Tamron has been making waves in the past few years by not only focusing on producing top-quality and affordable alternatives to native lenses, but also by thinking "out of the box" and breaking established conventions. Their chosen strategy has paid off, as recent offerings such as the Tamron 35-150 mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD and the Tamron 50-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD have shown that the concept of a "standard range" can be very relative.
Features and Specifications of the Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD
The new Tamron 20-40 mm F/2.8 Di III VXD (internal designation A062) for the Sony FE family only confirms this. It's one of the most practical ultra-wide zoom lenses in its class. Tamron claims that it was created with the desire to provide a versatile, easily portable ultra-wide zoom for Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras, which would be a daily partner for both photography and video.
Let's first explain what all those acronyms mean:
Di III (Digitally Integrated Design) - lenses specifically designed for mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses, in this case for Sony Full Frame E-mount, or Sony FE.
VXD (Voice-coil Extreme-torque Drive) - a linear motor focusing mechanism for extremely fast and highly precise movement (compared to a conventional drive system, a linear motor significantly reduces noise and drive vibration). Currently, it is the best autofocus system that Tamron offers.
Design and Ergonomics
The Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD is exceptional in many ways. It offers a constant wide aperture of F/2.8 across the entire focal range from 20mm to 40mm (30-60mm on APS-C sensors due to the 1.5 crop factor) and is incredibly lightweight (during testing, I often had to check if it was even in my backpack). At a length of 86.5mm, it weighs just 365g.
While the 40mm focal length is great for capturing everyday life, street photography, portraits, or even food photography, the ultra-wide 20mm focal length is perfect for landscape or interior photography. Vloggers will also be thrilled with it. Thanks to its low weight and dimensions, it's ideal for use with a gimbal (the lens only extends by about 9mm, so zooming has minimal impact on balance).
A few basic parameters:
Model designation: A062
Focal length: 20-40mm
Lens aperture: F/2.8
Optical construction: 12 elements in 11 groups
Number of aperture blades: 9
Minimum focusing distance: 0.17m (WIDE) / 0.29m (TELE)
Filter diameter: 67mm
Weather-sealed against moisture and dust
Compatible with TAMRON Lens Utility - firmware updates and lens feature optimization
This time, there are no programmable buttons on the compact body, unlike some recent Tamron models (as I hinted earlier, the main priority here was weight and easy portability). However, Tamron has included a USB-C port, which allows us to easily update firmware or reconfigure available functions (such as focusing method - nonlinear/linear, etc.), more on that on the following lines. The body is weather-sealed against dust and moisture, including the USB-C port.
Compared to previous models, Tamron has used a slightly glossier surface finish for the body, which is more resistant to scratches and fingerprints. Apart from the surface treatment, Tamron has also made some design changes, most notably in ergonomics, making the lens fit perfectly in hand. The lens also comes with a shallow lens hood.
To suppress internal reflections causing "ghosts" (secondary images) and flares (resulting in low contrast and fading), Tamron used BBAR-G2 (Broad Band Anti Reflection) technology, involving multiple layers of magnesium fluoride. Flares are almost negligible at a wide-open aperture of F/2.8 and only begin to appear at higher aperture values when shooting against the light (at narrower apertures, it seems more sensitive than, for instance, the recently tested Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD).
Image Quality and Performance
The linear VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) motors take care of fast focusing here. VXD motors offer higher torque compared to the classic RXD motors, resulting in almost instant autofocus readjustment. VXD motors are also very quiet.
Image quality is great across almost the entire range. At 20mm F2.8, sharpness is almost excellent, even in the corners. A slight softening occurs at longer focal lengths at the lowest aperture, but it quickly improves around F4. The large F/2.8 aperture, combined with its 9-blade construction, provides a beautiful bokeh.
Weight and size
Excellent image quality across most of the range
Impressive minimum focus distance
Weather-sealing against moisture and dust
Powerful VXD motors
Fast, quiet, and very accurate autofocus
USB-C port for firmware updates and user settings
Good chromatic aberration control
Perfect color rendering and great contrast
Ergonomically shaped body
Can be more sensitive to flares at higher aperture values
At 20mm, there is slight barrel distortion and mild vignetting (however, easily removable)
Conclusion: Rating the Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD
With the Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD, Tamron has once again stirred the waters of established ranges and introduced an extremely interesting wide-angle zoom. The previous "standards" in this segment were ranges like 17-28mm, 16-35mm, etc. However, those few extra millimeters make the new 20-40mm F/2.8 a more versatile lens. Landscape photographers might miss a few millimeters at the beginning, but that can easily be solved by stitching panoramas together.
For about 799 EUR (RRP by the Tamron.eu - August 2023, or check out some other offerings here), you'll get a fast, ultra-light, sharp lens with which you'll be happy to run around the city, landscapes, shoot details, or create on YouTube.
So, here's to great light and fantastic shots!
Camera: Sony A7 IV
Tripod: 3 Legged Thing Mike Legends Mike
Drone: Mavic Air 2s
Backpack: Shimoda Action x70