My Fuji and … the TAMRON 18-300mm F/3.5-6.3 DI III-A VC VXD FUJI X-Mount – Finally !

Intro:

She’s finally here! the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III – A VC VXD FX.
It was pre ordered on 5/10/2021, and delivered on 17/02/2020 – four months an a half ! I have never had to wait this long for a lens.
In the meantime I have been using and testing it thoroughly – more importantly, I have been able to compare it well next to my two Fuji XF 18-135 & 70-300mm lenses.
Is it as good as claimed on commercial websites?
Can she replace two Fujifilm lenses with one lens?
Is this the only lens you will ever need?
Well, before we get there, let’s unpack the lens.
The rest will then follow automatically.

The unboxing:

The lens came in a white sturdy cardboard box.
In the box, the lens was packed in a kind of paper bag, between two cardboard lens holders.
A quick guide in (many) languages on a large paper sheet printed on both sides.
Also a smaller yellow colored pamphlet with precautions for safe use.
So actually packaged fairly environmentally friendly, and no waste of trees on encyclopedia thick manuals in 1001 languages.
There is a red sticker on the box that indicates that you can register for a 5-year warranty online.

And here I have to mention a small problem.
The box states a 5 year warranty after registration at 5years.tamron.eu
And this was the first thing I was going to do.
The website stated that I needed a sticker code that would be on the warranty card,
however, there was no warranty card in the box, and in the form on Tamron’s website, Fujifilm wasn’t even in the dropdown list of the camera body you had to specify what the lens was for.

Now, in retrospect, something was mentioned about the warranty card on an earlier page of Tamron, apparently not in all countries, maybe even dealer dependent, a warranty card is included.
The registration for the 5-year warranty must then be done through the dealer.
So something to keep in mind.

How the lens felt:

I started comparing it with my two Fujifilm lenses, namely the XF 18-135mm and XF 70-300mm.
The outside of the lens feels more “plastic” than the Fuji FX lenses – if you tap the lens with your fingernail, you’ll hear the difference to. The plastic of the Fujifilm lenses almost looks like metal (aluminium), while the Tamron’s plastic feels much more fragile.

The lens is quite smooth with no buttons or switches except for one, the lens block button.
It is a pity that there is no manual control of the aperture on the lens. This is of course possible on the camera with one of the command dials, but with Fujifilm I like that everything is also operable as with an analog camera, so I do miss the manual control of the aperture on the lens.


The rubber ring of the zoom gives a very good grip, which is good, because the lens does have some resistance when zooming in/out – as far as it is now i think the button to block the lens from extending is unnecessary.
The rubber ring for manual focus is slightly smaller than the one on the Fuji FX lens – I have not tested manual focus yet.
The weight of the lens is just a few grams higher than the FX 70-300mm, but still not too heavy to walk around all day, you have to keep in mind that this will probably be the only lens you have with you, in almost all conditions – if she performs well that would be great!
The lens fits well in hand, both for people with smaller or larger hands.

Weight compared to its Fujifilm counterparts: (left XF70-300-middle Tamron 18-300-right XF18-135)

Size compared to its Fujifilm counterparts:

Lens test – Tamron 18-300 compared to Fuji 18-135 and 70-300:

Open the photos in the gallery, the last bit of the file name contains which lens is used and the focal setting – for example xf18135-18 – was taken with the Fujifilm XF 18-135mm set to 18mm – all pictures taken with the Fujifilm X-H1.

It looks nice and sunny outside in the pictures, but make no mistake, it was 5 degrees outside and wind gusts of 60/70 km per hour.
The camera setting was iso 400, 1/125, Pro Neg Std., and stabilization enabled – Only scaled down for web at 1980px and saved at 70%.

A few more photos taken with the Tamron 18-300:

Close shots are also possible, and the results are not too bad:

Comparison left Fuji XF 70-300mm on 300mm, and right Tamron 18-300mm on 300mm:

Comparison left Fuji XF 18-135 set at 135mm, right Tamron actualy set on 148mm – both enlarged 200%

Comparison left Fuji XF 18-135 set at 18mm, right Tamron set at 18mm – both enlarged 200%

My conclusion:

First off, I bought this Tamron 18-300mm with my own money , as well as the Fujifilm 18-135 and 70-300mm.
I am in no way sponsored, and take no advantage in any way in doing this review.

Regardless of how the lens feels, it is weather-sealed and replaces two Fujifilm lenses, which I think is a big advantage.
The weight is ok, and the size is good.
I took many more photos than added above, and did not find any vignetting, or certainly not noticeable, in any of the photos – taken at 18mm.
The color and character of the lens is very similar to the Fujifilm lenses.
Sometimes I see lens reviews where they talk about lens distortion, I haven’t noticed any significant distortion.
Personally, I don’t think that unless the distortion is huge, nobody would notice – unless you’re really shooting a grid or buildings, something where there are a lot of straight lines.
So also in this area the Tamron is ok.
Sharpness ? well, it’s sharp, but not as sharp as the Fujifilm lenses.
She can’t be called blurry either, I think the sharpness is acceptable under most circumstances. The lens stabilization is great, and has allowed me to shoot all the shots during a lot of wind and also at maximum focal length. The lens stabilization works together with the camera and therefore does not have a separate switch. You can activate or deactivate the stabilization in the menu of your camera. Using the Fujifilm X-H1, which also has built-in stabilization, works very well with this lens, and may have contributed to these great results.

The reason I bought this lens is because,
when you have one camera with you, and want to take pictures where
you should switch a lot between 18-135mm and 70-300mm
and honestly, 135mm is often just short, and 70mm to high to start with,
then the Tamron is the solution – I also like to shoot videos, and then a lens with this range is great.


I have two Fujifilm X-H1 cameras, so I normally don’t have this problem,
but it happens a lot that I have just one camera with me.
Out with the wife, with the grandchildren, the zoo, the park, making videos …
you probably experienced a similar circumstance – you didn’t got out specifically to shoot pictures, but there’s just that great view, a beautiful bird far away, or a sunset…
that’s when you probably only have one camera with you,
but with the wrong lens…
The Tamron changes that, just a little bigger than an 18-135,
but with a huge range – 450mm in 35mm format, next time you go out without the intention to take specific pictures far or close – put the Tamron 18-300mm on, and you can shoot anything.

Chances are you don’t have an 18-135 or 70-300 – then the Tamron is definitely an alternative.

Is it as good as claimed on commercial websites?
On advertising and by sponsored reviewers, a lens is always good – you and I know that.
That being said, it’s certainly not a bad lens, quite the contrary.

Can she replace two Fujifilm lenses with one lens?
Yes, the Tamron can certainly replace 2 or more lenses – if you can also live with the fact that it is less sharp.
However, if you are a critical person there may also be other disadvantages for you.
Is this the only lens you will ever need?
“Ever” hmm, ever is a long time but it’s possible, it’s definitely a great starter lens,

Final:

To the questions : would I buy it again if I could turn back time ? – and can I recommend this lens ? – on both questions YES. Keep in mind that it is not cheap, on the other hand, if you buy some Fuji FX lenses in this range you will lose more,
but then you do get more quality – so it’s a tough one actually.
For whom is it intended ? that can be very different.
If you are (sometimes) a one lens one camera guy then this could be the solution,
but there is a price to pay, literally and figuratively.

I hope this review was helpful to you and that you can draw the necessary conclusions from it. Marc.

Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu 20.04 LTS" :-) - My Photography software : RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. My camera Gear in 2022: Fujifilm X-H1 for architecture, landscape, ..., and Olympus E-M5 Mark II for bird and wildlife photography.

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