For wildlife, sports and landscape photography, the Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035) offers a versatile range of telephoto focal lengths that allow you to get intimate perspectives on your subjects and capture them in stunning detail. Available in Canon and Nikon mounts, the lens is designed for use with both full-frame and APS-C format DSLRs, with a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of approximately 150mm to 600mm when used with the latter.
“The Tamron 100-400mm provides the optimum combination of focal length range, size and performance,” says pro nature photographer Lewis Kemper, who has shot extensively with the lens. “With enough reach for those difficult-to-get-close-to subjects, yet easy to hold and carry, this is an ideal lens for most circumstances. Pair this with a wide-angle zoom, and you would have everything you need for any travel situation.”
Designed to withstand the elements, the lens includes multiple leak-proof seals throughout the lens barrel, which is primarily constructed from durable yet lightweight magnesium, reducing weight for hand-held shooting. Tamron’s Vibration Compensation system is built-in and features a dedicated microprocessor to deliver up to four stops of compensation, further enhancing hand-held performance. “I really like the build quality of this lens,” Kemper remarks. “From the great Vibration Compensation system to smaller details like the well-made lens hood, everything about this lens is high quality.
“I love its light weight and easy handling,” Kemper continues. “This lens is a pleasure to carry and to shoot with. I can hold it all day and not have sore arms. When photographing from my kayak, the Vibration Compensation system makes it so easy to get sharp pictures hand-held, even from a moving kayak.” And for situations when you’d prefer to shoot from a tripod, you can attach the removable tripod collar, which is thoughtfully designed with an Arca-Swiss compatible base, so it will slide right in to most quick-release tripod mounts without the need of an additional plate.
For moving subjects such as wildlife, the lens incorporates a specialized Digital Signal Processor, which, in concert with the lens’s Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) autofocus motor, enables the lens to seamlessly track the subjects with fast, precise focusing. Kemper’s experience with the lens confirms the technology. “This lens focuses incredibly fast to catch all the action,” he observes.
Of course, the most important characteristic of a lens is its optical performance. The 100-400mm Di VC USD’s design includes 17 optical elements in 11 groups. Three low-dispersion (LD) elements are employed to correct for aberrations common with telephoto lenses. Additionally, Tamron’s proprietary eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) Coating helps eliminate internal reflections that can compromise image quality, and a fluorine coating on the front element protects the lens from dust and splashes and makes it easy to keep clean. The lens offers a minimum focusing distance of just 59 inches, with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.6. Its nine-blade, circular diaphragm results in beautiful bokeh effects when shooting to achieve soft, out-of-focus backgrounds.
If you need even greater telephoto reach, the lens is compatible with Tamron’s TELECONVERTER 1.4x (Model TC-X14) and TELECONVERTER 2.0x (Model TC-X20) for up to double the maximum focal length. Like the lens, these teleconverters also feature integrated weather sealing, and they fully support the lens’s autofocus and Vibration Compensation systems with ƒ/8-compatible cameras.
Together, the optical design and construction deliver superior image quality. “My biggest surprise using the Tamron 100-400mm came when I opened the files and saw how sharp and crisp the images looked right out of the camera,” says Kemper. “You can see every feather, blade of grass, tree branch—or whatever details you capture with the lens— in amazing clarity. I have lowered my standard sharpening presets in post-processing when using this lens because the images are already so sharp.”
Kemper concludes, “Whether you are photographing the landscape or wildlife, this lens fits right in, giving you superb sharpness, in such a well-designed and manufactured package.”