- Review Price: £689
The Tamron SP AF200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) superzoom is well-balanced. The satin-black exterior blends with the same finish on an attached camera body and the lens markings are clear and readable in either white or gold. The zoom ring is farthest from the camera and has an impressively broad, comfortable grip: the manual-focusing ring is tiny by comparison but is still a very usable size.
The Tamron SP AF200-500mm’s AF operation is brisk but not overwhelmingly speedy. Manual focusing is surprisingly easy and comfortable when used in combination with the 1Ds because the base of the camera is roughly level with the bottom of the superzoom’s tripod platform: so the camera can be supported on the heel of the left hand and the lens steadied via its tripod platform using the base of the first and second fingers. This leaves the thumb and third-finger free to rotate the focusing ring, which responds smoothly and easily. The zoom ring, which requires much more effort, moves through about 180° versus about 60° for focusing. The rotational directions match Canon’s for focusing (clockwise to get closer, seen from behind the camera) but not for zooming, which is a slight disappointment.
As well as a very long, reversible, cylindrical lens hood there is a rotating collar that allows filters to be adjusted when the hood is in place. This is a nice touch but it makes fitting of the lens hood a bit more fiddly so I’d be inclined to detach the collar unless it were definitely needed. The tripod platform is also removable, but without it the lens is much harder to handle.
Optically, the Tamron SP AF200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) superzoom is impressive. It performs least well at 200mm and at f/32 for all focal lengths but these are the least critical areas in such a lens. Tamron has done well to achieve so much at such an affordable level.
Score in detail
Image Quality 9