Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Image Gallery
January 12th, 2021
Tamron has emerged in the last 7 or 8 years as the king of third party zooms. They’ve had a few standout prime lenses (the SP 35mm F1.4 being chief), but where Tamron has made its living has been with well regarded zoom lenses that have been well made and optically excellent while also being much more reasonably priced than first party alternatives. There’s a good chance that if there is a Tamron lens in your kit, it is a zoom! By my count I own four of them at the moment. Tamron has really focused a lot of their recent development on the Sony FE (full frame mirrorless) platform, with a whopping 8 lenses in less than two years. But in this case, Tamron has adjusted their aim to a very important (and oft-overlooked) space – Sony APS-C E-mount. There are a LOT of Sony APS-C mirrorless shooters out there, and despite the large audience, there are relatively few APS-C specific releases. But Tamron’s new 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD may quickly become the biggest advantage for Sony in the APS-C space. The B070 (as Tamron refers to the lens) is a well made, fast focusing, optically excellent zoom that pretty much has it all.
Tamron loves its initials in their lens names, so let’s sort out that alphabet soup. Di III is their designation for a mirrorless lens design, and, in this case, the addition of -A (as in Di III-A) refers to their development for APS-C mirrorless. This is the first time that I can recall seeing this designation, but the only other APS-C mirrorless lens that I’ve previously reviewed from them was the 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 VC that I reviewed (on Canon EOS M) back in 2014. Full frame mirrorless wasn’t really a thing at that point, so they probably didn’t need to distinguish between the two. VC refers to Vibration Compensation, which is Tamron’s proprietary image stabilization system. Tamron has been doing VC well for a long time, and their systems are some of the best. This is the first time I’ve seen VC on any of their recent mirrorless designs, as the previous 8 Sony lenses they developed lacked it. Tamron obviously recognized that 1) far more Sony APS-C camera models lack IBIS (In-Body-Image-Stabilization) and 2) several competing Sony zooms have OSS (Sony’s designation for their image stabilization). I’m thrilled to see VC debut here, and I’m hoping that any future telephoto lenses they develop for full frame or APS-C will include it. Finally, RXD refers to the focus motor. I’m a fan of the RXD motors, as in every application I’ve tested, I’ve seen quiet, fast, and precise autofocus.
As noted, Sony has about three alternative zooms, but none of them check quite as many boxes as the B070. On the cheap end, there is the standard E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS, which boasts the cheapest price of the quartet ($648 USD), but is also the cheapest in terms of build and performance. It has a nice zoom ratio, but has a slow variable aperture and much lower image quality. Sony also has an older Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm f/4 ZA OSS, which has a similar zoom ratio to the Tamron B070 and has the optical stabilizer, but it also has a slower maximum aperture (F4), a higher price tag ($998 USD), and a lower optical performance. Finally, there is the E 16-55mm F2.8 G, which is Sony’s premium player in this group. It’s a strong lens optically and shares the faster maximum aperture (F2.8), but has a small zoom ratio, lacks the optical stabilizer, and carries a very lofty price tag of $1398 USD, a full $600 higher than the $799 USD price point that the B070 enters the market at. On paper the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 VC RXD manages to combine the strengths of competing lenses while carrying a lower price tag than the true competitors. But does the B070 live up to its promise? You can check out my reviews either in text form or my video reviews on my YouTube channel.
Photos taken with and review done on a Sony a7RIII body in APS-C mode. Feel free to check out the photos in the gallery below to get a sense of the lens and its performance.
Photos of the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
Photos Taken With the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD
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Keywords: Tamron 17-70mm, B070, Tamron 17-70mm Review, Tamron 17-70, VC, Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 VC RXD, Di III-A, RXD, F2.8, F/2.8, Sony, Sony a6400, Sony a6600, Dustin Abbott, Review, Autofocus, Hands On, Video Test, Portrait, Video, Bokeh, Real World, Comparison, VS
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