Lens review

Tamron 70-180 mm f/2.8 Di III VC VXD G2

Tamron 70-180 mm f/2.8 Di III VC VXD G2
8 February 2024
Maciej Latałło

1. Introduction

70-200 mm fixed focal length instruments with an aperture of f/2.8 we consider to be classic zoom telephoto journalistic lenses. They reigned supreme during the era of the popularity of reflex cameras but even now, in times of mirrorless systems, there are still many of them available on the market.

In these times Tamron have been following their own, very original path. Instead of presenting the classic 24-70 f/2.8 model they launched two versions of the 28-75 mm f/2.8 lens. In case of longer focal lengths they keep being original as well – instead of producing a device with classic 70-200 mm parameters they have dusted off the old Leica idea, namely the telephoto Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R 70-180 mm f/2.8. In April 2020 we saw the Tamron 70-180 mm f/2.8 Di III VXD, and in August 2023 they launched its successor, the 70-180 mm f/2.8 Di III VC VXD G2 model with an image stabilization unit.

Tamron 70-180 mm f/2.8 Di III VC VXD G2 - Introduction

Let's ponder for a moment why Tamron decided to produce an instrument with such parameters. After all, the basic Tamron zoom ends at 75 mm so this telephoto lens could have started at 80-90 mm and offer at the longer end not 180 but 200 mm. Mind you, it would still be the easier version of the 70-200 mm model to produce.

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I guess two things contributed to the new solution. If you want to produce a fixed-focal telephoto lens it is the easiest to save on weight, physical parameters, and the price by cutting off the longer end of the focal spectrum. By 200 mm and f/2.8 aperture the entrance pupil amounts to 71.4 mm and by 189 mm and the same aperture fastness – only to 64.3 mm. As a result, Tamron was able to use a much smaller and lighter front element system and a smaller filter diameter. They saved on weight as well; the 70-180 mm Tamrons are significantly lighter than their 70-200 mm equivalents.

Tamron 70-180 mm f/2.8 Di III VC VXD G2 - Introduction

Launching the Tamron 17-50 mm f/4 Di III VXD might be the second reason. The 70-180 mm f/2.8 model is the perfect companion for that one as the gap between 50 and 70 mm is not especially felt and both lenses come with the same filter diameter. If the telephoto lens started from 80 or 90 mm and ended at 200 mm that gap would become more substantial and also the filters should have been bigger. The first 70-180 mm Tamron model has been avoiding our testing procedures so we decided not to repeat that mistake in case of the newer version. Focus Nordic, a Tamron distributor for Poland, sent it immediately to our editorial office. Next chapters present the results of our test – enjoy your reading!

You are also invited to get acquainted with our test procedure, described in the article "How do we test lenses?" If you feel it’s still not enough, please go to our FAQ section where you can find some further explanation.