I have been using the new Tamron 70-180 for almost a week now, and I have fallen in love with the lens. It took a few days of trial and error for me to feel confident with a long lens and autofocus, but it was worth the effort. I almost exclusively shoot landscape with a wide angle so this experience was like stepping into a new and foreign world.
Build and feel
What I immediately noticed when I unboxed the lens was how light it is for an f/2.8 lens. That Tamron opted to go for 180mm instead of the standard 200mm shaved 40% of the weight, resulting in a 815g lens.
The autofocus on this lens is very fast and silent. I found the autofocus speed solid for capturing birds in flight – a photography exercise with which I have no former experience.
The lens balances very well on my Sony a7r III. I captured birds for around an hour without experiencing any fatigue in my arms or neck. The built quality is similar to the Tamron 17-28 and Tamron 28-70, that is, very good.
The Tamron 70-180 is very sharp. Even when it’s wide open. I was more than satisfied with the details the lens produced. In addition, I found the bokeh to be very pleasing when shooting at open apertures.
Chromatic aberration is very well controlled. I have not found any CA even in high contrast areas of a scene.
The majority of the example images are shot at around ISO 1000 at the long end of the lens. The dog, however, is 70mm. Some of the birds-in-flight images are cropped quite a bit. We also posted some example images a few days ago. If you click on the images you can see them enlarged.
Is this a lens you will add to your arsenal?