Tamron 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di III-A VC VXD Image Gallery
October 21st, 2021
The mirrorless revolution largely started with APS-C (and smaller) sensors, but over the past four years the primary focus in the industry has largely shifted to full frame. The majority of camera and lens development has been in that space for many brands, with Fujifilm as a large exception to that rule. Fuji has chosen to not develop for full frame and has instead focused on smaller (APS-C) and larger (Medium Format) sensors and lenses. On Sony, Canon, and Nikon, however, new lens development for their APS-C systems have been few and far between…until 2021. 2021 has been a year that has brought us a lot of excellent options for APS-C, including the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 VC lens, (my review here), Tamron 11-20mm F2.8 (my review here), Samyang AF 12mm F2 (my review here), and, more recently, a new Sigma 18-50mm F2.8 DC DN zoom lens (my review coming soon). All of these are slightly more premium than usual, with wide maximum apertures, some degree of weather sealing, and quality optics. And now we have a new superzoom option: a stabilized nearly 17x zoom ratio zoom lens that is sure to become a favorite for those who travel or who prefer to never change lenses. The Tamron 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di III-A VX VXD is another “world’s first” from Tamron for this platform, and, like the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 RXD, this lens has exceeded my expectations optically. *The tests and most of the photos that I share as a part of my review cycle of the B061 (Tamron’s internal code for this lens, which we will use in this review for brevity) have been done with the Sony a6400 and a6600 cameras.
I was recently asked if people were supposed to know what all those letters in a lens name meant. I know from experience on my channel and this website that many people don’t, so let’s quickly help you with “Tamron speak”. Di III is the designation that Tamron uses for mirrorless mounts, and, in this case, Di III-A refers to a lens designed for APS-C mirrorless cameras. VC refers to “Vibration Compensation”, which is Tamron’s term for an optical image stabilizer. VXD refers to the focus motor employed here (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive), which is currently Tamron’s most premium autofocus system (which makes it surprising to me that it was employed here). So, the B061 is a lens designed for APS-C mirrorless cameras only, has optical stabilization, and has a high powered linear focus motor driving autofocus.
This all has important meaning for you as a potential buyer, however. First of all, this is the first Tamron Di III-A lens that is not just designed for Sony E-mount (the version I’m testing), but is also available for Fuji X-mount. This is hugely important, as it not only gives Fuji shooters a very nice new lens option, but is also the first Tamron development for the XF mount since Fuji opened up their mount to third party development. In my opinion this is extremely important to the long time survival and competitiveness of the Fujifilm XF system. Both Sony E-mount and Fuji X-mount cameras share a 1.5x crop factor, which means that the effective focal length of this lens is a full frame equivalent of 27-450mm, going from reasonably wide to extreme telephoto. You can go from this at 18mm:
Optical stabilization is arguably even more important on APS-C than it is on full frame, as where all Sony full frame mirrorless cameras released in the past 4-5 years include IBIS (In-Body-Image-Stabilization), the same isn’t true of APS-C cameras. The a6400 (a current camera) that I used for most of this review doesn’t have stabilization, so being able to utilize the lens stabilization made a real world difference for me. I haven’t seen a CIPA rating on the stabilization, but this real world shot was taken at 1/25th second, 300mm, which means that it is getting about four stops of stabilization.
It’s not perfectly sharp, but definitely stable enough to use. Having stabilization on a lens that reaches so far is going to be useful, and Tamron also touts that AI technology helps to provide superior stabilization for video at shorter focal lengths (70mm or less).
Finally, having a premium autofocus system in the B061 shows that Tamron is not treating this like a second-tier lens but is giving it some serious technology. You can focus with speed and precision using the B061, which makes a tangible difference in its usability and flexibility.
The Tamron 18-300mm isn’t a small lens. It’s actually larger and heavier than the full frame 28-200mm RXD lens (my review here), which surprised me, but the B061 also has more than twice the zoom ratio (16.7x vs 7.1x). Tamron elected to make this lens good rather than just small, but this does define its audience. You can check out my thoughts as to whether or not the Tamron 18-300mm VC should be on your radar in either my text or video reviews, or just enjoy the photos below.
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Thanks to Tamron USA for sending me a retail loaner copy of this lens. As always, this is a completely independent review. The opinions here are completely my own.
Photos of the Tamron 18-300mm VC
Photos taken with the Tamron 18-300mm VC
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