Tam­ron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro £130, $150

An­other budget Op­tion that doesn’t quite de­liver

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Sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween this and the two Sig­mas on test in­clude a 0.5x macro fa­cil­ity that, in the Tam­ron, is avail­able from 180-300mm. You need to use the clos­est fo­cus dis­tance of 95cm to hit 0.5x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion.

All three lenses have zoom and fo­cus scales printed on their con­trol rings, but the Tam­ron lacks a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion scale, which is found on the ex­tend­ing in­ner bar­rel of the Sigma lenses. Yet more sim­i­lar­i­ties in­clude a ba­sic mo­tor for au­tofo­cus, a lack of op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion, and the fact that the front el­e­ment ro­tates dur­ing fo­cus­ing. This makes it tricky to use fil­ters like cir­cu­lar po­laris­ers and grads.


Widest-aper­ture sharp­ness at 300mm is bet­ter than from Sigma’s cheaper 70-300mm lens, but not quite as good at short to medium zoom set­tings. In other re­spects, im­age qual­ity is sim­i­lar, al­though au­tofo­cus is slower. With its plas­tic rather than metal mount­ing plate, the Tam­ron is about 100g lighter than the Sigma lenses, but this ar­guably makes it less able to over­come cam­era-shake.

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