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Tamron SP AF11-18mm F/4.5-5.6 Di II LD Aspherical [IF] model A13N

Going wide

This lens provides the focal length to give me ultra wide angle coverage in DX format. I was eyeing the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 but was not able to wait for it when the opportunity to purchase the A13N was presented to me.

I hope to use this lens for taking landscape pictures primarily, but I do know that this focal length will also allow me to be creative with other subjects as well. 

Specifications

There is no need to repeat what the manufacturer said here. This is a model that has Di II designation, that means it is optimized for APS-C sized-sensors. This will cause vignetting on a full frame camera.

My initial impressions

This model does not have a built-in motor to auto focus on my D40, however, I don't feel it's going to be a problem shooting stationary subjects such landscapes, cityscapes and the like.

As my other SP class lenses, it is also made in Japan, and still lags in cosmetic compared to model 272E and similar to model A16. Build quality is solid with no unusual "loose" feeling.

Both the focus ring and zoom ring is made of ribbed rubber that provides a nice grip. The focus ring is light but well damped and allowed me to turn it with just a finger.

While the material seems to be made with plastic/polycarbonate, it has a good feel and seems solid. In addition, it is reasonably light which does not affect the balance of the lens/body, a great match with the D40 indeed.

It came with pinch type front cap, the standard back cap, as well as a lens hood. Still, there's no pouch! It seems that only Tamron prime lenses comes with a pouch.

Performance

I was able to have a feel of the auto focus performance courtesy of a friend who brought a D80 to try this lense. It was slower, and noisier to auto focus than my kit lens so there's nothing spectacular to talk about. However, at such short focal length, it does not bother me too much.

The internal focus mechanism is a big plus due to the non-rotating front mechanism. This would allow me to easily mount a CPL without having to re-adjust every time I focus.

What impressed me was the sharpness of the images from the A13.

Test shots

Here are some test shots using my usual subjects, at about a foot from the subject to the camera body, and using a tripod. You can click on the thumbnail for a bigger picture.

11mm f/4.5 ISO 200 13mm f/5 ISO 200
15mm f/5.3 ISO 200 18mm f/5.6 ISO 200

Despite some distortion and chromatic aberrations, I can live with it. Until such time when I can already afford a Nikkor equivalent. 

Conclusion

I'm very satisfied with the image quality of the model A13, and as a hobbyist, this presents an good value for money.

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Compared to a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

I was fortunate to be able to briefly borrow the new Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 of a friend. Thank you, Epoy!

I took these shots from inside a store and at the mall hallway. All these shots were taken handheld, and SB-28 speedlight was used, unless otherwise noted.

Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 Tamron 11-18 f/4.5-5.6
N/A 
16mm f/2.8 1/25 sec, ISO 200 no flash  
 
16mm f/4.5 1/8 sec, ISO 200 16mm f/5.3 1/6 sec, ISO 200
 
11mm f/2.8 1/60 sec, ISO 200 11mm f/4.5 1/60 sec, ISO 200
11mm f/2.8 1/60 sec, ISO 200 11mm f/4.5 1/60 sec, ISO 200