Lens Review – Tamron 18-200 mm DiII VC Zoom

Don’t for one minute think that you can buy this and get rid of all your existing lenses! But this would be a great choice as a replacement ‘kit lens’ so that when you’re out and about, you won’t miss out on a shot because you’re fishing around in your bag to put a different lens on your camera!  If you’re on a portrait shoot, of course you’ll still use a higher quality shorter lens if you have one – and for sport or wildlife photography, you’d still want the best quality telephoto lens on your camera that you can afford, but if you’re out taking some landscape shots in the countryside and suddenly you need to zoom into some wildlife, this is the kind of lens you want, at minimum cost.
photography - zoom lens on DSLR camera
Tamron 18mm-200mm Zoom Lens on Entry Level Canon DSLR
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).

wildlife photography - swan taken with DSLR camera
Taken at full zoom 200mm
Town photography - taken with DSLR camera
Taken at wide angle 18mm

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:

PROS

  • 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!

CONS

  • Some vignetting at telephoto end
  • Adds some additional weight
  • Comparatively Narrow maximum aperture – f3.5 at 18mm, f6.3 at 200mm
Please Note: It sounds obvious, but when buying any third-party lens make sure it is compatible with your camera.  The Tamron 18-200 mm DiII VC is available to fit  Nikon, Canon and Sony cameras, so make sure you get the right one!

Paul Wilson

I am a freelance photographer, video-maker and blogger based in Surrey, UK. I've been taking photos for years - you know those days you've heard about when you actually used to put film in your camera then waited for your photos to come back from the developer!

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