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Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD Zoom Lens Review

There aren’t many lenses on the market that compare to the Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD, which retails for $1,899. The large zoom lens has a brilliant maximum aperture, making it ideal for low light and blurring the backdrop. Additionally, it has a greater telephoto reach than alternatives such as 24-70mm F2.8, despite the fact that it does not go as wide.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD Zoom Lenses

Its price and bulky optics make it more of a star in a certain niche than a crowd-pleaser, but the quality of its photographs and the speed with which it can focus are guaranteed to draw event photographers and portrait experts in particular.

Bright optics allow for a significant magnification range.

The 35-150mm lens is rather a substantial one. When it is adjusted to have the smallest focal length, the camera has a dimension of 6.2 by 3.5 inches (HD), and it weighs a hefty 2.6 pounds. This gives it the feel of a conventional 70-200mm F2.8 rather than that of a basic zoom; in comparison, the Tamron 28-75mm G2 weighs roughly 1.2 pounds and is more manageable for handheld shooting. Mirrorless cameras with a Sony E-mount are the only cameras that can use this lens.

My camera, which is a Sony a7R IV, in this case, does not have a vertical grip; but, the Really Right Stuff baseplate that came with it makes it easier for me to use the camera. In spite of this, the 35-150mm is discernibly front-heavy, particularly when zoomed out to the 150mm point. Because of its small frame, it does not have the same level of balance as a 70-200mm, and I wish Tamron would provide a tripod collar for their lenses.

The vast majority of them are not without cause. When used at its widest point, the 35-150mm has an aperture of F2, which allows it to gather twice as much light as a standard zoom lens with an F2.8 aperture. Working in low-light conditions and making photographs with blurry, out-of-focus backgrounds are both made easier by this feature. As you zoom in, the maximum aperture will gradually get smaller, eventually reaching F2.2 at 50mm, F2.5 at 70mm, and F2.8 at 80mm and beyond.

The maximum aperture of the majority of full-frame zoom lenses is F2.8, and the few that go beyond that mark have correspondingly large diameters; examples include the Canon RF 28-70mm F2 USM and the Sigma 24-35mm F2 Art, which is an ultra-short zoom designed for SLR cameras.

Tamron has packed the lens with features that are suitable for professionals. It is protected against smudges and spills by a fluorine coating that is also anti-smudge, and it has a splash-resistant design.

A group of three buttons located around its center all serves the same purpose (AF-ON by default, although you can alter this), but they are arranged in such a way that makes it possible for you to reach them regardless of whether the camera is being held in the landscape or the portrait orientation. Toggle switches allow the user to flip between different focus modes and select any one of three user-defined modes.

Tamron Lens Utility, a desktop software utility that is compatible with both macOS and Windows, is where you will make any necessary customizations to your lens. Because the 35-150mm lens is equipped with a USB-C connector, connecting it is as simple as plugging in the lens and opening the appropriate application.

You are able to upgrade the firmware, change the rotation direction and responsiveness of the manual focus ring, and assign custom functions with the Lens Utility.

Both the Control and the Autofocus

Tamron makes efficient use of the 35-150 mm available surface area by equipping the lens with a broad zoom ring in the lens’s base, a set of controls in the lens’s middle, and a generous manual focus control all the way forward.

When you zoom in, the section of the barrel closest to the lens advances forward and telescopes outward. A lock switch allows you to keep the lens set to its 35mm position, which is its smallest focal length and is helpful for stowing the lens when it is being transported.

Top view of the Tamron 35-150mm mounted on the Sony a7R IV.

The autofocus functionality is of the highest caliber. The lens makes use of a linear (VXD) motor to operate the focusing group, which allows for extremely rapid transitions between close-up and faraway subjects. The focus is also quite quiet and precise. If you wish to utilize the lens for video work, this is a benefit since the breathing effect, which is a change in angle when the focus moves, is just barely perceptible.

The flexibility of the 35-150mm is enhanced by the fact that the manual focus ring may be customized. Photographers should continue to use the nonlinear response as their default setting. In this mode, the focus response is proportional to the speed with which you spin the lens; therefore, you should use a leisurely movement for making accurate changes and a rapid movement for making roughshod racks.

The advantage of using Linear mode, which can be accessed through the Lens Utility app, is that it adjusts focus according to the degree of rotation. This is helpful for filmmakers who need to repeat a focus rack from take to take.

The macro performance isn’t something to write home about; it just has a measly 1:5.7 magnification capability. However, this isn’t a deal breaker for modest close-ups because the lens can focus as near as 13 inches when used at the widest angle and as close as 33.5 inches when used at the longest angle.

The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 G2 is one example of a standard zoom lens that focuses in close for around 1:3 macro photography. Close-up work is best suited for a conventional zoom lens. On the other hand, the premium Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II focuses on 1:3, and the Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 locks in close enough for 1:2 resulting in a unique manual focus macro mode. Both of these lenses are designed for photography enthusiasts.

The lens does not come with optical stabilization, but to be honest, I did not anticipate that it would. The 35-150mm requires 21 lens elements in 15 groups to build its photos, so it is prudent to rely on Sony’s in-body image stabilization (IBIS) rather than to further complicate the optics. This is because ultra-bright zooms use complicated optical formulae to create their images.

The IBIS works adequately, as evidenced by the fact that the a7R IV is capable of producing crisp handheld results at 1/8 of a second at 35mm and 1/15 of a second at 150mm. At the 150mm end of the zoom range, I did notice that the unstabilized optics gave a little shaky image of the world in the viewfinder. This was because your handshake was visible in the viewfinder. In this particular category, the Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II, which retails for $2,799, emerges victorious.

In the Laboratory: The Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8

In order to do tests both in the field and in the lab using the Imatest software, I matched the 35-150mm lens with the 60MP Sony a7R IV camera. Regarding the manner in which it was resolved, I have no criticisms.

It achieves ratings in the excellent range wide open across the majority of its range; however, there is a minor decline in clarity at 150mm, when it achieves scores in the very good level. Through its entire zoom range, the lens achieves near-outstanding sharpness when stopped down to smaller apertures.

Because the optics have some field curvature, focusing on the center of the image when taking a snapshot of a flat scene will produce images that are soft and off-center. When photographing landscapes and other settings in which it is important to maintain sharpness from edge to edge, you should choose a short f-stop, somewhere around f/8. When working at an aperture of f/2 or f/2.8, there is no need to worry about curvature because the resulting photographs have a blurred backdrop due to the wider aperture.

The excellent bokeh quality of this lens is a big reason why you should pick it over other options since it gives you that nice blurred background effect. The 35-150mm is also capable of avoiding the cat eye effect which can be distracting and appears at the edges of the frame when the aperture is wide open. This is accomplished without the addition of a light-sapping apodization filter, as is the case with Sony’s portrait specialty lens, the FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS lens.

Flare is a potential problem when shooting into a bright backlight, although it’s not difficult to avoid it. After reading some other accounts of ghosting and false color when using the lens, I tried my best to duplicate it in the field where it occurred. After making a very minor adjustment with the camera, I was able to take a picture that was almost identical to the one you see above, except it did not have the spectral figures in purple and green.

Digital processing, which includes both in-camera and desktop Raw editing software, contributes significantly to the viability of lenses like the 35-150mm. At 35 millimeters, the lenses have a minimal amount of pincushion effect, but at greater focal lengths, this impact is much more pronounced.

When working with JPEGs, you won’t notice these impacts, and the reason I prefer Adobe Lightroom as a Raw processor is because of the way it handles profiles; with just one click, the program will make adjustments based on the focal length of the image. Adobe’s profile also brightens dark corners, which is helpful because the lens produces a vignetting effect when the aperture is wide open.

Is the Tamron Midrange Zoom the Best Option for You?

I will be the first to acknowledge that, in terms of personal choice, the focal range of 35–150 millimeters is not my favorite. The lens is not wide enough for me to use it as my everyday zoom, and if I need to cover a large range, I would much rather take a 70-200mm lens instead. But not everyone is like me, so although the selection might not excite me, you could find the breadth of its cover interesting.

If you fall into this category, one lens that you should take into consideration is the Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 Di III VXD. This lens provides a prime-quality depth of field control at wider angles, and it also zooms in for portraiture. The focus is lightning quick, and the image quality has very few issues that need to be addressed in my opinion.

Even if it has a substantial weight to it, event photographers should pay extra attention to how it feels in their hands since it may prevent them from having to hold two camera bodies at once during a reception. Outdoor photographers may use this one in harsh situations because of its all-weather construction and anti-smudge glass, both of which are advantages for working in challenging environments.

a7R IV with a Tamron 35-150mm attached, profile view

I think it may be for some people, but the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 is a more traditional choice for that purpose and weighs only about half as much as the 35-150mm. Tamron touts the 35-150mm as an all-in-one travel lens, and I suppose it could be for some people. If, on the other hand, the 35-150 mm one-of-a-kind characteristics pique your interest, you should give it some consideration.

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Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD Zoom Lens Price