Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Review: My New Favorite Lens

I heard about the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 for Sony cameras almost two years ago, but never took the time to test the lens myself. Now that it's out for Nikon as well, I finally got a copy. After two weeks of shooting both stills and video with this lens, I regret how long I've taken to test it, because I believe It's my favorite lens of all time. 

My favorite lens type is a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I love the look of backing up, zooming in, and capturing a shallow depth-of-field photograph with a compressed background. That being said, 70mm is almost always too long for indoor shooting, and so, I'm forced to keep a 24-70mm lens on my camera the majority of the time. The 35-150mm fixes that. For me, it's the perfect range, capturing the most useful portions from a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm. 

I normally stay away from variable aperture lenses because they tend to be cheaper and slower than constant aperture variants, but this lens is different. Instead of being slower, it's actually faster, giving you the option to shoot at f/2 at 35mm if you choose to. If you want a constant aperture throughout the zoom range (and better vignetting mitigation and sharpness), simply stop down to f/2.8. 

Design and Build

The 35-150mm is a sizeable lens that feels even heavier than it looks.  While not the most compact option, its build quality is undeniably professional. Weighing in at 1,165 g and measuring 158 mm in length, it strikes a balance between heft and manageability, although some users may wish that it came with a mounting collar. Compared to every other Tamron lens I've used, this lens has significantly better build quality. The way every moving part feels is a noticeable improvement. 

As a photographer, my journey has been a quest for the perfect lens – that one piece of equipment that can seamlessly capture the essence of my vision. For the longest time, my heart belonged to the 70-200 mm lens, with its ability to create stunning shots by backing up, zooming in, and compressing the background to achieve that coveted shallow depth of field.

Yet, if you asked me to commit to just one lens for the rest of my life, my allegiance would sway towards something wider, like the 24-70mm f/2.8. This versatile focal range covers 95% of my shooting scenarios and has been a constant companion on my camera. That was until I got my hands on the Tamron 35-150mm lens.

Image Quality

Initially, I expected the image quality of the 35-150mm to lag behind my Tamron 28-75mm and the 70-180mm. However, I was shocked when it outperformed both lenses. Shooting wide open at f/2.0 at 35mm did reveal a slight vignetting issue, but it was far less significant than anticipated. The real shocker was the absence of noticeable softening at the edges at f/2. Moving through the zoom range, the lens continued to impress at 70mm and 150mm, even wide open at f/2.8. 

I found the bokeh this lens produces to be beautiful, and although others have complained that it has a flaring issue, I actually liked the aesthetic. 


I've read that this lens doesn't have the same number of AF motors as other lenses and therefore has slower autofocus. All I can say is that the AF was so good that I couldn't find anything to complain about. We've done multiple photoshoots with this lens, and I don't recall a single photo missing focus. 

Testing Photo and Video

Putting this lens to practical use, I embarked on a range of video and photography projects. From product shots to lifestyle photographs of a company's CEO, the 35-150mm focal range emerged as a sweet spot. Ideal for portraits, it avoided the extremes of being too wide or too long. Not once did I ever feel the need switch lenses. 


After a week of daily use, the only drawback I found with the Tamron 35-150mm is its weight. It's a bit heavy, and without a collar, it's not very balanced, especially if you plan to use it on a gimbal. But for me, I'll gladly deal with the size and weight if I don't have to swap lenses anymore. Yes, for some very specific jobs, I might need an ultrawide, macro, or super-telephoto lens, but 99% of the time, I shoot everything within the 35-150mm range. 

If I had to choose between buying two lenses, a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm, or the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8, I choose the Tamron. 

Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of Fstoppers.com

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Or you could use primes


I’m far too pragmatic for that

This lens sounds so useful for some of the shooting that I do, that it could be the final thing that gets me to ditch Canon and go to Sony or Nikon. It brings Canon's greedy policies to light. If Canon won't make this focal length / aperture combination themselves, then why refuse to let others make it for their mount?

I have the Samyang version, and, I love it. I say this a lot, but, 1 body, 1 lens, 1 trigger. Done.

I did not realize that Samyang and Tamron were the same. Does everything look and function the same?

They are not the same. Totally different companies. I meant specs wise, 35-150 f2-f2.8. :)

From the reviews I've seen, the Tamron has slightly better AF and IQ. Albeit, about $600 more expensive. The slight advantages wasn't enough for me so I went with the Samyang. On top of that, it was on sale for $1099 at the time.

For guy like you who shot weddings for 15 years no weather sealing and lens which extends when you zoom in, really? How good is the AF in low light btw as all images here were shot in good conditions or with artifical light.. How good is the AF when shooting against the light? I mean the focal range of the lens is really spot on, but so many questions aren't answered.. Other thing is how good is the build quality after 1 year of bussy wedding photographer?

Hope Canon will get something similar into production in the future.

I have the older brother of this lens, the f2.8/4 version. It's a good lens and has become my walk around lens. But I'd like the newer version for sure. Well, if my photo piggy bank swells, I'd probably opt for Canon's new 24-105 f2.8 instead. That's a dandy!

I've been shooting this lens at weddings since it came out. Ultrawide zoom on the second body and I have everything covered. It's heavy though. Not quite as heavy as the canon 28-70mm f2

I do the same thing, with a sigma 14-24 2.8 on the other body. I'll often swap this out with a lighter prime like an 85 1.4 to give my back some relief once I get to the venue.

It is a really good lens considering the sharpness across the zoom range based on the sample raw files i have seen so far. While the non-constant aperture a negative aspect, and I wish they would do a 35-150 f/2 constant. overall, it seems like it could replace many primes if you don't need wider apertures in the f/1.8 to f/1.2 range, then I would rather use a lens like that. Other than a little more distortion, the sharpness and detail is similar to individual prime lenses, at least with the Sony a7R III that dpreview used.

I personally don't like swapping lenses often with not in a cleaner environment since I don't like having to clean a sensor.

I've been using the lens since it came out and its been quite reliable for me (mostly shooting on an a9mk1). I do wish the quality of the lens hood was a bit better for a lens of this price. The lens is heavy, comparable to the feeling of a 70-200 2.8 I'm not sure most would want to add more weight to it by making it a 2.0 constant... To make it a constant you can just adjust your aperture to 2.8 and it will stay at that as you zoom through the range. If I could have anything it would be having a bit more range on the wide side as 35mm can be tight at times.

This is the perfect lens for run and gun family sessions where you can get a great range of photos. For these type of sessions I have the lens set at the wide aperture value and shoot aperture priority with a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 and just use exposure compensation based on what I see in the viewfinder, exposing for the subjects.