Tamron recently released the new Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD for the Sony E-mount. It’s an impressive lens at first glance, extremely fast with a very broad and useful focal range. Tamron has continued to impress and push the bar of innovation.
You’ll notice this is a Sony E-mount, it’s not offered for any Canon or Nikon mount. Sony has encouraged third-party manufacturers to produce lenses for the E-mount and has shared engineering intel to make it possible. This is something that Canon and Nikon have not done thus far with their mirrorless mounts (although the new Nikon 28-75mm potentially hints at some type of agreement).
Sony users are getting a real treat with this lens. This lens is professional-grade and competes with Sony’s own native E-mount glass.
This lens definitely has some unique characterizes and features, and with the right performance, it could replace multiple lenses in a kit. Why carry prime lenses, when you can get one lens that covers their range (and more) and is just as fast.
The question is, is it worth it for you?
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens for Sony E
- Sony E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
- Maximum Aperture Range: f/2-2.8
- VXD Linear Motor Focus Mechanism
- Tamron Lens Utility Connector Port
- 82mm filter size
- 2.56 lbs
The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD offers 35-150mm at f/2 to f/2.8 (up to 40mm at f/2, 40-60mm at f/2.2, 60-150mm at f/2.8). It has the best build quality of any Tamron lens yet and it is weather sealed. It even has a built-in USB port for updating firmware. It is heavy at 2.56 lbs., but the weight and professional build, make it feel like a very solid lens. Just note, it is not a lightweight offering.
It is the world’s only lens in its respective range that starts at f/2 and ends at f/2.8. This is an excellent offering from Tamron, and for many Sony shooters, it could be the only lens needed (we’ll talk more on that).
Everything about this lens is high-quality and it shows how Tamron has progressed over the years. Once, just another ‘third-party manufacturer’, but Tamron has made a name for itself and only continues to improve.
Tamron is a big reason that Sony has such a comprehensive E-mount lineup, and I hope Canon and Nikon mirrorless mounts soon welcome Tamron glass.
Two things about this lens that jump out right away are speed and range. It’s very rare to see a lens cover such a broad range, while also offering max apertures of f/2-2.8 (up to 40mm at f/2, 40-60mm at f/2.2, 60-150mm at f/2.8).
35-150mm is an extremely useful range for a variety of photography. It’s great for many different landscape perspectives, from mid-range to telephoto, and 100-150mm can be decent for wildlife if the encounter is close range.
My only qualm is it’s not wide enough or long enough for a lot of typical landscape and wildlife shots. Keep in mind this is only one lens. Pair this with a 16-35mm or 20mm, and a 100-400mm (or Tamron’s 150-500mm), and you have an awesome setup.
An ultra-wide perspective is great for landscapes and of course the longer the better for wildlife. So, I don’t think this lens makes it possible for nature photographers to carry just a single lens, as portrait or lifestyle photographers may be able to. But I still think this lens should have a spot in the camera bag, and a lot of that is based on its performance.
Image Quality & Autofocus
This is one of the best lenses that Tamron has ever made. Across its range, it has the best image quality of any Tamron lens. This lens is comparable in terms of sharpness, color reproduction, and contrast to many Sony prime lenses. I’ve run it against a Sony 20mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 and the results are super impressive. The Tamron holds its own, I don’t think you’ll see a difference in performance. Any time you can get prime-like performance in a lens that covers 35-150mm, you take the 35-150mm. Honestly, though, I think that’s an important feature of this lens – fantastic performance throughout its range, and it makes me question why I carry those Sony primes when a single lens can replace them. Granted it is larger, and not quite as fast, but it also offers me more than a fixed 20mm and 85mm perspective.
Tamron has come a long way with autofocus too. This is one of the best autofocusing lenses on the Sony E-mount system. It’s fast, quick, and responsive, with no problems with subject detection. This could just be because we’re entering a period where AF systems on cameras are so advanced, but this Tamron is also as efficient as those Sony primes that I mentioned. I tested against the 20mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8. Neither are G-Master lenses, but the AF systems work great. They are two of my favorite Sony lenses. The Tamron performs on par, which is great. I think the AF of the Tamron and almost all Sony lenses are so good that it’s almost a non-factor these days outside of very specific work like bird photography or fast-action sports.
The sharpness, bokeh, and color are also quite impressive from the lens. Again, comparing against my Sony primes, I actually find the color to be a bit better from the Tamron lens. Although with quick adjustments, the color can be matched, it’s nice to get colors so good right out of the camera.
Overall, I think the performance is really impressive from a lens that covers such a wide range. I’m considering this lens to replace a lot of the Sony primes that I use. The primes are lightweight and small, but when you own 3-4 of them, they take up a decent amount of space in the pack. It’s nice to have the ability to downsize to one lens. The Tamron is expensive though at almost $1900. But, again, if you’re carrying 3-4 primes to cover the same range, the Tamron pays off and gives you even more coverage. Tamron does have the excellent 28-75mm f/2.8 too, which is only $900 and offers similar performance, but less overall range.
I think the 35-150mm f/2-2.8 is worth it though. The range gives a lot of flexibility, the image quality is excellent and on par with some G-Master lenses, and it’s one of Tamron’s best lenses ever. I recommend it.
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.
Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.
As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.
You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com