Like many other photographers, I've been engaged in a casual quest for one lens that can do it all: a fast, wide angle, medium telephoto, portrait, long telephoto and macro in one, razor sharp package that is also weatherproof, lightweight, well built and affordable. Ignoring for a moment the laws of physics as they apply to optics, and considering that a fast lens by definition requires lots of light-gathering glass (which means more weight), and that any combination of so many crucial factors is bound to add manufacturing costs, even the remaining requirements are still a daunting design challenge. Tamron has answered the bell with its latest super zoom. The alphabet soup in the lens name stands for: Auto Focus (AF), eXtra Refractive index glass (XR), Digital Integrated design (DI), Vibration Compensation (VC), and Low Dispersion (LD). I picked up a copy of the lens in a Nikon mount and tested it in the field for two weeks with a Nikon D700 FX digital SLR body. For what it's worth in your considerations, the Tamron AF 28-300mm XR Di VC LD Macro zoom won the European Imaging & Sound Awards (EISA) Best 2008-2009 Consumer Lens product award.
I confess to some negative bias going into the review. I've been aspiring to be a great photographer for many, many years - decades even. To put it bluntly, I'm not there yet. Though I know without doubt that it is photographers, not their camera gear, who make great photos, I still harbor in the back of my mind some shred of faint hope that there is is a camera & lens combination out there which will make me a superb photographer. Of course it's an empty hope, but the quest for such a camera & lens combo offers a chance to shop for more gear, a temptation that can distract almost every photographer I know including me. Nonetheless, it's easy for someone with that mindset to be at once conflicted and hopeful when beginning a photography test with a lens like the Tamron AF 28-300mm XR Di VC LD Macro Zoom.