Tamron Announces the Lightest and Compact Large Aperture Telephoto Zoom Lens for Sony Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

Tamron announces the launch date of the 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD (Model A056), a large aperture telephoto zoom lens for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras that is the lightest and most compact in its class. The lens will be available in the U.S. on May 14th at $1199. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, the release date or the product supply schedule could be delayed.

The 70-180mm F/2.8 features a compact and lightweight design with a 67mm filter diameter, the same as Tamron’s highly esteemed 17-28mm F/2.8 (Model A046) and the 28-75mm F/2.8 (Model A036). The optical construction includes several special lens elements that contribute to the lens’s overall superb imaging performance.

Its very short 33.5” MOD (Minimum Object Distance) expands overall versatility. The lens utilizes Tamron’s newly developed VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motor focus mechanism that produces an autofocus drive that’s quieter and quicker than ever before. Additionally, a floating system is used to achieve excellent optical performance at all shooting distances. By simultaneously operating two VXD units via electronic control, the system produces clear and sharp images of all objects near and far. Other features that support a great shooting experience include Moisture-Resistant Construction for added weather protection and Fluorine Coating for easy maintenance.

In addition, the 70-180mm F/2.8 is fully compatible with various camera-specific features including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF. Developed under the concept of “making large aperture zoom lenses user-friendly,” the 70-180mm F/2.8 provides users with complete portrait-to-telephoto lens range coverage. This new model joins the 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD and the 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD to complete Tamron’s fast zoom lens trinity for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

A true marvel of portability and utility, the 70-180mm F/2.8 incorporates an innovative zoom mechanism and 180mm telephoto power. It was possible to maintain extreme lightweight and compactness even while attaining a fast F/2.8 aperture across the entire zoom range by leveraging camera-based image stabilization. It is small: filter diameter 67mm, maximum diameter 81mm, length 5.9” at the 70mm setting, and also lightweight: 28.6 oz.

The super-compact size helps make handheld shooting a breeze. As part of our constant, ongoing effort to achieve both high image quality and supreme compactness, Tamron went to great lengths to create this product in answer to the demands of the new generation of digital cameras.

Tamron developed its first-ever linear motor AF drive focus mechanism, VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive), especially for the 70-180mm F/2.8. While operating faster than ever before, the drive also maintains positional accuracy down to 0.005mm (0.0002”), less than one-tenth the width of a human hair! This provides unprecedented fast and precise AF performance. A floating system that uses two high-speed, high-precision VXD units with advanced electronic control is also used. This innovative design produces clear and beautiful images of all objects from near to far and at the same time helps reduce size and weight.

In addition, its exceptional quietness enables low noise shooting in silent settings. Active athletes and moving vehicles are among the subjects commonly photographed with telephoto zoom lenses. The enhanced, highly responsive focus features of the 70-180mm F/2.8 enable following a subject’s movements to provide users with a whisper-quiet, high-precision shooting experience, not just for still images but also video.

The 70-180mm F/2.8 has an optical construction of 19 elements in 14 groups. It includes a total of six XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) and LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements combined, and three GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) and hybrid aspherical lens elements combined. Special lens elements are generously and optimally arranged to correct chromatic aberration and maintain very high-resolution performance from edge-to-edge. This model also features BBAR-G2 (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection Generation 2) Coating, which minimizes ghosting and flare and produces stunning, clear images with brilliant, sharp subject detail.

Furthermore, excellent high image quality across the entire zoom range is enhanced by camera-based distortion and shading correction. Additionally, the bokeh effect obtained using the fast F/2.8 aperture delivers a beautifully smooth and soft transition from the subject to the background. The images created with this lens are emblematic of Tamron’s pursuit to combine supreme compactness with superb image quality.

The 70-180mm F/2.8 features the same 67mm filter diameter as Tamron’s other lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras including the 17-28mm F/2.8 (Model A046), a fast ultra-wideangle zoom, and the 28-75mm F/2.8 (Model A036), a fast standard zoom, as well as the close-focusing prime lens series (20mm, 24mm and 35mm).

This uniformity significantly reduces cost and trouble when working with PL, ND and other filters. Even the front lens caps are the same size, eliminating the hassle of sorting caps when switching lenses. These features combine to produce a highly convenient and mobile system that adds more fun to photography.

The new 70-180mm F/2.8 lens has a MOD of 33.5” throughout the entire zoom range. This is astonishingly close for a large aperture telephoto zoom lens. The short MOD paves the way for impressive telephoto shooting at a maximum magnification ratio of 1:4.6 at the 180mm telephoto end. Moreover, a floating component equipped with two VXD linear focus mechanisms maintains high image quality while effectively controlling aberrations so that the 70-180mm F/2.8 ensures great image quality even at close-up. To effectively suppress optical aberrations, this lens features a floating mechanism that ensures great image quality at distances as short as 33.5”.

Note: At the 70mm setting only, it is possible to shoot closer than the specified MOD of 33.5” (as close as 10.6”) when manual focus (MF) is set on the camera. However, results may be less than optimal since image quality decreases in peripheral areas.

Seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to deter infiltration of moisture and/or rain drops and afford Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature provides an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions. Also, the front surface of the lens element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water- and oil-repellant qualities.

The lens surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance. Additionally, the conventional Zoom Lock switch prevents unwanted barrel extension during transportation

The 70–180mm F2.8 Di III VXD lens will be available in the U.S. on May 14, 2020 for $1,199.
However, Tamron notes that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the release date could be bumped back.
More info on Tamron website.

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