Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD Review

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What is the Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD?

The Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD is a telephoto zoom lens that’s accessible in Canon or Nikon mount. It’s absolutely appropriate with each APS-C and full-frame DSLRs.

Generally talking, we anticipate lengthy telephoto zooms to be massive and cumbersome. Last 12 months, nonetheless, Sigma bucked this pattern with the announcement of the 100-400mm f/5-6.three DG OS HSM | C. It was designed for eager amateurs and aspiring fanatics who wish to get near distant topics, however with out having to splash out greater than £1000 for the privilege.

The Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.three DG OS HSM | C turned an immediate hit, each with its meant viewers and full-frame customers who appreciated the thought of proudly owning a light-weight and versatile telephoto zoom for travelling and basic use.

Since then, Tamron has launched its personal variant within the type of the 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD, with the idea a lot the identical as its Sigma rival. But with solely refined variations between the 2, which is the only option?

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Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD – Features

Unlike its Sigma rival, which has a most aperture of f/5 on the widest finish and f/6.three at full telephoto, this lens is a 3rd of a cease sooner at 100mm and has a variable aperture of f/four.5-6.three. When you set the lens to its most aperture of f/four.5 and advance by means of the zoom vary, it closes to f/5 simply past 135mm and f/5.6 at 180mm. Extending the lens past 280mm sees the utmost aperture near f/6.three.

The disadvantage in comparison with the likes of Canon’s EF 100-400mm f/four.5-5.6L IS II USM and Nikon’s AF-S 80-400mm f/four.5-5.6G ED VR lenses is that it’s a cease slower at full telephoto. It makes up for this by being lighter and extra moveable, nonetheless.

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The barrel is noticeably thinner than the aforementioned zooms and it weighs round half a kilogram much less. As a end result, it places significantly much less pressure in your physique when it’s carried as a part of your equipment or slung over the shoulder.

Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

Precise autofocus and optical picture stabilisation are important to the efficiency of a telephoto zoom lens, and this optic offers each.

In addition to inccluding a micro-processing unit with a built-in digital sign processor to make sure wonderful AF responsiveness, the lens encompasses a separate micro-processing unit that’s devoted to vibration compensation (VC).

This, mixed with the fine-tuning of the improved management algorithm, offers a degree of stabilisation that enables customers to shoot utilizing shutter speeds 4 stops slower than would in any other case be attainable.

Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

The optical system isn’t as advanced as its Sigma rival. It options 17 components in 11 teams versus 21 components in 15 teams. Three low-dispersion (LD) glass components are relied upon to manage optical aberrations, and Tamronʼs proprietary eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) coating is used to stop reflections and produce clear, vivid pictures.

The nine-bladed round diaphragm closes all the way down to a minimal aperture of f/32 at 100mm (f/45 past 290mm) and it has a minimal focus distance of 150cm with a most magnification ratio of 1:three.6.

Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

Available in Canon or Nikon mounts, the lens accepts filters and adapters through a 67mm thread on the entrance. It’s additionally absolutely appropriate with Tamron’s TAP-in console, which offers a USB connection to your pc. This allows customers to simply replace the lens’ firmware when required, in addition to customise and fine-tune the AF and VC.

As a part of the boxed contents you get a properly profiled plastic lens hood and lens caps. Annoyingly, the tripod mount is an non-obligatory further. It provides £109 to the price of the lens, which appears extreme after we’re so used to having one included at no further value.

Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD – Build and dealing with

The look of the lens conforms to the styling of Tamron’s premium G2 lenses. The metallic barrel is introduced in a gorgeous matte-black end, with easy-to-read lettering and numbering standing out in white.

Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

From the metallic lens-mount trying forwards, the barrel tapers outward barely earlier than it reaches its most diameter, simply past the place the non-obligatory tripod collar attaches.

Ahead of this, there’s a spotlight distance window, with massive and constructive focus and vibration-compensation switches offset to the facet. Both switches have three settings, with the restrict setting in-between AF and MF being helpful while you’d like to limit the closest focus distance to 7m and cut back searching when capturing distant topics.

The VC swap may be set to Mode 1 to compensate for handshake associated to basic pictures, or Mode 2 for panning with transferring topics. Alternatively, it may be turned off when the lens is mounted on a tripod or mounted to a assist.

Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

Further down the barrel there’s a plastic-ribbed manual-focus ring that operates fluidly with simply the precise degree of resistance for high-quality focusing changes. Ahead of it’s a massive rubberised zoom ring that advantages from a zoom lock off to the facet. This retains the focal size locked at 100mm for storage and transportation functions.

Our pattern didn’t present any signal of zoom creep, and persistently prolonged from vast to full telephoto lengths easily. Its Sigma rival requires only a contact extra effort on the lengthy finish of its focal vary.

Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

The zoom ring is rotated anti-clockwise to zoom in and the throw of the zoom is such that it’s a two-stage course of to get from 100mm to 400mm. As with the Sigma 100-400mm, it may be prolonged rapidly by pushing the lens hood away from the digital camera. That stated, it lacks a ridge on the rear of the hood, making it much less simple to retract, particularly when working with gloves in chilly climate.

The lens’ moisture-resistant building and a fluorine-coated entrance aspect present further reassurance when topic to harsh situations. Overall, it’s a really well-designed and constructed lens that handles commendably on no matter DSLR it’s coupled to. This could also be a small APS-C DSLR such because the Canon EOS 77D, or a full-frame mannequin such because the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD – Image high quality

The benefit of pairing the lens with an APS-C DSLR is that it means that you can shoot nearer to distant topics. To get a transparent understanding of the way it performs throughout its full picture circle nonetheless, it was coupled to a full body DSLR for our stringent lab exams.

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Canon EOS 77D, 100mm, 1/1000sec, f/four.5 at ISO 800

Results on the wider finish of the zoom present that there’s an enchancment in centre and nook sharpness by stopping the lens down from its most aperture to f/Eight. Sharpness figures on the edge at full telephoto aren’t as excessive as these recorded at 100mm or 200mm. However, centre sharpness at 400mm could be very spectacular, peaking between f/Eight-f/11.

Ultimately, to get the most effective out of the lens at any given focal size, it’s finest to make use of it round f/Eight. There’s the choice to cease the lens down and shoot at apertures smaller than f/22, however as you start to encroach f/16, you’ll start to note a lack of sharpness in pictures resulting from diffraction.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 250mm, 1/3200sec, f/5.6 at ISO 200 – No lens correction utilized

As the take a look at shot of St Paul’s Cathedral illustrates, vignetting is clear when the lens is used at its most aperture on a full-frame DSLR, each at vast and full telephoto lengths. Corner shading turns into much less apparent when the lens is stopped all the way down to an aperture of f/Eight or past.

On crop-sensor cameras, solely the central portion of the lens’ picture circle is used. As such, nook shading is noticeably much less extreme when it’s used on an APS-C digital camera at its most apertures.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 250mm, 1/3200sec, f/5.6 at ISO 200 – Lens correction utilized in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

I used to be left very impressed by the way in which the zoom controls chromatic aberration, with just about no inexperienced or purple fringes of color being observable alongside high-contrast edges.

Canon EOS 77D, 400mm, 1/2000sec, f/6.three at ISO 800

Pincushion distortion is larger at 400mm than it’s at 100mm, however this together with the vignetting at vast apertures is a one-click-fix by inserting a tick within the Enable Profile Corrections field inside the newest up to date variations of Lightroom CC or Camera Raw.

Testing additionally integrated just a few outside exams to measure the effectiveness of the Tamron’s vibration compensation system in real-world use. With VC Mode 1 setup, and the foot of the tripod collar resting within the palm of my hand, I had no problem capturing sharp handheld photographs at round 1/15sec at 100mm. At full telephoto I achieved persistently sharp handheld photographs at 1/80sec.

Two handheld photographs taken seconds aside at 400mm with a 1/80sec shutter pace. The picture on the left was taken with the Vibration Compensation switched off, whereas the picture on the precise was taken with it switched on. The picture on the precise doesn’t endure from handshake.


Our testing revealed that the lens is sharper on the wider finish of the focal size at most aperture, with centre sharpness seeing a substantial enchancment at 400mm by stopping it down from f/6.three to f/Eight.

Corner sharpness figures at 400mm aren’t as excessive as they’re at 100mm or 200mm, however this isn’t sufficient to place you off utilizing the lens on the finish of its zoom vary. Shoot near f/Eight and also you’ll resolve the most effective optical high quality that the lens has to supply.

Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD decision


On an APS-C DSLR such because the Canon EOS 77D, solely the central portion of the lens’ picture circle is used. This means the lens displays much less vignetting than when it’s coupled to a full-frame digital camera.

Pair it with a full-frame DSLR and you may anticipate corners to seem significantly darker than the centre in any respect focal lengths at its widest apertures. To cut back the have an effect on of vignetting, customers can cease the lens all the way down to f/Eight, or take away it simply post-processing by making use of the related lens profile.

Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD nook shading at 100mm, f/four.5

Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD nook shading at 400mm, f/6.three

Curvilinear distortion

Our exams reveal the lens displays barely extra distortion than the Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.three DG OS HSM | C.

Pincushion distortion was measured at zero.7% at 100mm and steadily turns into extra noticeable the additional the zoom is prolonged, with horizontal and vertical strains on the take a look at chart bowing inwards from the sting to the centre.

The excellent news is that pincushion distortion may be mounted simply by making use of the related lens profile in up-t0-date variations of Lightroom CC or Adobe Camera Raw.

Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD @ 100mm, zero.7% TV SMIA

Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD @ 400mm, 1.5% TV SMIA

Why purchase the Tamron 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD?

Tamron has made a formidable and really succesful telephoto zoom with the 100-400mm f/four.5-6.three Di VC USD.

Its dimension, construct high quality and efficiency suggests it is going to be extra of a success with amateurs and aspiring fanatics utilizing APS-C DSLRs than with full-frame DSLR customers. However, I wouldn’t disregard pairing it with the latter when a smaller and lighter tele-zoom is preferable.

The solely factor full-frame customers will wish to pay attention to is making use of lens corrections in put up – a should to get across the situation of heavy vignetting on the edges when it’s used at vast apertures.

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Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD

Sigma missed a trick with its lens by not equipping it with a tripod collar. Tamron hasn’t made the identical mistake and the non-obligatory tripod collar with arca-swiss compatibility is crucial in the event you’d wish to mount it to a tripod.

It’s £199 costlier than its Sigma rival with the tripod collar included, however I’d say that is price paying for higher assist and stability halfway down the barrel.

Overall, this Tamron lens is a high-quality instance of a third-party zoom that delivers good picture high quality throughout a broad telephoto vary. Add its quiet autofocus efficiency and efficient vibration compensation system to the combo and it’s a lens that’s effectively worthy of its excessive advice.

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