Transform your DSLR into a superzoom: Tamron announces 16-300mm and 28-300mm lenses

by Felix Esser

posted Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 3:59 PM EDT

Tamron has been a name for powerful superzoom DSLR lenses for a long while now, but it seems the company aims at breaking their own records. With the new 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro (yes, that's its full official name), Tamron introduces an unprecedented 18.8x zoom lens for DSLRs with APS-C-sized sensors. In 35mm full-frame terms, the focal length range extends from 24mm on the wide-angle end to an impressive 450mm on the telephoto end. With these specifications, Tamron's new lens is well within superzoom bridge-camera territory.

All the more impressive is the fact that Tamron's new 16-300mm lens is only 3.9 inches long, at a maximum diameter of 2.9 inches. Its weight of 19 oz, however, easily gives away the fact that the optical construction consists of 16 lens elements in 12 groups. The minimum aperture ranges from f/22 at the wide end to f/40 at the long end. With these specs, we have our mild doubts as to the overall image quality. Designing a zoom lens is always a matter of compromises, and this is all the more true for one that has such a high magnification at such a small size.

A little less defying the laws of optics seems to be Tamron's second new lens, the 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD, which sports "only" a 10.7x zoom factor. This one is made for full-frame DSLRs, and despite its lower magnification, it sports even more glass than the 16-300mm lens, with 19 lens elements in 12 groups. Its weight is the same though at 19 oz, but it's a little shorter that its APS-C-sibling at 3.8 inches long. The minimum aperture values are the same, ranging from f/22 to f/40 at the wide and telephoto ends, respectively.

Both lenses contain aspherical lens elements as well as Ultra-Extra Refractive Index glass, and both will be shown off at this year's CP+, which is set to begin on February 13th in Yokohama, Japan. Pricing and availability for both lenses have yet to be announced.