Tamron 17-50mm f/4 Di III VXD review: can’t decide between a wide-angle or standard zoom? This one’s both

The Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD stretches from expansive wide-angle coverage to a standard field of view in one easily manageable zoom lens, ideal for stills, video and vlogging

Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

I like the versatility of the Tamron 17-50mm F4 Di III VXD. It gives me a generous wide-angle view at one end and a standard perspective at the other, plus everything in between. I also like that it’s compact and lightweight yet solid and robust, and delivers very good image quality and all-round performance. What’s not to like?


  • +

    Useful 17-50mm zoom range

  • +

    Constant f/4 aperture

  • +

    Good handling

  • +

    Compact and lightweight


  • -

    Edge-sharpness could be better

  • -

    Variable minimum focus distance

  • -

    No aperture control ring

  • -

    No optical image stabilization

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Let’s face it, many of us digital photographers don’t really like swapping between lenses on our cameras, and I’m one of them. The ever-present risk of dust blowing into the camera and sticking to the image sensor plays on my mind, especially in inclement conditions. If I’m off to shoot landscapes, cityscapes, or architectural interiors, it’s a pain to have to keep switching between wide-angle and standard lenses. 

The Tamron 17-50mm means I don’t have to. Mounted on a full-frame Sony body, it has a range of viewing angles that covers everything from 103.7 to 46.8 degrees. In practical terms, that’s really wide-angle coverage at the short end and an entirely natural perspective at the other. The zoom range also works really well for vlogging, giving the opportunity to set the scene by including the backdrop while presenting to camera, as well as zooming in for a close-up. 

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Mount optionsSony E (FE)
Lens construction15 elements in 13 groups
Angle of view103.7-46.8 degrees
Diaphragm blades9
Minimum aperturef/22
Minimum focus distance0.19m (W) 0.3m (T)
Maximum magnification0.22x (W) 0.26x (T)
Filter size67mm
Swipe to scroll horizontally
FeaturesThe lens has a strong feature set but the lack of optical stabilization isn’t ideal for early A7 cameras.★★★★
DesignThere’s no aperture control ring but the design is refreshingly compact and lightweight.★★★★★
PerformanceIt’s very good overall but edge-sharpness could be a little better and uncorrected barrel distortion is extreme.★★★★
ValueUltimately, the versatility of the lens for both stills and video makes it great value for money.★★★★★
Tamron 20-40mm F2.8 Di III VXD

The Tamron 20-40mm F2.8 Di III VXD for Sony cameras is even more compact and lightweight, while boasting a faster f/2.8 aperture that’s again constant through the zoom range. It measures 74x87mm, weighs 365g and costs around $699/£749.

Sony FE 24-50mm F2.8 G

In the own-brand Sony line-up, the Sony FE 24-50mm F2.8 G is a rather pricier lens at around $1,098/£1,149. It lacks ultra-wide-angle potential but has exotic handling characteristics including an aperture ring with a click/de-click switch, measures 75x92mm and weighs 440g.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.