Which Tamron Lens Should I Get?

Im planning on updating my camera lens, for a Pentax *ist DL, from a 18- 55 mm. I have found 2 lenses that I am leaning towards at the moment.

So which one of these is the better?

Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro Lens - $164.95


Tamron AF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 LD - $129.95

Other than the obvious price difference. Which is better quality? What are your experience with either of these lenses? Should I try a different brand instead?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi TaP,

    The main difference between those two lenses is that the Di has anti-reflective coatings on the rear side of the glass lens elements. That helps with digital because digital sensors are much more reflective than film. You might notice the difference when shooting into a light source such as a lamp or a streetlight at night, or the moon. The cheaper lens might have ghosting next to the light source. But the best thing you can do to avoid that kind of ghosting is to not use a lens filter.

    I have the cheaper of those two lenses, and use it on digital, but I keep my expectations low with it. I think of it as more of a fun lens for casual shooting than a serious lens for serious shooting. Image quality is not bad up to about 200mm, then it gets noticeably softer from there to 300mm.

    If you can spend a bit more on the Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8, it's a much better lens. It's running about US$350:


    Or, to spend less than that but still get a very good lens in that focal range, I'd look for a used Pentax FA 80-320mm f/4.5-5.6:


    It's running about $100 - 125 on eBay:


    If you don't trust eBay, http://www.keh.com,/ which is very reliable, has a black one (most of them were silver) in stock in Excellent condition for $159.99:


    I might get that one myself! :-)

    > Should I try a different brand instead? <

    Tamron, Sigma and Pentax all make a wide range of lenses, from cheap to very expensive, and generally you get what you pay for. Sigma and Pentax both make very similar lenses to the Tamrons you listed, with similar performance. The Pentax costs a bit more but you get their better lens coating, which can reduce flare in some shots.

    My advice:

    If you're determined to get one of those two Tamrons, and you're getting it for fun, non-serious shooting, get the cheaper one and save the $35. Or maybe spring for the Di if a lot of that fun, non-serious shooting is going to include light sources such as I described above.

    But for about the same price, I think you'll be happier with a used Pentax FA 80-320. And KEH is rock-solid reliable for buying used equipment.

    For even better results, I would suggest saving up for the Pentax DA 55-300.

    Good luck and have fun!


  • 1 decade ago

    I think the more expensive one has slightly better glassand is pimary used for close-up photos I'd chooose the latter. What is important is what are you going to be shooting if it's landscapes at f22 do you really need that f2.8 lens at X amount more. But if you mainly shoot low-light or indoor where a fast lens is a must then only cosider what it would be worth as the expense is high for faster shutter speeds.

    I have a Pentax K10D and use a tamron lens and have never thought oh I wish all the results have been good and the only thing I'd change is maybe a slightly faster lens for nightime and low light conditions also comes in handy when shooting sports but the best results are probably from about f11 where there is better coverage and sharper images just up the ISO.

    I've resently done a concert and found the lens too slow to cope but apart from that and to what are you goinmg to shoot is that matters . start from what am I going to use this for then select your lens from there on in.


  • 1 decade ago

    There is no reason for you to get either, above a Pentax lens, especially considering that in terms of price, there is little reason to consider a third party manufactured lens over an OEM lens by Pentax. Third party lens manufacturers have to reverse engineer the auto focusing algorithms used by the various camera manufacturers they provide lenses for. This reverse engineering works most of the time perhaps, depending on how new the cameras are. Personally, I would not trust going cheap on a Tamron lens because I'm a "starving" photographer. The lens is where you should put the lion share of investment as they will be useful far longer than the camera body itself (especially digital), and the last place I would want to skimp on, in favor of an older chintzy Tamron lens for a buck-fifty. In my experience, I have not used Tamron lenses with very good results, but those results weren't for a lack of trying. Every beginner contemplates going cheap on third party lenses until they learn that the lens (optical system) is what makes your images, the camera only records the images. Therefore, the lens is the most important part of your camera system. In that focal range, lenses of that pedigree can tend to produce optical anomalies that reduce the cameras ability to resolve well at pixel level, which affects sharpness and contrast and in my opinion, would be enough of a deal breaker despite how cheap and appealing those lenses seem to be. It's not worth it. Save your money, and get the right equipment.

    Better lenses for a Pentax DSLR, on the cheap ($250-$350):



    Better still, not so cheap ($1400):


    (Copy and paste links in your address bar)

    These are very highly rated lenses. And yes, they are expensive. If you want a hobby that isn't, try knitting. In the world of consumer electronics, you get what you pay for.

  • 4 years ago

    nikon makes a brilliant 50mm best. tamron makes a brilliant low-value 28-75mm 2.8 lens comparable in image high quality to the canon 24-70mm 2.8. with out you being extra particular on what you're searching for thats the terrific i will do.

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