I am planning to buy an entry level SLR camera, mainly for use capturing macro and portrait photos. However, I'm a bit confused by this lens which is described as "Tamron AF 70 - 300 mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro".

Correct me if I'm wrong, from the description I think it's a telephoto zoom lens because of the 70 - 300 mm range - but the title also says that it's a "Macro". Can a lens be zoom and macro at the same time?

  • 5
    Does this question explain things enough for you? "Macro", "telephoto" and "zoom" are orthogonal concepts - a lens can be zero, one, two or all three of those.
    – Philip Kendall
    Nov 11, 2014 at 9:27
  • Thanks @PhilipKendall. I understand the meaning of macro. My confusion still stands
    – MnZ
    Nov 11, 2014 at 11:40
  • Thanks @PhilipKendall for editing my question. This now looks cleaner. Will post another question for other doubts :)
    – MnZ
    Nov 12, 2014 at 10:14

2 Answers 2


Like most consumer-grade variable aperture zoom lenses, this lens is a series of compromises carefully designed to do many jobs reasonably well. While, for example, it will take a very good photograph at 100mm, it will not have the same image quality from the center all the way to the corners as, say, a Zeiss Makro-Planar 100mm lens. However, it also doesn't cost US$1800 for a single focal length!

Likewise, this lens has a reasonable macro capability, meaning that it can make macro photographs at a reproduction ratio of 1:2, meaning that objects will be reproduced at 1/2 life size on a 35mm sensor or film. In comparison, most purpose-built Micro-Nikkor lenses can make photographs at a reproduction ratio of 1:1 or life-sized. For example: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/AF-S-VR-Micro-Nikkor-105mm-f%252F2.8G-IF-ED.html

As in all things in life, compromises are made as to cost, quality, weight, complexity, et al.

  • Thanks @chili555. You made me understand the meaning of the lens :)
    – MnZ
    Nov 12, 2014 at 10:09
  • Overall, it's not half bad at it either. It's not as sharp as a good Nikon, but neither does it have the colour aberration that my Nikon 24-120 has. Of the two, I use the Tamron daily, I'm selling the Nikon.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 25, 2017 at 7:36

Fairly simply, that lens is all three of:

  • A macro lens, as it can produce magnifications which approach 1:1.
  • A telephoto lens with a relatively long focal length and correspondingly small angle of view.
  • A zoom lens with a variable focal length.

These are three orthogonal concepts - as with this lens, it's perfectly possible for a lens to be all three of these at once.

  • I'm a beginner.Thanks for being patient. So how do I define this lens "Tamron AF 70 - 300 mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro for Nikon Digital SLR Lens". Is it a variable focal length or a MACRO?
    – MnZ
    Nov 11, 2014 at 11:59
  • 5
    It is both variable focal length and macro.
    – Philip Kendall
    Nov 11, 2014 at 12:03

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