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Is This the Most Versatile Portrait Lens Ever Made?

There have been some excellent lens releases this year, but Tamron's newest offering might be challenging for the top spot. With an unbelievable focal range and widest aperture, how does it hold up on different shoots?

When I first started photography I quickly learned two important lessons: lenses that go from wide-angle to telephoto typically offer poor image quality and variable aperture lenses do too. Both of those lessons are no longer uniformly applicable. We now have lenses with a tremendous range that offer great image quality through the entire scope it offers, as well as lenses with a variable aperture that delivers at every stage of that variation. The new Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD for Sony E mounts manages to work as a counterexample for both of my early important lessons.

What grabs me about this lens, in particular, is that at every focal length, from wide to telephoto, the widest aperture makes the lens appealing. A 35mm f/2 lens is a staple in many genres, from portraiture to street photography, and a 150mm f/2.8 will offer great subject and background separation. I have always opted for multiple lenses, each specialized to one or two tasks, as opposed to trying to grab a lens that can do it all, but Tamron may have bucked my trend.

While I haven't had this new lens in my hands yet, and trying it could change my view entirely, from this video I must say it looks as if it could replace several lenses in my kit, which my spine would love. What do you make of it?

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4 Comments

Phil Tography's picture

If it’s as good as it sounds then I would buy that the Tamron 17-28 2.8 and the Sony 200-600 that would be a 3 lens kit that would do everything I need.

Jacques Cornell's picture

This is tempting for my event work, but its f2.8 at 85mm has greatly tempered my initial enthusiasm. I think I'll stick with primes on three bodies for an extra stop of light at 35mm, two stops at 85mm and 1-1/3 stops at 135mm. Yeah, that costs a bit more and makes for a heavy bag.

P.S.: I'm about to replace my 35/1.8 and 85/1.8 with f1.4 versions after shooting last night in a very dim venue that has black walls and a black ceiling. Auto ISO was bumping up against 25,600 a good bit of the time. I could have set up two off-camera flashes, but the ambient look was really nice, especially distant candids with the 85, and DeepPRIME will take care of the noise. With its smaller aperture, this zoom would have been a problem at anything over 50mm. So, yeah, this is a nice zoom for dimly or moderately lit events, but not really dark ones.

Barry Strawbridges's picture

I've setup a rental (if this gets released on time) for next month. Quite excited.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

I've been shooting with 2 bodies for a while, and I think I'm ready to back to one body, mostly for the convenience. And, the fact I'm not the bokehlic I used to be. :D

I'll have to rent and check this puppy out.