New Life for Fuji! Tamron 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD First Look

The day has come. Fujifilm is finally game for working with third-party lens manufacturers. And Tamron is the first to do it The Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD is the first lens to come to the system and fills a much-needed niche. And of course, Tamron didn’t skimp on quality. This lens is lightweight, reliably fast to focus, and delivers darned good image quality. We’re doing our full review of the lens on the Sony system, but we called one in for the Fujifilm system too. Here’s what we’re finding.

Tech Specs

Taken from our initial news post

  • The world’s first 16.6x all-in-one zoom.
  • Extremely fast and precise autofocus—the highest-level in its class— with TAMRON’s VXD linear motor focus mechanism.
  • MOD: 5.9“ / maximum magnification ratio: 1:2 at 18mm wide end.
  • The best image quality in its class.
  • Outstanding VC.
  • Comfortably compact.
  • User-friendly features (Moisture-Resistant Construction, Fluorine Coating, Zoom Lock switch)

Ergonomics

Here’s a look at the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD. Doesn’t it look gorgeous on the X Pro 3?

First things first! It’s got two controls. There’s a focusing ring near the mount and then there’s a big zoom ring. Both are rubberized and easy to grip. The focusing ring feels like it could easily be an aperture ring. There’s also a locking mechanism to ensure the lens doesn’t extend unexpectedly. 

Here’s the lens fully extended next to an iPhone 12 Pro Max and a Cocoa Butter tube. As you see, it gets a lot bigger when extended.

Here’s a look at the front of the lens. It sports a 67mm filter thread. So, this lens isn’t massive.

Build Quality

The Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD is said to have moisture-resistant construction. That’s typical Tamron weather-sealing speak. In our tests, Tamron lenses have been incredibly durable. We didn’t take it out into the rain, but we made sure to splash water on it. Even after a bit of a shower, it kept working just fine on the Fujifilm X Pro 3. 

What’s more is the fact that it just feels great on the camera. You don’t need a big grip for it. And you don’t necessarily need the XT4. Instead, it gives the X Pro 3 a bit more versatility. Truly, this is a lens that Fujifilm didn’t know it needed for years.

Ease of Use

The first thing to realize about this lens is that it lacks an aperture ring. So you’ll need to use the dials on your camera to make sure you’re controlling the aperture. That’s easy enough. On the X Pro 3, I set the back dial to aperture control. I was super curious about how it would work with OVF mode. And of course, it worked mostly fine. There comes a point where it’s too far telephoto, but it’s not unusable if you have good vision. Still, it’s kind of fun to use it in the optical viewfinder setting.

Otherwise, this lens is a point-and-shoot affair. 

One thing to note is just how good the image stabilization is when you’re as still as possible. When I did this, I was able to shoot at 300mm (450mm equivalent) down to a little over 1/8th of a second and got a pretty clear shot. This is very impressive. On the Fujifilm XT4, I have to do more tests as I’m not sure if the camera’s image stabilization is working against the lens or not.

However, when photographing birds above me, I’m not in an ideal shooting position. And then, the image stabilization isn’t as effective.

Autofocus

As I’ve stated, I’ve been using the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD with the X Pro 3. And most of the time, I really wish that it had Bird autofocus detection. Fujifilm doesn’t have it at all, but it would’ve made birding in NYC so much easier. Fujifilm’s ergonomics let you quickly choose an autofocus point, but it would be faster if bird detection were built in. For the most part, though, the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD is quick to focus and very accurate. Any inaccuracies I’ll blame on Fujifilm and the company’s negligence to the Fujifilm X Pro 3. I’m sure the performance will be even better on the Fujifilm XT4.

Image Quality

Here are some images shot with the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD on the X Pro 3. 

Unedited

Edited

First Impressions

So far, I really like the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD. It’s very capable and if you were to get any single zoom for Fujifilm, this would be it. Stay tuned for a full review on the Sony system by Reviews Editor Hillary Grigonis. One thing is for sure; I’m happy this lens exists as it breathe more life into cameras like the X Pro 3. If you’re interested, check this lens out on Amazon.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.