Tamron has been turning heads with their recently-introduced Di III mirrorless camera lenses, introducing one attractively-priced, impressive-performing lens after another. The introduction relevant to this review is that of the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 Lens, introduced simultaneously with two other very similarly-specced small wide angle primes in 20mm and 24mm focal lengths. This lens meets the expectations set by its predecessors, providing excellent image quality from a compact, lightweight package that has a very low price.
The number of 35mm prime lenses currently available in the marketplace reflects the popularity of this focal length. This moderately wide angle of view invites a subject distance (perspective) that creates a natural perspective and makes the viewer feel present in the image and accommodates a wide range of subjects, including people. A prime lens requires sneaker zoom more frequently than a zoom lens and the 35mm focal length nicely accommodates this.
The 35mm angle of view is great for general-purpose use, making it an ideal choice to simply leave on the camera for whatever needs arise. I often press whatever lens I'm reviewing at the time into the around-the-house, walk-around, general-purpose lens role and 35mm usually works very well for this. It is wide enough to capture the big scene but not so wide that people and other subjects are readily distorted by the close perspective invited by ultra-wide angles.
For similar reasons, the 35mm focal length has long been a first-choice for photojournalists. Wedding photographers, who work in some of the darkest venues to be found, also frequently use 35mm lenses. Portrait photographers like the 35mm focal length for full to mid-body portraits and for group portraits.
The 35mm angle of view is inviting for street photography. Landscape photographers have plenty of uses for the 35mm focal length.
Sports photographers able to get close to their subjects (such as basketball shot from over or under the net) or wanting to capture a wider/environmental view of their events appreciate this focal length. The angle of view invited by 35mm can make action figures large in the frame.
Parents love 35mm lenses for capturing their indoor events and most pets will let you get close enough to capture a nice perspective with such a lens. 35mm is popular with videographers, especially for creating documentaries. Many medium and large products are ideally captured at 35mm. The full list of 35mm uses is huge and limited only by our imaginations.
To visualize where 35mm fits among other common focal lengths, I'll borrow a focal length range example from another review.
On an ASP-C/1.5x sensor format body, the 35mm focal length provides an angle of view similar to a 52.5mm lens on a full frame sensor format body. This angle of view is essentially the same as 50mm and useful for all applications this extremely popular "normal" focal length is used for. Those uses coincide with most uses of the 35mm focal length with slightly tighter framing or slightly longer perspective for the same framing being the difference.
An f/2.8 max aperture is relatively wide and few zoom lenses covering this focal length range have wider apertures. While there are a huge number of 35mm prime lenses, as of review time, there are none with a narrower max aperture. So, this lens opens very wide relative to zoom lenses and not very wide relative to prime lenses, part of the formula required for the ultra-light weight and tiny size.
Many first-time APS-C DSLR camera buyers choose the optional kit lens when purchasing their camera. While the APS-C kit lenses are typically value-priced (at least when purchased in a kit) and they work OK, they are generally lacking in some areas to achieve the low price. One feature they always lack is a wide aperture with f/4.5 being the typical max aperture at the 35mm focal length we are talking about in this review. Gaining a wider aperture is a great reason for acquiring a plus-one lens.
With a 1 1/3 stop wider max aperture advantage, this 35mm f/2.8 lens can stop action in less than one half as much light and it permits handholding in similarly-lower light levels. In addition to allowing more light to reach the sensor, permitting faster shutter speeds and/or lower ISO settings, increasing the aperture opening permits a stronger, better subject-isolating background blur at this focal length.
The following aperture comparison example takes a closer look at the background blur aspect.
When viewed at full size, the differences appear stronger. Compare the widest 35mm aperture currently available in your kit with f/2.8.
This is the maximum background blur this lens can produce:
Wide-angle lenses cannot blur the background like telephoto lenses and with many 35mm options having a 2-stop-wider aperture available, this lens cannot blur the background as well as some other 35mm prime lens options. With an extremely short minimum focusing distance assisting, this lens is able to produce a strong blur relative to its available max aperture.
This lens is not optically stabilized, but with the Sony E-mount, Sony generally takes care of that omission with Steady Shot or IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization). On a traditional DSLR with an optical viewfinder, IBIS results in an unstabilized view, meaning that stabilization was not helpful for composition or for providing a still subject to the camera's AF system. With EVFs being prevalent in Sony's lineup, the viewfinder image is being read from the imaging sensor and that is stabilized. Therefore, the viewfinder image is very nicely stabilized and sensor-based AF takes advantage of the stabilized view for improved accuracy.
For its 35mm prime lens class, this lens has a narrow max aperture. It is not unusual for lenses to not be sharp at their widest aperture and if that were the case with this lens, it would be quite dark at its typically-expected optimal max aperture. For this lens series, that fear realized would be an exception and fear not — this lens turns in excellent wide-open image quality.
At f/2.8, this lens produces great resolution and contrast across the full frame image circle. Stop down to f/4 and image sharpness becomes especially impressive. From a resolution and contrast perspective, there is little reason to stop down to f/5.6.
In addition to our standard lab tests, I like to share some real-world examples and next we look at a series of center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured using a Sony a7R III. The images were processed in Capture One using the Natural Clarity method with the sharpening amount 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.
The wide-open aperture samples are just as we want them to be — very sharp. Stopping down produces little improvement.
In some lens designs, the plane of sharp focus can move forward or backward as a narrower aperture is selected. This is called focus shift (residual spherical aberration or RSA), it is seldom (never?) desired. The overall increased depth of field produced by this lens at narrowing aperture shifts toward the background but the foreground still continues to gain stronger focus and the focused-on subject remains in focus as illustrated above.
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. These images were manually focused as close to the corner of the frame as the a7R III allows.
The differences seen at narrower apertures are primarily due to vignetting clearing. The wide-open f/2.8 results are excellent.
Does corner sharpness matter? Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Landscape photography is one of the photographic disciplines that has frequent scenarios requiring sharp corners. However, those scenarios usually require apertures narrower than f/4. When shooting at the widest apertures, depth of field is often shallow and the plane of sharp focus less-frequently includes a corner, making corner sharpness less important. I always prefer my lenses to be razor sharp in the corners in case that feature is needed and this lens performs great in this regard.
When used on a camera that utilizes a lens' entire image circle, peripheral shading can be expected at the widest aperture settings. The about-3 stops of shading showing in this lens' corners is going to be noticeable in most images. Stopping down 1 stop to f/4 reduces shading by 1 stop to 2 stops. By f/8, 1.2 stops of corner shading remain and stopping down further yields no further improvements in this regard.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. In this case, the over 1 stop of shading showing at f/2.8 might be visible in images with a solid color (such as a blue sky) showing in the corners.
One stop of shading is the amount often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely-varying amount of vignetting discernibility. Vignetting can be corrected 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 showing in our vignetting test tool to determine if your subject (subject's face) will be darkened or if it will be emphasized by the darker periphery.
The effect of different colors of the spectrum being magnified differently is referred to as lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration). 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 greatest amount as this is where the greatest 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 though it is always better to not have the problem in the first place. Any color misalignment present can easily be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a worst-case example, a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of a Sony a7R III frame showing diagonal black and white lines.
There should be only black and white colors in these images with the additional colors showing the presence of lateral CA. With only one focal length to be designed for, prime lenses often show low amounts of lateral CA and while not absolutely perfect, this one is showing a very low amount of color separation in the corners.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or 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 look for. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing while 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.
In the examples below, look at the fringing colors in the out of focus specular highlights created by the neutrally-colored subjects. Any color difference is being introduced by the lens.
This lens is creating some modest color at its widest apertures. By f/5.6, most of the color variances are gone.
Flare and ghosting are caused by bright light reflecting off of the surfaces of lens elements, resulting in reduced contrast and sometimes-interesting artifacts. The shape, intensity, and position of the flare in an image is variable and depends on the position and nature of the light source (or sources) as well as on the selected aperture, shape of the aperture blades and quality of the lens elements and their coatings. A very low lens element count (9 elements in 8 groups) along with Tamron's BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating helps control flare and our standard flare testing that uses the sun in the corner of the frame produces a negligible amount of flare effects from this lens, even at f/16.
There are two lens aberrations that are particularly evident when shooting 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 sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). Remember that lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
The image below is a 100% crop taken from the extreme top-left corner of an a7R III frame.
This lens stretches the corner stars a modest amount, creating triangular shapes from the circles.
The Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 Lens shows a slight amount of barrel distortion. The amount is not strong, but straight lines placed near to and parallel with the edges of the frame may show slight curving without correction implemented.
The amount of blur a lens can produce is easy to show (and was shown earlier in the review). Assessing the quality of the blur is a much harder challenge due in part to the infinite number of variables present in all available scenes. I'll share some f/11 (for interaction with the 7-blade aperture blade) examples:
The first two results show 100% crops while the third sample is a full image reduced in size. These results are reasonable with defocused highlights remaining rather round.
With the exception of a small number of specialty lenses, the wide aperture bokeh in the corner of the frame 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 corner of the frame, the shape is not round and that is the shape seen here.
As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming round.
With a 7-blade count aperture, point light sources captured with a narrow aperture setting and showing a sunstar effect will have 14 points. Wide aperture lenses tend to have an advantage in this regard and this lens is capable of producing decent quality stars. This is an f/16-captured example.
Some double-flaring is present even at f/22.
The Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens design, featuring a low element count that includes a single aspherical element and a low dispersion (LD) lens element, appears uncomplicated.
Overall, this lens' defects are minimal and it will be this lens' impressive sharpness that most photographers will find beinging their favorite aspect of this lens.
The "OSD" acronym in the model name indicates that this lens' AF is powered by Tamron's "Optimized Silent Drive" stepping motor.
Testing on the Sony a7R IV, this lens focuses relatively quickly and quietly in AF-C continuous focus mode, but switch to AF-S single shot focus mode and focusing becomes somewhat slow ("smooth" always sounds better) with hunting being common before the camera locks focus. Still, the focus speed is adequate for most uses for this lens. Short focus distance changes happen faster than long ones as usual. Think about the scenarios you encounter and how this fact plays into them.
Especially in AF-S mode, expect to hear some light clicking and, primarily with long focus distance adjustments, light buzzing during AF.
Note that this lens is not the best low-light-autofocus performer.
While this lens does not change overall size during focusing, it is a front-focusing model and the front element extends a significant amount inside the lens barrel as illustrated above.
AF accuracy is always paramount and this lens performs well in this regard.
Normal is for the scene to change size in the frame (sometimes significantly) as 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 very-critically framing while adjusting focus. While this lens shows a very significant amount of focus breathing, keep in mind that it also focuses very closely, providing a very high maximum magnification.
FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing is supported via Sony's DMF (Direct Manual Focus) AF mode. This lens does not have an AF/MF switch, meaning that a camera setting change is required to switch modes.
The plastic-ribbed focus ring is reasonably large and easily tactilely distinguishable from the balance of the lens barrel. This ring is very smooth and has a nice amount of resistance. This is a variable response MF ring. Turn it quickly and about 360° (long for the fast speed) of rotation will complete the full extent focus adjustment. When turned slowly, about 6.5 full rotations (a crazy 2,340°) are required to make a full range focus distance adjustment, allowing very precise manual focusing even at close distances. Annoying is the lag and distance adjustment jump encountered when changing ring directions, making manual focusing more challenging than it should be.
Tamron does not provide focus distance information on the lens, such as in a window, but this information is available in the Sony viewfinder and rear LCD.
With a 5.9" (149mm) minimum focus distance, this lens has an impressive tie-for-best-in-class 0.50x maximum magnification spec.
|Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.21x|
|Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens||6.7"||(170mm)||0.50x|
|Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens||9.4"||(240mm)||0.24x|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.20x|
|Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.19x|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens||9.8"||(250mm)||0.16x|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.18x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens||8.7"||(220mm)||0.24x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens||13.8"||(350mm)||0.12x|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.20x|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.40x|
|Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens||5.9"||(149mm)||0.50x|
|Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.22x|
|Zeiss 35mm f/2 Milvus Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
A subject measuring approximately 2.6 x 1.7" (66 x 44mm) will fill a full frame viewfinder at the minimum focus distance. The yellow national park stamp in the image below measures 1.57" (398mm) in width.
When a lens not marketed specifically as a macro lens provides this much magnification, I am naturally suspect of the image quality it will provide at minimum focus distance but was pleased with this lens' results. At this distance, image centers are a bit soft at f/2.8 but very sharp by f/4. Corners are soft at f/2.8 and become increasingly sharp as the aperture narrows, but extreme full frame corners never get completely sharp. Lateral CA is more apparent at minimum focus distance but Capture One Express for Sony nicely corrects this issue.
One more minimum focus distance penalty is focus shift as illustrated below (captured with the Sony a7R IV).
As the aperture narrows and depth of field increases, the plane of sharp focus moves rearward, possibly rendering the subject out of focus. Focusing at the aperture desired eliminates any issues in this regard.
Need a shorter minimum focus distance and greater magnification? An extension tube mounted behind this lens should provide a very significant decrease and increase respectively. Extension tubes are hollow lens barrels that shift a lens farther from the camera, which permits 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. Sony and Tamron do not publish extension tube specs nor do they manufacture these items, but third-party Sony-mount extension tubes are available. Note that at minimum focus distance, there is only about 2.7" (69mm) of working space in front of the sans-hood lens to encroach upon and likely only very short extension tubes would be usable with this lens with subject lighting becoming challenging.
This lens is not compatible with Tamron or Sony teleconverters.
For so many years, I wondered why low cost items were required to look ugly. We're in good times and this inexpensive lens certainly qualifies as low cost yet it looks very nice. Tamron's current lens designs, featuring a matte black finish and white printing in a modern font, are visually very attractive. In addition, their lenses are physically comfortable to use and have a quality feel.
The exterior lens barrel features a quality plastic construction. This switchless lens does not provide much for additional conversation about the exterior. Tamron wants you to know that this lens was "Designed in Japan" but in fine print admits that it was "Made in Vietnam".
This lens has moisture resistance incorporated into its design, including a mount gasket seal.
"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]
Tamron indicates that this lens "... is compatible with many of the advanced features that are specific to mirrorless cameras." These features include hybrid AF, Eye AF, Direct Manual Focus (DMF), in-camera lens correction (shading, chromatic aberration, distortion), and camera-initiated lens firmware updates.
This is a very small, extremely light lens. It is a joy to carry for even a very long time.
|Model||Weight oz(g)||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens||26.8||(760)||3.2 x 4.2||(80.4 x 105.5)||72||2015|
|Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS STM Macro Lens||10.8||(305)||2.9 x 2.5||(74.4 x 62.8)||52||2018|
|Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Lens||11.8||(335)||3.1 x 2.5||(77.9 x 62.6)||67||2012|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens||21.2||(600)||3.3 x 3.5||(83.0 x 89.5)||67||2010|
|Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S Lens||13.1||(370)||2.9 x 3.4||(73.0 x 86.0)||62||2018|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S Lens||10.8||(305)||2.8 x 2.8||(72.0 x 71.5)||58||2014|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||23.5||(665)||3.0 x 3.7||(77.0 x 94.0)||67||2012|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens||22.2||(630)||3.1 x 4.4||(78.5 x 112.0)||72||2015|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens||9.9||(281)||2.6 x 2.9||(65.6 x 73.0)||55||2019|
|Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens||4.2||(120)||2.4 x 1.4||(61.5 x 36.5)||49||2014|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens||28.8||(815)||3.2 x 4.1||(80.9 x 104.8)||72||2019|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens||16.9||(479)||3.2 x 3.2||(80.4 x 81.3)||67||2015|
|Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens||7.4||(210)||2.9 x 2.5||(73.0 x 63.5)||67||2019|
|Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens||41.3||(1170)||3.3 x 4.9||(84.8 x 124.8)||72||2017|
|Zeiss 35mm f/2 Milvus Lens||24.8||(702)||3.0 x 3.3||(77.0 x 83.0)||58||2015|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens Specifications using the site's lens specifications tool.
Here is a visual comparison of this lens beside Sony's three review-time-current FE 35mm prime lenses:
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to visually compare the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens to other lenses.
This lens has 67mm filter threads. 67mm filters are medium in size, modest in cost, and common in popularity. Key is that many of Tamron's recently introduced Di III lenses use the 67mm filter size, permitting one set of effects filters to be shared by all lenses in a Di III kit without the need for step-up filter adapter rings, a huge convenience.
Did you see the hood on this lens? You can count on Tamron to include a lens hood but this one is unusual. Instead of extending forward, the bayonet-mount Tamron HF053 hood wraps around the end of the lens and provides a just-the-right-size physical frame for the captured portion of the image circle. This and the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 being simultaneously reviewed are the first lenses I've used with this hood design and I'm finding reasons to like it. This is a very short design that invites leaving the hood in place (vs. storing reversed on the lens — this hood does not mount reversed) and especially for a close-focusing lens, provides more working distance. With 67mm filter threads on the front, this hood holds the cap and enables easy filter installation, adjustment, and removal without removing the hood, leaving little reason to ever remove the hood.
Tamron does not include a case with this lens. Consider a small Lowepro Lens Case for single-lens storage, transport, and carry.
Lens caps are a very-frequently-used accessory and Tamron's have long been great.
Tamron's name has been synonymous with good value and this lens is that. The nicely-designed Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens provides great image quality for a bargain-grade price.
What does "Di III" mean? Tamron's Di III lenses are designed for use on mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. At review time, the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens specifically is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including both 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 provides a 6-year limited warranty.
The reviewed Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens was online-retail sourced.
There is an abundance of 35mm prime lenses available for comparison, but I'll start with the Sony lens with the same max aperture, the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens.
In the image quality comparison shows these two lenses competing very closely. If I was forced to pick a winner, I'd take the Tamron lens by a slim margin at f/2.8 and the Tamron lens' corners are slightly better at f/4 and f/5.6. The Tamron lens has slightly less peripheral shading. The Tamron lens has slight barrel distortion that is slightly stronger than the Sony lens' slight pincushion distortion. I prefer the Sony lens' sunstars slightly better and the Tamron lens' bokeh slightly better.
While the Tamron lens is quite small and light, the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens comparison shows the Sony lens being the considerably smaller and lighter of the two. The Tamron lens has 67mm filter threads (matching other lenses in its series) while the Sony lens has 49mm (and 40.5mm) threads. The Sony lens has a low 0.12x maximum magnification while the Tamron lens has a very high 0.50x spec. While both lenses are reported to have weather sealing, only the Tamron lens has a gasket around the mount. The Tamron lens' price being less than half that of the Sony lens will be a major differentiating factor for many.
Another review-time-hot Sony 35mm lens is the FE 35mm f/1.8. In the image quality comparison at f/2.8, the Sony lens has the advantage, especially in the center of the frame. By f/4, the Tamron lens is performing at least as well as the Sony lens and even slightly better in the periphery. At f/4 and narrower apertures, the Tamron lens has less peripheral shading in the corners. The Tamron lens has slightly less geometric distortion, having barrel vs. the Sony's pincushion type.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 Lens vs. Sony FE 35mm f/1.8 Lens comparison shows the two lenses similar in overall size with the Sony lens being longer and narrower. The Tamron lens weighs slightly less and has a considerably smaller hood. The Sony lens has 9 aperture blades vs. 7. The Sony lens has an AF/MF switch and AF hold button. The Tamron lens has 67mm filter threads, larger but more common than the Sony lens' 55mm threads. The Sony lens' f/1.8 aperture is 1 1/3-stop-wider than the Tamron lens'. The Sony lens has a strong maximum magnification spec of 0.24x but the Tamron substantially surpasses that mark with a 0.50x spec. At review time, the Tamron lens is priced about 0.50x as much as the Sony lens.
Use the site's various comparison tools to create your own comparisons.
The Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens is a great little lens. At 7.4 oz (210g), you will barely know it is on your lens or in your bag and its price is similarly light. If you were thinking that light weight, small size, and low price meant poor image quality, you would be mistaken. This lens is sharp regardless of those attributes.
What is missing? This lens does not have my favorite AF system and that is its most obvious shortcoming. Related is that the manual focus distance adjustment jumps when changing focus ring direction makes manual focusing more challenging than it should be. F/2.8 isn't so wide for a 35mm prime lens, but that max aperture opening is part of the small, light, and inexpensive formula. Like the rest of the Tamron Di III lenses I've reviewed, this one's light weight does not exude rugged build quality confidence, but this lens seems nicely built with tight tolerances and it looks great. A very long warranty indicates that Tamron expects the lens to hold up for a long time.
The Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD Lens is a bargain.
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