It’s the lightest and most compact telephoto zoom in its class, but is it a must-have for Sony E-mount users? Michael Topham put it to the test
Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD: Introduction
Tamron has been making zoom lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras for a couple of years now. Since the arrival of the excellent Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD in 2018, we’ve seen the third-party manufacturer add the impressive 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD to its lineup – a lens that picked up our Gold Award last year. With a fast wide-angle zoom and fast standard zoom ticked off it seemed only a matter of time before Tamron turned their attention towards designing a longer telephoto zoom lens to complete the trio.
The Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD we’re looking at here shares quite a few likenesses to the two Tamron E-mount zooms we’ve looked at previously. We see it being most popular with users of Sony’s full-frame A7-series mirrorless cameras, however there’s nothing to stop it being used with Sony’s APS-C mirrorless cameras with which its focal length is equivalent to 105-270mm in 35mm terms.
Despite it not having quite the same reach at the long end as Sony’s FE 70-200mm f2.8 G Master (£2,149), the focal length offered by this Tamron tele zoom is practical for a wide range of subjects and situations where a standard zoom might not get you as close as you’d like.
Another attraction is the big saving if offers. To put it in perspective there’s an £800 difference between this lens and Sony’s G Master telephoto zoom of similar focal length. It’s a lens that certainly seems to have great promise, but can it back this up with a fine optical performance and do we see it having mass appeal with Sony users? These are the questions I’ve set out to answer in this review.