Much as we'd never like to leave the house without our trusty DSLR, a collection of razor sharp prime lenses, some wide angle glasswear and a sports-pap-worthy telephoto barrel, we find that carting the whole caboodle around, and swapping between lenses for every shot, can be a tad impractical.
Thank Tamron, then, for its new superzoom that covers the whole gamut from respectable-wide-angle to close-up-zoom in one tidy piece of glass that can stay on all day.
This new model turns the superzoom dial up to 11, going 50mm further than the old Tamron. It starts at the same 18mm as its Sigma and Nikon rivals but while they stop extending at 200mm, this baby goes all the way to 250mm.
Strap it on your DSLR and, thanks to the added zoom effect of digital, it'll translate to the equivalent of a satisfyingly wide 27mm to a massive 375mm zoom in old 35mm film money.
By tailoring it to the smaller sensor sizes of digital SLRs, size has been kept to a minimum but it means it won't work with any of your older film cameras or any DSLRs with full-frame sensors such as the Canon EOS 5D. Being a Tamron, though, you can buy a version to fit every camera make, excluding Olympus, that is – sorry Four Thirds fans.
Sharp and controlled
We were surprised to find that, despite the extra zoom being shoehorned-in, this lens actually fared better than the old 18-200mm Tamron. Typical barrel and pin cushion distortion at the extreme wide angle and zoom lengths was evident but, on the whole, it was well controlled.
At the centre of shots, sharpness was impressive but tailed off towards the edges, especially at higher zoom levels. There was also a spot of vignetting – shading in the corners – but not enough to put us off. Focussing was spot-on but slow – again ruling this lens out for any fast moving action.
It's not perfect, then, but quality is on a par with most kit packages and it'll save you swapping and changing lenses on your hols. For anything more serious, you'd be best buying dedicated lenses but for sheer convenience and all-round value, we'd happily keep this strapped on for our everyday shooting.