The Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 has been under the microscope a lot lately, but that lens is only for Sony cameras. If you use a Canon or Nikon camera, then the only option available at the time of writing this article is the Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 version of the lens. I own this lens and was asked if this lens is worth getting. In this article, I will share my thoughts on this lens for anyone interested in adding this lens to their camera bag.
This is not going to be a review of the lens, but more of a recommendation on how it can be used and if it would be right for you. I will be sharing my first-hand experience of using the lens, and I will not have any technical data in this article. I don't think I would be a good source for that anyhow.
We are all looking for the one lens that we can purchase and use for every application. I am often asked if this is the lens that can be used for anything. Outside of being sarcastic and saying any lens can be used for everything, I think the real question I am being asked is “is this lens versatile?”
The truth is yes this lens is versatile and can be used for any genre of photography. There are some drawbacks to this lens, but the truth still remains that you can do anything with it. From product photography to portraits this lens can hold its own. Even though it is not as sharp as you would like it to be at f 2.8, that should be expected as most lenses are usually less sharp at their widest aperture.
This has easily become my kit lens even though I own the Canon RF 24-105mm f4 lens. I find that the range of the lens works for my primary subject which is my family. The 35mm f2.8 gives me the soft portrait look I need to stay in the moment with my family but also has the ability to zoom in to 150mm when necessary to capture action happening further away, or just to crop out distractions from the frame.
This lens does require a good amount of light to capture colors in an inspiring way. That could be true for any lens, but if you have a camera that does not perform well with ISO's past 1600 you will not be satisfied with this lens. As with most Tamron lenses, the colors in my opinion are a little bit dull and flat when shooting in RAW. This can be corrected in your photo editing application of choice assuming you have access to Hue, Saturation, and Luminance adjustments. I have been using this lens on my Canon EOS R6 using the Canon EF to RF adaptor, and when I capture JPEGs straight from the camera, I get fantastic results that meet my needs. Depending on the camera body you choose to use this lens with, your results may vary.
So is this the lens for you? I think this lens is perfect for anyone that is a photojournalist, product photographer or landscape photographer. Product and Landscape photography usually allow for longer shutter speeds, so you can modify that instead of cranking your ISO. With products, you can also add in artificial light to give even more control of your exposure.
If you are a photojournalist that occasionally shoots in low light settings and can deal with some higher ISO images, then this lens will serve you well, and I think you will grab it every time. Since the aperture only stays at 2.8 just shy of 50mm’s and maxes out at f/4 around105mm’s, you will be cranking your ISO if handheld shots are necessary and additional light from a flash is not available. I personally don't mind a little digital noise in my images, and with modern software, a lot of it can be removed fairly easily. You would just have to be aware of the fact that an additional step would be included in your workflow.
You will miss some of the shallow depth of field images that you would get with a lower aperture, so if that is your style I would not recommend this lens. This is also not a weather-sealed lens, so if you are often photographing in extreme weather conditions, you should pass on this lens.
Yes, I think this lens is capable of photographing everything. It would require some appreciation for how light works and maybe a little increase in ISO, but I would recommend it as a kit lens for the average photographer.