Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 - The Portrait Zoom With Endless Possibilities

Back in February Tamron announced the development of three new lenses – the 35mm f/1.4 for DSLR’s, the 17-28mm f/2.8 for Sony FE, and the 35-150mm f/2.8-4 for DSLR’s. We just received the 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD for Nikon F mount to test out for a few days. It’s always exciting to test out new gear, and especially exciting when it’s a unique lens like the 35-150.

The 35-150mm is marked as a fast and compact “portrait zoom” that can cover a broad range of shooting, from environmental portraits, to tight headshots. With the wide zoom range, the lens is also perfect for travel and street shooting and has an impressive close focus distance.

The Specs

  • 4.9” long
  • 27.9oz
  • Minimum focusing distance – 1.48’
  • 77mm filter thread
  • Low Dispersion glass to minimize chromatic aberration/color fringing.
  • Aspherical elements for optimal sharpness edge-to-edge, and flare reduction
  • Optimized Silent Drive (OSD) motor for quieter autofocus
  • Dual Micro-Processing Unit (MPU) for fast and precise AF performance.
  • Vibration Compensation (VC) to minimize camera shake when shooting handheld.
  • Moisture Resistant Construction for all weather use.
  • Fluorine Coating and Broad-Band Anti-Reflection (BBAR) Coating for reduced ghosting and flare.
  • TAP-in Console compatible.

Lens Design

The 35-150mm is relatively compact but has a solid feel in the hand.  The exterior design is similar to most modern Tamron lenses with a satin finish and the gold-like trim around the lens mount. The buttons are minimal – an AF/MF switch, and a switch for the VC. Unlike some of the other Tamron zoom lenses, there is no VC Mode selection on this lens. The only other switch on the lens is a barrel lock that can be locked when the lens is at 35mm and at its most compact size.

The zoom ring is wide and easy to turn, with a moderate amount of resistance. The focusing ring is near the front element, and just like the recently released 17-35mm f/2.8-4, the focus ring turns as the lens autofocuses, which can be an annoyance from some photographers who hold the lens near the hood. Speaking of the hood, unlike some sub $1,000 lenses, it was nice and tight and locked on without any issues or concerns of it becoming unlocked.

The lens was clearly designed for portrait photographers in mind, with popular portrait prime focal distances on the lens barrel (35/50/85/105/135/150).



 The Nitty Gritty

Being a variable aperture lens, the Tamron 35-150mm stops down as you zoom in, though not nearly as much as some lenses with this much zoom. Below is a chart with the breakdown of focal length and aperture.
















Using calibration software, we ran an aperture test to at what aperture the lens is sharpest. Focal lengths used were 35mm @ f/2.8 and 150mm @ f/4. At the wide end, peak sharpness was at f/5.6, though it’s very similar from f/4-8, and at 150mm, peak sharpness was at f/7.1, with results being fairly close between f/4 and f/11. The red DLA line signifies where the lens may begin to show signs of diffraction.

Vignetting is present when wide open, at both ends of the zoom range, though starts to become very minimal at f/4 @ 35mm, and f/5.6 @ 150mm. No Lightroom lens profile corrections are available yet, but should easily be able to fix any vignetting once it is updated.


Images below were taken with a Nikon D750 and D500.

The first day of using the lens, the weather overcast, foggy, and with occasional rain. Even after getting a bit wet, the lens performed flawlessly. The AF motor noise is minimal – not as silent as some of Tamron’s G2 fast zooms like the 70-200 or 24-70, but not overly distracting, though videographers might not be a big fan of this lens if using on camera mics. The wide zoom range makes it great for capturing full-body portraits as well as those tight head shots without having to swap glass.

The focus is fast and accurate, though we didn’t get a chance to test it out in any fast action scenarios on day 1. It should be more than sufficient for portrait and street photographers. The sharpness is impressive for a lens with about 4.3x optical zoom. For someone looking to replace their “kit” lens on their full frame Nikon (24-120mm /4) or Canon (24-105mm f/4), this is a great choice that gives you a faster aperture and a bit more zoom length, with the tradeoff being that it starts at 35mm instead of 24mm.

Original vs Cropped

Action Shots

The next day, in order to put the autofocus to the test, the lens was used during a track & field event. Though no the fastest, the autofocus kept up for the most part, with minimal out of focus photos during high speed bursts with the D500. A 70-200 f/2.8 would be a better option for this situation, but for those looking for a one lens solution, it’s definitely capable of capturing the moments you want.

Final Thoughts

The Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 is a unique lens that appeals to consumers, prosumers, and professionals alike. With its $799 price tag for a relatively “fast” lens that is sharp, small, and extremely versatile, it’s a great bargain. Paired with the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4, it’s a great 2 lens combo to cover the wide to medium telephoto range, with a fast aperture, and compact size.

The Nikon mount Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 will be available at the end of May and can be pre-ordered here. The Canon mount will be available in early June and can be pre-ordered here.

To see all images in full resolution, head on over to our Flickr page