First Impressions: Tamron 35mm F2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Sony FE Mount)

The Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 is an affordable and lightweight lens many Sony Full Frame Mirrorless shooters will want to consider

Last week at the annual PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, Tamron unveiled a trio of compact and lightweight prime lenses designed from the ground up for Sony’s E Mount Full Frame Mirrorless cameras. One of the lenses in this prime trio is the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053). The newly announced Tamron 35mm f2.8 follows the same design philosophy of balancing a small footprint while maintaining portability that we’ve seen in the company’s excellent 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD and 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD zooms for Sony Full Frame Mirrorless. At just 7.4 oz, the Tamron 35mm f2.8 is remarkably lightweight. It’s also quite compact in size at only 2.5 inches in length (the 20mm and 24mm f2.8 primes also share the same exterior design and dimensions).

Gear Used

We tested the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) with the Sony A7R III.

 

Tech Specs

Tech specs for the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) taken from the official Tamron press release.

Model F053
Focal Length 35mm
Maximum Aperture f2.8
Angle of View (diagonal)* 63°26′
Optical Construction 9 elements in 8 groups
Minimum Object Distance 5.9 in (0.15m)
Maximum Magnification Ratio 1:2
Filter Size Ø67mm
Maximum Diameter Ø73mm
Length** 64mm (2.5 in.)
Weight 7.4 oz (210g)
Aperture Blades 7 (circular diaphragm)**
Minimum Aperture f22
Standard Accessories Lens hood (Cap-type), Lens caps
Compatible Mounts Sony E-mount
* for full-frame mirrorless format
** Length is the distance from the front tip of the lens to the lens mount face.
*** The circular diaphragm stays almost perfectly circular up to two stops down from maximum aperture.

 

Ergonomics

Here’s the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) mounted onto a Sony A7R III. A cap type lens hood is attached towards the front of the lens. It features the same 67mm filter thread found in the other two Tamron E Mount f2.8 primes along with the 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD and 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD zooms. This means that all lens caps for the Tamron E Mount lenses can be used interchangeably, and the same goes for filters as well; fewer filters means more money in your pocket.

The exterior of the Tamron 35mm f2.8 is a minimalist affair. Aside from the Focusing Ring, there aren’t any other controls to be found on the lens barrel.

As you can see, the Tamron 35mm f2.8 has an incredibly small footprint and feels well balanced when mounted onto a Full Frame E Mount camera body.

 

Build Quality

Despite its small form factor and the fact that it was a pre-production sample, the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) we got to use felt solidly put together. According to Tamron, the 35mm f2.8 is said to be moisture resistant. We will have to put this to the test when we call in a final production unit for review once they are available.

 

Ease of Use

As far as autofocusing lenses go, the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) is straightforward in terms of operation. Simply mount it onto your Sony Full Frame E Mount camera body of choice, remove the front lens cap, dial in your settings, and you’re good to go. If you’re using Manual Focus or Dynamic Manual Focus modes, there’s a Focusing Ring towards the front of the short lens barrel, which will help you dial in focus precisely. For portrait shooters, Eye AF works just as you’d expect from first-party lenses. All in all, you’re not going to run into any significant issues shooting with the Tamron 35mm f2.8.

 

Autofocus

Although we only got to shoot with the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) briefly, the autofocus performance felt responsive overall. Eye AF worked consistently, and we didn’t experience much hunting even when photographing subjects up close thanks to the 35mm f2.8’s close minimum focusing distance. We will need to test the Tamron 35mm f2.8’s autofocusing system more extensively for our upcoming full review, but the lens is shaping up to be a solid performer thus far.

 

Image Quality

All sample images seen within this First Impressions article are straight out of camera JPGs captured using an early pre-production prototype Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) mated to a Sony A7R III. As a matter of ethics, none of the sample images have not been retouched so that you may judge the quality of the images for yourself.

 

First Impressions

While there will undoubtedly be photographers who lament about lenses not having the brightest apertures in the world, the reality is that the race to get as close to (or below) f1 is one that offers diminishing returns. While lenses with such wide apertures are marvelous feats of engineering, their razor-thin focal planes make them far from practical. This is why Tamron’s approach with their Sony Full Frame Mirrorless lens lineup is so ingenious. Instead of competing with Sony’s own first-party lenses or those from Sigma, which tend to have wider apertures, Tamron is instead focusing on practicality when designing their Sony Full Frame Mirrorless lenses. Although the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) only goes as wide as f2.8, not having to incorporate massive optical elements into its design means that the lens weighs in at an astonishingly lightweight of just under half a pound. The Tamron 35mm f2.8 is also quite portable as well, measuring just 2.5 inches in length. By sharing components amongst the trio of prime lenses, Tamron was able to keep costs down as well. The Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053), along with the 20mm and 24mm, will set you back for just US $349. The 35mm focal length is a versatile one popular amongst many photographers for its semi-wide field of view. By combining a lightweight design and a portable form factor, the Tamron 35mm f2.8 is a natural choice for any Sony Full Frame Mirrorless shooter in the market for a semi-wide prime that they can keep in their camera bag without worrying that it’ll take up much room or weighing them down.

We look forward to reviewing the final production version of the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) comprehensively once review units are available, please stay tuned for our upcoming full review. The Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053) will be available on November 20th and is available for preorder now from Adorama.

Pauleth Ip

Paul is a New York City based photographer, creative, and writer. His body of work includes headshots and commercial editorials for professionals, in-demand actors/performers, high net worth individuals, and corporate clients, as well as intimate lifestyle/boudoir photography with an emphasis on body positivity and empowerment. Paul also has a background in technology and higher education, and regularly teaches private photography seminars. When not working on reviews and features for The Phoblographer or shooting client work, Paul can be seen photographing personal projects around NYC, or traveling the world with his cameras in tow. You can find Paul’s latest work on his Instagram over at @thepicreative.