Review: Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD (Canon EF on EOS R)

With the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD, photographers are getting a great package zoom.

The Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD is a lens that I needed some time getting used to. This happened before I even touched it. I mean, why these choices of focal lengths? I know lots of folks adore the 35mm focal length and I folks love the 150mm focal length for macro work. However, these choices in focal lengths are an odd package. But, despite my personal gripes, this is a fantastic lens, with great image quality, weather sealing, a small size, a lightweight, and a good feeling. I’ve only got one issue; something I discovered when using the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD in the field.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A bit of weather resistance
  • An interesting range that makes you think outside of the box
  • Small size for what it is
  • Really nice image quality

Cons

  • I wish this were native to Canon RF mount

Gear Used

We tested the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD with the:

  • Canon EOS R
  • Profoto B10

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Adorama listing

  • Fast F/2.8 aperture at the wide-angle end while maintaining a bright F/4 at the telephoto end.
  • MOD (Minimum Object Distance) is 17.7 in across the entire zoom range.
  • LD (Low Dispersion) glass elements and aspherical lenses quash degrading optical aberrations.
  • incorporates the Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) system which assures optimal AF performance
  • Lens Mount: Nikon
  • Zoom Focal Length: 35-150mm
  • Lens Format: Full Frame
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8-4
  • Lens Type: Wide Angle to Telephoto Zoom SLR Lens
  • Image Stabilization Type: Yes (VC)
  • Lens Series: Tamron Di Series
  • Special Features: Aspherical
  • Filter Size: 77mm Lens

 

Ergonomics

Taken from our first impressions

The Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD is very lightweight and compact. You’ll find a manual focus ring up front, followed by a much larger zoom ring to adjust the focal length.

Both the manual focus ring and zoom ring are made of rubber and feature grippy ridges, with the zoom ring being lockable. You’ll also notice the signature silver ring found on many of Tamron’s latest lenses just before the mount and rubber gasket.

Notice the markings on the zoom ring for all of the popular portraiture focal lengths (35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, and 150mm). You’ll also find the toggle switches for Vibration Compensation (what Tamron calls their Image Stabilization tech) and Autofocus/Manual Focus toward the side of the lens.

The lens almost doubles in length when zoomed out to 150mm, but due to its lightweight nature, I didn’t find it to become unbalanced when shooting with it paired to a Canon EOS 5D Mk IV.

 

Autofocus

In our testing, we found the focus acquisition to be pretty fast and accurate. This is the case throughout the various lighting conditions we encountered. Where we found the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD to fail a bit is when it came to tracking autofocus. To be fair, this is not new to many lenses that we use and adapt via Canon’s EOS R adapters. However, I think the hobbyist photographer getting this lens will not mind all that much. This is a lens photographers will use not really for serious work, but the image quality can surely hold its own in that regard. In terms of autofocus performance, it wasn’t optimal in real-world settings.

With Canon’s latest firmware updates to the EOS R, the autofocus has improved a lot, but I can’t quite say the speed matches Canon’s own.

 

Build Quality

The Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD has a bit of weather resistance, though it isn’t as talked about as much as other lenses in their press releases. This lens is said to have a bit of moisture resistant construction. However, when you look at Tamron’s diagrams, it seems to have a ton of weather sealing. Given Tamron’s build quality streak, we’re positive you can take this into the rain with no issues.

Best of all, the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD is very lightweight. It feels great in the hand and, if anything, will remind photographers of holding a prime lens. We didn’t have much of a complaint while testing this lens. Part of this is because of the variable aperture in this lens as it zooms. Still though, this lens should have been designed for mirrorless from the ground up: a strategy that Tamron should have going forward.

 

Ease of Use

The Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD works like most other zoom lenses out there. There is image stabilization, AF/MF, and a lock. You’re essentially just zooming in and out while ensuring your ISO setting is high enough to compensate. During our testing, the switches never seemed to go out of place by accident. This is a testament to the build quality and therefore the ease of use. If you’re the photographer who mounts this to a camera and shoots in “P for Professional Mode” then you’ll have a really easy time here.

 

Image Quality

The image quality from the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD is great overall. Since Tamron introduced their revamped SP lineup and improved quality control, we haven’t seen a bad lens from them. For the hobbyist this lens is targeted to, they’ll be more than happy with the results. Not only is the bokeh beautiful, but so too is the sharpness. Tamron has pretty unique color patterns that somehow or another makes their images simply pop. Better yet, they do this in a way that’s different from both Zeiss and Rokinon. There surely isn’t microcontrast, but instead a sense of heightened clarity. That makes this even better for black and white shooters.

 

Bokeh

I mean, come on–look at that! The bokeh from the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD is simply gorgeous. Portrait photographers and those who travel aren’t going to find anything to complain about here. While the bokeh isn’t those perfect balls that some love to see, it’s still really gorgeous. Also at this price point, you can’t expect Sony G Master level of bokeh or even that from Panasonic’s S lenses.

Chromatic Aberration

In my testing, I couldn’t find a lot of issues when it came to color fringing. And that’s wonderful to know! Sigma sometimes delivers comparable lenses with fringing issues, but Tamron isn’t doing that! You should note that there is distortion on the wider end of this lens but even that is very subdued and only in the corners.

Color Rendition

My favorite thing about the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD is the colors it produces. We often lock our cameras to Daylight or Tungsten to get a more film-like look. When combined with Canon’s color science, you can some great colors in your scenes. They’ll pop and you’ll adore them.

Sharpness

While the sharpness isn’t what you can expect from Tamron’s prime lenses, it’s still very good for a zoom lens at this price point. What’s impressive is that we found it to be consistently sharp at pretty much every focal length. Nicely done!

Extra Image Samples

Conclusions

Likes

  • Size
  • Price
  • Image Quality
  • Build Quality

Dislikes

  • Autofocus is a bit slow

When the Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD was announced I sort of wrote it off in my head. The reason is a personal bias of not liking lenses with variable apertures through their zoom range. But, they’ve gotten better on all fronts over the years, and if you’re approaching the world of photography with brand new eyes, then my attitude isn’t the one to have. Tamron has gone through a lot of effort to make this lens great, though from a marketing perspective, this lens should really be targeted at the hobbyist. Best of all, Tamron gave this lens the same level of sealing they do their other lenses. This matters more for the hobbyist than anyone else. Let’s be honest, hobbyists love bringing their cameras with them to events where drinks and spills happen. The Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD will stand up to the actions of your ethanol imbibing friends. Hobbyists will also love the image quality it delivers.

Overall, I can’t find a major fault with this lens except for the autofocus speed. Though it’s been improved, I’d still like to see it perform faster.

If we’re going to share personal gripes, I think we shouldn’t skirt around the obvious elephant in the room. The Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD is an odd focal length range. A 24-120mm f4 would have made more sense (Nikon makes one). Sure, I’d lose a stop of light at the wider end, but I’d be okay with that. With a 35-150mm, I would have been okay if it were a constant f4 or f3.5 and made even smaller. If that meant the lens were made larger, then this would have been completely understood. It would probably have been the size of a 70-200mm f4 lens or even a bit smaller. Either way, this is an odd choice for Tamron. For what the lens is, it’s pretty darned good, I just can’t get behind the idea of saying, “Yeah, let me reach for my 35-150 for this job.” It’s weird, right?

The Tamron 35-150mm f2.8-4 Di VC OSD receives four out of five stars. Want one? You can snag one for $799.