Gear Up! – Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Review

See how and why Tamron’s latest kit lens may change the way you pack your gear bag!

In a crowded market of kit lenses all claiming to be the best, the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD brings a lot to the table. We took this ambitious kit lens on a wild ride across North America and Australia for a test run, and were more than happy to have the Tamron in the gear bag and along for the ride. Potential flaws are addressed by a some convenient features. What’s best about this lens is being able to shoot wide landscapes and zoom in close to capture distance subjects, all without having to change lenses. Read on to see how and why this lens may change the way you pack your gear bag for a day out.

First off, we clear out the cloud of confusion and address the basics. The full title of this les is the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD. The suffix letters indicate the key features of this lens.

Di – “Digitally Integrated” – This feature means that the lens is designed to reduce unwanted darkening of the corners (otherwise known as vignetting) and minimize flare and imaging ghosting in bright scenes. The Di also works to reduce unwanted purple tinting (chromatic aberrations) that normally occurs between light and dark colours in the image. Di lenses are appropriate for Full Frame Cameras as well as APS-C sized sensors that are used in most DSLRs on the market.

VC – “Vibration Compensation” – This feature can be turned on and off with a simple switch. It allows the lens to reduce “wobbling” and “shaking” that may become noticeable at slower shutter speeds. Later, we will go into detail about how well this works in this lens.

PZD – “Piezo Drive” – This feature means that this lens makes use of Tamron’s latest ultrasonic motors. This ensures the lens is quick, quite, and accurate to focus.

It’s In The Bag

How does the 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD measure up exactly? At its smallest length, the Tamron isn’t too much longer than similar lenses. However, when fully extended and zoomed in, the lens more than doubles its length.

On The Field

By packing the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, we were able to carry one less lens in our gear bag. At its widest viewing angle, the Di technology really comes into play. Images are nice and bright from corner to corner. Being able to zoom up to 270mm is a fantastic treat. Whether out in the city or hiking out on the trails, the versatility of this lens allows it to play many roles.

The 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD makes an excellent lens for capturing animals from a distance. On our Nikon D90, the VC (vibration compensation) seemed a bit difficult to use for still photos. This is because while focusing, the VC tries to stabilize the image, causing the actual frame to shift around. If this proves to be a problem, the VC can be turned on and off easily via a simple switch on the side of the lens.

However, when using this lens for filming video, the VC becomes an invaluable tool. Use of the VC vastly improves hand held filming, especially when panning and zooming. Check out this video to see the different between filming with and without VC.

When compared to a Sigma 18-200, the Tamron performs ideally, with less vignetting, and being able to zoom closer in to a target. Colour, Contrast and dynamic is fantastic in the Tamron, especially when compared to mirror lenses such as the Rokinon 500mm. While mirror lenses do provide superior reach and zoom, they lack the versatility, autofocus, and convenience of the Tamron kit.

Getting in Close

While the zooming capabilities of the Tamron 18-270mm allows you to capture subjects from afar, the lens is by no means afraid of getting in close. The lens performs quickly with auto focus and captures sharp images even in low light. VC works great and allows lower shutter speeds while handheld, even in low light environments.

Use the features

One issue we had while using this lens was a sneaky, subtle lens creepy. The lens could be resting quietly at our side, and after a few steps, the barrel might have fully extended itself. This can prove to be a bit of a nuisance, as the lens may end up bumping or knocking into something. Fortunately, the lens is designed intuitively and includes a locking switch that keeps the lens from creeping and ‘zooming out’ all by itself.

Wrap Up

The 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD is a solid lens that any photographer would be happy to have in the gear bag. It is most appropriate for situations where photographers need to be able to shoot wide angles and zoom in close, without having to switch lenses. It’s perfect for a day out in the city, out hiking in the bush, or spontaneous gatherings, events, and parties. Intuitive design addresses the few issues that arise when using a lens with such a wide viewing angle range. Superior sharpness, colour, contrast, and minimal vignetting make this lens a sure fire winner. When it comes to filming video, a filmographer could hardly ask for more.

iDigital Darwin gives the Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD a big thumbs up, and a Seal of Survival.

For more tips, techniques, and hands on time with cool camera gear, check out the upcoming The Digital Show Expo in Melbourne, VIC!

Click to register for free entry!

Happy Hunting,

Jerrel Dulay


About idigitaldarwin

Helping people stay informed with the latest ground breaking technology and valuable photo-imaging and gadget tips. View all posts by idigitaldarwin

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