Lens Review: Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

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Update: Additional sample photos added at the bottom.

Repeating what I said about the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8, I have great expectations for this lens. What is that based on? Again, as I said in that review, I have been a fan of Tamron zoom lenses for quite a while now.

The DSLR 28-75mm f/2.8,

K-1 - Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

the DSLR 70-200mm f/2.8,

Pentax K-3ii and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di

the Sony FE mount 28-75mm f/2.8,

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

the Sony mount 17-28mm f/2.8,

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

and the Sony mount 70-180mm f/2.8.

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD

This brought me to a Tamron f/2.8 zoom trio.

Tamron Trio

So that was it I thought. I am done, right? Then Tamron announced the 35-150mm f/2-2.8…

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

Dang it Tamron. What are you doing to me here?

Why was I tempted? Easy.

  1. I had already made peace with the lower-priced, great performing 70-180mm sacrifice of not reaching 200mm so 150mm would do.
  2. Here is a lens that could potentially replace two lenses if I am willing to make the further sacrifice of 35mm instead of 28mm at the wide end. This would cover 35mm to 150mm with one camera.
  3. Two lenses, two bodies covering 17mm to 150mm without having to switch lenses. I would have loved to have had that extra width during the wedding shoot I did in last days of the before times.
Kauffmann Wedding Shoot - The Wedding

But… how does it perform optically?

According to Youtube and the internets great. This video in particular from Dustin Abbot tipped the scale for me.

So I marched down to my local camera shop and put up my 28-75mm f/2.8 and 70-180mm f/2.8 up for trade… roughly five months ago. I really wish Tamron had not made this announcement and online retailers had not listed this lens so far in advance of it actually shipping. Have heard horror stories about cameras taking months and even over a year to ship, but this is the first time I have experienced anything like this with a lens. But at the end of the day this is a text book example of a first world problem.

So now that it has arrived at my local camera shop is all forgiven? I’ll get to that, but first the run down. Have only had it a couple of days, but I will say that I have already made up my mind.

Size and Weight

Some have commented that this lens is large and heavy. But is it really? Check out this chart below comparing it to the two f/2.8 tele lenses I had used before. The Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 and the Tarmon 70-180mm f/2.8.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXDTamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di IIISony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II
Optical Design21 Elements in 15 Groups19 Elements in 14 Groups17 Elements in 14 Groups
Diaphragm Blades9, Rounded9, Rounded11, Rounded
Image StabilizationNoNoYes
Filter Size82 mm (Front)67 mm (Front)77 mm (Front)
Dimensions (ø x L)3.5 x 6.2″ / 89 x 158 mm3.19 x 5.87″ / 81 x 149 mm3.5 x 7.8″ / 88 x 200mm
Weight2.57 lb / 1166 g1.78 lb / 810 g4.13 lb / 1873g

Compared to the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8.

  • Considering the extra 35mm available at the wide end the 35-150mm is not really that much larger or heavier than the 70-180mm.

Compared to the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8.

  • Considering the added flexibility of the Tamron 35-150mm I am a bit surprised that the Tamron is both smaller and lighter even taking the Tamron’s lack of Image Stabilization into account.

So considering the spec I would say that both the size and weight of the 35-150mm are within reason.

Minimum Focus Distance

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXDTamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di IIISony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS II
Minimum Focus Distance13″ / 33 cm10.63″ / 27 cm15.7″ / 40 cm

The 35-150mm does not focus as closely as the Tamron 70-180mm, but it does focus more closely that the Sony 70-200mm. I did a quick informal test at 35mm…

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

…and 150mm.

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

I’m good.

DOWN SIDES (Kind of.)

150mm vs. 180mm vs. 200mm

Non-issue. As I said about the 180mm as compared to the Sony 200mm lens when not comparing the lenses side by side 150mm was not an issue in actual use. I adjusted.

Flare

Shooting directly into the sun there can be a bit of haze in my experience so far. But this is something I rarely do and it is easily avoided. Non-issue all things considered.

No image stabilization.

Again, like the 70-180mm I did not notice. And again while I am certain lens stabilization would be better with Sony’s IBIS it is a sacrifice I am willing to make for the size and weight savings. One handed shooting is not as easy as the 70-180mm, it is still possible which I did not attempt with the larger and heavier Sony f/2.8 G Master.

Extends on zoom

Non-issue in actual use.

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

UP SIDES

Switches/Buttons

Tamron stepped it up from the 70-180mm f/2.8 and added 3 focus hold buttons, an AF/MF switch, a Custom Switch, and a lens lock switch. Well done.

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

Build

While not as tank-like as the Sony it is built considerably better than the 70-180mm f/2.8. Tamron really stepped up their build here, similar to the recently updated Tamron G2 28-75mm f/2.8 and SIGMA 24-70mm f/2.8 Art.

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

Price

While more than what is typically expected of a Tamron it is about right when I consider that…

  • It replaces two lenses.
  • It is much better built than the two lenses it replaced.
  • It performs as well as either of the two lenses it has replaced optically.

Smaller size and lower weight.

Why would I say this when it weighs more than the 70-180mm? Simple. In my book it saves a great deal of size and weight since it also displaces the need for a second body and lens. With that it also takes up barely any more space in my camera bag than the 70-180mm.

USB Port/Firmware

A great solution much preferred over the puck required to update Rokinon/Samyang lenses.

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

Tamron has also shown with the 70-180mm f/2.8 that it is willing to put out firmware update improvements in a timely manner and I expect the same here.

Warranty

Tamron lenses have a 6 year warranty. That is pretty awesome.

Autofocus

So far every bit a match for the Sony or any other lens I have used on a Sony body. Very quick, silent, and accurate.

Bokeh

Down two blades from the Sony at 9 which matches the 70-180mm it still puts up an excellent performance.

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

Flexibility

This lens is capable of a great many things.

  • A great walk about solution, considerably more practical than the Sony due to its smaller size and weight. Also helps that it is less precious price wise.
  • Video. Great, swift, and silent AF that would do well as a very flexible video solution.
  • With its great focal range it is a one lens solution far superior to lenses like the variable aperture Sony 24-240mm. That lens does cover a broader focal length range, but it is let down by its humble aperture spec and inferior image quality.
  • Wide-angle shots are particularly pleasing. Great for environmental photos, landscape, and many other scenarios. Especially great that f/2.0 is available at the wider end.
35mm - Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
35mm
  • Excellent mid-range performance around 50mm and retains a prime lens like f/2.2 at that focal length.
50mm - Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
50mm
  • Great portrait length performance covering all of the popular focal lengths, 70mm, 85mm, 100mm, 135mm, and adding 150mm.
70mm - Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
70mm
85mm - Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
85mm
100mm - Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
100mm
135mm - Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
135mm
150mm - Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
150mm

Weather resistant

I do not tend to shoot in inclement weather, but nice to have in case I get caught in the rain.

Image Quality/Sharpness/Colors

Every bit a match for the Sony and the previous Tamron lenses I have used.

Lastly, I leave you with all that really matters. Sample images. Nothing fancy. Ran some errands. Went about my day as usual and took some photos. What is very telling is that I have taken nearly as many photos with this lens in a couple of days as I have taken with the 70-180mm in over a year of ownership.

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Chris at Southeastern Camera as shot by Wilson.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Wilson.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Southeastern Camera.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Katherine.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Kait.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Southeastern Camera.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Wilson.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Chris.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
35mm.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
150mm.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Denise at International Styles and Cuts.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
My son.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Function Boutique.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Function Boutique.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Terry at Function Boutique.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
My son.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
My son.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Graham’s ride.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Graham’s ride.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Southeastern Camera.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Southeastern Camera.
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD
Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

Conclusion?

I am going to use a phrase that I have heard applied to other lenses. After a couple of days with it, I would say that Tamron has truly created a “bag of primes” lens. Other than a bit of haze when pointed directly into the sun I truly see no downsides to this lens considering all that it can do. As useful at 35mm as it is at 50mm, 70mm, 100mm, 135mm, and 150mm. Can do street scenes on up to portraits and everything in between. AF so fast that it could be used for children, sports, or animals. Built well… I will stop myself here. This is all mentioned above.

Am I keeping it? Yes. Not only that, after a couple of days of use I have added my f/1.8 primes to the trade alongside the 28-75mm and 70-180mm I already traded. I do not need them. This lens has me covered.

Well done Tamron. Ongoing gallery here.

Lens Test - Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD

Additional Sample Photos:

Random Pics
Random Pics
Close Focus at 35mm
Engagement Event Pics
Engagement Event Pics
Engagement Event Pics
Engagement Event Pics
Engagement Event Pics
Engagement Event Pics
Engagement Event Pics
Engagement Event Pics
Engagement Event Pics
Son's Graduation Shoot
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8
1 of 2 Same Position – 35mm
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8
2 of 2 Same Position – 150mm
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