Andy Westlake tests the only third-party zoom for Micro Four Thirds cameras

Product Overview

Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III

Product:

Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Review

Price as reviewed:

£280.00

Best Price from Reevoo

Loading
Over the past few years, mirrorless compact system cameras have dramatically changed the landscape in the photographic equipment market. The likes of Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony have built up compelling alternatives for photographers tired of dealing with the size and weight of DSLRs, but unwilling to sacrifice image quality. However, the main third-party lens makers have been  cautious about joining the party, perhaps waiting to see how the market shakes out. So while Panasonic and Olympus’s Micro Four Thirds system was launched back in 2008, and both companies have built up significant lens ranges of their own, only a few autofocus lenses are available from other manufacturers.

Sigma and Zeiss have each made a handful of primes, and Tamron just a single zoom – the 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III – which is the lens on test here. With a 28-300mm equivalent zoom range, it’s capable of covering a huge range of subjects.

In fact, this lens could lay claim to being one of the most overlooked offerings on the market. This is partly down to Tamron’s decision not to include built-in image stabilisation, which immediately limits its usefulness for owners of most Panasonic cameras (Lumix DMC-GX7 and DMC-GX8 users excepted). Long-range superzooms such as this also tend to have a reputation with photographers for mediocre image quality, as the price you pay for their undoubted versatility. The other problem is that both Olympus and Panasonic offer similar alternatives – the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 II and the Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS – which include weatherproofing and optical stabilisation respectively. So why even consider the Tamron?

The answer is, of course, price: selling at around £280, it’s significantly cheaper than the other two options. So for Micro Four Thirds users who want a flexible all-in-one travel lens and expect to use it in benign conditions, on paper it offers the best value. But does its relatively low cost mean it’s an inferior option? Let’s take a look.

14mm

14mm

150mm - The Tamron's wide-ranging zoom makes it an ideal travel lens

150mm – The Tamron’s wide-ranging zoom makes it an ideal travel lens

Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Review – Features

Comprising 17 elements in 13 groups and including one low-dispersion glass element, two anomalous dispersion glass elements, two glass-moulded aspherical elements and one hybrid aspherical element, the 14-150mm has the most complex optical design among Micro Four Thirds superzoom lenses. In principle, this should help reduce the optical aberrations to which lenses with such an ambitious zoom range tend to be prone.

Despite all this glass, the 14-150mm is surprisingly compact, with a barrel diameter of 63.5mm and a length of 80.4mm from the mount to the front of the non-rotating 52mm filter thread. In context, it’s smaller than Olympus’s budget M.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f/4-5.6 telezoom and barely larger than 18-55mm kit zooms for APS-C DSLRs. At 285g it’s not especially heavy, either.

I’m pleased to say the lens is supplied with a bayonet-fitting petal-type plastic lens hood. Even better, it reverses neatly when not in use, fitting closely around the barrel. Packing up small is a real asset for this kind of travel lens.

  1. 1. Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Review - Features
  2. 2. Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Review - Build and handling
  3. 3. Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Review - Focusing
  4. 4. Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Review - Performance
  5. 5. Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Review - Resolution, Shading & Curvilinear Distortion
  6. 6. Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III Review - Our verdict
  7. 7. Tamron 14-150mm f/3.5-5.8 Di III - Details
Page 1 of 7 - Show Full List