Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VXD review

The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VXD gives you standard and super-telephoto shooting options at the twist of a ring

Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VXD
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

For action, sports and wildlife photography when you need to swap between a standard field of view and serious telephoto reach for different compositions, there’s always the risk of missing a great shot while you’re changing the lens on your camera body. This Tamron for Sony E-mount lens solves the problem with its unusual 50-400mm zoom range, giving you both options in one package. It’s quite weighty for standard focal length shooting, at more than a kilogram, but has refined handling, fast autofocus and effective optical stabilization. It also delivers impressive image quality at all zoom settings. Ultimately, it can replace two separate lenses and is very good value at the price.


  • +

    Powerful standard-tele zoom range

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    Lightweight for this type of lens

  • +

    Impressive handling and performance


  • -

    Weighty for standard length shooting

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    Tripod mounting ring sold separately

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    Only available in Sony E mount

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The Tamron 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VXD is a new venture for the veteran lens manufacturer but it’s not entirely without precedent. With a zoom range stretching from a standard focal length to super-telephoto reach, Sigma launched a 50-500mm all the way back in 2001, later updating it to the digitally optimized 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM and then adding optical stabilization in 2010. Nicknamed the ‘Bigma’, it was a weighty beast at 1,840g but the 2018 replacement Sigma 60-600 mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports is considerably heavier at 2,700g. Sigma has also gone on to launch a newer 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG DN OS in Sony E and Leica L mount options for mirrorless cameras, which weighs in at 2,485g.

Tamron’s 50-400mm is naturally more limited in telephoto reach but is a much more manageable lens. A comparative lightweight at 1,115g, it’s much more viable for handheld shooting and trekking into the wilds, while still giving a standard field of view at the short end of its zoom range, and super-telephoto power at the long end. It’s therefore ideal for action, sports and wildlife photography, where you might need to switch between standard and long focal lengths without the risk of missing shots due to changing the lens on your camera. And it’s also much more affordable than the Sigma 60-600mm, at about two-thirds the price.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)

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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.