Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro
A fairly close match to the Sigma in design, build and quality, as well as in UK price
Almost exactly the same physical size as the more basic of the two Sigma 70300mm lenses, the Tamron has a slightly larger filter thread of 62mm compared with 58mm, yet is more than 100g lighter in weight, at 435g. As such, it’s the lightest FX-compatible lens in the group. However, its build doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as that of the Sigma lenses and the mounting plate is plastic rather than metal.
The Tamron shares the Sigma lenses’ 0.5x macro facility, which in this lens is available between a more generous 180300mm section of the zoom range. The zoom ring feels a bit sticky in operation but the focus ring is extremely smooth and precise. One thing to watch out for, if you’re thinking of buying second-hand, is that editions of the lens made before 2008 lack a built-in autofocus motor, and can’t autofocus on bodies like the D3300 and D5300.
This lens does rather better than Tamron’s newer, stabilised and altogether pricier 70300mm at controlling chromatic aberrations, and contrast in lowlight shooting is slightly better than from both Sigma lenses. It also outstrips the Sigma lenses for sharpness at short to medium focal lengths, but drops off more at the long end.