Lens review

Tamron 35-150 mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD

2 January 2020
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

It would be difficult to find an instrument with parameters similar to the tested Tamron in our lenses' database. In the  following chart we tried to compare it a bit by force with older and slower 35-200 mm or 35-135 mm class instruments. Still, because of a huge difference in age and basic parameters, we are aware it would be difficult to draw any biding conclusions from such a comparison.

In the following photo the Tamron 35–150 mm f/2.8–4 Di VC OSD is positioned between the Nikkor AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G and the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 USM.

Tamron 35-150 mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD - Build quality and image stabilization

The tested lens starts with a metal mount which surrounds contacts and a rear element, 24 mm in diameter. The rear element moves - it is situated on the same level as the mount at 35 mm. Then, as you pass to the 150 mm focal length, it hides about 4 cm deep and by doing so it reveals a part of the inner tube which is properly blackened and matted. Still you can notice quite wide slits and some electronic parts. It means the tested lens is neither properly sealed nor protected from dust and humidity.

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Tamron 35-150 mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD - Build quality and image stabilization

The first part of the proper barrel is a rubber gasked joined with a silver, metal ring which doesn't move. That ring turns into a smooth, black casing with a white marking, making an alignment with a camera easier.

Further on, you see the producer's logo, the name and parameters of the lens. On their left side (looking from the above) you find a focusing mode switch (AF/MF) and a stabilization switch (VC ON/OFF). Right next to them there is a quite large inscription „DESIGNED IN JAPAN” and a bit further written in smaller letters „MADE IN CHINA”. Then the producers state the filter diameter, 77 mm, and the model mark, A043. By the way the same filter diameter fits the Tamron 17-35 mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD, a model with complementing shorter focal lengths. What's interesting, that device is produced in Vietnam, not in China.

Tamron 35-150 mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD - Build quality and image stabilization

The next part a zoom ring, 44 mm wide. The majority of its surface is covered by rubber ribbing. On it you can also find focal length markings at 35, 50, 85, 105, 135, and 150 mm and a LOCK switch which is supposed to block the lens at 35 mm focal length. Still, even without using the LOCK switch, the lens tested by us didn't have any focus creep problems and it didn't change its dimensions under the influence of gravity or sudden movements. The ring itself works with a slightly changeable resistance, more pronounced in the middle of the focal range than elsewhere.

Tamron 35-150 mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD - Build quality and image stabilization

Further on you find a smooth, immobile part of the casing which turns into a manual focus ring. The ring is completely covered by rubber ribs and is 15 mm wide. You can move it even in the AF mode but then you feel resistance and hear a whirr of interlocked mechanism. In the MF it moves easily and without any sounds but, in our opinion, it is actually a bit too loose. Overall, the usefulness of this ring is not especially impressive due to a small focus throw – it amounts to just 80 degrees and it is hardly enough for precise settings.

The front element system extends on a uniform tube as you change the focal length and the size of the lens increases by 4.5 cm as you pass to 150 mm. The front element itself is 64 mm in diameter, quite flat and surrounded by a non-rotating filter thread, 77 mm in diameter, and a hood mount.

Tamron 35-150 mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD - Build quality and image stabilization

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with as many as 19 elements positioned in 14 groups. Among them you can find three hybrid aspherical elements and three made of low dispersion LD glass. Inside you can also find a round aperture with nine diaphragm blades which can be closed down to a value ranging from f/16 to f/22 at the maximum.

It should be added that this lens also features BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coatings and the outer surface of its front element is coated with a Fluorine compoud that is water- and oil-repellant.

Buyers get in the box: two caps, and a petal-type hood. The lens is compatible with the Tamron TAP-in Console (TAP-01) that has to be bought separately; it allows you to update software, adjust autofocus, and image stabilization system of the lens to your personal requirements.

Tamron 35-150 mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD - Build quality and image stabilization

Image stabilization

The producers claim that the Tamron 35-150 mm is equipped with a vibration reduction system as efficient as 5 aperture stops. Such a sensational value simply begged for a reality check so we decided to test it. In order to do so we took several dozen photos at the 150 mm focal length with shutter speeds ranging from 1/200 to 1/2 of a second with the stabilization switched on and off. Then we calculated the percentage of blurred photos at every speed and presented the results as an exposure time function graph, expressed in EV (with 0 EV being the equivalent of 1/160 of a second).

Tamron 35-150 mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD - Build quality and image stabilization

The maximum distance between both curves reaches about 3.7 EV and such is, in our opinion, the efficiency of the stabilization system, featured by the tested lens. That value is significantly lower than the one in official declarations but still we consider it to be a good result.