And that’s where the Tamron 18-200 mm DiII VC Zoom Lens comes in – and it is fantastic value, currently at around £180. It adds a bit of weight to your camera, but so would most zoom lenses. The auto-focus is reasonably fast, quiet and accurate, and the image stabilisation (VC – Vibration Compensation) is very effective; even at 200mm the image in your viewfinder is totally still. As this isn’t the fastest of lenses (the maximum aperture at 200mm is a measly f6.3) this means that you can get sharper shots from slower shutter speeds than you would expect. As with all lenses, you should consider buying a 62mm UV filter and putting it straight on to protect the glass from scratches.
The results are pretty good – nice and sharp throughout the focal range, although as you would expect, slightly better at the wider end than when zoomed in. The only real negative is that there’s sometimes vignetting at 200mm, but nothing horrendous. These two shots from a summer trip to Windsor are both straight out of the camera and show the lens at both ends of its range (18mm and 200mm).
So all in all the Tamron 18-200 mm DiII VC Zoom Lens isn’t going to compete with a top of the range lens at several times the price, but it can be a useful addition to your kit. It might even make your normal kit lens redundant and stay on the camera most of the time as your day-to-day lens; until you need to put on more specialist glass for specific types of shoot. Here’s some pros and cons:
- Low cost
- Focal range from wide angle to telephoto
- Petal hood and both lens caps included
- Effective VC Image Stabilisation
- 18mm lock (stops the lens from accidentally zooming under its own weight)
- Reasonably sharp images across the full range
- Looks good on your camera!
- Some vignetting at telephoto end
- Adds some additional weight
- Comparatively Narrow maximum aperture – f3.5 at 18mm, f6.3 at 200mm