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Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Review

Introduction

The Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD is an ultra-wide-angle to telephoto zoom lens designed for APS-C crop sensor DSLRs. Boasting a 35mm focal range of 28.8-640mm and features such as a new HLD (High/Low torque-modulated Drive) focus motor for fast and quiet AF operation, full-time Manual Focus override, Tamron’s exclusive VC (Vibration Compensation) technology to combat motion blur (which corrects for up to 2.5 stops of camera shake), moisture resistant construction, and a 45cm minimum focus distance and a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:2.9. The Tamron 16-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD costs £529 / $649 and is available in Canon, Nikon and Sony fit. The Sony model comes without the VC image stabiliser because Sony cameras already have it built into the camera body.

Ease of Use

The Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD is fairly light considering the massive 22x zoom range on offer, weighing in at 710g. It certainly doesn’t feel too weighty in the hand and proved to be well balanced on the Canon EOS 80D that we tested it with. The lens extends by an extra 10.5cm when fully zoomed out to 400mm, though, which does make it quite conspicuous.

There’s a distance scale that runs from the closest distance of 45cm to infinity, but no depth of field scale. The rear element is surrounded by a metal lens mount and hides 16 elements in 11 groups. There are seven aperture blades for the aperture range which has a minimum of f/22-f/40.

Towards the rear of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens are three switches. The first is a simple lock to keep the lens at 18mm to prevent zoom creep when the lens isn’t being used.

The other two switches are to toggle the AF/MF and VC on/off. The AF/MF switch on the side of the lens makes it easy to switch between the two focusing systems.

Vibration Compensation is Tamron’s version of an image stabiliser, an important feature given the massive focal length on offer. In practice we found it offered around 2.5 f-stops of compensation, obviously dependant upon your own particular hand-holding technique, making it easier to use the lens in low-light.

It’s an active type that will visibly steady the shot in the lens for you to see. It does that for around a second after you’ve locked focus before resetting. Tamron claim that their VC system is lighter and smaller thanks to a complete reversal in how the system operates. Usually IS uses magnets attached to the IS lens element with electromagnetic coils. Tamron’s system is attached directly to the lens element.

The lens is supplied with lens caps and a petal-shaped lens hood – there’s no bag included. The filter size is 72mm.

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens attached to the Canon EOS 80D

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens attached to the Canon EOS 80D

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens attached to the Canon EOS 80D

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens attached to the Canon EOS 80D

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens alongside the Canon EOS 80D

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe side of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe side of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD, extended to 400mm

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe front of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe rear of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe side of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe side of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD in-hand

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDThe Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD with the supplied lens hood fitted

Focal Range

The focal range of the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD is extremely broad for a single lens. It’s possible to encompass a large amount of photographic styles when using a lens such as this.

At 18mm, the field of view is 75°33′, which is the same as that of a 28.8mm lens on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDField of view at 18mm

At the 400mm end, the angle of view is 4°, which is the same as that of a 640mm lens on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDField of view at 400mm

Auto-focusing

The Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD features a new HLD (High/Low torque-modulated Drive) that allows near-silent auto-focusing. Importantly, this solution allows instant manual override even when the focus mode switch is in the AF position. In use, we found the focusing to be indeed very quiet, and pretty fast – but definitely not instantaneous – with the lens mounted on a Canon EOS 80D body.

Chromatic Aberrations

The Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD does suffer from chromatic aberrations, as shown in the following 100% crop examples.

Vignetting and Distortion

With the Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD wide open, you can see some very noticeable light fall-off in the corners throughout the zoom range. Stopping down helps, although to completely get rid of this phenomenon, you will need to use an f-stop of f/8 or smaller. There’s also some very obvious barrel distortion at the 18mm setting.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USDVignetting at 18mm

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USDVignetting at 400mm

Macro

The Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD has a closest focusing distance of 45cm / 17.72in and a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.9 at the 400mm focal length, so it doubles up as quite a handy telephoto macro lens.

Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLDClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the AF 16-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens, Tamron have employed an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades, which has resulted in quite nice bokeh in our view. We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included some 100% crops for your perusal.

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Thank you for your interest to visit this page Tamron 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Review. I hope this review can be an additional reference for you.

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