Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD review

Tamron's feature-rich new 70-300mm telephoto lens aims to go top of the class

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  • Fast and near-silent USD autofocus, with full-time manual override
  • Very effective 4-stop Vibration Correction
  • Sharp at all but the longest zoom setting


  • Lacks sharpness at 300mm zoom setting with widest f/5.6 aperture
  • £50 more expensive than Sigma's 70-300mm OS lens

Unlike the somewhat basic affair that is the Tamron AF 70-300mm Macro, the new Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD has all the latest bells and whistles, or at least their high-tech, optical equivalents.

Proudly sporting Tamron's Super Performance (SP) badge, the lens is available in Canon, Nikon and Sony fit options, although Vibration Correction is omitted on the Sony version, due to these cameras having built-in sensor-shift stabilisation. We'd have preferred VC to be included on the Sony version, to give a choice of stabilisation methods, as with the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG OS.

Unlike Tamron Di II lenses, which are specifically designed for APS-C cameras, this Digitally Integrated (Di) lens is full-frame compatible, although will usually find its home on an APS-C camera.

For Nikon and Sony camera users, the effective zoom range will be 105-450mm, and 112-480mm on a Canon body.

Based on 17 elements in 12 groups, the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD features both a Low Dispersion (LD) and Extra Low Dispersion (XLD) element to boost image quality and reduce chromatic aberrations, also known as colour fringing.

The nine-blade diaphragm stops down to f/32-45 as you go through the zoom range, whereas the largest available apertures range from f/4-5.6

Advanced features include ring-type ultrasonic autofocus. Like the similar system fitted in the Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED, it's fast, ultra-quiet and comes complete with full-time manual override in single or 'one-shot' autofocus mode.

Because the focus ring doesn't rotate during autofocus, Tamron has positioned it at the rear of the lens within easy reach, and there's a good focus distance scale positioned beneath a viewing window.

The internal focusing mechanism also means that the front element neither extends nor rotates throughout the focus range, which is a bonus when using rotation-specific filters such as a circular polariser or graduated neutral density filter.

The other standout feature is Tamron's Vibration Correction (VC) system - an optical stabiliser that offers 4-stop performance in fending off camera-shake.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Maximum Focal Length300 mm
Minimum Focal Length70 mm
Lens Mount TypeNikon F
Maximum Aperture Wide4
Maximum Aperture Tele5.6
Optical Zoom4.2x
Brand NameTamron
Filter Attachment Diameter62 mm
Lens TypeTelephoto Zoom
Depth142.7 mm

Nikon DSLR Cameras

ManufacturerTamron Co., Ltd
Product ModelA005
Product NameA005 Lens
Manufacturer Part Number5658
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.tamron.com
Marketing Information

This premium, state-of-the-art, telephoto zoom lens is the culmination of decades of outstanding innovation in ultra-long-range zoom optics by Tamron. It provides professional and enthusiast users of full-frame and APS-C format digital SLR cameras with the ultimate in image quality and handling in the telephoto zoom class. Built to exacting SP (Superior Performance) standards, it delivers ultra-high resolution across the image field at all focal lengths, along with the first-ever USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) for extraordinary auto-focusing speed and responsiveness. To assure razor sharp imaging when shooting handheld, the SP 70-300mm incorporates VC (Vibration Compensation), Tamron's exclusive low-friction tri-axial image stabilization system acclaimed for its unsurpassed anti-shake performance.

Weight (Approximate)765 g