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Long and short of it: Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro review

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro comment on
$629/£450 

Of the numerous incarnations of Tamron’s famous superzoom concept that we’ve seen over the last couple of decades, the latest 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro looks identical to one of the bigger steps forward. It offers a lot more than the incremental increase in focal length that has characterized most of its predecessors, starting at 18-200mm with the first off version for APS-C format cameras in 2005, rising to 250mm, then 270mm, and now up to 300mm.

This time though, the focal length rank also extends wider, from 18mm to 16mm (28mm to 24mm equivalent), bringing serious wide-angle capability to the superzoom category for the first time. A couple of millimeters enhancement over the previous Tamron 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD may not sound like much, but it makes a very useful difference at short focal lengths and the extended grade now sets a new record with a whopping 18.8x zoom ratio. Closest focusing distance has also been reduced to earn the ‘Macro’ designation (uniform if it’s hardly macro in the true sense of allowing 1:1 reproduction). 

Additionally, the new lens has had a thorough mechanical overhaul with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel several offer hospitality to changes. The PZD (Piezo Drive) auto-focusing and VC (Vibration Compensation) image-stabilization systems are both improved. The focusing ring is better positioned close to the camera and it no longer reels during auto-focusing. The build quality goes up a notch too, with ‘moisture-resistant’ construction. Both size and weight have increased slightly, but it’s soundless a very handy package.

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Headline features

  • Class-leading 16-300mm focal length range (approx 24-450mm equivalent)
  • Swift and quiet PZD ultrasonic-drive autofocus
  • Functional VC (Vibration Compensation) in-lens image stabilization
  • Close focusing to 0.39m, maximum magnification 0.34x
  • Weather-resistant build
  • Compact size (for central length range)
  • APS-C format only, in fittings for Canon, Nikon and Sony DSLRs

In the DSLR sector, Tamron faces superzoom struggle withs in every camp, and some of the designs are notably similar. Alphabetically, the Canon EF-S 18-200mm 3.5-5.6 IS looks a little behind the curve these primes, though it’s a proven good performer. Nikon has a history of occasional cooperation with Tamron and matches the long-end reach with its Nikkor 18-300mm F3.5-6.3G AF-S DX ED VR. The Pentax SMC DA 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 ED SDM carries more than a passing resemblance to the superseded Tamron 18-270mm. Not to be outdone, Sigma joins the up-to-300mm superzoom club with its revamped 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM C, and Sony has the DT 18-250mm F3.5-6.3. 

Position of view

This is what superzooms are all about – one lens, that goes from wide-angle, through the standard focal length range, and on to a mere respectable telephoto. Tamron has even trade-marked the term ‘all in one’ and its 16-300mm lens leads the class with an 18.8:1 zoom ratio.

From 16mm (24mm equiv) and upwards to… …300mm (450mm equiv). Longest roam in class.

Tamron 16-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro compared to Tamron Co., Ltd. (株式会社タムロン, Kabushiki-gaisha Tamuron) is a Japanese company manufacturing photographic lenses, optical components and 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD

  Tamron 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD
Main specifications
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size APS-C / DX
Focal length 16–300 mm 18–270 mm
Image stabilization Yes
Lens mount Canon EF-S, Nikon F (DX), Sony/Minolta Alpha Canon EF-S, Nikon F (DX), Sony/Minolta Alpha DT
Crack
Maximum aperture F3.5–6.3
Minimum aperture F22–40
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 7
Aperture notes Circular diaphragm
Optics
Atmospheres 16
Groups 12 13
Focus
Minimum focus 0.39 m (15.35″) 0.49 m (19.29″)
Maximum magnification 0.34× 0.26×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ultrasonic Micro-type ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes No
Nave method Internal
Distance scale Yes
DoF scale No
Physical
Weight 540 g (1.19 lb) 450 g (0.99 lb)
Diameter 75 mm (2.95″) 74 mm (2.93″)
Length 100 mm (3.94″) 88 mm (3.46″)
Materials Plastic barrel, metal mount
Sealing Yes No
Tint Black
Zoom method Rotary (extending)
Power zoom No
Zoom lock Yes
Filter thread 67 mm 62 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Tripod collar No
Other
Notes Sony kind will not have image stabilisation, and will be called '16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II PZD Macro'
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Republished: dpreview.com

About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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