Andy Westlake tests the Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III
Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III review: Image Quality
Conventional wisdom tends to state that superzoom lenses of this type are all about convenience and give inferior results to pairing standard and telephoto zooms. But the reality is a bit more complicated than that. In fact, the 14-150mm is pretty sharp towards the wide end of its range (although it’s noticeably soft in the corners at 14mm), giving comparable or better results compared with the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zooms supplied with many Micro Four Thirds cameras. However, as you zoom beyond 50mm it gets progressively weaker, and at the long end it’s noticeably soft, rendering little in the way of really fine detail. But with careful shooting and processing it’s still good enough for a nice 12x8in print.
One advantage of mirrorless systems is the ability to integrate software distortion correction into the lens design. This means that images contain none of the disturbing barrel distortion at wideangle that plagues superzoom lenses for DSLRs. Unusually for Micro Four Thirds, however, there is visible pincushion distortion at focal lengths longer than about 25mm (that is, 50mm equivalent), which is most pronounced around the 50mm setting. This is disappointing for JPEG users, although it’s easily corrected when processing raw.
Most Micro Four Thirds cameras also have the ability to correct lateral chromatic aberration in software. Unfortunately, the Tamron 14-150mm doesn’t play nicely in this regard, meaning that if you look at your images closely you’ll see unsightly green and magenta fringing towards the corners of the frame in your JPEGs that’s most pronounced towards the extremes of the zoom range. However, this can also be cleaned up easily enough if you shoot raw.