Here’s a little review of the Tamron 18-200mm lens that I got for my birthday in August. I’ve had it for a while, and in case you need a holiday gift idea or a good all-around lens for traveling this holiday season, this might be your answer!
Let me remind you that I am no pro photographer. I’m just a picture-happy gal who wants to capture everything I see and keep the pictures as memories. That said, I definitely want to tell you how I use and like my gear because I know that a lot of you are in my boat, and when I'm shopping, I want this kind of review. It's not techy or geeky or heavy on specs, just how I use it.
So, the Tamron 18-200. I am so happy I got this lens as an all purpose/travel lens. I really do have it on my camera 80% of the time now. (I put the 18-55mm Nikon lens that came with my camera into my camera basket on the living room bookshelves.) The Tamron 18-200mm zooms out to the 18mm wide angle so I can take pictures of rooms and large groups of people and it also has the ability to zoom in and frame shots or take nice close up shots of things across the street. Traveling in Boston with it was amazing. I felt like I never missed a good shot (and was able to put together an awesome photobook of memories with it!)
I chose the Tamron version of this lens over the Nikon version based on weight but mostly price. (Really, mostly price!) As far as techy/geeky things go, I was a little worried about the lack of VR (vibration-reduction, for when you’re zoomed out all the way to 200mm, a feature that’s on the Nikon but not the Tamron), but so far that hasn't been a huge issue for me. It's definitely heavier (just read the specs) than my kit 18-55 or my trusty 35mm...in fact, when my mom is using my camera with this lens attached and the SB-400, she gets tired of holding it. (Remember, I don't, that's just my mom who's used to a point and shoot, but still good for you to know!) To me, though, the extra weight is worth the amazing versatility. (And when traveling, I don’t normally have my external flash attached.) Another techy/geeky note, in some reviews comparing the Tamron version to the Nikon version, people talked about sharpness, distortion, etc, of the lens (I say “etc” because my eyes began to glaze over), but I haven’t noticed. Maybe pro or art photographers would, but for my snapshots, I couldn’t be happier with the Tamron!
This Tamron lens uses 62mm filters, so I did get a nice clear filter to leave attached all the time to protect the lens. For other filters, though, I did get a 77mm step up ring that I am leaving attached all the time. I don't always use a lot of filters, but I like to be prepared when I do. I’ll sometimes use a star filter, warming filter, or polarizing filter, and since my other lenses are 52mm, I was going to have to buy a new set anyway. Well, I would hate to buy a set of 62mm, then need another size in case I do get other lenses later. 77mm seems to be the biggest, non-commercial lens size you can buy, so I’ll be getting step up rings for any future lenses to accommodate 77mm filters.
The lens does creep (zoom out as you’re walking) :) so I use the lock – which is why they put it on there! The Nikon version may be a "better" lens, but for my picture taking, I couldn't be happier with this lens, especially for the price. After getting this lens, (along with the things already in my camera bag), I haven't been craving a lot of gear like I was before. (Though, there are a few things on my Christmas list, like colored gels for my flash and a wired remote, hint hint.) :)
What about you? Do you have a lens like this and like it? Did this rambling review help you choose a lens? Is there another lens that you have and love that I need? :)