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I was lucky enough to get my Nikon D70 with the 18-70mm lens kit before the rush started, but immediately needed a longer lens as I do a lot of astronomy and wildlife work. I started off with the Nikon 70-300mm lens, but a) I was never really happy with it anyway, and b) I had to carry two lenses and being stuck in a wheelchair, this was not helping much !
I started to look around for a decent quality, but low priced, all round lens which would do wide angle AND telephoto work. After a couple of false starts, I found the new Tamron 28-300mm lens at College Cameras for only £214, and that included a free Hoya UV filter. It arrived very promptly, and the 18-70mm and 70-300mm were sold on to fund the purchase - I actually ended up in credit as they were so much in demand at the time !
This is a crackingly good quality lens for the price. Itís small, light, easy to use, and it does everything I want it to. I did some comparison tests with the Tamron and the Nikon before I sold it, and posted the results on my new photo website : http://www.harrisphotography.co.uk/test.htm
These tests show that the Tamron gives lower colour fringing and much better lens edge definition than the budget Nikon and the price difference is quite apparent here (Nikon £90 ish, Tamron £240 ish) - you really DO get what you pay for. This actually makes me wonder how good some of those really, REALLY expensive lenses must be :-)
One of the other features I like is the internal rotation for focusing - this means that (unlike the Nikon) the end of the lens body does not rotate when you adjust the focus or zoom. With a Cokin P type filter holder in place this makes a BIG difference to the ease of use for the Tamron.
The XR stands for Extra Reflective, and along with various other acronyms, Tamron are trying to show that this lens is a bit like Nikonís DX or ED series - in simple terms itís just a more transparent glass, allowing more light through with less colour abberation, and it shows up very nicely in this lens. However, for low light work, the autofocus of my Nikon D70 struggles just a little on the odd occasion (more of a problem with the D70 than this lens, I suspect), but most of my low light work is astronomy at infinity focus anyway, so no real problems here. Also the AF is much slower than the Nikon DX or the Canon USM lenses Iíve seen recently, but not too slow that is causes any missed shots. I can still catch bees in mid flight !
With a range from f3.5 to f22 at 28mm and F6.3 to f40 at 300mm, it offers a surprisingly wide selection of depth of field views. Focus range is excellent too at a minimum of only 49cm, with a macro ratio of 1:2.9 - this has enabled me to continue with one of my other favourite subjects, close-up work (insects, bugs, flowers etc).
One other nice feature is the Zoom Lock, which does just that - it locks the zoom part of the barrel so that the lens doesnít start poking out under its own weight (not that mine does anyway). Good if you need to keep it in a small bag as I do. Just another comfort feature, and quite useful.
Length is a very compact 84mm (even smaller than the Nikon 70-300mm) and total weight is a very light 420gms (14 ounces). The construction comprises 15 elements in 13 groups, with a 62mm filter thread rounding off the mechanical attributes.
With fittings for Canon, Nikon, Minolta and Pentax, this is one of the most exciting new lenses to come out of Tamron for a long time. 10/10 for this one !
My mainly Tamron based image collection is located at my photo pages here : http://www.harrisphotography.co.uk/Album/index.htm with some more recent images also uploaded to ePhotozineís site here : http://www.ephotozine.com/user.cfm?user=23174
UK distributors : http://www.intro2020.co.uk/tamron16.html
I bought mine from : http://www.collegecameras.co.uk/Products.asp?ProductID=317 for £214 inc free Hoya filter.
Pictures of Tamron 28-300mm Ultra Zoom Lens XR
Dragonfly + Poppies closup, caught within 2 seconds of seeing it !