By Mike O’Connor | 20 November 2023
The previous few years have seen lens producer Tamron launch of a bunch of lenses which have actually pushed outdoors the standard ‘holy trinity’ of lenses that many photographers can be aware of.
It means immediately you should buy a lens like a 20-40mm f/2.8, a 35-150mm f/2-2.8 or perhaps a true all-in-one lens, a 50-400mm f4.5-6.3, and all for full-frame sensors.
And whereas previously many photographers have scoffed on the picture high quality of lenses that cowl wider focal lengths than what’s conventional, the truth is that the Japanese firm’s optical designs have taken nice strides in recent times, with Tamron now delivering some actually compelling glass at severely aggressive costs.
So enter Tamron’s newest lens, the 17-50mm F4 DI III VXD, which covers extremely wide-angle to straightforward focal size at a relentless F4 aperture, that’ll set you again an RRP of $1,399. I examined the lens with my very own Sony A7 IV.
Internally, the 17-50mm F4 DI III VXD encompasses a round aperture with 9 blades and 15 parts in 13 teams, together with three low dispersion parts and a glass-molded aspherical component.
The lens is pretty compact at 114.4mm lengthy, and it weighs 460g. Because it’s an inside zoom design, the lens would not get greater as you zoom, which retains it compact. The opposite good thing about it being internally zooming is the steadiness level is fixed, a helpful characteristic should you plan to make use of the 17-50mm F4 on a gimbal.
The 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD lens is constructed with a moisture-resistant building beginning with a gasket on the lens mount, and inside seals on the rings, switches, and ports, together with a fluorine coating.
It additionally has a 67mm filter dimension, identical as most different Tamron lenses for mirrorless cameras, which is nice should you plan to swap filters between lenses.
Visually the lens is kind of lengthy and slim, which makes it fairly straightforward to carry. That is helped by massive rubber focus and zoom rings which might be properly damped.
On the facet of the lens barrel there’s an assignable focus maintain/customized button that may be programmed to numerous capabilities both from inside the digital camera or by means of Tamron’s free Lens Utility software program.
Thus software program is accessed by way of a climate sealed USB-C port situated on the facet of the lens close to the mount.
Utilizing this port opens up a lot larger customisation than is feasible simply by way of your digital camera’s menu, and lets you change the whole lot from the perform of the main focus ring between handbook focus and appearing as an aperture ring, to the course of the ring, whether or not or not the motion can be linear or non-linear and extra. It is a cool characteristic.
Lastly, the lens ships with a relatively slim and shallow petal-shaped lens hood. It is maybe a little bit flimsy, however does the job.
The 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD lens makes use of Tamron’s flagship autofocus motor, the VXD, (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive).
In use I discovered it hit focus close to instantaneously, even in low mild and with fast-paced topics like youngsters on a chair-o-plane on the native highland video games.
Shut focus outcomes have been additionally excellent – the lens can focus as intently as simply 19cm at its widest setting, which suggests it is nice for panorama pictures the place you wish to have an in depth foreground topic in focus or you’ve got a quickly advancing youngster about to stay their grubby mitts in your lens.
At the telephoto finish, you’ll be able to focus as intently as 30cm, which makes it actually versatile.
Picture high quality
The 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD lens delivers nice picture sharpness and distinction throughout the zoom vary. Photos are naturally vibrant and saturated, which makes it nice for capturing topics in vibrant daylight.
That stated, there may be some softness within the corners at sure focal lengths (as you may count on), though at 17mm the lens is surprisingly sharp within the corners.
The place it falls down is with some noticeable vignetting and barrel distortion at 17mm. These points appropriate themselves higher as you progress by means of the focal lengths nonetheless.
Lastly, though F4 will not be a very broad aperture, you continue to do get some topic isolation at 50mm, though there’ll at all times be limitations to how a lot you’ll be able to be inventive with depth of subject with a lens like this one.
The Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD lens is a good possibility for photographers in search of one thing that may perform a little little bit of the whole lot – it’s broad sufficient for buildings or landscapes, whereas you can too punch in tight and seize a portrait or two as properly.
It is also a reasonably distinctive lens at this value level. There is not any different comparable product within the focal size, with its nearest rival in all probability the Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G or the Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 RXD, however neither of those are as versatile, and the 16-35mm has an RRP of $2,000.
It leaves the 17-50mm F4 Di III VX by itself for now, and an excellent instance of a lens that may do nearly the whole lot properly.