Coming soon to the Sony E mount is a pretty awesome option for photographers wanting a walkaround lens. It’s the new Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD — and it costs only $699. That’s only $200 less than the 28-75mm f2.8 G2! Of course, the new Tamron 17-50mm F4 starts at a wider angle and then doesn’t reach out as long. It’s also just an f4 aperture lens throughout the range. But this seems like an incredibly curious decision.
Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD Tech Specs
Here are the tech specs of the Tamron 17-50mm F4 straight from the company’s press release.
|Angle of View (diagonal)||103°41′- 46°48′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)|
|Optical Construction||15 elements in 13 groups|
|Minimum Object Distance||0.19m / 7.5in (WIDE) / 0.3m / 11.8in (TELE)|
|Maximum Magnification Ratio||1:4.6 (WIDE) / 1:3.8 (TELE)|
|Weight||: 460g (16.2oz)|
|Aperture Blades**||: 9 (circular diaphragm)|
|Minimum Aperture||: F22|
|Standard Accessories||: Flower-shaped hood, Lens caps|
|Mount||: Sony E-mount|
* Length is the distance from the front end of the lens to the lens mount face.
** The circular diaphragm stays almost perfectly circular up to two stops down from maximum aperture.
Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice.
Was This a Kit Lens?
I truly can’t help but wonder is this was a kit lens offering that Tamron sold around, but that didn’t make it in the end. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, let me explain.
Years ago, Tamron launched their 35mm f1.4 for DSLR cameras. This lens launched at a time when mirrorless already had the upper ground on DSLRs. Despite this, we really liked the lens. So why was it launched for DSLRs in 2019? Well, in several conversations that we’ve had with camera industry reps, the Tamron 35mm f1.4 was shopped around to the big camera manufacturers. All of them thought it was good, but they didn’t license it because it was too late in the DSLR life cycle.
If you’re not aware, brands often make things for one another. It’s similar to the Chinese manufacturers — one week, a brand will have a 9mm f5.6 lens, and then everyone else has it the next week. But with the Chinese, there are several levels of transparency. With Viltrox and Hoya, things are incredibly transparent from Viltrox’s side. It’s all because the brands are sharing information and such.
The same happens with the Japanese manufacturer. Tamron has made lenses for several brands. So, too, has Sigma. Cosina makes Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses. Tamron also makes lenses for Nikon, which they rebadge. Pentax did the same thing with Tamron many times.
With all this said, it’s quite possible that considering the current focal lengths of most full-frame camera kit lenses (which range from 20-50mm) that the Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD was shopped around as one to several brands. However, they didn’t want to move forward with it. So instead, Tamron thought that it was too good to let go and is selling it for themselves.
Because of this, we shouldn’t think of it as “just a kit lens.” Instead, there are lots of fantastic features to it:
- Constant f4 aperture
- Internal zooming
- 7.5 inch close focusing on the wider end
- 11.5 inch close focusing on the longer end
- Moisture resistant construction
- 67mm filter thread
- $699 cost
I mean, wouldn’t you want this as a kit lens? And now, here’s the even more curious part. Because this is specifically for Sony, it becomes even more curious. The Sony a7r V on Amazon can be sold with a few of the company’s higher end lenses. There are no other kit lens options with it that are affordable — but you could buy it theoretically with the new Tamron 17-50mm f4. If you bought the Sony a7 IV with the 28-70mm lens, you’d be paying only $200 more and not as great as a lens option. But if you didn’t want to pay over $1,000 more, then you could reach for the Tamron instead.
This is a pretty brilliant lens if you really think about it like that. And we’re hyped to test it out.