and change modes
Bottom Line
Tamron seems to have created a worthy competitor in the 70-300mm zoom category, with excellent build quality, good optics, and several other handy features to help you capture better handheld photos; like the USM AF motor and VC stabilization. Read more in our full conclusion.
Tamron's "60th Anniversary" lens model, the SP 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di VC USD (aka the A005) is a medium telephoto zoom lens designed to help you produce exceptional images on both full frame and cropped dSLR bodies. While originally being produced for Nikon models, the A005 is now available in an EF mount for use with Canon EOS dSLRs. There are also plans in the future to release a version of this lens for the Sony A-mount, however this unit will not offer the VC option since Sony uses an in-camera IS system.

The A005 is a well made lens that Tamron claims is comprised of high-grade materials that allow the unit to offer "best-in-class" resolution. That is a bold statement, which we hope to shed some light on in our review. Albeit, the A0005 does boast some appealing specifications, including the use of extra low dispersion (XLD) and low dispersion (LD) lenses, being their first model to incorporate a fast and quite ultrasonic AF motor (USD), vibration compensation (VC) system with up to a 4 stop gain, full-time MF, and their BBAR anti-reflective coating to combat both lens flare and ghosting.

For those who use a full-frame dSLR, the A005 will cover a nice medium telephoto range of 70-300mm. On an APS-C or "crop body" dSLR, this lens offers a much broader telephoto reach of approx. 109-465mm (in 35mm equivalence). Either range will appeal to a wide range of photogs, whether you're a nature or sports shooter, or anyone else who's looking for an affordable, yet powerful zoom lens option.

The A005 is currently available for Nikon and Canon lens mount systems with a suggested retail price of only $449.99 US.

A005 Specifications

Model A005
Focal Length 70-300mm
Maximum Aperture F/4 - 5.6
Angle of View (diagonal) 34° 21'-8° 15'
Lens Construction 17 elements in 12 groups
Minimum Focus Distance 1.5m (59.05 in)
Max. Magnification Ratio 1:4 (at f = 300mm: MFD 1.5m)
Filter thread 62mm
Length * 142.7mm (5.61 in)
Full Length ** 151.1mm (5.9 in)
Diameter 81.5mm (3.21 in)
Weight 765g * (26.98 oz)
Diaphragm Blade Number 9
Minimum Aperture F/32 - 45
Standard Accessory Flower-shaped lens hood
Compatible Mount For Nikon, Canon, Sony††

* Length means the size from a head of the barrel to a flange of the mount.
** Full Length means the size from a head of the barrel to an end of the lens.
† Length and weight values given are for the Nikon mount. Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc., may be changed without prior notice.
†† The Sony mount does not include the VC image stabilization functionality, as the body of Sony digital SLR cameras include image stabilization functionality.

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