Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD brings lightweight telephoto action to Sony users

Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD will arrive on 14 May
(Image credit: Tamron)

Tamron's latest fast telephoto zoom for the Sony mirrorless cameras is set to go on sale on 14 May. The development of the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VX was first announced in October last year, and will complete a trio off fast constant-aperture f/2.8 zooms for the popular Sony E mount.

The new telephoto zoom offers a shorter focal range than the classic 70-200mm f/2.8 that is traditionally used by pros and enthusiasts - but the narrower 70-180mm zoom range allowed Tamron to make a lens that is 45% smaller than it would otherwise have been. 

As such, the optic is the smallest and lightest f/2.8 telephoto in its class, measuring just 149mm in length (when barreled down to the 70mm setting) and weighing a meagre 810g. 

The 70-180mm f/2.8 features Tamron's first ever linear motor AF drive mechanism, VXD ('Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive'), which the manufacturer promises is not only quick and quiet but also "maintains positional accuracy down to 0.005mm (0.0002 in), less than one tenth the width of a human hair!" 

Developed under the concept of “making large aperture zoom lenses user-friendly,” the 70-180mm f/2.8 provides users with a portrait & telephoto option to complement the existing  Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 RXD wide angle and the 28-75mm f/2.8 RXD standard zooms.

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD completes Tamron's f/2.8 zoom trinity for the Sony E-mount (Image credit: Tamron)

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. The lens uses the same 67mm lenses as the other two zooms in its family (including the recent 20mm, 24mm, and 35mm primes).

Other features include Moisture-Resistant Construction for added weather protection and Fluorine coating to the front element for easy maintenance. In addition, the 70-180mm f/2.8 is said to be fully compatible with various Sony-specific features including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF (presumably made easier as Sony is a minor shareholder in Tamron).

The minimum focus in normal operation is 0.85m (33.5 in), but when you switch to manual focus this reduces to just 0.27m (10.6 in), offering an 1:2 magnification for extreme close-ups. This high magnification mode offers  “Sweet Spot” style images where only the center part of the frame is in focus, with the edges being significantly blurred.


Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD has a weather sealed construction (Image credit: Tamron)

Model number: A056
Sony E
Full frame: yes
Image stablization: no
Weather sealing: yes
Lens construction: 19 elements in 14 groups
Angle of view: 4°21'-13°42'
Diaphragm blades: 9
Minimum aperture: f/22
Minimum focusing distance (manual focus): 0.27m (W) 0.85m (T)
Minimum focusing distance (AF): 0.85m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.5x (in Manual Focus) 0.22x (in AF)
Filter size: 67mm
Dimensions: 81x149mm
Weight: 810g

Pricing and availability

The Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD is due to go on sale from May 16, and will retail at $1,199 / £1,349. 

Pre-order the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD at BH Photo

Read more:
The best Sony lenses in 2020

The best 70-200mm telephoto zoom lenses for 2020

The best 150-600mm lenses

Sony A7 vs A7 II vs A7 III: How do they compare?

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.