Monday, January 28, 2013

Tamron AF 200-400mm F5.6 LD

A very long (especially for DX) zoom telephoto with AF for a bargain price. Worth it or not?

+ very cheap, compared to other lenses of the same category
+ decent optically - considering the price, however
+ having the option to zoom out to 200mm could be useful compared to a longer fixed-length lens.

- wide-open at 400mm is the weakest point of the lens (to be expected, but that's where one would probably want to use it)
- it requires support and handling discipline to perform
- old, obsolete design, with bad ergonomics

The age of this lens is clearly visible on its design
In daylight and with good support, it performs well

Also good for these kinds of shadow shots

Intended Users
Great for:
  • bird and wildlife photos in good light
  • activities where you can't get close (say, surfing)
  • shadow outlines in sunset/sunrise conditions

Not for:
  • anything other than what described above - this is a very long lens in focal length
  • those who don't like tripods or monopods - without them, you are guaranteed to get substandard photos.
  • low light - even overcast can make it very tricky for you to take decent shots

Final Verdict
Not a bad lens, good value for money (but not excellent). Just like with the Sigma 400mm f/5.6, when it is stopped down to f/8 of f/11 the optical quality is good, but ONLY if you have the proper handling discipline. This lens - like any long tele without VR - is very, very unforgiving regarding stability. If you don't want to use a tripod or at least a monopod, don't bother - you will be thoroughly frustrated. Even with a monopod, you will need sufficiently fast shutter speed. Paired with the fact that you can't get the best of the lens unless you stop down to f/8 or f/11, it becomes apparent that in anything other than plenty of sunlight, this lens becomes a drag. Overall, you need to ask yourself whether you really need a lens that can be sensibly used for only very specific occasions.


  1. Thank you. Saved me some money. Love your website.

  2. Anonymous9/07/2013

    Thank you. Saved me some money. Love your website.

  3. You are very welcome, glad to have helped!