Tamron’s 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III is a quite unique proposition for full-frame mirrorless cameras: It combines an unusually bright (albeit variable) aperture with a very useful 4.3x zoom range from mild wide-angle to telephoto reach. It may be currently only available in Sony E-mount but we hope RF and Z versions will follow. At 1799 EUR / 1899 USD / 1599 GBP the lens is quite expensive but I assume that street prices will eventually drop below that.
The new Tamron performs very convincingly: The lens has good to very good resolution across the full frame and over the complete zoom-range, shows almost no longitudinal colour aberrations or coma and has a Bokeh at the long end which is nicer than Tamron’s 70-180mm f2.8 Di III. Its features are also well rounded: the lens is weather-sealed including a fluorine coating against moisture and dust on the front element, it comes with a zoom lock and a lockable lens hood, and it offers a vast array of customizing options via Tamron’s new Lens Utility for its focus ring and focus set buttons with three banks of custom settings. And its autofocus is quiet, reliable, pretty fast, and has only minimal focus breathing.
What’s not to like? Well, I think the biggest drawback is that the wide end starts only at 35mm which restricts the widest angle of view to 64 degrees compared to the 75 or 84 degrees lenses starting at 28 or 24mm focal length offer. 35mm is simply too long for a lot of interior or exterior architecture photography although it certainly covers many opportunities in street and landscape photography. So you should be aware that you probably need another zoom lens to cover the really wide end like Tamron’s 17-28mm f2.8 Di III. Other limitations of the 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III are lack of teleconverters, limited close-up capabilities and quality, and no optical image stabilization. Although the latter is not critical as the body based image stabilization does a pretty good job of almost 3 stops. You should also be careful when the sun or another strong light-source is inside the frame: The Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III can suffer visibly from veiling glare at the long end. And finally I find the lens a bit heavy: It’s 46% heavier than Tamron’s own 70-180mm f2.8 Di III and I wished Tamron had added a tripod mount. But then the 35-150mm is lighter than Tamron’s own 28-75mm plus 70-180mm f2.8 lenses together.
Weighing up the pros and cons of the Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III against a combination of e. g. Tamron’s 28-75mm f2.8 Di III G2 and 70-180mm f2.8 Di III is pretty hard: Adding everything up the 35-150mm lens is brighter, lighter, less bulky, and cheaper than the 28-75mm plus 70-180mm lens and offers a slightly better performance at the short end plus nicer Bokeh at the long end. Plus it has the undeniable advantage of not needing to switch lenses which reduces the risk of losing a shot. But the 28-75mm goes 11 degrees wider at the short end, the 70-180 reaches 20% farther and is sharper, and both zoom lenses individually are smaller and much lighter on the camera and thus easier to handle.
In the end it comes down to your personal preferences: The combo of two trinity f2.8 zoom lenses is probably more versatile while the Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III is certainly a good choice when you need only mild wide-angle views with a bright aperture and want to reach decent telephoto length without swapping lenses.
Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III final verdict
Tamron’s new 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III is a compelling all-round zoom covering the range from mild wide-angle to decent telephoto reach in one zoom lens with an extra-bright focal ratio at the short end. It has nice Bokeh and its optical performance is good to very good over the complete zoom range up into the corners of a full-frame sensor. Tamron also added extensive weather sealing and a lot of customizing options via its Lens Utility. It may not go wider than 35mm, its close-up abilities are rather limited, and contra light can reduce contrast considerably at the long end but still Tamron’s new lens clearly earns a Recommended!
- Good to very good resolution across the full frame and over the complete zoom-range.
- Nice Bokeh.
- Almost no longitudinal colour aberrations or coma.
- Reliable and pretty fast autofocus.
- Versatile customizing options for focus ring and focus set buttons.
- Extensive weather sealing plus fluorine coating against moist and dust.
- Starts only at 35mm focal length.
- Limited magnification and image quality in close-up shooting.
- Does not work with teleconverters.
- At the long end veiling glare can reduce contrast considerably in challenging contra-light situations.
- Relatively heavy.