The Tamron 70-300mm VC USD Tele Zoom Lens Is On My Radar

There is something on my radar, it’s  the Tamron 70-300mm VC USD tele zoom lens. I made some important purchased over the last months, that means my piggy bank suffered a little bit but that’s why you have a piggy bank or better two. One of my piggy banks is for livelihood, because you never know if there will be unexpected costs, I usually don’t touch that one unless I have to. But I have another one for pure luxury, that’s the one that suffered, but there is still a decent amount left over in it, and I might be able to fulfill one of my wishes. One of my wishes is that I want to have a little bit more focal length when it comes to photography. I am still happy with my Nikon 18-105 mm lens, despite the negative reviews, I still think it’s a good lens for everyday situations, really.

However, photography is a complex subject, and if you are interested in it, you will most likely feel the need to discover some other gadgets at some point. Macro lenses and tele lenses are two gadget that I would like to own at some point. But, my kit lens taught me what I am up to when it comes to photography. I noticed that a massive amount of my photos are taken at 105mm, and not only this, a big percentage of my uploaded photos are heavily cropped with Photoshop or Lightroom. I think I need more focal length, to be able to zoom more, and to be able to crop from another focal length to get even closer to my subjects.

It’s not the first time I researched about tele lenses, I started to inform myself about everything related to photography before I purchased my first DSLR camera. Later when I started to read about tele lenses, I literally got a punch in the face, because good tele lenses can cost you a four digits amount, or if you have extravagant wishes, you will also find lenses that could cost you five digits amount. Let’s be real, I might be able to afford a thousand dollar lens at some point in my life, maybe when I saved new money and after I sold previously used gear that will not be needed anymore due to an upgrade, but everything else is just unrealistic anyway. The big question was, what kind of tele lens would I be able to afford without breaking my neck? I started to read about 300mm lenses.

Of course, you might always demand more focal length, but 300mm is more than the 105mm of my kit lens, and 300mm seems to be within my budget. I researched about Nikon, Tamron and Sigma lenses, some of them offer super low-budget lenses, but then you notice that some very important features are missing. Tamron for example offers the 70-300mm lens without image stabilization, you get that lens for 100 Euro, but it’s an old one, and not only this, the missing vibration compensation feature as they call it, would force me to always use a tripod.  My budget allows a little bit more anyway, I researched further but I noticed that the newer Tamron’s 70-300mm with Image Stabilization (VC) and Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) would be well within my budget. I compared that lens to equivalent lenses of Nikon and Sigma, but the price-performance of the Tamron lens is just good. That’s the lens I have on my radar since some days.

It seems the equivalent Sigma lenses are not as good, or not similar to what I am looking for, that’s my impression after reading so many reviews, watching YouTube product videos, checking out photos taken with the lenses. Nikon has one equivalent lens that would cost almost the same amount of money (AF-S DX NIKKOR 55–300 mm), but the lens is not as good either. Then Nikon has another equivalent lens (AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70–300 mm), this lens is better or as good as the Tamron lens as it seems, but the lens would cost at least twice as much if not more. So, there are some factors I did take into account, and one factor is the price-performance. That’s basically how I got the idea to purchase that lens, although I didn’t do it yet.

After researching, I would agree that the Tamron lens is a good one, but I would be interested to test the lens in the store to get my own impression. But during my research I spotted several issues with the lens too. If you ask me, I think the lens is producing a very edgy and strange bokeh in several cases if there is a lot going on in the background, I don’t know. I downloaded several images that were taken with that lens and when you crop the images, there is a lot of image noise, I don’t even have that much noise with my 18-105mm lens, if at all. It seems that this Tamron lens is good up to 250mm but the 300mm images show some problems. The aperture of F/4-5.6 is no real problem, my kit lens is not better either, especially at 105mm, and if you want it better, you will pay more money. The filter size is a bigger problem. The Tamron filter size is 62mm, and my 18-105mm lens has 67mm filter size, and that would mean I need adapters or individual filters for both of them.

I read about the products since several days, it might happen that I purchase the Tamron lens, I am just not sure yet. I prefer to sleep over my decisions until I am perfectly sure. At the end I want to post two images. They are the same and I took the original with my kit lens at 105mm. With one image I am far away from a gull, that’s the original image taken at 105mm. The other image is the cropped version, the subject is closer because I cropped it to around 1/9 in the middle with the help of the Lightroom rule of thirds grid, because I have read that this should be the equivalent crop as if I would have used a 300mm focal length, in theory.

I am not really sure if this math is right, as said, I just have found this formula in a forum. But if the 300mm lens would bring me that much closer without cropping and without quality loss, I could still crop again at 300mm and that would bring me even closer to the subject, if I need to do this with one image. That’s why I think the Tamron lens would be the low-budget solution to give me a little bit more range, and that within my budget. I am aware that it won’t do wonders, but it might bring me a little bit closer to birds and other things, at least a little bit. What do you think? Do you have experience with the mentioned lens or do you have any suggestions and thoughts? Feel free to drop a comment!

3 thoughts on “The Tamron 70-300mm VC USD Tele Zoom Lens Is On My Radar

  1. HI Dennis, it is a struggle isn’t it. So many options, so many opinions, and only so much moola in the piggybank!

    i must admit to being in a similar situation, I’m lusting somewhat inelegantly over the Nikon 200-500mm 🙂

    I think your math is close enough not to be too fussed. Like you, I think the kit lenses (and I haven’t used the 18-105, but have had a couple of the 18-135 over the years) by and large deliver a lot for a small price. Unless it turns into a business, and you get the Nat Geo contract, the really heavy expensive glass are not going to give a 50% improvement in picture making.

    I had a 70-300mm vr from Nikon for awhile. I’m a bird photographer, so in the end the limitations, (slow max aperture mostly) as I shoot lots in a grey overcast forest, was a bit much for the lens. But when it worked well it was a great result. So you should be more than happy with the Tamron. (I had a 200-500 Tamron when I started. Not great, but a pretty good into into the bird photography lane.)

    Another thing you might consider is shooting the D7100 on the 1.3x crop. It will give you a bit of an idea what the narrower angle lens will be. I use it that way a lot, as let’s face it, a lot of times, I just crop the pixels away in post anyway.

    Good luck with it, be pleased to hear how your results come up.


    1. Hey David 🙂 Yes, struggle is the right word for it 😀 It can give you headache… As you said, there are so many possibilities, and money is a topic too, there are questions like “Waiting some more months to get into another price class?” or “Starting out with what I can afford now?”. It seems a lot of people struggle with it, I almost laughed when I saw forum posts where people said things like “You can never have enough focal length” or “Next you want a faster lens” and so on. It seems we got into an expansive hobby, didn’t we? 😀

      About the kit lenses, I do agree. I bought the D7100 as kit, when the D7200 came out, because the price of the D7100 was then delicious for a starter like me. Everyone in the web said “Skip any kit lens”. I didn’t and don’t understand why people say that. Of course, I get the point that there is much better glass, but these kit lenses are not as bad as many people say. I could learn with the lens where I am heading to, a lot of 18mm or rather 105mm or inbetween? It’s a fine lens to start shooting and learning about the camera and about your demands. It’s like with every hobby, as you said until it turns into a business. As a guitar player, I could suggest someone to purchase a $2000 guitar, there are well-made ones and it’s a dream to play on them, however, I started with a $150 guitar or so, demanded more and switched to better ones. I still would suggest a low-budget guitar, because anything pricier will not make a beginner learn faster, they still could give up to learn.

      I liked the review of the 70-300mm Nikon, I would choose this one. Generally I’d like to stay with Nikon to prevent the filter size mess, or the problem that I might not be able to use converters with Tamron… but it wouldn’t be a good idea anyway with F/4-5.6 I guess. However, the 70-300mm Nikon was on the list for some reasons, but it would mean saving a little more. The slow max aperture drives me nuts too with all those “cheaper” lenses, it seems you need to drop much more money if you want it faster and longer.

      I believe I tried the crop, but the viewinder still did show me the normal picture when I remember right, that confused me. I will try it again in the field. I do agree, I do crop the heck out of my photos a lot too in post.

      I will sleep some nights over my decision, thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.