These Two New Tamron Lenses Beg to Be Used Outdoors

Tamron is announcing two new lenses tonight for the outdoor photographer.

If there were any brand that I’d trust to use outdoors on Sony cameras, it would be Tamron. Pretty much all their lenses are weather sealed, built well and lightweight. Tonight, Tamron is announcing two new lenses. The Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC VXD is for Sony full frame camera and designed more for the birding crowd. Then there’s the new Tamron 11-20mm f2.8 Di III-A RXD for APS-C. Tamron continues to show that it’s making the best lenses for Sony’s APS-C system with this entry. It shares a lot with the 17-70mm, which we gave an award to.

Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Di III VC VXD

  • 25 elements in 16 groups
  • 1 XLD Element
  • 5 LD elements
  • Two hybrid aspherical
  • VXD Linear motor
  • 82mm filter size
  • 8.3-inch length collapsed and 11.1 inches long when extended
  • 3.8 lbs
  • 7 aperture blades
  • Sony E mount
  • Vibration compensation
  • 23.6-inch close focusing
  • Weather-resistant
  • Can use various Sony autofocus modes
  • $1,399

What’s going to be very fun to see is how the autofocus works with birding. The Tamron 70-300mm doesn’t take full advantage of the Sony autofocus for animals the way Sony lenses do. However, it’s light years ahead of what Sigma is doing. It’s also very nice that the aperture is changing less than a stop throughout the entire range. Some folks might be begging for a lens with a faster aperture. But then it would be much larger. Realistically speaking, f5 at 150mm can be a nice portrait lens.

I think those of us who love shooting wildlife with cameras will really love this lens. Same for those who shoot sports. To make the most of it, I think you might need the Sony a1 with its weather sealing. The rest of the lineup can’t compete. 

Considering this lens has an 82mm front filter, don’t expect it to be all that small. We’re curious to see how it fits into various backpacks. We’re also curious to see how the Vibration Compensation works in conjunction with Sony system’s own.

Tamron 11-20mm f2.8 Di III-A RXD

  • 3.4″ size
  • Sony E mount, but APS-C only
  • Weather-resistant
  • 67mm filter thread
  • Can use various Sony autofocus modes
  • 5.9-inch close focusing
  • 11.8 oz
  • 12 elements in 10 groups
  • $829

Tamron says this lens has a similar filter thread size as their 17-70mm f2.8 lens. This is the perfect accompaniment if you’re committed to sticking with Sony’s APS-C lineup. Still, I feel like Tamron’s talents are being wasted here. These lenses deserve to be on the Fujifilm X series system. Let’s hope that Fujifilm finally opens doors to partners.

If they don’t make them for Fujifilm, I hope that Nikon honestly gets some love. The Nikon Z50 would be fantastic with these lenses. Of all the APS-C cameras we’ve tested, the Nikon Z50 has the cleanest high ISO output.

This lens is going to be for landscape photographers, interiors, etc. It’s really nice that Tamron is making fast zooms for the APS-C system. But I also wonder how long it will be until they make a few primes. Just imagine a trio of Tamron pancake primes for your Sony a6xxx series camera. Better yet, imagine they were weather sealed! As it is, Tamron made a bunch of small primes for full-frame E-mount. 

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.