If you’re a Sony camera owner who’s looking for a 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 will be released for E-mount. still this year.
The Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD, to give it its full name, covers an extraordinarily wide spectrum of focal lengths. At the wide end, 50mm is ideal for street photography or portraits, while 400mm has you covered for sports and wildlife.
While the lens is designed for full-frame cameras like the Sony A7 IV, you can also mount it to an APS-C body for even more range. Pair it with a camera like the Sony A6600 and you get the equivalent of a 75-600mm lens.
Despite its impressive range, Tamron’s 50-400mm manages to avoid being prohibitively large and heavy. It is 18.3 cm (7.2 in) long and weighs 1,155 g (40.7 oz). This is lighter than Sony’s own FE 100-400m lens (which weighs 1,395g) and the Sigma 150-600mm (2,100g), and means it should fit well in most camera bags.
Tamron has yet to reveal the lens’ full specs (or, crucially, its price). But we do know that it will be able to focus objects up to 25cm away at the 50mm end, and that it will have the company’s VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear autofocus engine, which we’ve seen work well (and silently). on earlier lenses like the Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 VXD.
The only bad news is that we can wait a bit for the lens. Tamron says the 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD will be available during Fall 2022 (or September-November for those in the Southern Hemisphere). But it also added that “due to the current global health crisis, the release date or product supply schedule may change.”
So far the lens has only been announced for the Sony E-mount, but we asked Tamron if it is also being developed for others like Fujifilm X-mount cameras (despite having APS-C sensors) and will update this story when we hear from return.
Review: The best travel companion?
Most 400mm super-telephotos offer a relatively narrow focal length of 100mm at their widest end, which restricts them to shooting distant subjects such as wildlife. But this intriguing lens starts at an unusually wide 50mm, making it a potentially brilliant travel companion.
Its appeal may be limited by its price, which is still unclear, and Tamron didn’t seem too confident it would be able to hit the “Fall 2022” release date. But if you’re a Sony fan who likes the idea of a super versatile lens that can cover portraits, landscapes and general travel shots, it might be worth the wait.
It’s unlikely to be able to match the overall image quality of more specialized lenses like Sony’s own 100-400mm G Master. But given Tamron’s track record of building more affordable lenses, it should also be considerably cheaper than super-telephoto.
While it’s only being made initially for the 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. Unfortunately, Canon and Nikon didn’t show much appetite for bringing in third-party autofocus lenses for their RF and Z mounts, but Tamron did start making lenses for Fujifilm’s X mount.
The small snag is that this lens is designed for full-frame cameras, rather than APS-C like Fuji’s X-mount. Some adaptation would be necessary, then, but it could double as a very useful 75-600mm lens on Fuji cameras, if Tamron decides to make the leap.