Tamron 16-300mm Lens – A Comprehensive Review

If you are in the market looking for a versatile lens that would give you a relief from changing lenses frequently , then the Tamron 16-300mm lens is an option you must consider. The lens is officially named as the Tamron Di II VC PZD f/3.5 – f/6.3 lens.

Zooming in on the Specifications

The build quality of the Tamron 16-300mm lens is great and the metal mount is a useful addition. There is little doubt in the durability of this lens from how it feels in the hand. The zooming in and zooming out, although a little uneven, is butter smooth and users should have no problems shooting footage with slowly zoomed in or zoomed out shots.

The Tamron 16-300mm starts at a very wide angle, 16mm which is actually wider than the kit lens which starts at 18mm. As the name suggests, this Tamron lens can zoom all the way into 300mm, which is a staggering 18.8x zoom range that puts it directly in the category of super zooms.

In spite of having an upper hand in the focal range, the 16-300mm lens comprises of 12 groups and 16 elements which is significantly lesser than its sibling, the Tamron 18-270mm lens which houses 13 groups and 18 elements. In case you haven’t watched our video review of the Tamron 18-270mm, you can check it out over here.

The Tamron 16-300mm lens features an improved Piezo Drive Motor which is slightly faster than the one in its older siblings and is fairly accurate during focussing in bright lighting conditions. The Vibration Compensation on the 16-300mm is also very good and we were able to shoot handheld shots at 300mm focal range with shutter speeds of 1/100 without much problems, although most of the times it takes at least 3 shots to get one overall sharp image.

The macro capabilities gave us a pleasant surprise. From what we observed, this lens can get as close as 25cm to the subject in 300mm focal range, which produces some beautiful macro shots, more on that in the video.

Full time Manual focus

We love it when manufacturers consider the user convenience while designing their products and the 16-300mm lens seems to be designed so. The focus ring is smooth and its electronically connected to the lens, which means that there is no physical connection between the lens and the focus ring. One of the main features we loved about the lens is its ability to override autofocus all the time.

The manual focus override gives you the ability to step in instantly and manipulate the focus ring to focus on the subject of interest when the autofocus isn’t delivering accurate results. Initially this might not seem like much, but the convenience of not having to turn the MF switch to enable manual focusing is a very hassle free experience.

The Image Quality

The image quality is as good as the 18-55mm and the 55-250mm kit lenses from Canon. We tested the lens on a Canon EOS 1200D which is an entry level DSLR that most amateurs like to use.

There is a slight distortion at wide angles, which is noticeable when there are a lot of people in the frame, but it is to be expected from any lens with such a wide focal range. The distortion can be easily fixed with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom and its not bad enough to consider as a deal breaker.

There is also a tiny bit of vignetting at the wide open apertures which can be corrected by stopping the aperture down by 2 stops or by correcting the image using Photoshop or Lightroom.

The image is a little soft at the wide open aperture in 300mm focal length, but closing the aperture to f/8.0 delivers reasonably sharp images.

Our Verdict

Available for a price point of INR 48,000 in India or for USD 650 (approx.), the Tamron 16-300mm Di II VC PZD Lens is an fantastic choice for amateurs and beginners. Its also a great travel lens which eliminates the need for two distinct lenses and get the job done in most situations.

The super versatility and the macro capabilities of this lens puts it on top of our recommendation list. Although its not exactly made for the professionals, this lens should suffice for most casual purposes and is also capable of some really good wildlife photography, check out the video for a concise yet in depth review.