Tamron has expanded its lens range for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras with the release of the 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD. This long telephoto zoom is described as ‘lightweight and compact’, being similar in packed length to Sony’s FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS and Sigma’s 100-400mm F5-6.3 DC DN OS, at 209.6mm. However, it’s rather heavier at a hefty 1,725g, although considerably more manageable than the Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS. The lens’s size also means that it requires 82mm filters, rather than the 67mm employed by most of the firm’s recent optics.

The lens boasts moisture-resistant construction

Tamron has equipped the lens with optical stabilisation that promises four stops of shake compensation. It also boasts three modes: normal, panning, and release only, with the latter promising the maximum effectiveness, as the IS group always starts in the centred position. Autofocus is handled by a VXD linear motor, with the lens promised to be perfectly compatible with features such as Eye AF. A focus limiter switch is on hand to limit hunting, while the minimum focus distance ranges from 0.6m at 150mm to 1.8m at 500mm, offering plenty of potential for close-ups of subject such as insects.

Unsurprisingly for a lens of this range, the optical construction is pretty complex, with 25 elements arranged in 16 groups. Special elements include five made from low dispersion (LD) glass and one from extra low dispersion (XLD) glass, to minimise chromatic aberration, while two compound aspherical elements help maintain cross-frame sharpness. To suppress flare and ghosting, Tamron has used its BBAR-G2 coating.

The barrel boasts moisture-resistant construction and there’s a water-repellent fluorine coating on the front element, which is welcome for a lens that’s likely to used almost exclusively outdoors. For additional protection against accidental knocks, the lens hood has flexible rubberised edge. There’s a switch to lock the zoom at its 150mm position, along with Tamron’s handy FLEX Zoom Lock feature allows the lens to be fixed at any focal length by pulling the zoom ring forward.

Last but not least, the magnesium-alloy tripod mount includes strap attachment points and an Arca Swiss dovetail base for clamping directly to a tripod. The lens is due to start shipping at the start of June, with a price tag of £1379.

An array of switches on the barrel control focus and stabilisation systems, but there’s no AF-hold button

Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD full specifications

  • Price  £1379
  • Filter Diameter  82mm
  • Lens Elements  25
  • Groups  16
  • Diaphragm blades  7
  • Aperture  f/5-6.7
  • Minimum focus  0.6-1.8m
  • Length  209.6mm
  • Diameter   93mm
  • Weight  1725g
  • Lens Mount  Sony E (full-frame)