Review: Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD (Canon EF)

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD is in some ways fantastic; in other ways a let down.

When testing the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD, I had a whole lot of hope. The company’s lenses have been stellar and they’ve been winning many awards. But when it came to working with this lens, things were just off. The quality of the optics is fantastic as always. But where I saw issues was with performance–not only on the Canon 6D Mk II but with a Sony a7r III and a Metabones adapter. It could do the job, but with varying success that other lenses of similar types and focal lengths could do. The Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD isn’t a bad lens–it’s just one that I’d probably relegate just to studio work and sports with lots of bright light.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Nice build
  • Small
  • Image stabilization that is very good
  • Good colors
  • Pretty good image quality, but I’ve seen better from Tamron

Cons

  • Autofocus can be wonky

Gear Used

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD was tested with the Canon 6D Mk II, Godox flashes, the Sony a7r III, Metabones adapter, and Interfit umbrellas.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from our news post

Model : A034
Focal Length : 70‐210mm
Maximum Aperture : F/4
Angle of View (diagonal) : 34°21′ -11°46’ (for full-frame format)
: 23°01′ -7°46’  (for APS-C format)
Optical Construction : 20 elements in 14 groups
Minimum Object Distance : 37.4 in
Maximum Magnification Ratio : 1:3.1
Filter Size : Ø67mm
Maximum Diameter : Ø 76mm
Length* : for Canon 6.9 in.
: for Nikon 6.8 in.
Weight** : for Canon 30.3 oz.
: for Nikon 30 oz.
Aperture Blades : 9 (circular diaphragm)
Minimum Aperture : F/4-F/32
Image Stabilization Performance : 4 stops (CIPA Standards Compliant)For Canon : EOS-5D MKIII is used / For Nikon : D810 is used
Standard Accessories : Lens hood, Lens caps
Compatible Mounts : Canon, Nikon

Ergonomics

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD is really designed a whole lot like many of the other options on the market. When you feel the body though, you’ll see how the matte finish differs from the rest. It isn’t the giant rubber rings, but instead the matte finish that makes this lens stand out from the rest. It’s nice and soft to the touch, but with enough grip to it.

Turn to the side of the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD and what you’ll spot are control switches. There is AF control and vibration compensation. For the most part, I’m going to assume that most folks will leave these activated.

Without the lens hood attached, the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD doesn’t really shrink all that much. You’re still probably going to want to dislodge it from your camera before throwing it in a bag depending on whether or not you’re working with a messenger.

Build Quality

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD has weather sealing built in at the base and throughout the lens. What’s nice is that there is internal zooming, so the lens doesn’t increase in size as you work with it. The exterior is the same matte finish that the other new Tamron lenses have. It feels nice and overall is a pleasant experience to work with.

Autofocus

While working with the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD on the Canon 6D Mk II, I found the autofocus to work as it should most of the time. There were times though where the lens and camera would take longer to acquire a subject or they just didn’t work at all. With the dance photography that I did, this isn’t as much of a problem as it would be for sports. Of course, you’d go for better lenses for sports photography.

On the Sony a7r III, this amounted to even more missed focus issues. For stagnant and non-moving subjects, Canon was surely the way to go here. To be fair, I’ve always had this problem with Tamron lenses adapted to Sony. Sigma doesn’t give me issues like this.

Ease of Use

For the most part, all you’re doing is attaching the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD to the camera body and shooting. Ensure that vibration compensation is activated when you shoot; it can be very helpful. At no point in taking the lens out of a camera bag did I find the switches on the lens out of place–meaning that AF was always switched to where it should be. Indeed, I really had no issues working with this lens.

Image Quality

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD is a lens that has solid image quality overall. The bokeh is nice, the sharpness is there throughout the entire range of apertures, and the colors pop. In fact, the colors are overall very vibrant.

Bokeh

At 210mm, the bokeh is going to be really creamy and gorgeous. Combine that with the fact that you can focus fairly close and you’ve got a winning combination for photographers who adore bokeh in their portraits or images overall.

Chromatic Aberration

In my tests, I found only very slight issues with color fringing. But even so, they’re not too awful or problematic to deal with. As far as distortion and the rest go, there was nothing that distraught me. I genuinely hate talking about this stuff because for the most part it’s so easily fixed. Let’s move on.

Color Rendition

The colors from the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD are overall more vibrant than you’d get from other lenses out there like those of Sony’s and even Canon’s. On Canon’s sensors though, you’ll get colors akin to slide film designed for portraiture. On Sony, you’ll get super vivid and punchy colors.

Sharpness

Here’s a shot done with the Sony a7r III and the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD with an Orlit light firing off camera with high speed sync. It shows that the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD can be very, very sharp. Image quality really isn’t at all the issue with the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD as it can hold its own.

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Image quality
  • Small size despite still not being super duper small
  • Build quality

Dislikes

  • Autofocus at times

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD is a fantastic lens, but you need to give it and your camera every advantage you can to ensure that it consistently performs when it comes to autofocus. In situations where there is a lot of backlighting and in low lit situations, the lens and camera together will have problems nailing the focus. This isn’t so with a number of other lenses on the market. With that said though, the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD has fantastic image quality. In fact, you seriously can’t complain about it. When the focus is nailed, the images will sing with quality.

We award the Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD four out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon for the latest prices.