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Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 Review

John Riley reviews the new Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 full-frame prime lens for Sony E-Mount mirrorless cameras.

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Tamron 35mm F2,8 Front Oblique View

We now look at the third of Tamron's trio of compact, inexpensive full-frame lenses for the Sony FE mount cameras. The choice of 20mm, 24mm and 35mm for this group of lenses offers us three classic focal lengths, all very versatile and all well understood. The 20mm f/2.8 and 24mm f/2.8 have already earned themselves the accolade of Editor's Choice, so we dust off the Sony Alpha A7R III 42MP body one more time to see what the 35mm optic can achieve.


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Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 Handling and Features

Tamron 35mm F2,8 On Sony A7RIII With Hood

The consistency of this lens with the other two is remarkable, the plastic construction being of very high quality and resulting in a modest weight of just 210g. It is a pleasant change from the large heavy and expensive, albeit it also fast, lenses that we have been increasingly seeing. The lens is moisture resistant, so we can continue to shoot in less than ideal weather conditions. The consistency also stretches to the very firm bayonet fit that does lack the slick feel of more expensive lenses, but it is secure.

Innovation immediately starts with the lens hood, which bayonets securely onto the lens but has a reversed construction where a rectangular cutout serves as part of the light-shielding. This is sometimes seen and actually works very well, resulting in a compact hood that is perfectly efficient. It does mean that the hood cannot be reversed to store on the lens but also avoids any temptation to leave a reversed hood in position, which would be useless for reducing the risk of flare. There is a 67mm filter thread on the front of the hood as well as on the front of the lens, but using a filter out at the front would leave that glass surface completely at the mercy of flare.

The only control on the lens is the manual focus ring and the function of this is, as usual, set on the camera body. The options are AF-S (AF Single Shot), AF-A (AF Auto), AF-C (AF Continuous), DMF (Direct Manual Focus – MF can be used while AF operational) and MF (Manual Focus). It is electronic in operation and utterly smooth in its action. The amount of resistance is just right and absolutely identical in all three lenses provided, so again the consistency is excellent.

Tamron 35mm F2,8 Vertical View

Focusing is down to 15cm, or 5.9 inches, a maximum magnification of 1:2, or half life-size. There is no doubt that this is a huge bonus, being as close as most macro lenses used to be in the days of film SLRs. Now that we are looking at a 35mm lens, and particularly with the design of lens hood, closest focus is slightly further away than with the 20mm and 24mm lenses, allowing more room for lighting even with hood attached.

Optical construction is 9 elements in 8 groups, including LD (Low Dispersion) elements. The diaphragm comprises 7 rounded blades, the aim being to improve bokeh.

The term OSD means Optimised Silent Drive and refers to the AF motor. The AF is almost silent as we would expect, and locks on quickly and reliably. There is not the slightest sign of judder or hunting.

35mm is, of course, a classic reportage focal length and street photographers will no doubt appreciate the unobtrusive look of the lens. However, as a "wide standard," it also finds much favour for all general subject matter from landscape to architecture to travel and even for portraiture, especially environmental portraits. In every respect, the lens performs flawlessly and in a truly classic way does not intrude upon the creative process of image-making.

Tamron 35mm F2,8 Rear Oblique View

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josa 10 25 Czech Republic
7 Jan 2020 1:55PM
Great lenses from Tamron!!!
21 Apr 2022 9:40PM
I love the image quality of this lens, but the autofocus is really slow, and always hunting. No problem for landscape photography, but this lens definitely isn`t a good choice for family photos, traveling, street photography...

If Tamron would release a G2 version with the fast VXD drive, it would be a killer lens, better and more useful than Samyang f1.8, Sony f1.8 and Sigma f2.

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