The Tamron 28-300 VC full frame lens

The 28-300 VC next to the 28-75 2.8 @28mm and then extended to 300mm.

First impression: I bought that lens for the D3 full frame camera as a light travel lens. I have been so happy with the Nikkor 18-200VR lens on DX sensors (D70, D40x, D200 cameras) that I wanted a similar lens with similar performance of course for a full frame sensor. I added this lens to my bag as an optional "one size fits all" package. Since Nikon does not offer anything equivalent for an FX sensor, I decided to go for the Tamron, based on my (still) excellent experience with the 28-75 2.8, one of my favorite lenses. The Tamron is the only offering currently on the market. There was a previous version without stabilization. I wanted the full range AND the stabilization (equivalent of VR - vibration reduction). Tamron calls it VC - vibration compensation. The lens is compact (similar to the 18-200VR in fact) and extends a lot when zooming. No zoom creep until now (compared to a number of 18-200VR copies). There is also a lock button to prevent the lens from extending (locked on 28mm). While build quality is not on par, the lens is nicely build, relatively heavy, and pictures are just good.


- price
- optical performance is good (far from perfect, a bit soft, colors do not really pop up)
- reasonably light (comparable to pro Nikkor lenses)
- compact
- the flexibility is just wonderful as a walk around solution (very similar to the 18-200VR BTW)
- VC (vibration compensation) works EXTREMELY well, you win 4 stops most of the time, without a problem.
- reasonable build quality
- non-rotating front element
- lock button


- AF is slow
- AF and VC a bit noisy (compared to AF-S VR lenses)
- the lens extends a lot (almost the same as the 18-200VR)
- AF in (very) low light is TERRIBLE (hunting, AF sometimes does not even give it a try), even on the D3, but after a few tries, it works
- plastic build
- focus ring moves while focusing
- no pouch delivered with the lens
- not too sharp fully open (need to close down a bit to improve image quality)
- no focus correction possible vs the Nikkor AF-S implementation

Important disclaimer: with the proper PP, the pictures would look slightly better than with the resizing I just did.
This were just a few shots to try out the lens, jpeg, no PP.

Overall conclusion: does not replace the real stuff, but I would recommend the lens for what it is, an interesting compact travel companion, exactly what I was looking for. I have used the lens in places where it was a bit delicate/dangerous to switch lenses all the time in public and the lens did the job (this was just recreational photography, I would never use such a lens on an assignment for instance). If you want consistent quality pictures, this is probably not the lens you are looking for.


A few examples: (those are unprocessed Jpegs BTW, all on the D3) I should have done some PP, including a touch of sharpness, I usually do that before posting on the net, so you have to take that into account. Pictures are definitely slightly softer that with any other lens, but nobody will notice anything up to A4 format. #1 for those who know the place, reflections in the conference center building in Montreal

#2 street art

#3 through the glass - ISO 4000 in the dark

#4 bees ISO3200 1/30sec 300mm

#5 heron

#6 flower photography