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Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD (A056) Review - Performance

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Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD Performance

The remit of the lens is billed as high quality, so it is reassuring to see that at 70mm central sharpness is excellent all the way from f/2.8 to f/16 and still remains very good at f/22. The edges are very good at f/2.8, excellent from f/4 to f/16 and very good at f/22.


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The standard remains equally high at 100mm. Centrally, sharpness is very good at f/2.8, excellent from f/4 to f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges are the same, very good at f/2.8, excellent from f/4 to f/16 and very good at f/22.

At 135mm this is maintained, centrally sharpness being excellent from f/2.8 to f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges are excellent from f/2.8 to f/16, with a slight fall off to being still good at f/22.

180mm sees central sharpness maintained at the very high level of excellent from f/2.8 to f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges dip just slightly, but maintain quality quite impressively, being good at f/2.8, very good at f/4 and f/5.6, excellent at f/8 and f/11, very good at f/16 and good at f/22.


Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD (A056) MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution and sharpness as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony Alpha A7R III using Imatest. Want to know more about how we review lenses?


CA (Chromatic Aberration) is measured with all camera corrections switched off, but still manages to show values very close to zero throughout the focal lengths at the centre. The edges also show creditable control, only giving way a bit at 180mm. However, with most photography this level of CA is not obtrusive, but in any event it can be removed in-camera or in other software, if desired.


Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD (A056) Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) 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 Sony Alpha A7R III using Imatest.


Distortion is also measured with camera corrections switched off. At 70mm we have -1.01% barrel. This soon changes to pincushion distortion, measuring +1.17% at 100mm, +2.52% at 135mm and +3.61% at 180mm. This can also be corrected in-camera or in other software as needed. Again, in much general photography it might not be noticed anyway.

Bokeh is a real plus for this lens. The smooth gradation of out of focus areas is gorgeous in the normal range, helped along of course by the longer focal lengths. In the ultra-close MF range the bokeh effects are Lensbaby-like and variable, so there is much potential for creative uses.

Flare control is extremely impressive and it is difficult to induce any. A very slight loss in contrast might be observed in subjects against bright sky, but that seems to be about it.

Vignetting is well controlled throughout the range and the results are:

Aperture 70mm 100mm 135mm 180mm
f/2.8 -0.8stops -1.4 -1.5 -1.4
f/4 -0.7 -1.2 -1.2 -1.1
f/5.6 -0.7 -1.1 -1.2 -1
f/8 -0.7 -1.1 -1.1 -0.9
f/11 -0.7 -1.1 -1 -0.9
f/16 -0.7 -1 -1 -0.9
f/22 -0.7 -1 -1 -0.9

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD (A056) Other sample images


Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD (A056) Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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pablophotographer 10 2.0k 416
19 May 2020 5:40PM
Good one Tamron!

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