Today, Tamron is announcing the development of the Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 G2 lens. The previous version came up a bit short in several ways, as we stated in our review. And the new one seems like a minor update overall until you really look underneath the surface of things. We’re not talking about the optics, which Tamron says have been upgraded. But instead, there are much more important updates.
Here’s how the new Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 G2 differs from the original:
- The company added vibration compensation. This is Tamron’s nomenclature for image stabilization in-lens. The release doesn’t mention how many stops of compensation it has. But truthfully, Tamron’s VC has never really failed us.
- Added the USB port into the lens for easier and quicker firmware updates. This is one of Tamron’s best features on their newer lenses.
- Newer build quality. With the addition of the USB-C port, which is rated to the same durability as a phone, this lens takes a pretty large step forward.
- It’s less than an inch longer and 20 grams heavier than its predecessor.
- Considering that Tamron is still partially owned by Sony, this lens is bound to not have a problem when autofocusing.
- An upgraded focus motor.
Is the Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 G2 Really Worth it?
A few things from the start: we haven’t tested this new lens. But we’ve reviewed the original Tamron 70-180mm f2.8, and we also reviewed every single Tamron lens made in the past decade. That means that we’ve also reviewed every Tamron lens for the Sony E mount. We’ve seen the autofocus become better and better over the years. With that in mind, we can make a plausible hypothesis that the autofocus on this lens is going to be pretty good. On higher megapixel Sony cameras, the autofocus with live view Setting effect enabled is pretty awful at times for a Sony camera. But when it’s disabled, it’s pretty much just as good as a Sony camera.
Lots of photographers tend to want to reach for Sigma lenses, but then complain when the autofocus isn’t all that great or when they’re doing a workout just by using the lens. Image quality, in 2023, isn’t everything. All the cameras and lenses are doing a great job at this point. Instead, it’s much more about the experience. So here are some questions that I’ll be asking myself when I review the Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 G2:
- Do I like holding it?
- Can I handhold it on a walk of seven miles in the hot sun?
- What about in the cold?
- How weather resistant is it in the rain?
- How reliable is the autofocus in the rain, when it’s arguably the best time to go take photographs in the street?
- How is the scene detection performance?
- Do I really miss the extra 20mm?
- When the Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 does most of what this lens can do, why would I want it?
I’m a Sony camera owner, and I transparently also own three Tamron lenses. All of them are zoom lenses. In fact, they’re the only zoom lenses I own because I otherwise only want to ever work with prime lenses. Tamron’s zooms give great image quality, and it’s completely different from every other brand that cares about clinical quality. Instead, there’s character and better color from a Tamron. Even with that statement, things have improved over time too.
The original version of this lens was around $1,200 but has a discount right now.
What Will We Think?
What matters, in the end, is whether or not I actually wanted to use the gear to shoot the photo. And with several other products, I either don’t want to spend the money or bring them around because they’re too heavy. While I doubt the Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 G2 will have that problem, I still wonder about the lacking 20mm.
We’ll have to see in our official review once we get the unit. So stay tuned!