There is one thing that the Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD does better than any other lens on the market, and that is offer a seriously impressive zoom range in a relatively compact form factor. I found it hard not to love and respect the lens for this feature alone because, for many shooters who have been craving some extra zoom from their one-lens kit, this is the only option available. Tamron has managed to bring the lens’s design into the modern day with some useful specs and functions that will make taking pictures easier and more enjoyable.
Designed for APS-C format Canon and Nikon DSLRs, this lens offers an incredible 28.8-640mm or 27-600mm equivalent focal length, respectively. Now, I must admit that even though I love my primes, it’s hard not to enjoy going so quickly from wide-angle to super-telephoto perspectives with the twist of a wrist. I do have to go into detail about the optics, however, as while it did impress me with the range, there were obviously some tradeoffs made when it came to making it work in such a small design. I noticed it was a bit soft wide open and being so dark makes it difficult to stop down unless it’s a bright day. This lens will be great for travelers, though, who will take their cameras out for a stroll on a nice day and want to make sure they can capture those scenic landscapes and faraway details without stuffing their day pack full of glass.
One thing to look out for during shooting is distortion, because the lens tends to display noticeable pincushion effect, even at the more "normal" focal lengths. Also, something I noticed was that the lens tends to have dull or under-saturated colors, but this is not a huge issue since most editing programs can fix this quickly with the use of a single slider. I found it is well designed to be slung over a shoulder, and I experienced very little zoom creep as I walked around New York City with the lens on my camera. Also, a zoom lock switch is available for moments when you aren’t using the lens and want to make sure it doesn’t accidentally get bumped out of place. It is made of a durable plastic that kept the overall weight down, something appreciated for a zoom like this, and the rubberized zoom ring is large and easy to grip.
One thing that surprised me was that the focusing ring had hard stops, something increasingly difficult to come by these days, but it did have an incredibly short throw, not exactly ideal for precision at longer focal lengths. One very thoughtful feature is the close minimum focus distance of 17.7", resulting in a magnification ratio of 1:2.9, meaning that unless you do macro all the time, this lens may satisfy close-up photography needs, as well. Autofocus was generally reliable and I was satisfied in its ability to lock accurately onto the subject. At longer focal lengths, it started to slow down a bit, but that I would mostly attribute to the dimmer aperture the camera must work with than a fault with the AF system. The vibration compensation was greatly appreciated at longer focal lengths because it stabilized the image noticeably. It is almost mandatory once you reach the super telephoto focal lengths.
All-in-ones are generally designed with one main goal in mind: have the widest-ranging zoom range possible. The Tamron 18-400mm certainly excels here, boasting a focal-length range unmatched by any other optic. There were some compromises made to reach this goal, which can show through in some images, but that isn't really the point of a lens like this—and modern lens design makes this an improvement over the kit lenses of just a decade ago. I will say it is perfect for travelers, families, and even social media aficionados who will take the images from their camera and quickly throw them up on Instagram or Facebook to share with their friends. In these cases, the purpose of the camera isn't to generate the sharpest, most colorful, or technically perfect imagery, the aim is to capture the moment for later, and having this zoom range ensures that you will always have the tools to make the shot. You really can't beat the Tamron when it comes to convenience and compactness for the almost absurd focal lengths it offers.
Could you make great use of a lens like this one? Let us know your opinions in the Comments section, below.
I would like to use this lens for most of my general photography with my Nikon D7500 but I almost always use fill flash (SB600). I have yet to find any reviewer giving details of this lens with flash. Compatibility with Nikon CLS?
Yes, you may use the Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Flash as a fill-flash while using the Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens for Nikon F on the Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera. You may use Nikon Creative Lighting System with the Nikon D7500 and the Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens for Nikon F.
I received the Tamron 18-400mm lens for Christmas. I’m using it on my Nikon d500 dslr. I’ve been testing it and all of the photos except maybe 5% are out of focus. I’ve tried it with different focus settings and on a monopod. It’s just not giving acceptable photos. What am I doing wrong. This is the first Lens I’ve had this issue with.
We’re sorry to hear that you’re having trouble. What I would recommend in this case is to e-mail some examples of the photos to email@example.com so we can investigate this issue further.
Hi I have Sony Alpha 6000 , can I find similar lens like Tamron 18-400 for my camera?
The Tamron 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di III-A VC VXD Lens for Sony E, BH # TA18300SE would be the closest equivalent for the Sony E mount cameras like the A6000.
I'm leaning towards purchasing a Canon EOS 90D and I'm torn over whether to get this lens or not. While the customer ratings seem good, the more "professional" reviews seem to not like the image quality that much and I'm wondering why the disparity? Is it that while the image quality doesn't hold up to professional photographer standards (maybe for things like enlargements) the deficiencies fall below what an average/casual photographer would notice?
Although the Tamron 18-400mm has much to offer in terms of focal length as well as image stabilization, some might find it to be less useful in low light. This is due in part of it lacking a larger and constant maximum aperture. However if the lens will be used in mainly bright conditions where the wide to telephoto range would be most important, it perform just fine for the average/casual photographer.
Can Tamron 18-400mm lens be used on Sony a7r IV?
While it is possible to adapt a Tamron 18-400mm lens to the Sony A7R IV, using this lens would cause vignetting in the frame and a loss of resolution. This is due in part to this lens being for an APS-C type sensor. Tamron does have their Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Lens for Sony E, which is optimized for a full frame sensor like the one in the A7R IV.
I have had this lens for almost 2 weeks now. Although my use has been limited, I've noticed serious lens creep when hanging downward to check the shot. It seems to start around 70mm and drops to 200mm. Is this an expected occurrence? Is this a defect that would encourage a replacement? Thanks
It is common for lenses of this type to creep down, so it is completely normal. Tamron added a lock switch on the barrel to help with this issue.
Can you send me the exact model or link of the adaptor you used for this? i have an A6500 as well but at 400mm it focus hunts using Viltrox Adapter.
The exact model I used isn't available anymore, but I would recommend the Metabones:
I just returned from 3 weeks in canada and usa using a tamron 100-409 f4.5-6.3 hand holding the lens on a nikon d7200. I was disappointed by the iso despite being low like 400 to 1000 in daylight shots visible in photos not blown up. Does the 18-400 tamron have the same issue? I am sick of carrying multiple lens but am worried the 400mm 6.3 will be too noisy.
Digital noise in images is a byproduct of the sensor and electronics inside your camera and of the ISO setting you use, not of the lens you use on the camera. While a lens' maximum aperture may influence your decision as to which ISO to use to obtain a proper exposure for your shooting conditions, the lens' aperture in and of itself will not have much affect to the digital noise you see in the image. As both the Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens for Nikon F and the Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens for Nikon F have the same f/6.3 maximum aperture at the 400mm telephoto focal length setting, the digital noise you see in the image should be similar if you are using the same exposure settings (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed). The 100-400mm lens may have slightly more improved image quality and may be slightly sharper compared to the 18-400mm lens (I have not seen comparative testing on the lens' chromatic aberration, distortion, or vignetting performance for comparison), but otherwise, digital noise performance should appear similar between the two aforementioned lenses. If you do not want to carry multiple lenses, the 18-400mm lens would be more beneficial for your shooting needs, but to use a lower ISO for better low-light performance and/or less digital noise, you would need a lens with a brighter maximum aperture. Unfortunately, most all-in one zoom lenses have a floating aperture range of f/3.5-5.6, f/3.5-6.3 or similar.
is it weather resistant?
Yes, the Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD lens is weather-sealed. Tamron's website states that the lens has moisture-resistant construction and leak-proof seals throughout the lens barrel to help protect the lens when shooting outdoors.
Can we used this lens for canon C200 ?
You can use the Tamron 18-400mm lens for Canon EF with the Canon C200.
I am really impressed with this lens. Mom and I shoot side by side with this Tamron and my Canon 100-400 on the Canon 80D. We mainly shoot birds. I rarely see any difference in the pictures, but the difference in weight, the versatility to shoot closer with the Tamron, not to mention the price difference sold me on taking the Tamron when I travel. Love it.
Hi, first photo in this article show lens at sony camera, probally using adapter.
What happens if autofocus and lens performance in this configuration ??
How does the 16-300 compare to the 18-400, as far as image quality and sharpness?
I am thinking the wide angle end of the 16-300 would be more useful to me.
I am thinking of a new canon 80D , will the Tamron 18/400 work on this camera ?
Hi Frank, the 80D should work perfectly with this lens.
This lens cannot be used on the Canon 5D Mark IV? When will they have one for this camera?
This lens is designed for APS-C cameras, not full-frame like the 5D Mark IV, so they won't have an 18-400mm for the 5D, but they do have some other all-in-one options already like their 28-300mm for Canon EF that you should check out.
I already have that one.
I also have the 28-300, but want the 18-400, if only for its zoom range. I also have a full complement of L glass, and only want either of these two lenses for travel or at quick/non critical times. Another store has a super sale, so I think I'll get it and sell the 28-300, which is almost new and cost me a mere $300.
How does the sharpness compare to the previous 16-300 mm offering?
If the extra reach of 400 mm isn’t of interest, which is sharper, does that change the answer?
I don't have a 16-300mm on hand to direct compare, but Tamron claims improved image quality with this model.
Please add the Pentax adapter so I can purchase this lens.
Being a Pentax user, I feel the same way. From what I have seen, Tamron is abandoning Pentax for the most part. Doesn't pay to make an additional mount for a camera brand that while excellent, does not sell in large numbers. For the cost of a decent adapter which allows electronic connection between the camera and lens, you might as well buy an entry level "canikon" body to go along with it.
Bought this lens about a month ago. Tested it the next day on the spur-of-the-moment for what I thought would a 15-minute walk in the park. Well,,,,,,,,,,,2 hours later, I was still shooting. Absolutely blown away. Had it on a Canon 7DMII. Took macro and zoomed shots. Not like my Canon 70-200 2.8L II, but definitely worth having. When I tried to purchase this lens (Tamron 18-400), all the majors suppliers were sold out with extensive back orders. I checked Best Buy, and lo-and-behold, they had just 1......... I snatched it up and haven't looked back since. I find this lens to be quite flexible and I enjoy the hell out of it. YOU WILL TOO.
Good article Shawn. You covered pretty much the pros and cons. I have gone through all variations of this Tamron class lens, starting with the original 18-270, graduating to the 16-300, and having purchased the 18-400 when it became available a few months ago. I use it with my Canon 7D. The number one thing I would stress is that this really IS a GREAT lens for travel. I live in Alaska, and shoot mostly landscapes and wildlife. It works great for those, but will also fit the bill just fine for people. Like Shawn, I love my primes, but if you're hiking or traveling and just want to carry ONE lens, this would be very tough to beat. It's not the best for all applications, but no one lens really is. To cover the most possibilities with the least amount of glass though, this is the one.
How does the 16-300 compare to the 18-400 in terms of image quality and sharpness?
I think I would get more use out of the 16 wide angle end than I would the 400 telephoto end.
But the 16-300 is an older lens so that worries me.
Any indication if the Canon version will work with the Canon M5, using the ef-m to ef/ef-s Canon adapter.
I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work with that adapter, especially since it would be a Canon to Canon connection and should communicate without issue via the adapter.
The reason I ask is that the Tamron 16-300 Canon mount does not work fully...it only works manual focus mode
UPDATE: Bought the lens....and YES, it works with the Canon M5 (using the Canon EF-M to EF-S) adapter BTW, sp does the Tamron 150-600 G2 lens. had the same issue with the older 150-600....it would only work in Manual focus mode.
Thank you for checking this and letting us know! This is great information.
I guess it shoud work with Canon M6 as well, right?
Yup. Should be the same deal as the M5.
Is this Tamron 18-400 Lens available for Panasonic Lumix Mirrorless camera?
It is not available for Micro Four Thirds, but you could try an auto adapter from Nikon F or Canon EF to MFT to regain most functionality. Note that this lens will not work properly without electronic communication via the adapter so all manual adapters won't be ideal.
This lens means possibilities. When my carry-on camera bag exceeded the 8Kg limit for international flight I knew that I would not be able to take either my 70-200mm f/2.8 or my 150-600mm zoom lens. As my trip overseas began shortly after release of the Tamrom 18-400mm, I bought one and used it for two weeks with my Canon EOS 7D Mark II. I was skeptical but hopeful that my photos would be acceptible, at least. While the vibration control stutters a bit, the lens was a pleasure to use. Photos exceed my expectations. They aren't outstandingly sharp, but they are sufficient for some large displays and prints after cropping. It's has become my walk-around lens and a keeper.
No Pentax version? I have the old 28~300mm analog version. Good lens on APSC Pentaxes.
This is an Tamron APS_C lens, The Tamron full frame 28-300 is even better, but Sony and all 3rd party Lens makers has abandond the Sony A frame.....The tamron full frame 28-300 becomes a a 42-450 on a APS-C Sony or Nikon frame camera .....The actual power of the Tamron 18-400mm is 27-600mm, while the Tamron full frame is either a 28-300mm lens or a 42-450mm lens, this depends on weather it is used on a full frame or APS-C frame camera body...I guess what i am saying is that the tamron full frame 28-300mm lens is a much better lens and all the the manufacturers are sharing with us is advertising bullshit since you can buy the tamron 28-300 full frame lens for under $500.00, they dropped the price from $849.00 not long ago to set up this scam.......The latest version of the Tamron 28-300mm f3.5 is the best all in one lens on the market and it is also made for the Sony A Mount which Sony abandoned and screwed all their customers......Sony put out the best full frame camera, a9911 which is a full frame A Mount body and at the same time halted the production of all future quality A Mount Lenses....NICE MOVE SONY, AND THEY GOT THE DUMMY 3RD PARTY LENS MAKERS TO FOLLOW THEIR LEAD!......I am not saying the Tamron 18-400 lens is not any good, i am saying that what Tamron is saying along with all their funky so called experts are sayong is advertising nonsense.......
"Tamron full frame is either a 28-300mm lens or a 42-450mm lens, this depends on weather" is really hard to believe…
C'mon, you are being sarcastic yes? He means whether you shoot on APC or Full Frame....