Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom

Started Jun 5, 2019 | User reviews
chulster
chulster Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
18

I've only had this lens for a couple of days. I did not have an autofocus zoom that covered the "normal" range, and I needed one for an upcoming event. I believe this Tamron will do nicely.

The lens is wonderfully sharp—even wide open, even at the longest focal length—and at most settings the sharpness extends all the way out to the edges of the frame. Being familiar with the performance characteristics of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4, I was quite surprised that this Tamron maintains excellent sharpness throughout its zoom range—even at the long end, where the Nikkor performs at its worst. Unlike many zooms, the Tamron is actually least impressive at its shortest focal length, where the center of the image is sharp, but edge acuity isn't great until you stop down to at least f/4. Tamron calls this lens a "portrait zoom", and it does seem to be optimized for the typical portrait focal lengths from 50mm through 135mm. The 35mm end seems like a bonus, rather than the focus of the lens (pun intended).

Autofocus is very reliable, except perhaps (on my copy at least) at the short end of the zoom range, where there seems to be a bit of inconsistency—perhaps my copy needs fine-tuning at 35mm, which I can perform if I get the TAP-In console. Autofocus speed is quite leisurely. The lens seemingly takes almost a full second to rack focus from infinity to MFD or vice versa. Also, the AF motor is not particularly quiet. I believe it's a micromotor instead of a ring motor like Nikon's SWM. Still, it's nowhere near as noisy as some screw-drive lenses.

Manual-focus action is decent, and it's mechanical, not fly-by-wire. Unusually for a modern lens, the focus ring turns during autofocus—which isn't great, because you have to remember to keep your fingers off the ring or risk stressing the AF motor. Also, the lens lacks any kind of focus scale. (Hyperfocal distance? What's that?)

This lens focuses really close! At MFD, when the lens is zoomed in to 150mm, the front of the lens is something like 6 inches from the subject. And the magnification at that working distance—1:3.7—is higher than that of some zooms that call themselves "macro" lenses. This is a versatile lens.

Image stabilization works very well. If you're any good at hand-holding, the stabilization on this lens will make the image in the viewfinder simply rock-steady. It works better than the VR on the Nikon 24-120mm. The VC motor is very quiet when engaging and disengaging, unlike that on some older Tamron lenses such as the 70-300mm f/4-5.6.

I was afraid the lens would be heavier than I like, being about 10% heavier than the Nikon 24-120mm (a lens that already feels a bit heavy to me). Surprisingly, it actually doesn't feel too heavy. What it does feel is bulky. This is a very thick-bodied lens—too thick to be comfortable for small hands.

The exterior of the lens is made of good-quality plastic. The surface finish is smooth matte. I worry that it will scratch easily, and that the scratches will show well. I'll probably need to take off my wedding ring when shooting with this lens if I don't want the bottom of the barrel to get a collection of scratches. Overall, the fit and finish of the lens is excellent for a consumerish model. The zoom action feels pretty good—nice and consistent throughout the zoom range, without mechanical play, but with an undamped feel. It could use a little lubrication. There is a zoom lock switch that seems unnecessary, since there is no hint of zoom creep. The lens is shortest at the 35mm focal length and longest at 150mm, at which point the forward inner barrel sticks out about two inches. Impressively, there is ZERO movement when you grab the front of the extended barrel and try to wiggle it laterally. I just hope it stays that way.

Apologies for the lack of sample photos. I may add a couple later.

Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD
Telephoto zoom lens • Canon EF, Nikon F (FX) • A043
Announced: Feb 20, 2019
chulster's score
4.0
Average community score
4.0
threw the lens Senior Member • Posts: 2,760
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom

chulster wrote:

Autofocus is very reliable, except perhaps (on my copy at least) at the short end of the zoom range, where there seems to be a bit of inconsistency—perhaps my copy needs fine-tuning at 35mm, which I can perform if I get the TAP-In console. Autofocus speed is quite leisurely. The lens seemingly takes almost a full second to rack focus from infinity to MFD or vice versa. Also, the AF motor is not particularly quiet. I believe it's a micromotor instead of a ring motor like Nikon's SWM. Still, it's nowhere near as noisy as some screw-drive lenses.

Manual-focus action is decent, and it's mechanical, not fly-by-wire. Unusually for a modern lens, the focus ring turns during autofocus—which isn't great, because you have to remember to keep your fingers off the ring or risk stressing the AF motor. Also, the lens lacks any kind of focus scale. (Hyperfocal distance? What's that?)

I was sure Tamron would make the lens in this budget way, even though there were those deluding themselves Tamron were going to make some perfect event lens- as if they are the choice of professionals! It's just what the company is and does.

A variable aperture extending lens, with the focus ring coupled to the motor so it spins without FTM - give us a break...

Let's see Sigma to do a professional 35-105 f2.8 Art and show us how it should be done. Tamron did a lesser one many years ago. I feel almost certain that Sigma will be stimulated by this release and the sting of criticism in some quarters that they've been making the best lenses that nobody asked for.

Son Of Waldo Contributing Member • Posts: 725
another impressive 'mid-tier' zoom: Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 di osd
9

threw the lens wrote:

chulster wrote:

Autofocus is very reliable, except perhaps (on my copy at least) at the short end of the zoom range, where there seems to be a bit of inconsistency—perhaps my copy needs fine-tuning at 35mm, which I can perform if I get the TAP-In console. Autofocus speed is quite leisurely. The lens seemingly takes almost a full second to rack focus from infinity to MFD or vice versa. Also, the AF motor is not particularly quiet. I believe it's a micromotor instead of a ring motor like Nikon's SWM. Still, it's nowhere near as noisy as some screw-drive lenses.

Manual-focus action is decent, and it's mechanical, not fly-by-wire. Unusually for a modern lens, the focus ring turns during autofocus—which isn't great, because you have to remember to keep your fingers off the ring or risk stressing the AF motor. Also, the lens lacks any kind of focus scale. (Hyperfocal distance? What's that?)

I was sure Tamron would make the lens in this budget way, even though there were those deluding themselves Tamron were going to make some perfect event lens- as if they are the choice of professionals! It's just what the company is and does.

A variable aperture extending lens, with the focus ring coupled to the motor so it spins without FTM - give us a break...

Let's see Sigma to do a professional 35-105 f2.8 Art and show us how it should be done. Tamron did a lesser one many years ago. I feel almost certain that Sigma will be stimulated by this release and the sting of criticism in some quarters that they've been making the best lenses that nobody asked for.

or maybe, the likely affordable but without the massive size/weight and overly aberration-corrected, test-chart-champion Sigma 'Art' line. I've never owned a "perfect" lens, have you?

Tamron could teach Sigma a thing or two about losing some weight, a LOT of weight.

threw the lens Senior Member • Posts: 2,760
Re: another impressive 'mid-tier' zoom: Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 di osd

Son Of Waldo wrote:

or maybe, the likely affordable but without the massive size/weight and overly aberration-corrected, test-chart-champion Sigma 'Art' line. I've never owned a "perfect" lens, have you?

Tamron could teach Sigma a thing or two about losing some weight, a LOT of weight.

Stick to your lenses where you have to take your fingers away from the focus ring to not ruin the motor, and enjoy trying to make anything of the faster aperture of a variable aperture lens.

Meanwhile I'll just concentrate on banging out photos without a silly kind of lens getting in the way or whinging about "weight". It has always been accepted in my field that serious photography involves signicant weight.

I will pay more, for better.

Son Of Waldo Contributing Member • Posts: 725
Re: another impressive 'mid-tier' zoom: Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 di osd
18

threw the lens wrote:

Son Of Waldo wrote:

or maybe, the likely affordable but without the massive size/weight and overly aberration-corrected, test-chart-champion Sigma 'Art' line. I've never owned a "perfect" lens, have you?

Tamron could teach Sigma a thing or two about losing some weight, a LOT of weight.

Stick to your lenses where you have to take your fingers away from the focus ring to not ruin the motor, and enjoy trying to make anything of the faster aperture of a variable aperture lens.

Meanwhile I'll just concentrate on banging out photos without a silly kind of lens getting in the way or whinging about "weight". It has always been accepted in my field that serious photography involves signicant weight.

Hands on experience (per the OP) trumps the worthless yapping of yet another anonymous forum troll, EVERY time.

I will pay more, for better.

Impressive! And congratulations, Sigma awaits you.

Kurgo Regular Member • Posts: 338
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
11

threw the lens wrote:

chulster wrote:

Autofocus is very reliable, except perhaps (on my copy at least) at the short end of the zoom range, where there seems to be a bit of inconsistency—perhaps my copy needs fine-tuning at 35mm, which I can perform if I get the TAP-In console. Autofocus speed is quite leisurely. The lens seemingly takes almost a full second to rack focus from infinity to MFD or vice versa. Also, the AF motor is not particularly quiet. I believe it's a micromotor instead of a ring motor like Nikon's SWM. Still, it's nowhere near as noisy as some screw-drive lenses.

Manual-focus action is decent, and it's mechanical, not fly-by-wire. Unusually for a modern lens, the focus ring turns during autofocus—which isn't great, because you have to remember to keep your fingers off the ring or risk stressing the AF motor. Also, the lens lacks any kind of focus scale. (Hyperfocal distance? What's that?)

I was sure Tamron would make the lens in this budget way, even though there were those deluding themselves Tamron were going to make some perfect event lens- as if they are the choice of professionals! It's just what the company is and does.

A variable aperture extending lens, with the focus ring coupled to the motor so it spins without FTM - give us a break...

Let's see Sigma to do a professional 35-105 f2.8 Art and show us how it should be done. Tamron did a lesser one many years ago. I feel almost certain that Sigma will be stimulated by this release and the sting of criticism in some quarters that they've been making the best lenses that nobody asked for.

Maybe it's just me, but what are you ranting about, exactly? Without considering that, incredibly enough, you can buy lenses from both Sigma and Tamron (I know, mindbending revelation there) if you wish to, Sigma is not going to make a 35-150 anything (let alone constant f/2.8) so if you want or need that specific focal range you either get the Tamron or you go and get other lenses.

I love the way Sigma lenses (well, the recent ones at any rate) feel, I used the 35 for a week and I really adored it. But it's unquestionable that most of their lenses are too big/too heavy for plenty of people, especially if they plan on hiking/walking for a long while with a camera backpack of some sorts. It's not really a problem for me but that hardly means that it's not a problem for anyone.

Besides which, even IF Sigma made a 35-150 f/2.8, it'd be a competitor to the Tamron 35-150 in the same way that a Tamron 70-210 f/4 is a competitor to the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. They're not aimed at the same people at all and there's a sensible difference in weight, size and price.

Please drink some chamomille tea and relax a bit mate, it'll do you wonders.

mbecke Senior Member • Posts: 1,151
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
3

Good, thorough, helpful review.  Thank you!   I am considering this lens as a logical extension to my new Tamron 17-35.  The only issue I have is the reportedly sluggish AF — may be a deal killer as I often shoot fast moving dogs and a grand kid.

chulster
OP chulster Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
1

Thank you. Conversely, I'm thinking about picking up the 17-35mm. How do you like it?

mbecke Senior Member • Posts: 1,151
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
3

chulster wrote:

Thank you. Conversely, I'm thinking about picking up the 17-35mm. How do you like it?

Love it.  It is a great travel lens; compact, light and sharp.  I used it extensively during my recent trip to Portugal, Spain and London and it did great.  In comparison to my compact zoom, the older Nikon 28-200G, which I also used during my trip, the 17-35 was noticeably (but not substantially) sharper.  Color rendition and contrast are very good also.  I have been very pleased with the Tamron 17-35, my first Tamron lens.  (Have the Tamron 85mm on order.)

chulster
OP chulster Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom

mbecke wrote:

chulster wrote:

Thank you. Conversely, I'm thinking about picking up the 17-35mm. How do you like it?

Love it. It is a great travel lens; compact, light and sharp. I used it extensively during my recent trip to Portugal, Spain and London and it did great. In comparison to my compact zoom, the older Nikon 28-200G, which I also used during my trip, the 17-35 was noticeably (but not substantially) sharper. Color rendition and contrast are very good also. I have been very pleased with the Tamron 17-35, my first Tamron lens. (Have the Tamron 85mm on order.)

Thank you.

(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 11,356
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom

threw the lens wrote:

chulster wrote:

Autofocus is very reliable, except perhaps (on my copy at least) at the short end of the zoom range, where there seems to be a bit of inconsistency—perhaps my copy needs fine-tuning at 35mm, which I can perform if I get the TAP-In console. Autofocus speed is quite leisurely. The lens seemingly takes almost a full second to rack focus from infinity to MFD or vice versa. Also, the AF motor is not particularly quiet. I believe it's a micromotor instead of a ring motor like Nikon's SWM. Still, it's nowhere near as noisy as some screw-drive lenses.

Manual-focus action is decent, and it's mechanical, not fly-by-wire. Unusually for a modern lens, the focus ring turns during autofocus—which isn't great, because you have to remember to keep your fingers off the ring or risk stressing the AF motor. Also, the lens lacks any kind of focus scale. (Hyperfocal distance? What's that?)

I was sure Tamron would make the lens in this budget way, even though there were those deluding themselves Tamron were going to make some perfect event lens- as if they are the choice of professionals! It's just what the company is and does.

A variable aperture extending lens, with the focus ring coupled to the motor so it spins without FTM - give us a break...

Let's see Sigma to do a professional 35-105 f2.8 Art and show us how it should be done. Tamron did a lesser one many years ago. I feel almost certain that Sigma will be stimulated by this release and the sting of criticism in some quarters that they've been making the best lenses that nobody asked for.

Not 35-105mm. 28-135mm F2.8 Art or maybe Sport.

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Brev00
Brev00 Forum Pro • Posts: 10,633
Re: another impressive 'mid-tier' zoom: Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 di osd
1

Why are you posting on this thread if you hate Tamron so much? Just to throw dirt?

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briantilley
briantilley Veteran Member • Posts: 5,218
Re: another impressive 'mid-tier' zoom: Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 di osd
4

threw the lens wrote:

Son Of Waldo wrote:

or maybe, the likely affordable but without the massive size/weight and overly aberration-corrected, test-chart-champion Sigma 'Art' line. I've never owned a "perfect" lens, have you?

Tamron could teach Sigma a thing or two about losing some weight, a LOT of weight.

Stick to your lenses where you have to take your fingers away from the focus ring to not ruin the motor, and enjoy trying to make anything of the faster aperture of a variable aperture lens.

Meanwhile I'll just concentrate on banging out photos without a silly kind of lens getting in the way or whinging about "weight". It has always been accepted in my field that serious photography involves signicant weight.

Clearly you weren't around in the 1970's, when "serious photography" was undertaken with cameras like the lightweight Olympus OM-1 or Leica M5.

Maybe you should climb over the fence and try a different field

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Caledonia62 New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
7

mbecke wrote:

Good, thorough, helpful review. Thank you! I am considering this lens as a logical extension to my new Tamron 17-35. The only issue I have is the reportedly sluggish AF — may be a deal killer as I often shoot fast moving dogs and a grand kid.

I have had the Tamron 35-150 for a few days now and it is simply a stunning lens, a real bargain for the optical quality, on a Nikon D850 it is razor sharp all the way through the range. I tested it against my 24-70 G2 lens and it is sharper!

I also have the Tamron 17-35 which is a little cracker, again very sharp, both together will make a great lightweight combination for Landscape.

 Caledonia62's gear list:Caledonia62's gear list
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mbecke Senior Member • Posts: 1,151
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
1

Caledonia62 wrote:

mbecke wrote:

Good, thorough, helpful review. Thank you! I am considering this lens as a logical extension to my new Tamron 17-35. The only issue I have is the reportedly sluggish AF — may be a deal killer as I often shoot fast moving dogs and a grand kid.

I have had the Tamron 35-150 for a few days now and it is simply a stunning lens, a real bargain for the optical quality, on a Nikon D850 it is razor sharp all the way through the range. I tested it against my 24-70 G2 lens and it is sharper!

I also have the Tamron 17-35 which is a little cracker, again very sharp, both together will make a great lightweight combination for Landscape.

How are you doing with the AF speed on that Tamron 35-150?   AF speed is very important to me.

Miike Dougherty
Miike Dougherty Contributing Member • Posts: 865
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
1

mbecke wrote:

Good, thorough, helpful review. Thank you! I am considering this lens as a logical extension to my new Tamron 17-35. The only issue I have is the reportedly sluggish AF — may be a deal killer as I often shoot fast moving dogs and a grand kid.

I also noticed the sluggish AF on my Z7.  A actually use the Tamron 100-400 and 150-600 G2 for fast moving subjects but only use the 35-150 for landscape.  It also makes a great choice with my Tamron 17-35.  It seems like lens technology (sharpness, bokeh  etc) may have advanced even faster than camera technology in the last couple years.

 Miike Dougherty's gear list:Miike Dougherty's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Tamron 17-35mm F2.8-4 Tamron 35-150mm F2.8-4
OldSchoolNewSchool Senior Member • Posts: 1,284
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
2

chulster wrote:

I've only had this lens for a couple of days. I did not have an autofocus zoom that covered the "normal" range, and I needed one for an upcoming event. I believe this Tamron will do nicely.

The lens is wonderfully sharp—even wide open, even at the longest focal length—and at most settings the sharpness extends all the way out to the edges of the frame. Being familiar with the performance characteristics of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4, I was quite surprised that this Tamron maintains excellent sharpness throughout its zoom range—even at the long end, where the Nikkor performs at its worst. Unlike many zooms, the Tamron is actually least impressive at its shortest focal length, where the center of the image is sharp, but edge acuity isn't great until you stop down to at least f/4. Tamron calls this lens a "portrait zoom", and it does seem to be optimized for the typical portrait focal lengths from 50mm through 135mm. The 35mm end seems like a bonus, rather than the focus of the lens (pun intended).

Autofocus is very reliable, except perhaps (on my copy at least) at the short end of the zoom range, where there seems to be a bit of inconsistency—perhaps my copy needs fine-tuning at 35mm, which I can perform if I get the TAP-In console. Autofocus speed is quite leisurely. The lens seemingly takes almost a full second to rack focus from infinity to MFD or vice versa. Also, the AF motor is not particularly quiet. I believe it's a micromotor instead of a ring motor like Nikon's SWM. Still, it's nowhere near as noisy as some screw-drive lenses.

Manual-focus action is decent, and it's mechanical, not fly-by-wire. Unusually for a modern lens, the focus ring turns during autofocus—which isn't great, because you have to remember to keep your fingers off the ring or risk stressing the AF motor. Also, the lens lacks any kind of focus scale. (Hyperfocal distance? What's that?)

This lens focuses really close! At MFD, when the lens is zoomed in to 150mm, the front of the lens is something like 6 inches from the subject. And the magnification at that working distance—1:3.7—is higher than that of some zooms that call themselves "macro" lenses. This is a versatile lens.

Image stabilization works very well. If you're any good at hand-holding, the stabilization on this lens will make the image in the viewfinder simply rock-steady. It works better than the VR on the Nikon 24-120mm. The VC motor is very quiet when engaging and disengaging, unlike that on some older Tamron lenses such as the 70-300mm f/4-5.6.

I was afraid the lens would be heavier than I like, being about 10% heavier than the Nikon 24-120mm (a lens that already feels a bit heavy to me). Surprisingly, it actually doesn't feel too heavy. What it does feel is bulky. This is a very thick-bodied lens—too thick to be comfortable for small hands.

The exterior of the lens is made of good-quality plastic. The surface finish is smooth matte. I worry that it will scratch easily, and that the scratches will show well. I'll probably need to take off my wedding ring when shooting with this lens if I don't want the bottom of the barrel to get a collection of scratches. Overall, the fit and finish of the lens is excellent for a consumerish model. The zoom action feels pretty good—nice and consistent throughout the zoom range, without mechanical play, but with an undamped feel. It could use a little lubrication. There is a zoom lock switch that seems unnecessary, since there is no hint of zoom creep. The lens is shortest at the 35mm focal length and longest at 150mm, at which point the forward inner barrel sticks out about two inches. Impressively, there is ZERO movement when you grab the front of the extended barrel and try to wiggle it laterally. I just hope it stays that way.

Apologies for the lack of sample photos. I may add a couple later.

Thanks for your review.  I have my eyes on this lens, as it covers 95% of what I photograph.  I'm a little disappointed the focus ring moves as the lens autofocuses.  I would have thought that buggy operation went away 15 or more years ago.  Not a deal-breaker for me, just disappointed.  Also not crazy about the zoom ring rotating opposite the Canon direction that I'm accustomed to.  If I got this lens, it would replace a Sigma 24-105mm f4.0 Art lens that I like very much.  Not sure if I'm ready to do that!  I think I will wait for a few more reviews to come out.  But yours was a great start.  Thanks again.

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chulster
OP chulster Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
3

Thanks for reading. As a postscript, the event I bought the lens for—my son's graduation—was today, and the lens performed most satisfyingly. I used it for both close-in group shots and short telephoto shots. The lens handled well, focused reliably, and delivered great image quality. It's a keeper.

dleuen1 Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom
2

mbecke wrote:

Caledonia62 wrote:

mbecke wrote:

Good, thorough, helpful review. Thank you! I am considering this lens as a logical extension to my new Tamron 17-35. The only issue I have is the reportedly sluggish AF — may be a deal killer as I often shoot fast moving dogs and a grand kid.

I have had the Tamron 35-150 for a few days now and it is simply a stunning lens, a real bargain for the optical quality, on a Nikon D850 it is razor sharp all the way through the range. I tested it against my 24-70 G2 lens and it is sharper!

I also have the Tamron 17-35 which is a little cracker, again very sharp, both together will make a great lightweight combination for Landscape.

How are you doing with the AF speed on that Tamron 35-150? AF speed is very important to me.

I've had the lens for a week now. The AF is definitely slower than other Tamron G2 lenses, no doubt. But I haven't found that to be a problem for my use so far. I wouldn't use it for fast sports. Kids, maybe. But the sharpness is outstanding and VR is fantastic too.

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mbecke Senior Member • Posts: 1,151
Re: Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: An impressive mid-tier zoom

Miike Dougherty wrote:

mbecke wrote:

Good, thorough, helpful review. Thank you! I am considering this lens as a logical extension to my new Tamron 17-35. The only issue I have is the reportedly sluggish AF — may be a deal killer as I often shoot fast moving dogs and a grand kid.

I also noticed the sluggish AF on my Z7. A actually use the Tamron 100-400 and 150-600 G2 for fast moving subjects but only use the 35-150 for landscape. It also makes a great choice with my Tamron 17-35. It seems like lens technology (sharpness, bokeh etc) may have advanced even faster than camera technology in the last couple years.

That is my concern; that it won't be able to keep up with my active dogs, et al.  Thank you so much for your very helpful feedback!   Much appreciated!

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