Tamron 50-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD Review

October 19, 2022 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


Tamron are back with another truly innovative lens that transcends the literal boundaries of what has gone before.

Taking the popular 100-400mm zoom as their starting point, Tamron have somehow widened the focal range all the way down to 50mm and doubled the zoom ratio from 4x to 8x without any significant increase in size or weight or any significant decrease in image quality.

This makes the new 50-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD a lens that can cover everything from the "standard" human angle of view all the way through to extreme closeups of faraway subjects.

Being able to quickly zoom from a classic 50mm focal length to ultra-telephoto without having to change lenses is extremely liberating and really allows you to concentrate on capturing the moment.

Not only that, this lens also has some serious macro capabilities that sweeten what is already a very rich cake, with excellent close-focusing distances at both ends of the zoom range and the ability to capture up to half-life-size shots at 50mm.

Add in fast, quiet and accurate auto-focusing, weather-sealing, effective if not class-leading image stabilisation, and the ability to customise the lens to suit your way of shooting via and keep the lens updated via the unique USB Connector Port, and it's clear both from the outset and after a few weeks of use that Tamron have a real winner in the 50-400mm.

Surprisingly for an all-in-one lens like this, there are few compromises in terms of image quality, other than some noticeable pin-cushion distortion and mild vignetting that you'll need to remove in post-processing.

This is a very sharp lens throughout the generous zoom range and at both the centre and edges of the frame, which is again something of a surprise for this type of do-everything zoom.

This lens' maximum apertures are perhaps its main Achilles heel, starting at f/4.5 at 50mm but quickly reaching f/5.6 at 100mm and f/6.3 at 200mm, which doesn't compare very well to shooting at f/.2.8 with a comparatively sized, fast 70-200mm zoom.

But then that 70-200mm lens isn't as wide or as long as the Tamron 50-400mm, which also partly makes up for its slow speed by having a rounded 9-blade aperture and the benefit of being able to shoot at those longer focal lengths, making it easy to blur out the background especially if you can get close to your subject.

There are a few other caveats to be aware of. The optional and rather pricey tripod collar should really be included in the box as you'll definitely need it for shooting at the longer focal lengths when using a tripod. The inability to use teleconverters with this lens may push you towards the Sony alternative if you need even more reach, as may the restriction on shooting at the fastest burst rates with the Alpha A1 or A9 cameras (something that is true for all third-party lenses).

Overall, though, if you've ever wanted an all-in-one zoom lens that doesn't compromise on features, performance or image quality, and one that also offers something truly different to the norm, then the new Tamron 50-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD is the perfect lens for you.

5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4.5