Tamron AF28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di

Tamron 28-300This is Tamron’s updated version of the 28-300mm XR lens that covers a large, 10.7x zoom range. The update to Di, (Digitally integrated) includes a new coating on the rear element to cut down the reflective problems associated with digital sensors. We have a look here at how it performs on a Digital SLR.


• Focal length 28-300mm
• Aperture f/3.5-6.3
• Angle of view 75-8°
• Filter size / type 62mm
• Construction Elements/groups 15 elements in 13 groups
• Focusing type Internal
• Closest focus 0.49m
• Weight 0.42kg
• Dimensions (Dia x length) 73x83.7mm
• Mounts available Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta
• Tripod bush No
• Price £300

Build and handling
This lens is surprisingly similar to the new 18-200mm Di II lens tested here. The construction, size and weight are almost the same, with this example being just 25g heavier. The same ‘Russian doll’ type of extending barrel mechanism moves the front element forward some 80mm on this occasion. The front element again does not rotate and the zoom lock is similarly mounted on the zoom ring. With this lens, however, it was a useful addition as the front element did extend as I walked around with the camera on a strap.

The apparent similarities are not surprising, as this lens was originally designed to cover a similar range on 35mm full fame cameras. It can still do so, as well a being a handy standard to ultra-telephoto lens that is still light enough to use as a walkabout lens when fitted on a crop dSLR! Add to that Tamron’s claim that it is a macro lens, which, although not true in the proper sense, does mean that it has a close focus capability, and it does have some attractive points.

The zoom ring markings, at 28, 35, 50, 70, 100, 135, 200 and 300mm and a slightly coarser pattern on the two control rings are the only difference between the two lenses in the closed position, so I won’t go through it again.

Optical Quality
This is normally where these ‘super-zooms’ are let down, although this one has a little surprise in store. The compromises required to produce a lens with these lightweight characteristics and enormous range makes the optical engineering difficult, to say the least, but Tamron have done a fair job on this one.

Nearly all of these types of lens get worse as they get longer, and this is no exception. However, this lens starts from a much higher threshold than it’s younger brother, producing very acceptable results at the wide end. Unfortunately it has lost all of this zip by the time it reaches its longer limit. Throughout the range, chromatic aberrations were a concern where contrasty subjects were encountered, although flare and ghosting did not prove a problem, even with strong backlighting.

Distortions are kept down to mild barrel at the short end, going on to a slightly more severe pincushion at the long end. As usual, the lens is neutral through the mid range. Neither end is problematic with a little play in the editing suit though.

Shields and Oars. 300mm, 1/400sec at f/8

Close, but not Macro! 300mm, 1/200sec at f/8.

Begging Lemur 300mm, 1/250sec at f/8

Waterfall 28mm 1/25sec at f/11.

Wide open in poor light. 300mm, 1/10sec at f/6.3.

Click on each of the comparison photos below to view full size versions

Set at 28mm and f/8

Set at 300mm and f/8

Set at 28mm and f/6.3

Set at 300mm and f/6.3

Below is our lens test data. To find out how to use this graph look at this article: How we test lenses

This lens was designed to cope wit most situations in the days of full frame 35mm film, but now, on a cropped dSLR, acts as a standard to long telephoto zoom. The close focusing ability helps in a number of areas to make it a useful lens where weight or dust is a problem. The range does save changing lenses every couple of minutes. Good at the wide end, it does fall away considerably at the long end.

In summary the main positive points of the Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di are:
Light weight
Wide zoom range
Performance at the short end

Negative points are:
Chromatic aberration
Long end fall-off
Zoom creep

Check the latest price of the Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di here

Test by Ian Andrews www.wildaboutkent.co.uk

Add your message

Login required
Please login here or if you've not registered, you can register here. Registering is safe, quick and free.