Tamron AF 200-500mm f/5-6.3 SP Di LD IF - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
Article Index
Introduction
Analysis

Distortion

Distortion is exceptionally well controlled with this lens. The level never exceeds 0.5% regardless of the focal length.

Move the mouse cursor over the focal length text marks below to observe the respective distortion
200mm 300mm 400mm 500mm

Vignetting

On an APS-C DSLR like the EOS 350D the lens produces very little vignetting. The issue remains well below 0.5EV at all focal length at wide-open aperture. Vignetting is marginal in the 200-400mm range and slight at 500mm.

MTF (resolution)

The Tamron AF 200-500mm f/5-6.3 produced very decent performance figures throughout the entire zoom range which is fairly amazing for an affordable extreme tele zoom. In the 200-400mm range both the center as well as the borders reside on a very good quality level. At 500mm @ f/6.3 there's only a marginal decrease in center quality whereas the border resolution drops to good levels. At f/8 the resolution is very high across the image field.

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

CAs (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are generally very low in the 200-400mm range. At 500mm f/6.3 the problem increases significantly to a maximum of 1 pixel on the average at the image borders - no disaster but visible at times.

Verdict

The Tamron AF 200-500mm f/5-6.3 SP Di LD (IF) is a very interesting representative of its (rare) species. The performance figures are generally on a very high level - very good between 200-400mm and still good to very good at 500mm. The level of distortions is exceptionally low throughout the range and vignetting is nothing to worry about on an APS-C DSLR. Add the very good build quality on top combined with the very moderate price tag and you've an attractive package here. The only thing that is missing here is an image stabilizer. Handheld photography is often doomed at such extreme focal lengths due to the need for very fast shutter speeds. An extra support such as a monopod or tripod is surely a good idea - otherwise you'll waste much of the quality potential that this lens can give you.

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