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.
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.