Tamron has finally announced the launch date of the 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD (Model A056), a fast-aperture telephoto zoom lens for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras that is the lightest and most compact in its class. The lens will be available in the U.S. on May 14th at $1199. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, the release date or the product supply schedule could be delayed.

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Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 – Initial Thoughts

We have not been able to get our hands on this lens yet, however, when we first heard about it we were truly excited. Here at our studio, all of the wedding and portrait photographers who shoot Sony are already loving their Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 and 17-28mm f/2.8 lenses; it seems that everybody has at least one of them, whether they’re photo or video shooters. (And, yes, our studio’s wedding & portrait team does have an increasing number of Sony users!)

In our opinion, these lenses are turning out to be the perfect balance of portability and performance, for those working photographers who have to hand-hold their camera for many hours straight. They’re just so much lighter and smaller than any name-brand flagship f/2.8 zoom, Sony or otherwise. In fact, they’re much lighter and smaller than any of Tamron’s own DSLR f/2.8 zoom flagships!

Of course, this does beg the question, “will we also eventually see larger, sharper lenses like an SP 70-200 2.8, 24-70 2.8, or 15-30 2.8?” Maybe, but it will probably be a while before then. In the meantime, these current Di III RXD/VXD mirrorless lenses will likely make the best value around for anyone who bought a mirrorless camera in hopes to finally have that mythical lightweight, compact full-frame system.

Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD Lens Press Release

The 70-180mm F/2.8 features a compact and lightweight design with a 67mm filter diameter, the same as Tamron’s highly esteemed 17-28mm F/2.8 (Model A046) and the 28-75mm F/2.8 (Model A036). The optical construction includes several special lens elements that contribute to the lens’s overall superb imaging performance. Its very short 33.5” MOD (Minimum Object Distance) expands overall versatility. The lens utilizes Tamron’s newly developed VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motor focus mechanism that produces an autofocus drive that’s quieter and quicker than ever before.

Additionally, a floating system is used to achieve excellent optical performance at all shooting distances. By simultaneously operating two VXD units via electronic control, the system produces clear and sharp images of all objects near and far. Other features that support a great shooting experience include Moisture-Resistant Construction for added weather protection and Fluorine Coating for easy maintenance.

In addition, the 70-180mm F/2.8 is fully compatible with various camera-specific features including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF. Developed under the concept of “making large aperture zoom lenses user-friendly,” the 70-180mm F/2.8 provides users with complete portrait-to-telephoto lens range coverage. This new model joins the 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD and the 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD to complete Tamron’s fast zoom lens trinity for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD Lens Highlights

Compact Size Maximizes the Mobility

A true marvel of portability and utility, the 70-180mm F/2.8 incorporates an innovative zoom mechanism and 180mm telephoto power. It was possible to maintain extreme light weight and compactness even while attaining a fast F/2.8 aperture across the entire zoom range by leveraging camera-based image stabilization.

It is small: filter diameter 67mm, maximum diameter 81mm, length 5.9” at the 70mm setting, and also light weight: 28.6 oz. The super-compact size helps make handheld shooting a breeze. As part of our constant, ongoing effort to achieve both high image quality and supreme compactness, Tamron went to great lengths to create this product in answer to demands of the new generation of digital cameras.

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Newly Developed VXD Linear Motor Focus Mechanism Delivers High-Speed and High Precision Autofocus Performance

Tamron developed its first-ever linear motor AF drive focus mechanism, VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive), especially for the 70-180mm F/2.8. While operating faster than ever before, the drive also maintains positional accuracy down to 0.005mm (0.0002”), less than one tenth the width of a human hair! This provides unprecedented fast and precise AF performance. A floating system that uses two high-speed, high-precision VXD units with advanced electronic control is also used.

This innovative design produces clear and beautiful images of all objects from near to far and at the same time helps reduce size and weight. In addition, its exceptional quietness enables low noise shooting in silent settings. Active athletes and moving vehicles are among the subjects commonly photographed with telephoto zoom lenses. The enhanced, highly responsive focus features of the 70-180mm F/2.8 enable following a subject’s movements to provide users with a whisper-quiet, high-precision shooting experience, not just for still images but also video.

[Related Reading: Tamron Announces Instant Savings Of Up To $200 On A Selection Of 9 Lenses]

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Superior Design for Uncompromised Image Quality

The 70-180mm F/2.8 has an optical construction of 19 elements in 14 groups. It includes a total of six XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) and LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements combined, and three GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) and hybrid aspherical lens elements combined. Special lens elements are generously and optimally arranged to correct chromatic aberration and maintain very high-resolution performance from edge-to-edge.

This model also features BBAR-G2 (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection Generation 2) Coating, which minimizes ghosting and flare and produces stunning, clear images with brilliant, sharp subject detail. Furthermore, excellent high image quality across the entire zoom range is enhanced by camera-based distortion and shading correction. Additionally, the bokeh effect obtained using the fast F/2.8 aperture delivers beautifully smooth and soft transition from the subject to the background. The images created with this lens are emblematic of Tamron’s pursuit to combine supreme compactness with superb image quality.

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67mm Filter Diameter for System Convenience

The 70-180mm F/2.8 features the same 67mm filter diameter as Tamron’s other lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras including the 17-28mm F/2.8 (Model A046), a fast ultra-wideangle zoom, and the 28-75mm F/2.8 (Model A036), a fast standard zoom, as well as the close-focusing prime lens series (20mm, 24mm and 35mm).

This uniformity significantly reduces cost and trouble when working with PL, ND and other filters. Even the front lens caps are the same size, eliminating the hassle of sorting caps when switching lenses. These features combine to produce a highly convenient and mobile system that adds more fun to photography.

Close Focusing To A Mere 33.5 Inches

The new 70-180mm F/2.8 lens has a MOD of 33.5” throughout the entire zoom range. This is astonishingly close for a large aperture telephoto zoom lens. The short MOD paves the way for impressive telephoto shooting at a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.6 at the 180mm telephoto end.

Moreover, a floating component equipped with two VXD linear focus mechanisms maintains high image quality while effectively controlling aberrations so that the 70-180mm F/2.8 ensures great image quality even at close-up. To effectively suppress optical aberrations, this lens features a floating mechanism that ensures great image quality at distances as short as 33.5”.

Note: At the 70mm setting only, it is possible to shoot closer than the specified MOD of 33.5” (as close as 10.6”) when manual focus (MF) is set on the camera. However, results may be less than optimal since image quality decreases in peripheral areas. For more details, please visit this website.

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Moisture-Resistant Construction, Fluorine Coating, and Zoom Lock switch

Seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to deter infiltration of moisture and/or rain drops and afford Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature provides an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions.

Also, the front surface of the lens element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water- and oil-repellant qualities. The lens surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance. Additionally, the conventional Zoom Lock switch prevents unwanted barrel extension during transportation.

Compatible with Main Camera-Specific Features and Functions

Tamron’s new 70-180mm F/2.8 is compatible with many of the advanced features that are specific to certain mirrorless cameras. This includes the following:

  • Fast Hybrid AF
  • Eye AF
  • Direct Manual Focus (DMF)
  • In-camera lens correction (shading, chromatic aberration, distortion)
  • Camera-based lens unit firmware updates

* Features vary by camera. Please consult your camera’s instruction manual for details. (As of January, 2020.)

Tamron’s ‘Dream Team’ of Large Aperture Zooms for Full-Size Mirrorless Cameras

Tamron’s 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A046) ultra-wide angle zoom and the 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A036) standard zoom lens earn high marks for user-friendliness and high image quality among large aperture zoom lenses for both E-Mount and FE-Mount Sony mirrorless cameras.

Now, the 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD (Model A056) telephoto zoom lens joins the lineup to complete the Dream Team Trinity of high-speed zoom lenses for full-size mirrorless cameras. A key advantage of this series is their portability. The three models altogether weigh surprisingly little, just 62.8 oz. Featuring lightweight, compact size, a fast F/2.8 aperture and superb image quality, Tamron’s Dream Team is easy to carry, easy to deploy and easy to enjoy.

[Related Reading: Tamron Announces Pricing & Availability of the 20mm F/2.8 Lens for Sony E-Mount]

Lens Specifications

Model : A056
Focal Length : 70‐180mm
Maximum Aperture : F/2.8
Angle of View (diagonal) : 34°21′-13°42’  (for full-frame mirrorless format)
Optical Construction : 19 elements in 14 groups
Minimum Object Distance : 33.5 in (full-zoom range)*
Maximum Magnification Ratio : AF 1:4.6 (wide) / MF 1:2* / AF 1:4.6 (tele)
Filter Size : φ67mm
Maximum Diameter : φ81mm
Length** : 5.9“
Weight : 28.6 oz
Aperture Blades : 9 (circular diaphragm)***
Minimum Aperture : F/22
Standard Accessories : Flower-shaped hood, Lens caps
Compatible Mounts : Sony E-mount

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 sony full-frame mirrorless lens

Check Pricing & Availability of the Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Lens Here

We’re looking forward to reviewing this lens as soon as possible! If it is anything like its f/2.8 E-mount counterparts, then it is likely going to be an incredible lens.

Whether you’re a portrait & wedding photographer, or you just do general telephoto photography of any kind where a fast aperture is more important than an extreme zoom range, you’ll probably want to keep an eye out for this lens!

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