I'm a big fan of smaller, lighter camera gear, so when Tamron announced a trio of lightweight, compact prime wide-angle lenses for Sony E-mount cameras, I took notice. Included in the lineup are the 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 and 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2, which will be available any day now, and a 20mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2, which will be available shortly after New Year's 2020.
Photographs © Allan Weitz 2019
In addition to being small and light, Tamron's latest offerings focus down to half life-size (1:2), which in my book goes a long way, because I have a penchant for focusing in real tightly when I shoot. The new lenses are quite affordable (they're priced under $350), which is always welcome news.
To cap off the year, I tested the 24mm and 35mm lenses to see how they perform in the real world. (Spoiler alert—they're pretty darn good.)
In a nutshell, these lenses are extremely light (the 24mm weighs 7.6 oz, the 35mm weighs 7.4 oz) and compact (2.87 x 2.5"). Along with the upcoming 20mm version, they feature 67mm filter threads, enabling them to share a common set of filters and lens attachments. To minimize flare and ghosting while optimizing color and contrast levels, broadband anti-reflective (BBAR) coatings are applied to each of the lens elements, along with a layer of fluorine lens coating on the front element, to protect the surfaces against dust, smudges, and fingerprints. According to Tamron, the new lenses are also moisture resistant. A protective, reversible "tulip" low-profile lens shade is included with each lens.
As the accompanying photographs clearly illustrate, the close-focusing ability of these wide-angle lenses greatly expands the creative possibilities of whatever your subject matter may be. Both display a bit of vignetting at wide aperture, which diminishes as you stop the lens down toward f/8. And while these f/2.8 lenses may not be speed queens, they are sharp—very sharp. Autofocusing was fast and accurate, though in my opinion, a bit noisy for video applications. This might prove to be a deal breaker for potential video-oriented consumers.
Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2
For semi wide-angle shooting, the 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 is an ideal focal length. With Tamron's new E-mount, it's also the ideal size and weight for Sony a7-series cameras.
Consisting of 9 elements in 8 groups with a 63° AoV (angle of view), the lens features a 7-bladed diaphragm, a single low-dispersion (LD) element for reducing color fringing and chromatic aberrations, and a single molded aspheric glass element designed to suppress distortion and spherical aberrations for sharper image files.
The minimum focusing distance is 5.9", which renders your subject at half life-size.
Tamron 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2
If 35mm isn't wide enough for your needs, the 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 has an AoV of 84°. It features 10 elements in 9 groups, including a single molded glass aspheric element for suppressing distortion and spherical aberrations.
This lens contains a trio of LD elements for reducing color fringing and chromatic aberrations, and fluorine coatings on the front element are designed to discourage smudges and fingerprints.
The minimum focusing distance on this lens is 4.7", which, like its 35mm counterpart, renders your subject at half life-size.
Tamron 35mm & 24mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M 1:2 photo gallery
Do you shoot with a Sony E-mount camera? If you do, how do these new Tamron M1:2-series lenses fit into your workflow? Let us know in the Comments field, below.