Tamron 50-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD lens (Model a069)

      Photo Review 9.0

      In summary

      The 50-300mm focal length range sets this lens apart from existing options available for owners of Sony’s E-mount full-frame cameras.

      Save for some peripheral softening, it’s difficult to fault the performance of the Tamron 50-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD lens. It’s also a pleasure to use – and the additional field of view at the wide end of the zoom range makes it much more versatile.

      The Tamron lens also benefits from technological developments, with its VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motor providing near-silent autofocusing to suit videographers. There’s enough thrust in this motor to provide quick focusing as you zoom in or out, particularly in bright outdoor lighting, where this lens is most likely to be used.

      Full review

      Photo Review was provided with an early sample of the new Tamron 50-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD lens for Sony E-mount cameras, which was released on 27 June, 2024. The new lens extends the range of the 70-300 f/4.5-6.3 Di RXD III lens that was launched in late September, 2020 and addresses complaints that the ‘the view angle is somewhat lacking at the wide end’ in that lens. It also focuses closer but is just two millimetres longer and 120 grams heavier, despite having a more complex optical design. Like the majority of Tamron lenses, it accepts 67 mm screw-in filters.

      Angled view of the new Tamron 50-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD lens. (Source: Tamron.)

      Primarily designed for Sony’s ‘full frame’ cameras, the new lens can also be used on Sony’s cropped-sensor models where it will cover the equivalent of a 75-450mm zoom range. Its compact design should be better balanced on the smaller camera bodies than the Tamron 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD lens we reviewed in August 2022.

      The optical design of the 50-300mm lens is not quite as complex as the longer lens and has 19 elements in 14 groups (compared with 24 elements in 18 groups in the 50-400mm lens). It includes two XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) and two LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements for efficient control of chromatic and other aberrations. Tamron’s BBAR-G2 (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection Generation 2) coating has been applied to suppress ghosting and flare, including in backlit situations.

      Nine diaphragm blades produce a circular aperture for attractive bokeh and 18-pointed sunstars. Proprietary, second-generation Broad-Band Anti-Reflection (BBAR-G2) coating is applied to suppress internal reflections and fluorine coating on the front element repels moisture and grease, making the lens easy to keep clean.

      The optical design of the Tamron 50-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD lens showing the positions of the exotic elements. (Source: Tamron.)

      Autofocusing is driven by a Tamron-designed VXD linear motor focus mechanism, which uses voice-coil motors. It’s fast and quiet and Tamron claims it maintains positional accuracy down to 0.005mm.

      Half-macro shooting is possible at the 50mm focal length, thanks to a minimum focus of 22 cm, which provides a 1:2 reproduction ratio or ‘half-macro’ magnification. At the 300mm position, the minimum focus is 90 cm, with a magnification ratio of 1:3.1. The table below shows the maximum and minimum apertures across the focal length range.

      Focal length range 50-70mm 71-101mm 102-181mm 182-300mm
      Maximum aperture f/4.5 f/5.0 f/5.6 f/6.3
      Minimum aperture f/22 f/25 f/29 f/32

      Built-in VC stabilisation effectively suppresses camera shake but Tamron makes no claims for its degree of shake correction. At focal lengths up to 100mm, AI (Artificial Intelligence) technologies provide additional compensation with videography in mind.

      The lens is compatible with Sony-specific functions like Eye AF, Fast-Hybrid AF and in-camera lens corrections for vignetting, chromatic aberration and distortion. It also supports Direct Manual Focus (DMF) in AF mode. It is supplied with a petal-shaped lens hood and front and rear caps.

      Who’s it For?
      The addition of built-in optical stabilisation is one of the key features distinguishing this lens from the 70-300 f/4.5-6.3 Di RXD III lens. The other is the extension of the wide-angle coverage to the ‘standard’ 50mm focal length.

      As a result, this lens will be a worthwhile alternative for owners of Sony Alpha full-frame cameras who want single lens that can be used for a wide variety of subjects. It could also suit those with cameras that have APS-C sensors who are looking for a relatively light telephoto zoom lens with a long zoom extension.

      Regardless of their cameras’ sensor size, most potential buyers will want to photograph sports and wildlife with the camera hand-held in daylight conditions. Car and aero enthusiasts could also find this lens useful for hand-held action shots – provided it’s used in reasonably bright conditions. Maximum apertures are a little slow for low-light work.

      This lens could also work as a general-purpose lens for recording community events or children in action, particularly in outdoor venues. It’s a bit conspicuous for street photography but we found it could be used in some situations.

      Tamron’s VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motor autofocus drive is quiet and highly responsive, making the lens a good choice for capturing action. Near silent operation allows close-up video to be recorded including where the subjects are flighty and easily spooked, such as birds.

      The excellent close-focusing capabilities of this lens will be welcomed by those who enjoy taking close-ups of flowers and other botanical subjects as well as small animals and birds. The 300mm setting should be adequate for recording larger birds and the fast focusing and stabilisation can provide scope for birds-in-flight photographs.

      Other features of the new lens include a 67 mm filter size, the same as most other Tamron lenses for mirrorless cameras, a Focus Set Button for assigning camera and Tamron Lens Utility  functions, an enhanced overall lens design for user-friendly operation and a Zoom Lock mechanism for preventing unwanted barrel extension when the lens is carried facing down.

      This lens is also moisture-resistant and has a fluorine coating on the front of the lens to repel moisture and dust. It is compatible with many of the Sony camera features and functions, including Fast Hybrid AF and Eye AF.

      Build and Ergonomics
      Tamron doesn’t specify the materials used in the construction of this lens but, going on appearance and handling we’d say the outer and inner barrels are made mostly of composite polycarbonate on a high-strength aluminium-magnesium alloy mount. Build quality is very sound and up to the company’s usual high standard.

      This diagram shows the locations of the various moisture-excluding seals in the lens. (Source: Tamron.)

      The surfaces are similar to other recently-released Tamron lenses and have good resistance to abrasion and fingerprints.   The smooth sections of the outer barrel aren’t as shiny as those on the 50-400mm f/4.5-6.3 lens, which make handling feel a little more secure.

      The front section of the inner barrel is 13 mm deep, with a filter ring that accepts the same 67 mm filters as a lot of other Tamron lenses. The bayonet mounting for the supplied HA065 lens hood is on the outside of this section of the barrel.

      The front element of the lens is roughly 50 mm in diameter and coated with a fluorine compound that repels moisture, dust and grease and helps to keep the lens free from contaminants and fingerprints. The petal-shaped lens hood is 58 mm deep with fine ridging on its inner surface to suppress internal reflections.

      The zoom ring is located at the front of the outer barrel. It’s 57 mm wide, with most of its surface clad in rubberised ridging. The zoom ring turns smoothly through a small arc of 75 degrees between the 50mm and the 300mm positions, extending the inner barrel by approximately 57 mm.

      A 6 mm wide unridged band around the trailing edge carries engraved markings for the 50mm, 70mm,100mm, 135mm, 200mm and 300mm focal length settings. Focal lengths are set by aligning them against a white line on the fixed section of the lens barrel behind the zoom ring.

      The outer barrel dips inwards slightly behind the zoom ring forming a fixed 27 mm long band that carries branding information and the lens name plus the focus set button and zoom lock. The zoom lock only works when the inner barrel is full retracted at the 50mm focal length.

      The focus set button is customisable and users can choose which function it operates from the camera’s menu. Alternatively, with the Tamron Lens Utility application, the focus set button can be programmed for one of the following modes:

      – A-B focus set, which allows you to select two positions an make the focus shift automatically between them;

      – pre-set a focus distance and move the focus to the recorded point with a single button press;

      – switch between AF and MF modes;

      – restrict the focus range (new to the 50-400mm lens)

      – switch focus ring adjustment to aperture adjustment;

      – assign one of the functions available from the camera menu to the Focus Set Button;

      – clear custom settings.

      The focusing ring is located just behind this section of the barrel. It’s 22 mm wide and entirely covered by fine rubber ridges. Since focusing is driven from the camera, this ring turns through 360 degrees when power is not supplied.

      Behind the focusing ring is a 6 mm wide flat section of the barrel, which then slopes inwards for about 10 mm before flattening out for about 8 mm which carries a white index mark for aligning the lens with the camera. The USB Type C socket for connecting the lens to a computer is located on the sloped section of the barrel.

      The edge of the lens mount, which is indicated by a silver ring just behind this mark, which has a thin rubber gasket to seal the interface against moisture and dust. The metal lens mount is solid and attaches securely to the camera without being difficult to fit and remove.

      We were unable to measure resolution across the entire zoom range using our Imatest system due to a lack of space in our testing area, although we obtained test results from five focal lengths: 50mm, 70mm, 100mm, 135mm and 200mm. The best performance was measured at 50mm with an aperture of f/5.6, where both centre and mid-range resolution exceeded expectations for the test camera’s 24-megapixel sensor and edge resolution fell only slightly short.

      The 70mm and 100mm focal lengths yielded similar results but maximum resolution declined a little as the focal length was increased. Nonetheless, central resolution remained above 3000 line widths/ picture height through to about f/16 for all focal lengths we tested, as shown in the graph of our test results below. However, we observed edge and corner softening in shots taken with wide lens apertures at all focal length settings.

      With the built-in optical corrections disabled in the test camera, lateral chromatic aberration remained within the ‘negligible’ band for both JPEG and ARW.RAW files for all focal length and aperture settings, as shown in the graph of our test results for the raw files below (which produced lower figures than the JPEGs).  (The red line in the graph marks the border between ‘negligible’ and ‘low’ CA.)

      We found traces of purple fringing along high-contrast edges in shots taken with all in-camera corrections disabled, as shown in the Samples section of this review. As far as other aberrations were concerned, some vignetting was visible at the maximum apertures with all focal lengths in the zoom range but it was eliminated by stopping the lens down.

      Similarly, very slight pincushion distortion could be seen at 50mm and became increasingly apparent as the focal length was increased. Both issues were eliminated by turning on the in-camera corrections.

      Autofocusing was very fast and generally accurate as long as the correct settings were selected, as well as very quiet. Focus breathing was evident – but not severe. Focus pulls were generally smooth and easily controllable and better than expected at longer focal lengths. Stabilisation was also surprisingly good at high magnifications, thanks in part from AI assistance.

      Backlit subjects were mostly handled well, and sunstars were usually sharp, with the nine-bladed iris diaphragm producing 18 spikes. Coloured flare artefacts accompanied the sunstars and could also occur strongly backlit shots where the light source was inside the image frame. Fortunately, there was no significant veiling flare and no apparent flaring in shots taken with the light source outside the frame.

      Bokeh was characterised by rounded highlights in defocused areas, regardless of magnification and in both backgrounds and foregrounds. In close-ups at wide aperture settings it was also was influenced by background lighting and we found some hard edges around bright out-of-focus highlights in backlit situations.


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      Picture angle: 46 degrees 48 minutes to 8 degrees 15 minutes diagonal
      Minimum aperture:  f/22-f/32
      Lens construction: 19 elements in 14 groups (including  elements)  coatings
      Lens mounts: Sony E
      Diaphragm Blades: 9 (circular aperture)
      Weather resistance: Leak-resistant seals throughout the lens barrel
      Focus drive: VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motor
      Stabilisation: VC (Vibration Compensation)
      Minimum focus: 22 cm at 50mm; 90 cm at 300mm
      Maximum magnification: 1:2 at 50mm; 1:3.1 at 300mm
      Filter size: 67 mm
      Dimensions (Diameter x L):78 x 150 mm
      Weight: 665 grams
      Standard Accessories:  Front and rear caps, petal-shaped lens hood
      Distributor: Blonde Robot Pty Ltd; www.tamron.com.au



      Based upon JPEG files taken with the Sony α7 II camera.

      Based on ARW.RAW files recorded simultaneously and converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.



      Vignetting at 50mm f/4.5.

      Vignetting at 70mm f/4.5.

      Vignetting at 100mm f/5.

      Vignetting at 135mm f/5.6

      Vignetting at 200mm f/6.3.

      Vignetting at 300mm f/6.3.

      Rectilinear distortion at 50mm.

      Rectilinear distortion at 70mm.

      Rectilinear distortion at 100mm.

      Rectilinear distortion at 135mm.

      Rectilinear distortion at 200mm.

      Rectilinear distortion at 300mm.

      50mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/800 second at f/9.

      70mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1600 second at f/9.

      100mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1000 second at f/9.

      135mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1000 second at f/9.

      200mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1600 second at f/9.

      300mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1600 second at f/9.

      Close-up at 50mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/500 second at f/4.5.

      Close-up at 300mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/160 second at f/6.3.

      Close-up at 50mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/1600 second at f/4.5.

      52mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/100 second at f/8.

      Crop from the above image magnified to 100% showing traces of coloured fringing along high-contrast edges.

      Bokeh in shot taken at 300mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/640 second at f/6.3.

      Sunstar with flare artefacts at 50mm, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/22.

      Sunstar with flare artefacts at 300mm, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/32.

      Bird photo at 300mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/800 second at f/6.3.

      Bird photo at 300mm focal length, ISO 20, 1/800 second at f/8.

      Backlit bird photo at 300mm focal length, ISO 320, 1/500 second at f/6.3.

      Urban bird at 300mm focal length, ISO 6400, 1/500 second at f/6.3.

      Urban bird at 300mm focal length, ISO 500, 1/500 second at f/6.3.

      Moving subject at 300mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/80 second at f/6.3.

      Moving subject at 300mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/60 second at f/6.3.

      128mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/60 second at f/8.

      145mm focal length, ISO 320, 1/160 second at f/5.6.

      300mm focal length, ISO 500, 1/320 second at f/6.3.

      50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/100 second at f/7.1.

      300mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/640 second at f/9.

      110mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/125 second at f/5.6.

      300mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/320 second at f/6.3.

      51mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/50 second at f/5.



      RRP: AU$1699

      • Build: 9.0
      • Handling: 9.0
      • Image quality: 9.0
      • Autofocusing: 9.0
      • Versatility: 8.9