Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 VC USD Review | Dustin

Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Hi everyone. I've released my final bit of coverage of the new Tamron 100-400 VC lens. I benchmarked the Canon 100-400L II (which I own and love) for this review.

The Tamron 100-400 VC is a very impressive lens at this price point, giving about 90-95% of the Canon 100-400L II all-round performance at about 40% of the price. That’s amazing. Unlike the Sigma 100-400 Contemporary, which was optically excellent but couldn't keep up with fast action, the Tamron actually tracks quite well on my 5D Mark IV (just slightly poorer than my 100-400L II).

Here’s my linkage:
Text Review: http://bit.ly/100400VCda
Video Playlist: http://bit.ly/100400VCpl (I did a number of video segments, covering image quality, build quality, autofocus and tracking, etc…)
Image Gallery: http://bit.ly/100400vcIG
 

Chaitanya

EOS R
Jun 27, 2013
1,492
671
35
Pune
Thanks for review, good that I held on ordering Sigma 100-400mm lens. Tamron has released it in India just in time for the birding season.
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Chaitanya said:
Thanks for review, good that I held on ordering Sigma 100-400mm lens. Tamron has released it in India just in time for the birding season.

I wish I had gotten a little better tracking results with the Sigma, as it was in most every way a very good lens otherwise.
 

Random Orbits

EOS 5D Mark IV
Mar 14, 2012
2,455
331
Dustin, did you notice a drop off in AF performance using center or outer points when the lens went from f/5.6 to f/6.3?
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,885
12,173
I bought the lens after reading and watching your reviews and have now done quite a few bird shots with the Tamron under difficult lighting conditions (posted in the Bird Portraits thread) and have found the VC/IS rather good, unlike that of the Sigma 100-400, which seemed at least a stop weaker. Also the IS of the image in the viewfinder of the Sigma was bad, the image jumping all over the place.

Interestingly, the Tamron is very economical with glass; 17elements in 11 groups compared with 21/15 for the Sigma and 21/16 for the Canon 100-400mm II. It looks like the Tamron designers have been rather clever.
 

AJ

EOS RP
Sep 11, 2010
760
177
Looks good reagrding sharpness and handling, but I think I see some doughnut-shaped bokeh.
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
AlanF said:
I bought the lens after reading and watching your reviews and have now done quite a few bird shots with the Tamron under difficult lighting conditions (posted in the Bird Portraits thread) and have found the VC/IS rather good, unlike that of the Sigma 100-400, which seemed at least a stop weaker. Also the IS of the image in the viewfinder of the Sigma was bad, the image jumping all over the place.

Interestingly, the Tamron is very economical with glass; 17elements in 11 groups compared with 21/15 for the Sigma and 21/16 for the Canon 100-400mm II. It looks like the Tamron designers have been rather clever.

I found that interesting, too, as most of the time lenses in the same class have highly similar optical formulas.
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
AJ said:
Looks good reagrding sharpness and handling, but I think I see some doughnut-shaped bokeh.

Interesting. Care to elaborate where? I'd like to see what you are seeing.

P.S. Both the 70-300L and 100-400L II have very underrated bokeh quality. It actually rivals that of fixed aperture zooms and even primes.
 

AJ

EOS RP
Sep 11, 2010
760
177
Looking at it again I think the foreground bokeh is perhaps a tad busier than the background. But in all, quite nice.
Tracking-3.jpg
 

FramerMCB

Canon 40D & 7D
CR Pro
Sep 9, 2014
478
146
54
Great review Dustin. I've been thinking (GAS) about that Sigma since it's release but now I will get the Tamron instead. Have to save up my pennies so it will be a few months but looks like it'll be very worth the wait.
 

Chaitanya

EOS R
Jun 27, 2013
1,492
671
35
Pune
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Chaitanya said:
Thanks for review, good that I held on ordering Sigma 100-400mm lens. Tamron has released it in India just in time for the birding season.

I wish I had gotten a little better tracking results with the Sigma, as it was in most every way a very good lens otherwise.
The only reason why I wanted a 100-400mm sized lens was they are smaller compared to 150-600/200-500(nikon) lenses and considerably lighter to travel with. Sigma has a big problem in India that they do not have official presence unlike Canon/Nikon/Sony/Panasonic/Tamron which makes their lenses considerably more expensive to purchase here and they dont have service centres run by them rather they rely on importer to provide service. Sigma 100-400mm is priced at 69000 INR(~1070$US) while Tamron is 68000 INR(MRP) and can be purchased for 61000 INR or less(~950$US). AF performance was important factor in deciding other than price as I will be using this lens for butterflies(canopy species like birdwings and others.) , raptors and mammals.
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Chaitanya said:
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
Chaitanya said:
Thanks for review, good that I held on ordering Sigma 100-400mm lens. Tamron has released it in India just in time for the birding season.

I wish I had gotten a little better tracking results with the Sigma, as it was in most every way a very good lens otherwise.
The only reason why I wanted a 100-400mm sized lens was they are smaller compared to 150-600/200-500(nikon) lenses and considerably lighter to travel with. Sigma has a big problem in India that they do not have official presence unlike Canon/Nikon/Sony/Panasonic/Tamron which makes their lenses considerably more expensive to purchase here and they dont have service centres run by them rather they rely on importer to provide service. Sigma 100-400mm is priced at 69000 INR(~1070$US) while Tamron is 68000 INR(MRP) and can be purchased for 61000 INR or less(~950$US). AF performance was important factor in deciding other than price as I will be using this lens for butterflies(canopy species like birdwings and others.) , raptors and mammals.

Really the improved AF performance is, in my mind, the single most compelling reason to choose the Tamron over the Sigma.
 
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Dantana said:
Another great review Dustin.

Curious if you shot at all on a 6D with this lens and how the AF performance felt if you did.

I didn't, actually. I probably should have. My experience is that typically staying with the center point produces really good results with the 6D.