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Keywords: Tamron Canon Nikon Minolta Pentax Wide Mid Tele Zoom 35mm Di Tested


Registered: July 2007
Posts: 36
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by touristguy87
Review Date: 12/15/2010 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $150.00| Rating: 8 

Pros: zoom-range & compact size
Cons: it's a tad heavy compared to the average kit zoom I'm going to vastly streamline this review.
Let's put it this way: I'm happy with the lens, even if it doesn't have IS and only cost me $150 on eBay. In fact having had both the VC and non-VC versions I prefer the non-VC version. It's much lighter, a little smaller, a fraction of the price, doesn't draw nearly as much power and I rarely need IS anyway. Even so it's just better to avoid needing to use it. Trying to take handheld shots when it's so dark that I need to use IS, that's not a great way to get good photographs. On this I have to chalk one up for "old-school" lenses. They force me to either use good technique or not bother to take the shot.

Telescoping isn't a problem with the lock and having checked-out the Nikon and Canon options this lens actually looks the best, in terms of overall performance. I don't know why SLRgear hasn't tested the Panasonic 14-140 OIS & Tamron 28-300VC but for the money this lens is a steal. It just pays to know how to get the most out of it, and to realize that at the longer focal-lengths you're going to need to shoot F13 or so to get a reasonably flat-sharp shot and a decent DOF. I'd go through the blur-chart and note the F#s of lowest blur at each FL. I wish that I could just program those into my camera.

Beyond that, buy and enjoy.

Registered: November 2008
Posts: 2
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by AutoMatters
Review Date: 11/30/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: Great if you only want to bring one lens, very affordable
Cons: Depends on the camera for low light sensitivity

It is interesting to read the wide variety of reviews (pro and con) of this lens. It may not have the technical specs of a group of available lenses that together encompass this large zoom range, but for one lens it has no competition as far as I've found.

To put what you are about to read in context, I am an accredited photojournalist and have won several awards for my photography. I originally bought this non-VC Tamron 28-300 mm lens when I bought my Nikon D-100. I was on a tight budget and the camera store recommended it, so I took their advice. I have since upgraded my cameras several times, now shooting primarily with a Nikon D3, with a D300 as a second camera body. I also have several Nikon lenses, for limited-use applications. The problem is a lack of a broad range, Nikon brand zoom lens for their full frame FX sensor Nikon cameras (as opposed to DX lenses for the smaller chip). Even though I never use my D100 anymore, most of my shots taken with the D3 are taken in combination with my trusty Tamrom 28-300mm lens. It consistently takes good photos. I made a huge mistake a few months ago by buying Tamron's new VC version of this lens. That lens is a disaster. After missing several easy shots at my daughter's graduation due to the lens not focusing (instead, it hunted back and forth), I took the lens back to the store -- only to learn that other shooters had returned their Tamron VC 28-300mm lenses too. Another of my fellow journalists returned his for the same reason. He is still peeved that he blew an opportunity to get a $300 Nikon rebate on a combination D300 camera and lens purchase, because he chose to buy just the camera body and the Tamron VC lens instead.

This non-VC Tamron 28-300mm Nikon-mount lens is great if you want or need to travel light by bringing only your camera with a single, attached lens. It has a great zoom range and auto-focuses well. Note that there are some Nikon models that this lens will not auto-focus with, so be sure to verify your application before ordering one.

Granted this lens is not great in low light with older cameras, but the newer Nikons (including the D3, D300, D700 and others) have terrific low light sensitivity so the lens' low light capabilities do not matter that much. Simply set these camera bodies in their Auto-ISO mode, attach this Tamron lens and you'll be good to go for most situations. Using a relatively high shutter speed, my Nikon D3 and my aging Tamron lens, I was able to shoot sharp shots of a motorcycle stunt-jumping exhibition outside of the Palms hotel (in Las Vegas) at night, during the recent SEMA Show. The motorcycles, as they jumped high in the air, were lit only by a couple of spotlights. The results were amazing.

I have repeatedly asked Nikon reps for such a lens from Nikon for use with their new, full frame cameras (D3 and D700). They tell me they cannot make one that would sell for a low enough price that people would be willing to pay. Go figure. Perhaps someday Nikon will listen and make such a lens available. In the meantime, especially considering there is now a $50 rebate on this Tamron lens, I am tempted to buy another of these for when (or if) mine finally wears out.

Registered: September 2008
Posts: 2
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by TSax
Review Date: 9/18/2008 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $370.00| Rating: 5 

Pros: size, weight, zoom range
Cons: zoom creep, soft, distortion, narrow "sweet spot", speed

I have an older non-DI version I bought as a travel lens because of the zoom range. I've used it on a F3, F100 and a D80. The lens is generally soft with lots of barrel/pincushion and is not very contrasty. Because mine is made for FX, much of the distortion is cut off on the D80-which helps. The lens seems to have its best optical performance between 50mm and about 180mm at f8-f11. Forget about the extremes in range and f stops, it just gets soft and washed out. I recently bought a Nikkor 55-200VR for the D80 which I think is a much better lens over the Tamron's usable range - for less money.

Registered: July 2008
Posts: 6
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by norcalphotographer
Review Date: 7/21/2008 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 6 

Pros: compact. large focal range.
Cons: slow lens, soft at long end.

I've taken some outstanding shots with this lens. But... I've also taken some not so good shots which could have been better had I had a sharper, faster lens.

Good all around lens which I would readily recommend it to those who can accept it's limitations (slow lens, not as sharp as others, some softness) for it's merits (28-300mm zoom in one lens).

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 10
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by btjh86
Review Date: 1/15/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $500.00| Rating: 7 

Pros: Great zoom range.
Cons: Slow AF and aperture.

A nice all round lens. But since its zoom range is so wide, it suffers from optical setbacks. Apertures are too small at 300mm @ f6.3. It makes it totally useless in getting sharp photos in not so bright light. Image quality isnt too good especially at 300mm where it can be quite soft.

Another gripe is the AF. Its slow and noisy. You can't use this to track fast cars or birds.

Overall good value for money and a great deal for those who don't want to change lenses.

Registered: October 2005
Posts: 36
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by Ross_Alford
Review Date: 1/6/2007 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 8 

Pros: Very useful zoom range, great macro ability, small and light
Cons: Image quality very good but could be better

I had a pretty good experience with this lens. On a D70, I could not fault its image quality. I used it through a trip to Africa, and brought back some very memorable images, including ones that I have printed as 12 X 18 prints that look just fine. See for example:

However, when I upgraded to a D2x, I checked all my lenses to see how they did on the higher-resolution sensor that camera has, and the Tamron fell a bit (not hugely, but a bit) short. Particularly at the wider apertures (if you can call f/6.3 to f/8 "wide") at the telephoto end, it could not keep up with the D2x sensor in resolution,a nd its contrast was not as good as other lenses I had, such as a Sigma 70-300, and (even more so), a Nikkor 75-300 (an older AF lens). I have since sold my Tamron and Sigma, and use the Nikkor if I really want 300mm tele.

I sometimes regret selling it, though, as the focal length range makes it a really great companion lens to a 12-24 wideangle. The extra reach you get at the long end really helps, as compared to an 18-200, and if you are carrying a wideangle anyway, losing a bit at the wide end is not such a problem. Its macro ability is really excellent, getting down to what I recall as around 1:4 or better, and although that happens at the extreme tele end of the zoom, because the focal length shortens as you focus closer, the effective focal length at minimum distance seems pretty close to 100 or 135mm, which is my favorite focal length for macro work.

For a 6 MP or maybe an 8 MP DSLR, I would certainly recommend this as a carry-around lens, particularly if you are also going to be carrying a separate wideangle.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 12
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by aalto
Review Date: 12/21/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $400.00| Rating: 3 

Pros: Lightweight, range.
Cons: barrel creep, optics, build, CA,

Great Range, Affordable and lightweight! The lure to buy this lens is great. I bought it to have one single lens on my camera for travels. Ive used it extensively for a year. And Im glad I got rid of it.

My first impressions were positive, as the zoom range looks great when youre looking through the viewfinder, and you do have the ability to take pictures of stuff thats far-far-away, but unfortunately, these pictures are close to useless when you actually decide to print them. The optics are generally soft, the contrast is lousy, CA is a serious issue in backlit conditions and dont even think about getting a little light to hit the front element.

After a while in use, the barrel creep sets in, even though it has a separate lock to prevent this (which of course everybody you ever borrow youre camera to completely ignores and instead tries to force the zoom) you pretty much have to hold the lenz at its place while pointing it somwhere else tha horizontal. And if you do forget the lock, theres a chance the whole thing creeps out in your bag and breaks in a jolt, for the build quality is seriously plastic. After a while, the whole lens develops a slack in every moving bit and mine could be moved quite a bit at the end. I reckon it would have been the equivalent of a Lensbaby by now, but luckily some guy absolutely wanted to buy it, no matter how much i told him that the lens was no better than paperweight.

Go ahead, buy it, but youre going to sell it again in 6 months.

Registered: December 2006
Posts: 9
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by anabasis
Review Date: 12/10/2006 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $350.00| Rating: 5 

Pros: 10.7x Zoom, weight, size
Cons: IQ, plastic build

This is what I carry with me when I go on my ship. You can’t beat its weight and size in a 10.7x zoom for both film and digital SLR’s. Granted it is a bit slow, especially on the long end, and the image quality dips at 200+mm, but it replaces a case-load of lenses that I don’t have the room for.

This lens is compact to carry when it is at 28mm, and balances quite nicely on the D100 (where it is basically a 42-450mm lens) and I find it nearly perfect on the ship for most of the things I want to shoot. I would like to have a bit wider angle but the lens does well enough for most applications.

When the lens is zoomed out, the barrel extends like a telescope. The body is mostly plastic, so you can’t beat it up too much. There is a removable lens shade as well as lens cap that round out the configuration. The focusing throw is quite short, and the focusing is done internally. The focus speed is very slow, so this is not at all a lens to be used with quick moving action. The front element is a decent 62 mm, which allows for relatively inexpensive filtering.

In addition to a large zoom range, the lens will also close focus at all focal lengths, and will get down to 1:4 at 300mm which is nice for more skittish creatures. The lens is a great travel lens, and will cover most situations if you can’t afford to bring along anything else.

The fact that it does not provide exceptional imagine quality must be taken into account, although I have produced nice 8x10 images from the lens at 300mm on the D100 (6.1 MP).

This lenses range on the DSLR’s has been mostly replaced by the various 18-200’s out there which probably offers better performance and would be my choice if I had to do it again.

Registered: November 2006
Posts: 2
Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF review by macdaddy
Review Date: 12/2/2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: None indicated| Rating: 10 


I purchased this lens just prior to a visit to the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, KY and was glad I had it. During my four days there, it never left my Nikon and produced some truly extraordinary photos from that trip.
Even using available lighting inside fairly dark rooms (We weren't allowed to use a flash) the photos were remarkably detailed after minor PP in Photoshop to bring up highlights. Details were sharp, crisp and color accuracy was almost dead on. There was some softening in the corners, but overall, this is an excellent lens that covers a wide enough range to be one of very few walk about lenses I'd recommend


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