Tamron 17-50mm F4 VXD Image Gallery
October 5th, 2023
Just a few months ago I reviewed the Sony FE 20-70mm F4 G lens, an intriguing lens that went wide enough at 20mm that many people could use it as their wide angle lens while still getting a “normal zoom” that reached as far as 70mm. I found it a great lens for travel, and I agreed with the argument from Sony that with modern, high resolution cameras it is relatively easy to crop in for more reach, but that doesn’t solve the problem of going wider. Tamron seems to have mirrored that argument, but taken it a bit further. Their newest lens is the interesting Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD, a lens that essentially works in reverse of the Sony design. Sony essentially take a standard zoom and made it wider, while Tamron has a taken a wide angle zoom and stretched it to reach 50mm. What’s more, their lens is an internally zooming lens that makes for a really intriguing gimbal lens due to the balance point staying constant. They have also aggressively priced the 17-40mm F4 at just $699 USD, which helps alleviate the biggest negative feedback I heard about the $1100 USD Sony lens; it was just too expensive. But is the Tamron a worthwhile option? We’ll explore that in the video review below or in my text review here.
Thanks to Tamron USA for sending me a review loaner of this lens. As always, this is a completely independent review. *The tests and most of the photos that I share as a part of my review cycle have been done with the Sony a7RV along with the Sony Alpha 1 that serve as my benchmark cameras for Sony lenses.
This focal range has a been a common one for APS-C zooms in the past, but this is the first time I’ve seen a lens quite like this one for full frame. The closest analog may be the Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS, or, here on Sony, the Sony FE PZ 16-35mm F4 G. None of the focal lengths line up perfectly, obviously, so that leaves the Tamron as a fairly unique lens…particularly at this price point. Here’s a look at how the framing of a scene changes at each of the marked positions on the 17-50mm F4. (17, 20, 24, 28, 35, and 50mm):
What is interesting is that every single one of those focal lengths are sold as prime lenses, which shows just how many important focal lengths are covered by this zoom. Even more interesting is the fact that this lens covers all of those focal lengths very well, delivering extremely crisp results even on my high resolution Sony a7RV (61 MP).
The negative tradeoff here is that F4 is not a particularly bright aperture, so this isn’t going to be a top low light choice or allow you to play with depth of field much. Neither did the Sony 20-70mm, however, but I still found it a great travel choice. The Tamron can go even wider, however, delivering an angle of view as wide as 103°41′ compared to just 94° for the Sony. That’s going to be very useful in tighter spaces. Here’s the difference between 17 and 20mm:
The Tamron 17-50mm F4 VXD has a lot going for it – a nice build, good autofocus, good optics, and an excellent price. Is that going to be enough to steal away some of the Sony 20-70mm F4 G’s sales?
Images of the Tamron 17-50mm F4 VXD
Images taken with the Tamron 17-50mm F4 VXD
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