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Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

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Handling and Features
Tamron 14 150mm Di III Micro Four Thirds (5)

This 10.7x zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds system cameras, sports a compact, lightweight design and is available in black or silver finishes. The angle of view covered by this lens is roughly equivalent to a 28-300mm lens used on a 35mm format camera and the lens costs around £390. In this review, we'll take a look at how it performs.

Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Handling and Features

14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III
With this lens Tamron have made full use of the advantages a mirrorless camera system like Micro Four Thirds can offer, which has resulted in a very compact optic that weighs only 285g. The low weight and compact size make this lens an ideal for travel, or simply as an all-purpose lens for day-to-day shooting. It balances well with the Panasonic Lumix GX7 body used for testing, and will make a good companion for smaller, more compact Micro Four Thirds bodies as well. The lens is constructed from high quality plastics with a metal bayonet fitting. The silver version used for testing has a metallic finish, which feels robust and adds to the high quality impression of the lens.

Tamron 14 150mm Di III Micro Four Thirds (4)

Autofocus speeds are fairly quick, especially for a super-zoom lens, even in relatively low light conditions. Manual focusing action is smooth and well enough damped, which makes fine adjustments a fairly easy to apply. The zoom action is as smooth and it doesn't snag or tighten at any point in the range. The zoom mechanism doesn't creep forward at all with the lens point downwards, even so, a switch to lock the lens at 14mm is provided to prevent the lens from extending accidentally when it's removed from a case or bag.

Closest focus distance is 50cm, which is fairly typical for a lens covering this range and focusing is performed internally. The 52mm filter thread does not rotate, which should make this lens ideal for use with graduated filters and polarisers. A petal shaped hood is supplied with the lens, which attaches to the front via a bayonet fitting.

Tamron 14 150mm Di III Micro Four Thirds (7)

Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Performance

At 14mm and maximum aperture, levels of sharpness are already excellent in the centre of the frame, and clarity toward the edges of the frame is very good. Stopping down improves performance across the frame, with peak sharpness being achieved at f/5.6. Here clarity is outstanding in the centre, and excellent towards the edges of the frame.

At 50mm, similar high levels of sharpness are maintained. At maximum aperture sharpness is excellent in the centre and very good towards the edges of the frame. Stopping down to f/8 results in excellent clarity across the frame at this focal length.

Finally at 150mm, overall performance is reduced, but the lens still produces decent sharpness levels, especially for a lens of this type. At f/5.8, sharpness approaches very good levels in the centre of the frame, and is fairly good towards the edges. The performance towards the edges of the frame improves slightly with stopping down, reaching very good levels in the centre and good levels towards the edges of the frame at f/11.

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix GX7 using Imatest.

Levels of chromatic aberrations are well controlled for a lens of this type.  Fringing only exceeds one pixel width on one occasion, and that is at 14mm and f/22. The overall low levels of CA should pose few issues during normal shooting.

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Panasonic Lumix GX7 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is well controlled for the most part. At 14mm the corners are 2.67 stops darker than the image centre at maximum aperture and at 150mm the corners are 1.7 stops darker. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/11 or beyond throughout the zoom range, although in some cases there is some darkness in the corners at all apertures at 14mm. This phenomenon does not appear in JPEGs taken with the camera, and is automatically corrected by some raw image converters, but not all.

As is often the case with super zoom lenses, distortion is strong at both ends of the range, although it isn't so strong that it will cause many issues for casual snaps, just when absolutely straight lines are required. At 14mm 6.1% barrel distortion is present, which is quite a high level and at 150mm 1.1% pincushion distortion is present, which is much less noticeable. The distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so any distortion should be relatively easy to correct in image editing software afterwards if required.

A petal-shaped hood is supplied with the lens, which does a decent job of shielding the front element from extraneous light that may cause flare or loss on contrast. At 150mm, shooting into the light does result in a loss of contrast, but otherwise, this lens is reasonably resistant to flare.

Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III Sample Photos

Value For Money

This 14-150mm lens costs around £390, which is great value when compared to the direct alternatives available from the likes of Olympus and Panasonic.

The Olympus 14-150mm f/4-5.6 lens is similarly specified to this Tamron lens, apart from the maximum aperture being marginally faster at the telephoto end of the zoom range. However, this lens costs around £480.

Panasonic's 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 lens is their closest equivalent, which costs around £490. This lens does include optical stabilisation, which may be a particular benefit to those who own a Micro Four Thirds camera that doesn't have sensor shift stabilisation, but it is 10mm shorter at the telephoto end. 

Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Verdict

If you own an Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera, which includes sensor-shift image stabilisation, then there isn’t a better value superzoom available for your camera. This is especially true as this lens delivers decent sharpness, despite it's 10.7x zoom range.

The choice is less clear cut, however, if you own a Micro four Thirds camera body without stabilisation built in, such as a Panasonic body. Image stabilisation can be particularly useful with lenses like this, that have a slow, variable maximum aperture. Even so, if your technique is good, and you think you can manage without stabilisation, then this lens may still tempt you. Your wallet will certainly thank you for the £100 saving anyway.

Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Pros

Good sharpness for a superzoom lens
Versatile 10.7x zoom range
Quick autofocus
Good build quality
Compact and lightweight

Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Cons

Dark corners at 14mm (when shooting raw)
An optically stabilised version will tempt more owners of Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras


The Tamron 14-150mm delivers good sharpness and quick autofocus.


Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Panasonic Micro Four Thirds
  • Olympus Micro Four Thirds
Focal Length14mm - 150mm
Angle of View8.02 - 75
Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/5.8
Min ApertureNo Data
Filter Size52mm
35mm equivalent28mm - 300mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Min Focus50cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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ChrisV 15 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
26 Sep 2014 2:17PM
I acquired the Panasonic lens as part of a promotion with the G6 a little while ago - making effectively quite affordable. I have had super-zooms before and was expecting all the usual compromises - barreling, vignetting, CA as well as pretty low levels of sharpness. Now I know that Panasonic do address some of those effects in software, but the effect of that is pretty transparent, even in RAW. The end result is that the lens is by far the best performing super-zoom I've ever used and of course it's even more compact than its larger-format ilk, making it a very convenient and versatile piece of glass, especially when traveling light.

The point is that whilst these issues are alluded to in this review, there's no mention of the impact [or lack of it] of software correction, or direct comparisons between the optics in question. You do mention lack of OIS in the lens and that is of course very useful at the longer end of the lens' range. But I'm not sure it is the main, let alone the only disadvantage of this lens on Panasonic bodies. Not sure if the same would be true for Olympus, but increasingly the image profiles of lenses is becoming important in MFT cameras, much as I would like this to be opened up between the two and third party makers - it weakens the cohesiveness of the system as a whole.
mikesavage 20 299 2 England
28 Sep 2014 11:37PM
Good to see an independent manufacturer making a lens of this type that has high optical & mechanical quality.
Andy_Curtis 8 808 United Kingdom
2 Oct 2014 11:23AM
Ah, I have been wanting a nice all rounder lens, ONe I can take out and do street photography at the wider end, and then the telephoto end should I need it and do not have time to switch lenses!

This might be the one

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