I’ve only used two Tamron lenses before. I usually stick to first-party lenses but I’m a real scavenger too: if a lens fits my camera, I’ll use it. As such, I’ve previously tried a many-years old 500mm Adaptall mirror lens. That one, not great, at least by modern standards. Although you do get some rather wild donuts in the background of your images, and God knows I love donuts.
However, the other lens I’ve used from Tamron is the SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro (used to take the image here), and this is the reason that I’m quite excited to see how they’ve tackled the problems the normally affect superzooms. If I hadn’t needed a non-telescoping macro lens, then this is absolutely the one I’d have gone for. Despite being one of the most affordable macro lenses on the market, it’s also one of the sharpest. I usually recommend it ahead of my current lens.
Tamron aside, I have experience of a couple of different zoom lenses, which I’ll be using as a frame of reference for comparison. The one which sticks in my mind is the 18-135mm from Nikon, which was the first SLR system lens I owned. It was a very capable performer. Nice and sharp throughout its range, although it did suffer from some pretty bad colour fringing. I enjoyed using it, but never felt it was quite long enough for a walk-around lens. As such, it didn’t get much use after the purchase of my macro lens (which in turn encouraged me to buy some faster lenses), and eventually went to my godfather a couple of years ago.
Based on all the above, I do have a checklist to work through for the Tamron 18-270mm VC PZD:
One of the first things I’ll be looking for when the lens arrives is the maximum aperture at 135mm (which was f/5.6 on the Nikon lens). If it’s slightly faster, then it will have a feather in it’s cap immediately. I don’t expect it to be any slower, as this marks the half-way point in the zoom range of the Tamron.
I want to compare some of my old frames from the Nikon kit lens to check for chromatic abberation.
Obviously I’ll also want to check the sharpness of the lens throughout it’s range. I’m not expecting miracles, particularly as my current lenses are fast, high-quality glass, but if it can produce a sharp A3 print, then it’s good enough for me.
Bokeh. One of the oft-forgotten benefits of expensive lenses is how they render the out-of-focus areas of your photos. Admittedly, this wasn’t great from my kit lens, but in other lenses can really lift the perceived contrast in an image.
Just waiting for the lens to show up now so that I can get started 🙂