Tamron 70-180 for Sony A

Started 4 months ago | User reviews thread
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Michael Jardine
Michael Jardine Senior Member • Posts: 1,924
Tamron 70-180 for Sony A

I just got this lens and spent a rainy day with it at the Seattle silent march last Friday.

I've created a small Album here on DPReview (reduced to 5K) that illustrates some of the things I like about the lens.

I've also uploaded a larger and full-res Smugmug Gallery.

I used the Nikon 70-200 f.2.8 VRII back when I was shooting Nikon but resisted getting the Sony equivalent up until now becuase of cost and other priorities - including a fun exploration of prime lenses, and a need for much longer focal lengths for my sports photography. But I do travel a LOT and have gradually missed having the longer end of the 'holy trinity' to cover that range. I briefly considered the Sony 70-200 f/4 but am not really impressed by f/4 zooms. So when Tamron announced the 70-180 f/2.8 I decided to give it a try. The delivery was late - I had intended to use it for a three-week road trip down the California Coast - but I did get it in time for the protest march.

That's the back-story to why I purchased this lens. After 24 hours with it, here are my first impressions:

What I like

  • Light
  • Small
  • Super sharp
  • Fast focus
  • Unobtrusive
  • Pairs beautifully with A9

What I don't like

  • Not quite a 'tank' - worried if I drop it
  • No Image Stabilization (though not really a factor)
  • Extended front end during zooming exposes it during rain


The size - and black color - are ideal for street photography. The lens is small, it doesn't shout "photographer". It feels perfect on my A9; the size, weight, and balance are a perfect match.

It was raining the entire day and though I did have an umbrella (sometimes), I had to wipe the camera and lens constantly with my usual quick-dry towel (much better than encasing everything in a dry sleeve).

I loved both the depth of field and the bokeh of this lens. Even at a distance, it makes the subject pop. Here are a few photos that illustrate.

Bottom line?

This lens is a keeper. I expect to enjoy using it for years. And the lower cost saves me money for the purchase of that Sony 200-600 I need for sports photography!

Excellent separation of subject and background

Fast. Unobtrusive. Easy to get down on my knees.

Clear separation from the background

Excellent color renditions

Skin tones beautiful

Not waterproof, but works fine in a drizzle

Little/no vignetting

Again, great DOF

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 Michael Jardine's gear list:Michael Jardine's gear list
Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Nikon D800 Olympus E-M1 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Sony a9 +9 more
Tamron 70-180mm F2.8 Di III VXD
Telephoto zoom lens • Sony FE • A056
Announced: Oct 23, 2019
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Sony a9
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