It's slowly becoming a rule that when Tamron announces a new lens, it's going to be something slightly revolutionary, and the new Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD (internal designation A058) for the Sony FE family is no exception. The unique combination of low aperture numbers and a wide range of focal lengths suggested that this would be an extremely versatile lens that many professionals, both for photos and videos, would not turn their noses up at.
But let's first recap 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, aka Sony FE.
VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) - linear motor focusing mechanism for extremely fast and highly accurate movement (compared to the conventional drive systems, the linear motor significantly reduces noise and drive vibrations). Currently the best autofocus system Tamron offers.
The Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD combines the focal ranges of two of the most commonly used professional zooms - 24-70mm and 70-200mm, which is a godsend for all wedding, portrait, and documentary photographers (not to mention "hobbyists" and their family photography), who prefer "zoom" lenses over fixed glasses and would like to eliminate the need to use two bodies or constantly change lenses during a photo session.
This makes it an incredibly versatile lens, giving Tamron one of the next world's firsts... that is, the brightest professional zoom lens for Sony, with a maximum wide-open aperture starting at f/2.
A few basic parameters of Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD:
Model designation: A058
Focal length: 35-150mm
Optical construction: 21 elements in 15 groups
Number of aperture blades: 9
Minimum focusing distance: 0.33m (WIDE) / 0.85m (TELE)
Filter diameter: 82mm
Sealed against moisture and dust
Compatible with TAMRON Lens Utility software - firmware updates and lens function optimization
As the table of parameters suggests, the "thirty-five-one-fifty" is no tiny lens, which is not entirely surprising, with a 4.3x zoom (compared to 24-70mm - 2.9x, or 70-200mm - 2.86x) and an aperture of f/2.
For weddings, I usually bring along the Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III VXD G2 - 540g and Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD - 810g, so the weight saving in lenses isn't that significant, but the ability to not have to lug around another camera body, or constantly change lenses is an absolute "game changer" for me.
A Comparison of 35mm and 150mm from the same spot:
Sony A7 IV, Tamron 35-150mm (150mm in this case) F/2-2.8 Di III VXD, ISO800, 1/500s, f/4.5,
The primary priority for the 35-150mm was image quality, followed by the size/weight ratio. The filter diameter is 82mm here (compared to the Tamron’s "standard" 67mm, as with the 28-75mm and 70-180mm). The body, precisely crafted and perfectly sealed against dust and moisture, offers several controls that significantly speed up the workflow:
3 Focus Set buttons - user programmable in TAMRON Lens Utility
3 Position Switch - again user programmable in TAMRON Lens Utility (e.g., switching the focus ring direction, switching between linear focus ring control, etc.).
Zoom Lock Switch - prevents the lens from extending by itself (it locks at 35mm)
USB-C port for firmware updates and control function settings - also sealed against moisture and dust
Compared to previous models, Tamron has used a slightly glossier surface finish that should be more resistant to scratching and fingerprints. In addition to the surface finish, there were also design changes, resulting in improved ergonomics, so the lens now fits even better in hand. The lens comes with a shallow petal-shaped hood with a lockable mechanism to prevent accidental detachment.
As I mentioned earlier, the lens is sealed against dust and moisture, including the USB-C port, which at first glance may seem like they forgot to put a cap on it, but it's sealed from the inside.
If you are a stickler for the cleanliness of front elements, you will certainly appreciate the fluorine coating that repels water, grease and dirt. For a better understanding of how good it is, take a look here: www.youtube.com. In addition, BBAR-G2 (Broad Band Anti Reflection) technology is used - multiple layers of magnesium fluoride are applied to suppress internal reflections causing "ghosts" (secondary images) and reflections (causing low contrast and fading).
The 35-150mm has a 9-blade aperture for smoother bokeh, which looks truly beautiful between F2 - F4.
Fast focusing here is taken care of by VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motors, which is currently the most advanced technology that Tamron offers (it uses it "only" in 28-75 G2 VXD, 70-180mm VXD, 18-300mm VXD (APS-C) and 150-500mm VXD at the moment).
VXD motors offer greater torque compared to traditional RXD motors, which is an absolute necessity for large professional lens like the 35-150mm for trouble-free operation. VXD motors are also very quiet.
The image quality is excellent almost throughout the focal range. There is slight softening in the corners at 35mm F2, but that's really nitpicking. Image distortion and vignetting are almost negligible in the 35-150mm, and the lens also perfectly controls chromatic aberration.
great image quality throughout the focal range
sealing against moisture and dust
powerful VXD motors
fast, quiet and accurate autofocus
programmable buttons and USB-C port
excellent control of chromatic aberration
BBAR-G2 and fluorine coating for eliminating reflections and repelling dirt
bridging the 2 most commonly used focal ranges
ergonomically shaped body
not one of the lightest lenses
does not have optical stabilization
USB-C port is sealed "only" from the inside, the possibility of clogging the port with dirt (must say that I haven't managed to do that even after a year of almost daily use, but...)
The Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD is an absolutely fantastic lens with beautiful rendering, amazing bokeh, very fast autofocus, and absolutely perfect color rendition. I'd like to write something like "it's not an easy decision for me, but…”, but it is; with a calm heart, I'm putting aside my beloved Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD and from now on, only the 35-150mm remains, as it's the right "do it all" lens and the fulfilled dream of all wedding photographers. The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 will stay with me for a while longer, mainly for product photography due to the shorter focusing distance.
For 1,999 EUR (Summer 2023 - RRP Tamron.eu) you get a professional lens that is in no way inferior to GM native lenses, which are however significantly more expensive. Tamron also offers a 5-year warranty upon registration, which is a combination that is hard to resist.
Until next time,
Camera: Sony A7 IV
Tripod: 3 Legged Thing Mike Legends Mike
Drone: Mavic Air 2s
Backpack: Shimoda Action x70