An affordable zoom made for smaller sensors, and boasting macro ability....

Product Overview

Overall rating:

87%

Tamron 55-200 Di II LD

Overall score:87%
Features:80%
Performance:85%
Value:95%
Design:90%
Image Quality:85%

Pros:

  • Useful zoom range, compact, macro capabilities, good sharpness, price

Cons:

  • Plastic construction, some fringing at wide aperture, slow maximum aperture

Product:

Tamron 55-200 Di II LD

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£130

Latest Deals From eBay

Loading

Best Prices from Reevoo

Loading

The new Tamron 55-200mm lens equates roughly to 80-300mm on a 35mm camera, and offers an angle of view of 28°28’-7°59’ based on a 1.5x APS-C magnification ratio. As a Di II lens it is made for smaller sensors; the imaging circle is too small for full-frame sensors or film use.

It is constructed of 13 elements in 9 groups, and features LD (Low Dispersion) glass, which is designed to focus the spectrum of light onto the same plane, thus eliminating or reducing chromatic aberration, particularly at the telephoto end. The optic also has macro capability, something users appreciate more and more, especially if they are used to compact digital cameras, which all have a macro function. In this case, the lens offers a minimum focus distance of 95cm throughout the zoom range and a macro magnification ratio of 1:3.5 at 200mm.

The lens body is constructed mostly of polycarbonate, which, while tough, means it feels a little plasticky, but the weight is kept down to 300g. It’s also compact – another advantage of the small digital sensors on DSLRs. The lens mount is also plastic, which isn’t great but, at this price, some compromises need to be made.

There’s a deep-gripped zoom ring around the barrel, and a small narrow focus ring at the end of the barrel near the front element. A switch on the side of the lens allows Manual or AF focus control.

Sharpness is well controlled throughout the range, and images are very punchy, even based on my tests with the lower-contrast Canon EOS 350D.

Very high contrast areas show some chromatic aberrations, but keep your aperture closed down in these cases and you should have little trouble. Overall, the performance of this lens impresses, considering the price.

Image Quality
For the price and build quality, I was expecting slightly average performance. But Tamron has come a long way and I’m rarely disappointed by its optics. This lens is a case in point, with better performance than I had imagined. Sharpness is well controlled throughout the range, and images are very punchy, even based on my tests with the lower-contrast Canon EOS 350D.

Very high contrast areas show some chromatic aberrations, but keep your aperture closed down in these cases and you should have little trouble. Overall, the performance of this lens impresses, considering the price.

Verdict

This lens could be classed as a budget model, and has limited features – small image circle, plastic mount and f/4 maximum aperture. However, optically it is better than its budget class would imply, with high performance and a useful macro feature.

Full Specification

Lens Construction:
13 elements in 9 group
Lens Mount:
Canon, Nikon, KonMin/Sony