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

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

Someone had a great idea, and now we have the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens. That focal length range covers a high percentage of photographers' needs, including most portrait photography needs, in a single lens.

When including a long focal length range in a lens, designers typically decrease the maximum aperture opening. Not this time. The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens opens wider than most alternatives on the market at the wider end of the range, enabling a strong background blur and action-stopping shutter speeds at reasonable ISO settings in dim lighting.

When long focal length ranges are included in a single lens, image quality is commonly sacrificed, but again, that is not the case with this lens.

Additionally, the speed of focal length access is an image quality factor. Having instant access to disparate focal lengths enables fleeting opportunities to be capitalized on. Thus, by its focal length range alone, this lens has the potential to capture an improved set of images from an event.

The price, especially for a Tamron lens, is high enough to reflect this lens's very high overall quality.

When you don't want to take more than one lens, and you don't want to give up wide apertures, the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens begs to be mounted to your camera.

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

Focal Length Range

The focal length range is a primary consideration for a lens purchase or selection for use. Focal length matters because it drives subject distance choices (or requirements), and those distances determine perspective.

While 35mm is not especially wide, and 150mm is not exceptionally long, that 4.3x zoom range covers, as mentioned in the into, a very high percentage of many photographers' needs. More traditionally, a 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm lens combination was carried to gain access to this range. That pair of lenses has a wider range of focal lengths, but a lens change is required to span the entire range, and an additional lens must then be carried.

As also mentioned, the 35-150mm focal length range is ideal for portraiture. Use the wide end for full-body portraits with some environment elements included and for group photos. The normal focal lengths are optimal for creating a natural perspective, and the short telephoto through 150mm focal length range is ideal for tighter-framed portraits, including tightly-framed headshots at 150mm.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Landscape Sample Picture

Serious landscape photographers would want to pair the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens with an ultra-wide-angle lens, but the 35-150mm range is essential for this pursuit, and this two lens plan is a great one. With the ultra-wide aperture at the wide end, this lens can be utilized for nightscape photography.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Sunset Sample Picture

The 35-150mm focal length range works very well for photographing products of all sizes.

The need for this zoom range in movie production is unending.

The following images illustrate the 35-150mm focal length range:

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Focal Length Range Example

Again, that is a very useful range.

APS-C sensor format cameras utilize a smaller portion of the image circle, and that means a scene is framed more tightly, with 1.5x being the angle of view multiplier for Sony's lineup. The 35-150mm range provides an angle of view equivalent to a 52.5-225mm lens on a full-frame camera. This narrower angle of view is still optimal for portraits and products, though wide angles are sacrificed.

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

Max Aperture

This is not Tamron's first 35-150mm lens. Like that lens and most long focal length range lenses, the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens has a variable max aperture. Aperture is measured as a ratio of lens opening to focal length, and this lens's maximum opening does not increase adequately with focal length increase to maintain the same ratio. What is remarkable and differentiating is that this long focal length range variable max aperture lens opens to f/2 at the wide end.

Here is the max aperture breakdown as reported to the camera:

35-38mm = f/2
39-58mm = f/2.2
59-79mm = f/2.5
80-150mm = f/2.8

A zoom lens with an aperture wider than f/2.8 is unusual and always garners attention. This one opens a full stop wider than f/2.8 at the wide end. Though f/2 is reported for only 4mm of the range, f/2.2 is still a very wide aperture, and this one sticks through 79mm. Fewer will find f/2.5 a significant differentiator from the f/2.8 options, but f/2.8 is very wide for a zoom lens in the telephoto range, and f/2.5 is wider.

I mentioned that a 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm lens combination was typically carried to gain access to this focal length range and that the single Tamron lens gave up some of that range. However, this lens's wider aperture capabilities more than offset that advantage to some photographers.

The lower the aperture number, the wider the opening, and the more light the lens can allow to reach the imaging sensor. Each "stop" in aperture change (full stop examples: f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0) increases or decreases the amount of light reaching the sensor by a factor of 2x (a substantial factor).

Wide aperture lenses, allowing more light to reach the sensor, permit freezing action and handholding the camera in lower light levels and can also enable the use of lower (less noisy) ISO settings.

In addition to allowing more light to reach the sensor, increasing the aperture opening provides a shallower DOF (Depth of Field) that creates a stronger, better subject-isolating background blur (at equivalent focal lengths). These examples illustrate the maximum blur this lens can create:

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Maximum Blur Example

Your subject can strongly stand out from an non-distracting background when captured at these settings.

Often critical is that low light AF performance is improved by an increased amount of light reaching the imaging sensor.

A narrow aperture's advantages are related to (often significantly) reduced lens element size and include smaller overall size, lighter weight, and lower cost. Everyone loves those factors. We'll look at the size and weight more closely later in this review, but this lens is sized and weighted closest to the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens class. It is a moderately large and heavy lens.

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

Image Stabilization

The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens is not optically stabilized. Sony addresses that omission with Steady Shot or IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) in their mirrorless cameras. In addition to reducing camera shake, the stabilized imaging sensor provides a still viewfinder image, enabling careful composition. Sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.

With no IS switch on the lens, the camera menu must be used to enable or disable IBIS, a slight impediment to working quickly, such as going from tripod to handholding.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Angle View with Hood

Image Quality

A lens's image quality often makes or breaks its success. Tamron's Di III lenses have been outstanding performers, especially for their prices. While this lens has a long focal length range, typically an impediment to optimal image quality at all settings, the price tag reflected high expectations in this regard.

In the center of the frame, wide-open aperture results from the entire focal length range have good sharpness.

In general, lenses are not as sharp at their wide-open apertures as they are when stopped down one or two stops, and that is the case with this lens. Stopping down one stop brings a noticeable improvement to the center of the frame results when analyzing at the pixel level. At this aperture, results are very sharp, and little increased sharpness is seen or needed at narrower apertures.

Often, subjects are not placed in the center of a composition, and moving farther out on the image circle, where light rays are refracted to a stronger angle than in the center, lenses typically show decreased sharpness.

Mid image circle results are somewhat soft at 35mm f/2, but the corner performance is not bad. F/4 results are significantly improved, with reduced peripheral shading especially helpful. Slight improvements are seen at f/5.6 and f/8, where image sharpness throughout the entire frame is really nice.

At 70mm f/2.5, mid and peripheral sharpness is noticeably improved over the 35mm f/2 results, f/2.8 brings about improvement, and f/4 delivers sharp results from corner to corner. Very little improvement is affected by stopping down to f/5.6, and very little improvement is all that is needed.

At 100mm, f/2.8 is wide open, and f/2.8 brings sharp results from corner to corner at 100mm, the best wide-open results among the focal lengths tested. Stopping down brings about only a slight improvement in sharpness.

The 150mm f/2.8 results are more consistent with the 70mm wide-open results, with a nice sharpness improvement seen at f/4, where results have good corner to corner sharpness.

The resolution chart is brutal on image quality, so let's take the testing outdoors, next looking at a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured in RAW format using a Sony Alpha a1 and processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method. The sharpening amount was set to only "30" on a 0-1000 scale. Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening, but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Sharpness Comparison Example

35mm: f/2.0 | f/2.8   f/2.0 | f/2.8
85mm: f/2.8 | f/4.0   f/2.8 | f/4.0
150mm: f/2.8 | f/4.0   f/2.8 | f/4.0

The wide-open results shared above appear sharp, and the stopped-down results are very sharp.

Next, we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme-top-left-corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. The lens was manually focused in the corner of the frame to capture these images.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Corner Sharpness Comparison Example

35mm: f/2.0 | f/2.8 | f/4.0   f/2.0 | f/2.8 | f/4.0
85mm: f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6   f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6
150mm: f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6   f/2.8 | f/4.0 | f/5.6

Samples taken from the outer extreme of the image circle, full-frame corners, can be counted on to show a lens's weakest performance.

Does corner sharpness matter? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Landscape and architecture photography are two photographic disciplines that have frequent scenarios requiring sharp corners. However, those scenarios usually require apertures narrower than f/4. When shooting at the widest apertures, often the choice for portraits, depth of field is typically shallow and the plane of sharp focus less frequently includes details showing in a corner, making corner sharpness less important. Each of us must consider our applications to answer this paragraph's initial question.

Focus shift is the plane of sharp focus moving forward or backward as the aperture is narrowed (residual spherical aberration or RSA). This issue is not exhibited by this lens. Many modern lenses automatically correct for focus shift, though slight angle of view effects from focus breathing (more later) can appear.

When used on a camera that utilizes a lens's entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. At 35mm f/2, about 3-stops of shading are apparent in the corners. By 70mm f/2.5, the amount of corner shading is down to under 2 stops. At 100mm f/2.8, the shading increases again to a bit over 2 stops and continues to increase to about 2.5 stops in the 150mm f/2.8 corners.

Need to decrease the vignetting? Stop down the aperture. F/4 imparts a significant decrease, and the longer focal lengths show additional improvement at f/5.6. Some further improvement is seen at 150mm f/8.

At f/11, 35mm corner shading is approximately 0.7 stops. As the focal length is increased, the shading decreases to about 0.4 stops, and that remaining shading pushes outward into the corners.

APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the just-under one-stop of shading showing at 150mm f/2.8 will not be visible in many images aside from those with a solid color (such as a blue sky) showing in the corners.

One-stop of shading is often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting is correctable during post-processing with increased noise in the brightened areas being the penalty, or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern shown in our vignetting test tool to determine how your images will be affected.

Lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration) refers to the unequal magnification of all colors in the spectrum. Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the most significant amount as this is where the most significant difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.

With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide. However, it is always better to avoid this aberration in the first place.

Color misalignment can be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a set of worst-case examples. The images below are 100% crops from the extreme top left corner of Sony a1 frames showing diagonal black and white lines.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Lateral Chromatic Aberration Example

Only black and white colors should appear in these images, with the additional colors indicating a minor presence of lateral CA. Common is for a zoom lens to have noticeable color separation in the corners at the focal length extremes (with a reversing of the fringing colors) and little lateral CA at mid-range focal lengths. In this case, the lateral CA at the focus range limits is modest, and the color shift crossover happens at around 70mm, where lateral CA is avoided.

A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light. More simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to observe. Axial CA remains somewhat persistent when stopping down, with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing. The spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused, and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.

In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation, with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.

The examples below look at the defocused specular highlights' fringing colors in the foreground vs. the background. The lens has introduced any fringing color differences from the neutrally-colored subjects.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Spherical and Axial Aberration Example

While some color differences are illustrated here, these results are relatively good.

Bright light reflecting off of lens elements' surfaces may cause flare and ghosting, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes interesting, usually destructive visual artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare in an image are variable, dependant on the position and nature of the light source (or sources), selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades, and quantity and quality of the lens elements and their coatings.

On this lens, Tamron utilizes BBAR-G2 Coating to reduce flare.

"Second-generation BBAR-G2 Coating is a groundbreaking advancement that provides vastly improved performance compared to the original BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating. The coating corrects for ghosting and flare to an unprecedented extent and renders fine subject detail with true clarity and stunning contrast even under backlit conditions." [Tamron]

However, the high 21-element count increases the challenge in this regard. This lens produced only mild flare effects at wide-open apertures in our standard sun in the corner of the frame flare test. The test results captured at narrow apertures show strong flaring effects.

Flare effects can be embraced or avoided, or removal can be attempted. Removal is sometimes very challenging, and in some cases, flare effects can be quite destructive to image quality.

Two lens aberrations are particularly evident in images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma) or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). Coma clears as the aperture is narrowed. Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either meridional (radiating from the center of the image) or sagittal (perpendicular to meridional). This aberration can produce stars appearing to have wings. Remember that Lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.

The images below are 100% crops taken from the top-left corner of Sony Alpha 1 images captured at the widest available aperture.

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

Those stars show obvious stretching.

At 35mm, geometric distortion is negligible. As the focal length increases, so does the pincushion distortion that by 150mm, is strong.

Most modern lenses have correction profiles available (including in-camera), and distortion can easily be removed using these. Still, distortion correction is destructive at the pixel level as some portion of the image must be stretched or the overall dimensions reduced.

As seen earlier in the review, it is easy to illustrate the amount of blur a lens can create, and wide-aperture telephoto lenses are advantaged in this regard. Due to the infinite number of variables present among all available scenes, assessing the bokeh quality is considerably more challenging. Here are some f/11 (for diaphragm blade interaction) examples.

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

35mm | 70mm | 100mm | 150mm   35mm | 85mm | 150mm

The first example set shows defocused highlights having a somewhat mottled fill. The second set of examples show full images reduced in size and looking very nice.

Except for a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the frame's corner does not produce round defocused highlights, with these effects taking on a cat's eye shape due to a form of mechanical vignetting. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the frame's corner, the shape is not round, and that is the shape we're looking at here.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Cat's Eye Bokeh Example

At 35mm, only the deep corner shapes appear truncated. As the focal length is increased, the truncation moves deeper into the frame. The entrance pupil size is reduced as the aperture narrows and the mechanical vignetting absolves, with the shapes becoming rounder.

A 9-blade count diaphragm will create 18 point sunstars from point light sources captured with a narrow aperture. In general, the more a lens diaphragm is stopped down, the larger and better-shaped the sunstars tend to be. Wide aperture lenses tend to have an advantage in this regard, and this lens is capable of producing OK star shapes, as illustrated below.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Sunstar Effect Example

The examples above were captured at f/16.

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

The design of this lens is illustrated above.

While not the top performer in many of the above tests, the overall image sharpness will leave most photographers very satisfied with Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens's optical performance.

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


The VXD in the lens name indicates that AF is powered by Tamron's VXD linear motor focus system.

The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens focuses very fast, and it does so very quietly, with only faint audibility. Focus accuracy, the most important autofocus aspect, has been excellent.

Wide aperture lenses are usually great choices for low light photography, and with an Alpha 1 behind it, this lens can focus on contrasty subjects under very dark conditions. Of course, the focus speed drops considerably in low light levels, but the 35-150 can focus in conditions too dark for me to navigate.

While it can be an individual lens-specific attribute, the review lens exhibits parfocal-like behavior. As illustrated in the 100% crops below, subjects focused on at 150mm appear to remain in precise focus throughout the zoom range. While it is generally advisable to re-establish focus if you adjust the focal length, that step seems unnecessary with this lens.

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

These examples provide another look at the wide-open image quality this lens produces.

FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported in Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) mode with the shutter release half-pressed or the AF-ON button pressed.

Three customizable AF hold buttons are provided in positions comfortable for left thumb access when holding the camera in any of the logical three orientations. With the camera set to continuous focus mode, press a button to lock focus at the currently selected focus distance, permitting a focus and recompose technique. These buttons can be programmed to another function using the camera's menu or via the Tamron Utility via direct computer attachment via a USB-C cable (more about this feature later in the review).

With AF/MF switch functionality moving to the camera menu with some recent lenses, I'm happy to see Tamron including this useful feature on the 35-150.

Normal is for subjects to change size in the frame as the focus is pulled from one extent to the other, referred to as focus breathing, a change in focal length resulting from a change in focus distance. Focus breathing negatively impacts photographers intending to use focus stacking techniques, videographers pulling focus, and anyone critically framing while adjusting focus. This lens produces a modest change in subject size through full extent focus distance adjustments, performing better than average in this regard.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Focus Magnification Example

35mm: Far | Close   150mm: Far | Close

This lens provides a refined manual focusing experience. The fine-sharp-ribbed rubberized focus ring is forward-positioned, significant in size (1.26", 32mm), and being raised slightly from the lens barrel behind it, easy to find.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Side View with Hood

The focus ring turns smoothly, has a nice amount of resistance, and when turned slowly, the 150-750° (35mm-150mm) of MF rotation adjusts focusing at an ideal rate, allowing precise manual focusing even at close distances. This lens has a variable response MF ring — turn it quickly, and about 110-160° of rotation will complete the full extent focus adjustment. While I often prefer a linear response MF ring, I did not find the multi-speed adjustment rate to be troublesome with this lens.

With a minimum focus distance of 13.0" (330mm), this lens has a 0.18x maximum magnification spec. While not remarkable, 0.18x is adequate for uses, including headshots.

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens8.3"(210mm)0.30x
Canon RF 28-70mm F2 L USM Lens15.4"(390mm)0.18x
Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens27.6"(700mm)0.23x
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens15.0"(380mm)0.24x
Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II Lens15.7"(400mm)0.30x
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens7.1"(180mm)0.37x
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens13.0"(330mm)0.18x
Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD Lens17.7"(450mm)0.27x
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens10.6"(270mm)0.50x

At 35mm, a subject measuring approximately 6.8 x 4.5" (173 x 115mm) fills a full-frame imaging sensor at this lens's minimum focus distance. At 150mm, a 7.3 x 4.9" (185 x 124mm) subject does the same.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Maximum Magnification Example

Each of the USPS love stamps in the image above, photographed at the minimum focus distance, has an image area that measures 1.05 x 0.77" (26.67 x 19.558mm), and the overall individual stamp size is 1.19 x 0.91" (30.226 x 23.114mm).

While the lens can focus that closely, the periphery of images captured at this distance is very soft, especially with a wide-open aperture. The above example was taken at 35mm f/2.

Need a shorter minimum focus distance and higher magnification? Mount an extension tube behind this lens to significantly decrease and increase those respective numbers. Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, allowing shorter focusing distances at the expense of long-distance focusing. Electronic connections in extension tubes permit the lens and camera to communicate and otherwise function as normal. As of review time, Sigma does not publish extension tube specs or manufacture these items, but third-party Sony-mount-compatible extension tubes are available.

This lens is not compatible with Sigma teleconverters.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Front View on Camera

Build Quality & Features

From Tamron:

The Model A058 incorporates a new design that becomes the hallmark of TAMRON lenses introduced in the future. In constant pursuit of improving products in every way possible, TAMRON considered customer feedback and reviewed each part and component of the lens down to the finest details. As a result, TAMRON has enhanced both the operation and tactile presentation of the lens.

Grip texture has been improved by redesigning the striped pattern on the rubber focusing and zoom rings. Certain internal parts have also been enhanced. These advancements result in smoother overall operability. TAMRON has also adjusted the stiffness and torque of the zoom ring to facilitate smoother and more precise operation.

New sculpted shape. The diameters of the zoom ring and focus ring have been enlarged, and the body areas around them have been slimmed down to give the lens a contoured profile that makes it easier to grip. This creates a comfortable, uneven shape that fits snugly and naturally in the hand.

Exterior has a deep, luxurious black finish. The surface of the lens exterior is shiny black, much glossier than previous models. Improved abrasion resistance makes the lens harder to scratch and resists fingerprints.

Brand ring. The "brand ring" on the lens mount is a sign of trust with the user, and the smooth curved surface and glossy surface treatment give the camera a unique and dignified appearance that is pleasing to both the eye and the hand.

Switch box, Focus Set Button. The recessed switch box and Focus Set Button have an unobtrusive, contoured design that smoothly guides the fingers intuitively. This improved slide switch design was first used with Model A057 [Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD Lens]. The sloped bevel around the slide switch draws your finger naturally to the right position. To prevent accidental operation, the switches have a low profile. Taken altogether, these enhancements provide a more comfortable user experience. [Tamron]

Overall, the design and build of this lens is very nice.

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

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The lens exterior is constructed of engineering plastic.

The rubber-ribbed zoom ring operates smoothly, is properly positioned for good overall camera balance while changing focal lengths, and has an optimal 65° of rotation. This lens extends 1.69" (42.8mm) by 150mm.

A zoom lock switch is provided to prevent gravity zooming, though it is not yet needed by the review lens.

The switches reside on a low-profile switch bank, with the Custom switch being a 3-position type.

A USB Type-C port is located near the mount.

Why does this lens have a USB port, and what is the Custom switch used for? This lens can be plugged into a computer and managed via Tamron Lens Utility.

Using this software, the lens firmware can be updated, the focus ring direction can be reversed, the focusing ring adjustment rate can be set to linear or variable, and the lens AF stop buttons can be customized (via the Custom switch), including while mounted to a camera.

The settings available for each custom switch number are:

  • Assign function from camera (default)
  • Focus Preset
  • A-B Focus
  • Ring Function (Focus/Aperture)
  • Clear Settings

Selecting the Custom switch position enables the configured option. While these features are nice, better would be to manage them directly with the camera.

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

"For greater protection when shooting outdoors, leak-resistant seals throughout the lens barrel help protect your equipment. Also, the Connector Port is the water-proofed USB Type-C variety." [Tamron]

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

"The front surface of the lens element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that is water- and oil-repellant. The lens surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, dust, moisture, and fingerprints." [Tamron]

This Tamron lens is compatible with many of the advanced mirrorless camera features including, Hybrid AF, Eye AF, and in-camera lens correction (shading, chromatic aberration, distortion).

A long-range of long focal lengths combined with wide apertures results in a relatively large, heavy lens. The size of the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens is in the 70-200mm f/2.8 class, and its weight is modestly over that of the lenses in this class.

ModelWeight oz(g)Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)FilterYear 
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens31.8(900)3.5 x 4.9(88.5 x 125.7)822019
Canon RF 28-70mm F2 L USM Lens50.5(1430)4.1 x 5.5(103.8 x 139.8)952018
Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens37.8(1070)3.5 x 5.7(89.9 x 146.0)772019
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM Lens31.3(886)3.4 x 5.4(87.6 x 136.0)822016
Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II Lens36.9(1045)3.5 x 7.9(88.0 x 200.0)772021
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens19.1(540)3.0 x 4.6(75.8 x 117.6)672021
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens41.1(1165)3.5 x 6.2(89.2 x 158.0)822021
Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD Lens28.1(796)3.3 x 5.0(84.0 x 126.8)772019
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens28.6(810)3.2 x 5.9(81.0 x 149.0)672020

For many more comparisons, review the complete Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.

The joints of my fingers slightly touch the barrel of this lens when tightly gripping the Sony a1, but the slight impact has not been an issue.

Here is a visual comparison:

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Compared to Similar Lenses

Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens
Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD Lens

The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Compared to Similar Lenses with Hoods

Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens to other lenses.

Note that the new Tamron Di III lens cap is shorter, a welcomed change.

The Tamron 35-150mm Di III VXD Lens accepts 82mm threaded front filters. 82mm filters are relatively large and expensive, but this size is common, facilitating effects filter sharing.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Extended Top View with Hood

Tamron always includes the lens hood in the box, and with very few exceptions, you should always use the hood (in reversed position does not count). The HA058 is the hood model that ships with the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens (add an H to the camera model number).

This semi-rigid hood absorbs impact to the front of the lens, and its petal shape is optimized to block as much light outside of the image circle as possible. However, hoods must be tuned for the wide end of zoom lenses that increase in length with focal length, and the wide-angle 35mm focal length necessitates the HA058 hood to be a shallow design, leaving considerably less than optimal protection at 150mm. An advantage of this hood shape is easier installation alignment (simply align the small petal to the top), though a round-shaped hood enables the lens to better stand on its hood. The petal shape also looks cool. The interior is ribbed for reduced internal reflections.

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

No lens case is included in the box. Consider purchasing a Lowepro Lens Case or Think Tank Photo Lens Case Duo for a quality, affordable single-lens storage, transport, and carry solution.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Extended Top View

Price, Value, Wrap Up

Considered independently, the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD is an expensive lens. Compared to other Tamron lenses, this is an extremely expensive lens, with a review time price of $500.00 USD more than than the second most expensive Tamron option.

Compared to Sony and Canon 24-70 F2.8 lenses, the Tamron's price appears to be in line. Compared to Sony and Canon 70-200 F2.8 lenses, the Tamron's price appears to be a good value. If this Tamron lens can replace those other two options, it's a fabulous deal.

What does "Di III" mean? Tamron's Di III lenses are designed for use on mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including full-frame and APS-C sensor format models.

"This product is developed, manufactured and sold based on the specifications of E-mount which was disclosed by Sony Corporation under the license agreement with Sony Corporation." [Tamron]

Tamron USA provides a 6-year limited warranty.

The reviewed Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens was online-retail sourced.

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

Alternatives to the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens

There are no direct alternatives to this lens. However, the Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD Lens matches in focal length range, so I'll start with this comparison.

In the image quality comparison, the Di III lens overperforms the Di lens in nearly all comparisons – even at a significant 1-stop wider maximum aperture. The Di lens has less peripheral shading at the long end with a wide-open aperture. Equalizing the aperture makes sense, and this gives the Di III lens a slight advantage. The Di III lens has considerably less geometric distortion at 35mm and modestly more over most of the balance of the range. With two additional lens elements and wider elements, the Di III lens produces a bit more flaring in our tests.

The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens vs. Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD Lens comparison shows the Di III lens significantly heavier and larger. The larger lens also uses larger filters, 82mm vs. 77mm. The Di lens has optical stabilization and a higher maximum magnification spec(0.27x vs. 0.18x). Using the Di lens on a mirrorless camera requires a mount adapter.

The Di III's advantages come at a price. That the Di III lens costs over 2x as much will be a deciding factor for some.

The focal length ranges do not match, but the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens is an example of one of two lenses that would be needed alternatively. Note that by 70mm, the 35-150mm lens has lost most of its ultra-wide aperture advantage to the more common f/2.8 zoom lenses.

In the image quality comparison, the 70-180mm lens has a slight sharpness advantage in the periphery of the image circle at 70mm. The two lenses perform similarly at the longer focal lengths. The 70-180 has less geometric distortion at the wide end of the comparable range.

The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens vs. Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Lens comparison shows the 35-150mm lens considerably heavier and larger. A lens with a wider diameter usually requires a wider filter, and the filter size difference is 82mm vs. 67mm in this case. The 70-180mm lens has a much higher maximum magnification spec (0.50x vs. 0.18x) and is considerably less expensive (but you need a second lens to cover the range).

If opting for an alternative lens such as the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD, another lens will be required to cover the entire 35-150mm range. The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens volunteers its services for that role.

In the image quality comparison, the 28-75mm lens is a bit sharper in the periphery at 35mm. In the 70mm vs. 75mm comparison, the 28-75mm lens is slightly sharper in the center of the frame, but this lens has significantly more lateral CA. The 28-75mm lens shows fewer flare effects but has more wide aperture peripheral shading at the long end. The 35-150mm lens has less geometric distortion at 35mm, but the two lenses are similar in this regard at 70mm vs. 75mm.

The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens vs. Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens comparison shows the 35-150mm lens weighing over 2x as much with considerably larger dimensions. The filter size difference is again 82mm vs. 67mm. The 28-75mm lens has a 2x higher maximum magnification spec (0.37x vs. 0.18x) and is half as expensive (but you need a second lens to cover the range).

Use the site's comparison tools to create additional comparisons.

Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens Top View with Hood


Many of Tamron's Di III lenses are good reasons to select a Sony camera, and the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens is another one.

The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens announcement generated an unusual amount of attention, including many review requests. Why?

Would you prefer to carry one lens or two? All else equal, no one would prefer to carry two lenses instead of one. This lens makes that preference possible.

Want to keep the widest apertures while having an all-in-one focal length range? With f/2 available at the wide end, the Tamron 35-150 Di III meets that need.

Not willing to give up image quality to gain the long focal length range and wide apertures? This lens checks that box. While many of the image quality factors considered secondary by many are not among the best available, including geometric distortion, coma, and flare, the image sharpness the Tamron 35-150 Di III is excellent.

This lens's build quality and AF performance do not disappoint. However, the lens is relatively heavy, and the price is rather high, though not high compared to purchasing two lenses.

Is the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens the best professional portrait lens ever? For many photographers, this lens may indeed be their best ever option.

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Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens
Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD Lens
Bryan Carnathan
by Bryan Carnathan
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Review Date: 2021-12-06
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