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Go wide, go long with the Tamron 18-400mm zoom

Create: 06/25/2017 - 22:05
Tamron f/3.5-6.3 18-400mm Di II VC HLD


  • Expansive 22.2X zoom range from wide angle to long telephoto for APS-C Nikon, Canon cameras
  • Both versions use electromagnetic aperture
  • Who might buy this: Someone who wants only one lens for their dSLR

One of the nice things about a so-called bridge camera is that many of the recent offerings are fitted with superzooms that offer very long telephoto focal lengths.

The Tamron f/3.5-6.3 18-400mm Di II VC HLD brings the bridge camera concept to Canon and Nikon digital SLRs with APS-C sensors. This translates to a full-frame equivalent range of 27-600mm for Nikon cameras and 28.8-640mm for Canon bodies.

For those not familiar with the term, a bridge camera usually has a wide-angle to long telephoto zoom and a body style similar, although not necessarily identical, to an SLR. Operationally, it usually is close to a point and shoot and lacks advanced functions.

This 22.2X zoom could be the one lens that some amateur photographers will want or need because of its vast range.

Tamron already has a 16-300mm zoom for APS-C cameras, so this lens adds much more reach on the telephoto side without sacrificing too much on the wide end.


The 18-400mm has 16 elements in 11 groups. Two of the lenses are molded glass aspherical elements, while another is a hybrid aspherical lens, and three are low-dispersion elements.

Seven blades form the aperture. This lens uses an electromagnetic aperture, which isn’t compatible with earlier Nikon cameras. There is no aperture ring, and Nikon users should ensure that their camera can use this lens.

The maximum aperture is f/3.5 at the lens’ widest setting and f/6.3 at 400mm. While that might seem slow, in practice, f/6.3 is only one stop slower than most 400mm telephoto lenses.

The filter size is 72mm.


The close-focus distance is 17.7 inches (0.45 meters) , although Tamron says the close-focus distance might change when the camera is used in Live View mode.

The lens has Tamron’s Vibration Compensation, which should be very beneficial when using the lens at 400mm. The lens also is moisture resistant.

Tamron has done an impressive job of offering a 22.2X zoom range in a compact lens. The lens extends when zooming to its maximum focal length. The lens is 4.9 inches long (4.8 inches for the Nikon version) and weighs about 25 ounces (710 grams).

The lens comes with front and rear caps and a petal-shaped lens hood.

The lens is expected to begin shipping in the third week of July 2017 for US$649.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.