Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Review – Faster, Lighter, Cheaper, and Sharper

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq1l-EhXZPc

Tamron has released hit after hit for Sony E-Mount since they introduced the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD FE, which was followed by the excellent Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD FE. Now Tamron is releasing the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD FE that will complete their trinity of zoom lenses for E-Mount.

I personally have owned all of Tamron’s lenses for E-mount and they have never disappointed for the price. Tamron’s E-mount line up rivals Sony’s G Master line in many respects for a fraction of the price so many are excited about the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 including me. Below are some bullet points from the lengthy review above and the preproduction lens didn’t disappoint:

  • Very different design than Sony
  • 70-180mm creates a very compact design compared to Sony’s 70-200mm f/2.8
  • Tamron 70-180mm with the hood on is the same size as the Sony 70-200mm without a hood
  • 10% reduction in focal length leads to a much larger reduction in size than 10%
  • All Tamron zooms for E-mount are 67mm diameter
  • Sony lenses should be more like Tamron lenses because Sony makes very compact bodies
  • Expected to be between 1200-1400 Euro which is currently 1310.99-1529.49USD, but I think it will come in a $1,299 or 1,399.
  • Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 815g, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 1,480g, and Sony 70-200mm f/4 840g
  • Reviewer prefers the white color of the Sony lenses to the black because it looks professional
  • Both Sony zooms work internally, while the Tamron extends when zooming so the Sony is better for Video professionals
  • Tamron and Sony swap focus control and zoom; Sony has the focus control away from the body, while Tamron puts the focus ring close to the body
  • Both Sony zooms have OIS and can be used with IBIS, but Tamron does not so just IBIS
  • Sony has a tripod mount because the lens is very heavy, but the Tamron does not because it is the same weight as a 24-70mm
  • Sony 70-200mm has 3 customization buttons and Tamron has none
  • The Sony lenses feel expensive and the Tamron does not, but the Tamron lens is a lightweight high quality lens
  • Tamron has a smooth finish and Sony has a rough finish
  • The minimum focus distance is Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 80cm, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 96cm, and Sony 70-200mm f/4 100cm
  • Tamron lens is visibly faster than Sony’s zooms when focusing on a subject
  • Most of the time the less a lens weighs the faster it can focus
  • Sharpness, contrast, colors, chromatic aberrations, vignetting, distortion are all good on the Tamron
  • On a Sony a7RIV at 70mm the center at wide open of Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 are about the same, but the Sony 70-200mm f/4 is a little worse
  • On a Sony a7RIV at 70mm the center at g/5.6 Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 was a little brighter and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 is a little darker, but the Sony 70-200mm f/4 doesn’t hold up
  • On a Sony a7RIV at 70mm the extreme corners at wide open of Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 is the clear winner but a little less colorful and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 is good with a red tinge to the black, but the Sony 70-200mm f/4 is bad
  • On a Sony a7RIV at 200mm the center at wide open and at f/5.6 of Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 is the clear winner but a little less colorful and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 is good with a red tinge to the black, but the Sony 70-200mm f/4 is bad
  • On a Sony a7RIV at 200mm the extreme corners at wide open of Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 is the clear winner and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 is good, but the Sony 70-200mm f/4 is still bad
  • On a Sony a7RIV at 200mm the extreme corners at f/5.6 of Tamron 70-180 f/2.8 and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 tie, but even the Sony 70-200mm f/4 is good here.
  • The resolution of the camera is going to play a big roll in differentiating these lenses
  • These lenses do not feel as different on a 24MP camera as a 60MP camera
  • Some vignetting on all lenses but starts to go away around f/4
  • Tamron has the best light transmission by a small margin about 1/5th of a fstop
  • Flare and bokeh are personal so no opinion given
  • All produce nice sun stars
  • No issues with the Tamron weather sealing
  • Going to sell the Sony 70-200mm f/4
  • The Tamron made his camera bag feel large
  • Tamron is very quite for video
  • Tamron AF for video is very fast and works well
  • Wishes the Tamron focus ring was bigger for video
  • Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD is an important lens and an incredible value that fits the Sony a7/a9 well with great optical quality, size, weight, and speed
  • Sony’s only advantage is the programable buttons and inclusion of OIS
  • The Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD is the best bang for the buck

Tamron 70-180 f/2.8, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8, and Sony 70-200mm f/4 Size ComparisonTamron 70-180 f/2.8, Sony 70-200mm f/2.8, and Sony 70-200mm f/4 Size Comparison

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Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD FE: B&H Photo /  Amazon / Adorama
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD FE: B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III RXD FE: (Coming Soon): B&H Photo / Amazon / Adorama

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