Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III Overview: Not Your Common All-In-One


At first look, the Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD looks as if Frankenstein’s monster of lenses. Tremendous-telephoto lenses that present a comparatively large focal size are unusual and usually terrible. Making a lens with such a variety of focal lengths is sophisticated, but Tamron made one which performs properly throughout the zoom vary.

Often, all-in-one zoom lenses sacrifice picture high quality at one finish of the zoom vary for higher high quality on the different. Usually, neither the large nor the telephoto size produce spectacular photos. The Tamron 50-400mm doesn’t sacrifice picture high quality at any focal size, it outperforms most different lenses in a shocking class as properly— it has unimaginable macro efficiency. It is without doubt one of the greatest macro lenses I’ve ever used, which make it all of the extra compelling.

Picture high quality is superb all-around, the autofocus performs properly, and the scale and weight don’t make it cumbersome. This lens has largely execs and only a few cons, and at $1,300, it’s a lens that fanatic photographers and videographers ought to significantly contemplate including to their digicam bag.

Construct High quality and Options

The Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD is an enthusiast-level lens. There may be a number of plastic within the 50-400mm design, which makes it loads lighter than a extra “skilled” lens.

When on the shortest focal size, the Tamron 50-400mm measures simply 7.2 inches (184.3mm) and is about 13 inches (330mm) when totally prolonged. Tamron states the burden at 40.7 ounces (1,155 grams) with out the (non-included) tripod mount and 44.1 ounces (1,250 grams) with it. You’d suppose it might be a problem to promote the tripod mount as an adjunct, however the lens is gentle sufficient to mount it to a digicam on a tripod with none issues.

The lens takes a 67mm filter, a standard measurement, making it straightforward and inexpensive to get impartial density and different filters.

There’s a focus-hold button on the barrel, a swap to regulate the Vibration Compensation (VC – Tamron’s time period for picture stabilization), three customized swap settings, a USB port (for speaking with Tamron’s lens-control software program), and a zoom lock swap.

This lock swap is my solely actual grievance concerning the lens, as it could possibly solely lock the focal size on the 50mm setting. That’s effective for maintaining the lens in its most compact type whereas strolling round, however many super-tele shooters know that setting the zoom to a exact spot and leaving it there may be vital to the sort of images.

Wildlife photographers typically set the zoom to the right size whereas ready for an animal to reach. Should you set the focal size to something however 50mm, you’ll be able to’t lock the lens, and when you stroll round, the lens will finally “creep,” that means it would change focal lengths as gravity pulls the extending barrel downward. A zoom lock is appreciated, however it might have been most useful to lock wherever within the vary.

Macro Capabilities

Earlier than trying on the super-tele efficiency, it’s greatest to speak about essentially the most shocking factor about this lens: the superpower that makes it extra worthwhile than it seems at first look. Tamron made the 50mm finish of this lens able to focusing as shut as 9.8 inches (24cm) with a half-life-size macro functionality. Extra highly effective than a close-up lens, a half-life macro is actually spectacular.

A macro that captures life-size (1x magnification) photos implies that one thing {that a} topic that’s one inch throughout is recorded as a picture one inch throughout the sensor. Every pixel corresponds to the identical measurement within the topic. This leads to an extremely detailed picture.

Tamron macro photo

At half-life-size (.5x), a one-inch object would cowl a half-an-inch of the sensor, which naturally isn’t as excessive decision as a full-life-size lens however is rather more detailed than a “closeup” lens.

With at the moment’s high-resolution sensors, it’s straightforward to crop into the picture and nonetheless have sufficient pixels to make an extremely detailed photograph. I coupled this lens with the Sony Alpha 1, and the element in a cropped photograph is spectacular.

Tamron macro zoomed

This macro functionality could be ineffective if it weren’t for the excellent macro autofocus with the Tamron 50-400. I used to {photograph} macro with the Canon 1x-5x super-macro lens, a fully-manual lens with a really brief focus space. The macro photos I received from this lens have been the most effective I’ve seen in any lens, however the handbook focus and small focus space meant I often needed to transfer my physique forwards and backwards to get one thing in focus. This made it practically unattainable to seize bugs in movement, and there wanted to be no breeze to seize flowers.

Tamron’s new lens addresses the ache of handbook focusing macros lenses with modern-day autofocus and the autofocus is each quick and correct. There are a lot of different macro lenses with autofocus, however none in a lens as versatile as this, and plenty of are fastened focal size lenses which might be greater than half the value of this lens. One such lens is the he Sony 90mm Macro — an outstanding lens with 1:1 magnification — is about $900

Capturing a bee the second it lands on a plant and maintaining with it because it gathers for pollen is a recreation changer to anybody utilizing a handbook macro lens. This lens was in a position to deal with bugs inside the transient period of time between once they landed on a flower after which took off once more.

tamron bee with pollen

Since there’s no “insect” AF on a digicam, getting the eyes sharp was merely a matter of stopping down the aperture. Nevertheless, at f/4.5, an entire bug is often centered on the minimal focal size. With super-small bugs, the lens would typically lock onto the flower as a substitute, however utilizing the small focus level helps repair this and leads to many extra hits than misses.

Portrait Pictures Efficiency

The 50mm isn’t solely good at macros; it additionally makes a very-capable portrait lens. 50mm is the first focal size utilized by many portrait photographers, and the picture high quality at 50mm renders excellent portraits.

The f/4.5 minimal aperture implies that backgrounds shall be extra in focus than a 50mm f/2.8 or wider lens, however by merely rising the space between the topic and background a bit, the f/4.5 setting creates a pleasant, delicate bokeh within the background.

For the reason that lens can zoom out from 50mm, shooters also can seize portraits on the 85mm focal size, one other typical portrait images focal size.

50mm portrait

For the reason that 50mm portrait focal size can also be the focal size for macro images, this lens can preserve focusing from a regular distance the entire manner till you get about 9 inches away, leading to photos like this.

Telephoto Efficiency

With a most zoom of 400mm, most individuals are trying on the Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD to be primarily a sports activities or wildlife lens and the macro capabilities. Fortuitously, the long-reach efficiency is superb as properly. To be clear, photos at 400mm aren’t as sharp and detailed as photographs could be on a high-end zoom or a fixed-focal-length 400mm lens, nevertheless it nonetheless gives nice outcomes.

For folks and animals, the AF saved up with most topics, although it had extra issue with eye autofocus than a “professional” lens, which is to be anticipated. Impressively although, I may seize birds in flight with the attention or head locked on with little issue. It definitely had no issues monitoring the entire physique of a flying chook at f/6.3, and the comparatively large aperture permits for top shutter speeds even in low gentle.

The autofocus is improved over the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD, which I’ve used extensively. The VXD stands for voice-coil eXtreme Drive. This linear motor makes the Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD a sooner and quieter lens than the 70-300mm.

There was one occasion the place I may audibly hear the lens focus, however I couldn’t get it to recur after eradicating and reattaching the lens. I don’t suppose this is a matter; doubtless only a communication downside between the digicam and lens, resolved by remounting it. I’ve to say this not solely because it occurred throughout testing but additionally as a result of it identified to me how silent this lens is in any other case.

The quiet operation makes this a superb lens for videographers, which, mixed with the wide selection of focal lengths, makes this a single lens that may sort out most video duties.

Picture High quality

The lens produces very sharp photos with little-to-no chromatic aberration and no seen distortion on the large finish. The colour steadiness on this lens is comparatively impartial, and I did minimal coloration correction or sharpening on the photographs I shot with this lens.

The one image-quality weak spot is a bent towards overly excessive distinction and washes out in vivid daylight. Many lenses undergo from this, however the Tamron 50-400mm appears significantly liable to it. There may be additionally seen chromatic aberration beneath sure circumstances. Under, a white egret in full solar is about towards the inexperienced of a marsh, and there’s clear chromatic aberration on the again of the chook.

CA on bird

This can be a significantly powerful scene for a lot of lenses, and the chromatic aberration was fully absent from a shot of one other egret beneath comparatively related lighting circumstances at one other shoot.


In a extra managed lighting state of affairs, the photographs are well-balanced and have superb coloration accuracy. The excessive distinction of this lens in sure capturing circumstances leads to photos the place some colours go near black or to white, however whereas capturing RAW I used to be in a position to recuperate a lot of the dynamic vary, and a little bit of saturation adjustment introduced the photographs again into correct coloration. Once more, I needed to do little or no work in submit to finalize my photographs, and that’s earlier than lens profiles can be found for this lens.


One of many Greatest Tremendous Zoom Lenses on the Market

Due to its all-around versatility, the Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD lens is without doubt one of the greatest lenses in its class, and realistically it’s the one lens on this class.

Are There Options?

Whereas there are a selection of lenses with a large zoom vary, most of them are extra typical lenses like a 70-300mm or 100-400mm. Canon makes a 100-500mm lens for its RF mirrorless cameras however that lens is extra designed strictly for the telephoto shooter and doesn’t have any of the usual telephoto powers of this lens. It’s additionally $2,900. Presently, Nikon doesn’t have something accessible to compete.

Sigma additionally doesn’t have a lens as versatile as this one, although the corporate does make quite a lot of long-reach telephoto lenses, together with a superb 70mm macro that’s about half the value of this lens.

Tamron makes a number of different zoom lenses which might be known as all-in-one, which have large focal size ranges together with an 18-200mm, 18-300mm, and 18-400mm, although a number of of those lenses are for APS-C techniques.

Ought to You Purchase It?

Sure. It’s onerous to think about a greater choice for a photographer searching for an all-around, do-everything lens at this worth. For a photographer searching for a lens with nice efficiency in quite a lot of totally different capturing conditions, I extremely suggest this lens.

Disclaimer: David Schloss was previously the media relations supervisor for Sony’s Alpha division. Whereas this makes him extra aware of the system, his opinions are his personal, are backed by PetaPixel’s editorial workforce, and aren’t swayed both for or towards the corporate. Earlier to his time with Sony, Schloss racked up extra 20 years of journalistic expertise and he takes his integrity significantly.