We got our hands on two fun new lenses from Tamron. The Z mount version of the wildly popular Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 lens and the brand new Sony FE mount 17-50mm f/4 lens. So to test these lenses I used them to cover Pictureline's Digital Fest. Some of you may have even attended, but if you didn't it's basically a trade show here at the store. We brought in some speakers, including Nikon Ambassador Dixie Dixon who spoke about fashion and portrait photography and then held a little hands-on shooting workshop.
So let's start with the 35-150mm lens. This has been very popular with Sony shooters and is now available for the Nikon Z mount. It features a maximum aperture of f/2 at the wide end and a 2.8 at the telephoto end as well as Tamron's VXD Linear Motor Autofocus mechanism, which allows for fast autofocus as well as precise linear manual focus. It is also weather-sealed I have used the Sony version several times, and I have been a big fan, and using it on the Nikon Z9 in photos I was not disappointed.
Point of view of both 35mm and 150mm focal lengths on the Tamron 35-150mm
The first thing I want to talk about with this lens is why 35-150mm is such a big deal. Above you can see shots from the Youtube review demonstrating 35mm-150mm from the same spot. The variable aperture kicked in at 150mm, hence the difference in exposure. We zoomed through the whole lens range in one shot to properly demonstrate the reach.
So as you can see just from a focal length standpoint it is incredibly versatile, especially for these kinds of events. In one place I can get great wide shots and close-ups. It's a bit like tapping a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm together and just chopping off the ends.
But all of that would be moot if the pictures weren't good, and well, they look fabulous. On the Z9's 45-megapixel sensor, any flaws in the lens have nowhere to hide and as you can see it brings the sharpness and color accuracy you might expect from a name-brand lens.
Color accuracy and sharpness of Tamron 35-150mm F2-2.8 with Nikon Z9
And that extends to the autofocus. When used on the Z9 the lens performed how you would want it to. Going through photos I haven't seen any overt misses, and when watching through the viewfinder it seemed lighting fast as you'd expect. I had no trouble finding and tracking whatever subject I needed.
Now just from an ergonomics perspective, this lens felt completely at home on the big body of the Z9. This lens is pretty heavy so pairing it with a large body really helps the ergonomics and balance. That weight is really its greatest weakness. Though I love this lens, on a small A7 body it's a bit unruly, which is why I mostly used it on the FX6. It can be a bit heavy for gimbals, especially since there is no tripod collar so all your weight is way out in front, and more importantly, on your lens mount. So just be sure to adequately support it, particularly on smaller cameras.
So look, I could rave on about this lens forever but, here is the bottom line. Normally I say who this is for, but basically, this is for everyone. If you have ever wished your 70-200mm could go wider or your 24-70mm could get tighter. For me, it is my go-to lens for events or any situations where changing lenses partway through would be frustrating or dangerous, or when I only have space or weight for one lens. It's great for events, filmmaking, portraits, landscapes, sports. Truthfully, there is nothing it can't do.
Next up, we have the Tamron 17-50mm f/4 full frame lens. Now when I pulled this out of the box I genuinely thought this was a crop sensor lens. But sure enough, I put it on the A7Cr and it was full frame. And man, what a fun focal length! Similar to the 35-150, the focal range is massive.
Point of view of both 17mm and 50mm focal lengths on the Tamron 17-50mm
So for Digital Fest I tried this on our FX3 with a gimbal and shot some photos with the New Sony A7CR and A7Cii (review coming soon). With photos it did very well, again it felt like things like autofocus were just as snappy as with a first-party lens, using the same VXD Autofocus drive as the 35-150mm. And even shooting at 61 megapixels images looks good, but may be not quite as sharp as the 35-150mm. So bear that in mind, if you want to crop in on things on a high-resolution sensor it may not hold up as well as some nicer lenses. But why are you cropping with a wide-angle lens? Just get closer silly.
Apart from the sharpness, everything else seems to be very well handled. No significant chromatic aberration, and very impressively the distortion at 17mm seems very well controlled for a lens at this price point.
Very little distortion at 17mm on Tamron 17-50mm F4 Lens
I would say though when I put it on the gimbal that's where it really shinned. For me, the 17-50mm is the perfect gimbal focal length. You can get those super wide sweeping shots, but if you want to get something closer, you can without feeling unruly. And with it being so light balancing was a breeze. The constant aperture further cements this as a powerful video lens. To see the video samples watch the full video review on our YouTube channel here:
I see this lens being amazing for travel, vloggers, and content creators. Also, for folks starting with a crop sensor camera that know they want to eventually go full-frame, this will make for a great everyday standard zoom lens. Especially for something like a Sony a6700, and when you decide to switch to full frame then you'll have a good ultra wide to standard zoom to start with.
So there you have it, two great lenses from Tamron. As a reminder, both lenses are compatible with the Tamron Lens Utility allowing for a wide range of great customizable features.
Don't forget to take your camera out today!