Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF

Lens Reviews / Tamron Lenses i Lab tested
11-18mm $538
average price
image of Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF

Lab Test Results

  • Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Geometric Distortion

(From Tamron lens literature) This new super wide-angle zoom lens, designed for exclusive use with digital SLR cameras using a sensor smaller than full frame, provides the extended focal length covering 17mm (when converted to 35mm format) that is desired by today's advanced and pro photographers using digital SLRs. The lens features an entirely new optical system designed for optimal performance with digital SLR cameras.

Test Notes

As mentioned in the product description from Tamron above, this 11-18mm ultra wide angle zoom is designed to cover the APS-C size sensors used in many digital cameras, as opposed to a full 35mm frame. The smaller frame size helps make the lens compact, and also helps quite a bit with the optical tradeoffs involved in lens design. Our test sample seemed to consistently produce details on the left side of the frame at its 11mm setting, but at other focal lengths performed very well indeed. (And the softness on the left side at 11mm rapidly gets better as you look toward the center of the frame.) At 11-15mm, best overall sharpness occurs between f/8 and f/11, while at 18mm, the best sharpness is found at f/8. Particularly when stopped down, center sharpness is excellent across the board, but the extreme left corners are always a little soft at the widest 11mm setting. (For the record, we did indeed check to make sure that it wasn't an alignment problem in our test setup that was causing the softness along the left side.)

Peak chromatic aberration is on the high side of average at 11mm, average at 15mm, and very high at 18mm, although the average value for CA remains fairly low at all times, suggesting that most of the CA happens at the outer edges of the frame. Vignetting is surprisingly low for such a wide angle lens, never more than 1/3 EV, and dropping below 1/4 EV at most apertures less than the maximum. Distortion is moderate, varying from about 0.7% barrel at 11mm, to only 0.2% barrel at 22mm.

This lens looks like a good choice for an affordable ultra-wide zoom. It doesn't quite measure up optically to the Canon 10-22mm or the Nikon 12-24mm, but is considerably cheaper than either of those models, a real help if you're working with a limited budget. If you've been hankering to try some real wide angle shooting with your digital SLR, the Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di II deserves a look.

Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF

Tamron 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical IF SP AF User Reviews

8.3/10 average of 8 review(s) Build Quality 7.0/10 Image Quality 7.8/10
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by dugong5pm (52 reviews)
    light, good IQ, price
    none for the price

    I have owned this lens since 2005 (it was new back then). This is a great lens for the price. For me, it's been a landscaper's dream lens. It goes wide, very decent performance, without having the backpain (it's light).

    It gives very decent performance. you'll get rather soft corners wide open, but it's great at f/8 - f/11 (that's what you need for landscape). AF speed is on the slow side, but it's never been a problem if you're shooting stills. Build quality is OK, it has taken the beatings and survived for about 7 years now, and still kicking!
    I love this lens. I always bring this when travelling. It's a keeper.

    reviewed October 12th, 2012 (purchased for $550)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by roaniecowpony (4 reviews)
    inexpensive, lightweight
    cheap build typical of Tamron

    I bought this lens about 2 yrs ago now, used on ebay. I hadn't really tested it much until I bought the Tokina 11-16 and set up some tests (see my Tokina 11-16 review). The Tamron AF accuracy was very good and required only -3 units (backforcused about 5-6 inches at 7ft subject) of AF correction on my D300.

    In comparing this lens to the Tokina, I found the Tamron had a much lower contrast and lower color saturation level. It also had a sort of warm color cast to it.

    Currently, Tokina has some quality control issues with their AF calibration, so the Tamron is the better choice for those that don't want to hassle the repair work or don't have cameras capable of AF correction.

    I've worn out a Tamron recently, to the point that the front barrel is wobbling around. The Tamron construction is such that it has plastic parts as wear surfaces on the zoom and focus parts. So, for those contemplating this lens as longterm investment, I'd say go for another choice such as your camera brand or the Tokina (with consideration of the backfocus issue).

    reviewed March 10th, 2009 (purchased for $375)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by EF-S10-22 (19 reviews)
    light , compact, excellent color and contrast , very good resolution
    CA,no USM.

    As I got stolen my EF-S10-22, I am testing all UWA lenses for my 40D .

    This one was tested this moring and I tested many things in a little city area of Bangkok.

    The resolution is great , its peak is at about 13mm f8.

    The lens is a bit sharper than my Sigma 12-24 , but a bit less sharp than the Sigma 10-20 at center , though at borders and edges the Tamorn beats these 2 Sigmas.

    The Tmaorn 's biggest con is the CA and a bit more complicated shape of barrel distortion than that of my Canon EF-S10-22.

    Also , it is more prone to flare than my Cnaon lens .

    But it is so small and sharp with vibrant L-like color , I may keep it for a long time , for a short vacation.

    I will buy the Cnaon 10-22 again but I may also keep this Tmaorn , I like this Tmaorn color and its resolution figures much better than that of the Sigma 10-20Ex , which I also tested.

    I may but the Tokina ,but not sure if the 12mm end of the Tokina is wide enough for me.

    It is expensive(in BKK, it is more expenisve than the Canon 10-22) , though I highly recommend it .

    reviewed September 28th, 2007 (purchased for $650)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by lor (1 reviews)
    image quality
    limited zoom range, focus speed

    I bought this lens by mistake. I needed a wide lens for a holiday in Morocco and I wanted a Sigma 10-20 for my Nikon D200. Since I was about to leave, and the dealer only had this one available, I decided to go for it. At first I was disappointed because of soft edges. What I found out is that edges are good indeed, they just look soft because of high levels of chromatic aberration. Run the raw image through the excellent Nikon Capture CA correction feature and it looks quite good even wide open. No difference from my trusty Nikon 18-70 at 18mm for sharpness, color and constrast, and the results look extremely consistant through the whle zoom range. Great indeed and a very pleasant surprise. What's bad is the focus speed (ssslllooowwww.... and noisy) but so what I use hyperfocals, and the zoom range. The upper limit at 18 forces to switch lenses more often than I wished. Is the non corrected CA to cause bad reviews on Canon bodies? Or was I just lucky and picked a very good sample?
    Shoot RAW with Nikon and you will be extremely satisfied. Oh, I forgot: NO vignetting!

    reviewed September 3rd, 2007 (purchased for $550)
  • 7 out of 10 points and not recommended by griggsjl (1 reviews)
    Nice feel and handles well. Seems to focus fastbut then it doesn't need to focus much at 11mm
    Not very sharp around the edges especially at 11mm regardless of f/stop. Had I seen the tests I would have bought something else. OK lens but not pro quality unless you zoom to about 13mm and keep the f-stop between 8 and 11

    Not sure if I am too picky or not but I have been disappointed with the results of this lens so far. I have to shoot at f/8 but no smaller than f/11 and it helps if you zoom closer than the widest setting of 11mm. Construction quality seems to be excellent and focus speed is adequate. It seems that people would buy this lens for the 11mm setting so Tamron should concentrate on making it sharp at 11mm. It is excellent at 18mm but I already own a Canon 16-35L/2.8 that is sharp there as well.

    had I seen these tests I wouldhave opted for the Sigma or Tokina versions but maybe I just got a les that just barely passed the tolerance tests.

    reviewed February 24th, 2007 (purchased for $550)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by SteveR12682 (10 reviews)
    Light weight
    Edge sharpness

    This lens is a good ultra-wide angle lens but not a great lens. Image quality is good, but gets a little soft on the edges. Build quality is adequate. Other lenses like the Sigma 10-20 may be slightly better in these areas if you get a good copy.

    reviewed December 30th, 2006 (purchased for $500)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by leprechaun (7 reviews)
    Good wide angle range, light and well balaced

    Okay, this lens is built out of plastic, but these days many are. The fit and finish are good, and operation is smooth. The construction makes it light to carry on and off the camera and makes it easy to orient the horizon on landscapes or sight lines within a room.

    It goes wider than a 12-24mm and doesn't give me a big overlap in focal lenth with other lenses. Most of us have 18-24mm covered. This is al ens I can pick when I know the kit lens won't do. Makes life simple. It's way wide and ready when I need it.

    Manual focus is smooth and easy, the ring is right where I need it and good size. Autofocus is fine. Zoom is precise with no drift/creep. It's easy to compose shots.

    Optically it's fine. As good or better than anything in it's price range. I've borrowed/used others and they don't impress me as much.

    This is a good sharp lens that's a pleasure to use.

    reviewed December 24th, 2006 (purchased for $580)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by ggriffith (4 reviews)
    VERY WIDE, Great Price!
    Some vignetting if on a pro body, but this can be dealt with

    I've been very pleased with this lens. I usually stick with first party gear, but after borrowing a friend's 11-18 I was convinced and bought my own! This is a VERY fun lens!

    There are your usual tools that you'll use a lot but when you really want to get creative...Get Wide!

    I've had a blast using this lens and for the price you can't go wrong. Much easier to fit than Nikon's $1200 14mm or Canon's 15mm!

    reviewed October 19th, 2005 (purchased for $549)