Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Price, Review, Specifications & Features

It’s big on reach but small in weight. Measuring 199mm in length and weighing 1.1kg, the Tamron is easily manageable for a super-telephoto zoom, and light enough to use for prolonged periods of handheld shooting. As usual for this type oflens, its length nearly doubles when zooming to th

Posted March 3,2018 in Science and Technology.

Jim Greaves
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Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Price, Review, Specifications & Features

Despite the reasonable asking price, build quality is excellent. The main section of the outer barrel is made from magnesium alloy, and the lens features weather seals and a fluorine coating on the front element. Nanostructure coatings are used to minimize ghosting and flare, while an LD (Low Dispersion) element is included to boost sharpness and reduce colour fringing. 

Handling is very refined, with a smooth-action, precision feel to the zoom and focus rings. Our review sample didn’t suffer from any zoom creep whatsoever, but a zoom lock switch is fitted nonetheless. Additional switches are on hand for dual-mode VC (Vibration Compensation), featuring static and panning stabilization options, and for AF/MF/Limit. This is cleverly implemented, the Limit position enabling the opposite sector of the autofocus range to be locked out, depending on whether a short or long focus distance is in use when the switch is activated. 

The autofocus system itself is of the ring-type ultrasonic variety, which can be something of a mixed bag in terms of speed and quietness. In this case, though, thanks in part to dual microprocessors and built-in digital signal processing, the lens is capable of astonishingly fast autofocus, and it’s whisper quiet as well. As usual with ring-type ultrasonic systems, you also get the benefits of manual focus override and a focus distance scale beneath a viewing panel.

Specifications

  • Full-frame compatible Yes
  • Effective focal length (DX) 150-600mm
  • Image Stabilizer Yes
  • Minimum focus distance 1.5m
  • Max magnification factor 0.28x
  • Manual focus override Yes
  • Focus limit switches Yes
  • Internal zoom No
  • Internal focus Yes
  • Filter size 67mm Iris blades 9
  • Weather seals Yes
  • Supplied accessories Hood
  • Dimensions 86x199mm
  • Weight 1115g
  • Price £790/$800

Performance

Helped by a highly competent stabilizer, which gave an effectiveness of around four stops in our tests, the Tamron delivers brilliantly sharp handheld shots. While the autofocus system is extremely fast, it’s also consistently accurate and dependable. 

In terms of sharpness, the Tamron beats not only Sigma’s competing 100-400mm lens, but also Nikon’s pricier 80-400mm VR and 200-500mm VR lenses – which is no mean feat.

Contrast is very good throughout the zoom range, even when shooting at the widest available apertures. As usual for current super-tele zooms, the widest aperture on offer at the long end of the zoom range is f/6.3. Having said that, the lens is still able to autofocus with Tamron’s 1.4x teleconverter, provided you’re using a Nikon camera body that supports autofocus at f/8.

Features

  • A fluorine coating is applied to the front element to repel water and grease.
  • The main section of the outer barrel is made from magnesium alloy.
  • The zoom lock switch can only be engaged at the shortest zoom setting.
  • Dual-mode stabilization comes with a switch for selecting static and panning options.
  • The autofocus range limiter can be used at both short and long focus distances.
  • An optional tripod mounting collar (£110/$130) fits to the rear section of the barrel.
  • The mounting plate has a rubber weather-seal gasket.