A few months back, Tamron announced an all-new all-in-one 8x telephoto zoom lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, the 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD (Model A067). This extremely versatile lens offers a huge range of focal lengths, from standard to supertelephoto, making it especially useful for nature, sports and other outdoor photo pursuits. Beyond the focal lengths, the lens offers a fast VXD linear-motor-based focusing system, lightweight and solid construction, and a size that’s surprisingly compact for a lens with this range of focal lengths. The Tamron 50-400mm is, for example, about the same size as Sony’s FE 100-400 G Master lens — and actually is a little bit shorter — yet it offers more versatility, going all the way down to 50mm on the wide end. Plus, the Tamron 50-400mm is quite a bit less expensive than the Sony, coming in at around $1300.
A7R IV: 400mm, F6.3, 1/500s, ISO 4000, -0.3EV
In use, it is a little bit strange to hold what looks like a fairly long telephoto lens, and then get a relatively wide 50mm field of view through the viewfinder. At the wide end of the Tamron lens, you also get really nice close-focusing capabilities, with 1:2 macro magnification at 50mm (MOD of 0.25m or 9.8 in.) and at 70mm (MOD of 0.27m or 10.6 in). Close-focusing isn’t as impressive at the longer focal lengths, extending out to 1.5m (59.1 in) by the time you get to 400mm, but it’s decent for that long of a focal length. In terms of general shooting performance, the autofocus has so far been quite impressive. The lens focuses very quickly and silently, and the focusing system works with Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF features just fine.
A7R IV: 400mm, F6.3, 1/500s, ISO 1600, +0.3EV
I’ve just begun my hands-on review of the new Tamron 50-400mm, pairing it up with the 61MP Sony A7R IV. As a wildlife and bird photography fan, I have found the 400mm focal length a little bit on the short side for a full-frame camera, but fortunately, the lens is proving to be sharp, and the 61MP A7R IV allows for a good amount of cropping. The minimum focusing at 50mm is very nice, allowing for good, highly-detailed close-up shots. I wouldn’t mind a little better close-focusing performance at the long end, but that’s really my only (minor) complaint with the lens at this point.
A7R IV: 400mm, F6.3, 1/500s, ISO 400, -0.3EV
A7R IV: 400mm, F6.3, 1/500s, ISO 2000, -0.7EV
Lots more testing to be done, of course, but I’ve compiled a small initial sampling of real-world gallery images for those curious to see how this versatile all-in-one telephoto zoom performs.