Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 (for Canon)

Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 (for Canon)

This review covers


» Image Quality «


» Sample Pictures «

» Conclusion «

» Further Information «

Table of contents

The focal range of 70 mm to 300 mm is a very popular choice and a variety of lenses are available in this range. The AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 has been on the market for quite a while and that's mainly (but not just) for its extremely low price tag.

Intended Use

Wildlife & Sports

The AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 is certainly meant to be used for wildlife and sports photography. The focal length of 300 mm which translates to 480 mm (effective) on an APS-C body is ideal to get close-ups of shy animals (though for pictures of birds you will likely need even more focal length). The maximum aperture of f/5.6 (at this focal length) is mediocre but to get lower f-stops you will have to spend seriously more money. At this focal length the lens is best used on a tripod because it doesn't have an image stabilizer. But alternate supports such as a bean bag are equally as good.


The focal length of 70 mm is just right for nice portraits though the maximum aperture of f/4 is a little weak for that (lenses such as the similarly priced EF 50mm f/1.8 II offer maximum apertures that are much better suited for portraits). As you will read a little further on the AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 fortunately shows very little distortion at 70 mm which is good news for portrait photography as well.

Weight and Dimensionstop


The AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2's weight is 16 oz.

Lens Weight [oz]  
Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 (for Canon) 16

Compare with the weight of other lenses:


Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM 14
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM 20
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM 22
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM 17
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II 7
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS 16
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM 10
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM 28
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM 32
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM 23
Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM 11
Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM 9
Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM 4
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM 19
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM 9
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II 4
Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro 10
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS 14
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II 14
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM 12
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM 52
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM 14
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM 21
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM 22
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM 52
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM 83
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM 90


The AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2's dimensions are 3.0 " (diameter) by 5 " (length).


Compare with these values:

Length in
Diameter: in

Handling and Build Qualitytop

The AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 is made of decent looking plastics and has a pretty rugged appearance. Because the lens mount is made of plastic as well it is obviously more prone to wear than metal lens mounts. The zoom ring is big and has a nice grip to it but zooming isn't very smooth. The lens does not have a zoom lock but due to the stickyness of the zoom you won't miss it. The focus ring while smaller is positioned well and manual focusing is smooth. The lens does not allow manual override during autofocus operation so you have to use the switch to choose between autofocus and manual operation. What's worse if you attach or remove the lens hood (which is included) you will have to switch to manual focus first as otherwise you might (and probably will) damage the focus motor of the lens.

62 mm filters can be attached to the AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2. Circular polarizing filters that need to be rotated according to the angle the camera has to the sun can easily be accessed even while the lens hood is attached. However because the lens rotates its front element during focusing the use of this filter type (and all others that need to be aligned) requires a lot of attention with this lens.

The autofocus is noisy, slow and not very accurate. When I say not accurate I don't mean that it is off the exact distance to the subject by the same amount all the time (such a problem could be solved with modern camera's micro adjustment features) but what I mean is that given the same static setup the AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD MACRO 1:2 will focus slightly differently every time you start the autofocus. This might be a characteristic of the imprecise motor used in the lens. Because the lens doesn't really offer low f-stops the broader in-focus range helps to compensate this issue. Some lenses can speed up the autofocus by allowing the user to limit the autofocus range e.g. to just close-up or just long distance but this lens doesn't have this feature. The fact it also doesn't have an image stabilizer limits the use of the telephoto end of the focal range to tripod use or very fast shutter speeds (e.g. 1/300 s for a full frame camera and 1/500 s for an APS-C camera). Otherwise camera shake is likely to blur the image. Note that bright sunlight or high ISO settings are necessary to get to those sorts of shutter speeds with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at 300 mm.

Macro mode

Tamron calls the lens a macro lens but apparently it only allows a maximum magnification of 0.50 x which is a lot less than proper macro lenses that go up to 1.00 x. Furthermore the Tamron's macro mode only works between 180 mm and 300 mm and has to be activated with a cumbersome switch. If you try to zoom out while the switch is on macro mode the zoom will stop you at 180 mm and require you to switch back to normal mode. This takes some time to get used to and quite frankly is a bit annoying but at least at 300 mm you can get a little closer to your subject than you would with a non-macro lens.




Image Quality