Sony’s mirrorless cameras are about to get one super-zoom lens to rule them all

Sony’s mirrorless cameras are about to get one super-zoom lens to rule them all

Incoming Tamron zoom covers pretty much every focal length. If you’re a Sony camera owner who’s been looking for one super-versatile zoom lens for almost any shooting situation, you’re in luck – Tamron has announced that it’s working on a 50-400mm lens that’ll be released for E-mount later this year.

To give it its full name, the Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD, it offers an extraordinarily wide range of focal lengths. For street photography or portraiture, a 50mm lens is appropriate, while a 400mm lens will cover you for sports and wildlife.

You could attach the lens on an APS-C body for even greater reach even though it is intended for full-frame cameras like the Sony A7 IV. You might get the equivalent of a 75-600mm lens if you used it with a camera like the Sony A6600.

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Despite its impressive reach, Tamron’s 50-400mm manages to avoid being prohibitively big and heavy. It’s 18.3cm (7.2in) long and tips the scales at 1,155g (40.7oz). That’s lighter than Sony’s own FE 100-400m lens (which weights 1,395g) and Sigma’s 150-600mm (2,100g), and means it should slip nicely into most camera bags.

Missing details

The lens’s precise specifications have not yet been made public by Tamron (or crucially, its price). But we do know that it will contain the company’s VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear autofocus mechanism, which we’ve seen function well (and quietly) in earlier lenses like the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 VXD. It will also have the ability to focus on objects as close as 25 cm away at the 50mm end.

The only bad news is that the lens might require a short wait. The 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD from Tamron is scheduled to go on sale in “Fall 2022.” (or between September-November, for those in the southern hemisphere). But it did also state that “the release date or product supply timetable could alter owing to the current global health crisis.”

Although Fujifilm X-mount cameras use APS-C sensors, we’ve asked Tamron if the lens is also being developed for them and will update this story when we hear back. As of now, the lens has only been revealed for the Sony E-mount.

Analysis: The ultimate travel companion?

The majority of 400mm super-telephoto lenses have a relatively short 100mm focal length at their widest end, which limits their usability to shooting far-off subjects like animals. However, this interesting lens has an extremely wide 50mm aperture, which could make it an excellent travel companion.

Its appeal might be constrained by its pricing, which isn’t yet known, and Tamron didn’t sound particularly optimistic that it would be able to launch in “fall 2022.” However, if you’re a fan of Sony and are interested in a super-versatile lens that can be used for landscape photography, vacation photography, and portraiture, the wait might be worthwhile.

It’s unlikely to be able to match the outright image quality of more specialized lenses, like Sony’s own 100-400mm G Master. But given Tamron’s history of building more affordable lenses, it should also be considerably cheaper than that super-telephoto, too.

While it’s only initially being made for Sony E-mount, it’s possible that Tamron could adapt the 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD for other mounts. Canon and Nikon sadly haven’t shown any great appetite for bringing third-party autofocus lenses to their RF and Z mounts, but Tamron has started making lenses for Fujifilm’s X-mount.

This lens’ one tiny drawback is that it was made for full-frame cameras, not APS-C ones like Fuji’s X-mount. If Tamron ever made the switch, some modification would be necessary but it might serve as a very useful 75-600mm lens on Fuji’s cameras.

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