Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon Review


Introduction

The Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon is a versatile wide-angle to medium telephoto zoom lens for Nikon’s Z-series range of 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Impressively, this is also the world’s first Z-mount zoom lens to offer a maximum aperture of F2.

The optical formula is comprised of 21 elements in 15 groups, including four LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements to reduce aberrations and three GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) lens elements.

This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 33cm / 13″ with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.7.

It features a rounded 9-blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to out-of-focus areas of the image and an internal focusing mechanism which means the lens barrel doesn’t move.

It uses the very latest VXD linear motor focus mechanism for fast, quiet and precise auto-focusing, and full-time manual focus override is also possible.

There are two Focus Control buttons, Custom and Lock switches, a USB Connector Port, and it has a moisture-sealed construction.

The Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon lens is available now priced at £1799 / $1999 in the UK and USA, respectively.

This lens was first announced in August 2023. It is designed in Japan and made in China.

Ease of Use

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

Given the fast and constant f/2-2.8 maximum aperture and wide zoom range, the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon is unsurprisingly a rather large and heavy lens.

It measures almost 16cms in length and weighs in at well over 1kg – 1,190g (2.62 lbs.) to be precise, which is ever so slightly heavier than the Sony E-mount version (1,165g (2.57 lbs.).

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

If you consider that it could effectively replace both a 28-70mm and 70-200mm lens in a typical event photography setup, however, it’s actually substantially lighter, just so long as you don’t mind the reduction in zoom range at either end.

While you can use it on a smaller Nikon APS-C sensor camera body, it won’t balance particularly well and the equivalent focal length will also change to 52-225mm.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

As demonstrated by the product images, it’s a better match for a full-frame camera like the Nikon Zf that we tested it with, where it just feels better balanced and more “at home”, although even that felt a little on the small side.

Build quality is excellent, despite Tamron traditionally offering lenses at the cheaper end of the market. The Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon feels very solid in your hand, with the outer barrel made from high-grade plastics as in all of their recent lenses.

Compared to previous Tamron lenses, the 35-150mm has a more glossy, shinier black finish, a redesigned pattern on the focus and zoom rings, and a more scratch and fingerprint resistant exterior.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

The Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon feels solid enough in your hand, despite its mostly polycarbonate construction. It has a metal lens mount.

The zoom ring is wide enough, offers a smooth action and has a tactile ridged, rubberised grip band. The lens extends by about an extra 4.5cm when fully zoomed out to 150mm.

The 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD features a Lock switch which fixes the lens at its 35mm setting and prevents it from extending when it’s pointed downwards, although we didn’t really notice any zoom creep.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

There are two focus control buttons, a feature that is found on some other Tamron zooms.

The other significant feature is the USB-C Connector Port, which allows you to update and customise the lens directly using the TAMRON Lens Utility software, rather than via a camera body.

We are a little concerned that this port is uncovered, though, and therefore not protected from the elements, although Tamron have assured us that it is fully waterproof.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

In the customisation options, the direction and speed of focus can be changed. The focus ring can be used for aperture instead of manual focusing, while the focus hold buttons can be customised for preset focus points 1 and 2 for video so that you can pull focus from one to the other at a designated speed.

The focusing ring is located towards the end of the lens mount, which is the reverse of the 28-75mm F2.8 Di III VXD G2 that we’ve previously reviewed, making it slightly unintuitive and harder to locate in a rush.

The Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon features the latest high-speed VXD ((Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) which is said to be twice as fast as the older RXD motors. It also allows for virtually silent auto-focusing, making it well-suited to video use.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

In use, we found the VXD focusing system to be very quiet and also very fast with the lens mounted on a Nikon Zf camera.

The autofocus can be over-ridden simply by rotating the lens focus ring while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway.

Focusing is fully internal but zooming is not, with the length of the lens changing as you zoom from 35mm to 150mm.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

The Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon isn’t fully weather-proof but it does benefit from a moisture-resistant construction with 10 internal seal points and a rubber gasket around the mount.

This helps to prevent moisture from penetrating the lens, although we’d hesitate to use it in the rain for a prolonged period of time.

The front element has a hydrophobic Fluorine Coating that is highly resistant to fingerprints and debris.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

The lens is supplied with plastic lens caps and a plastic flower-shaped lens hood (HA058) – there’s no lens bag included. The filter size is 82mm.

Note that this lens is not compatible with Tamron’s range of teleconverters. Also there is no official tripod collar/mount available for it, although a third-party one may well be released in the future.

Focal Range

At the 35mm focal length the angle of view is 63°26′ degrees.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

35mm

At the 150mm focal length the angle of view is 16°25′ degrees.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

150mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes along contrasty edges, are well controlled with this lens.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

35mm

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

150mm

Vignetting

With the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon wide open at f/2-2.8, you can see some noticeable light fall-off in the corners. Stopping down helps, although to completely get rid of this phenomenon, you will need to use an f-stop of f/5.6 or smaller.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

35mm

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

150mm

Distortion

Barrel distortion is well controlled, but there’s quite a lot of pin-cushion distortion evident at 150mm in both the JPEG and RAW files which you’ll need to correct in post-processing until a suitable lens profile is released for your editing software.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

35mm

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon


150mm

Sunstars and Flare

The Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon produces quite nice sunstars when stopped-down to f/16-f/22, as shown below, although it it a little prone to flare when shooting directly into the sun.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

35mm

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

150mm

Macro

The Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon isn’t claimed to be a macro lens, but it delivers pretty good performance nonetheless if you zoom to 150mm.

The close-focus point is an impressive 33cm from the film/sensor plane at the 35mm focal length (85cm at 150mm) and it has a maximum magnification ratio of 1:5.7 at the 35mm focal length (1:5.9 at 150mm).

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

One of the reasons to buy such a fast lens as the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon is to be able to isolate the subject from the background.

Tamron was apparently very much aware of this requirement, as they employed an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades for a pleasing rendering of the out-of-focus highlights. Based on what we have seen, we can say that they largely succeeded.

Below you’ll find some examples, but you are also encouraged to check out our sample images.

Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon
Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Nikon lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.



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