Tamron has announced their first-ever lens for the Nikon Z system (not counting the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 that was… heavily inspired, let’s say, by Tamron’s version of the lens). It’s a 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3, the same as their existing Sony E lens, and it fills one of the most glaring holes in Nikon’s lens lineup.
I’ve been waiting for a lightweight telephoto option for Nikon Z cameras since the day the Z6 and Z7 were first announced. It seems like such an obvious lens: a lightweight mirrorless system should have lightweight wide-angle, mid-range, and telephoto lenses to complement it, plus some lightweight primes. Not everyone uses the Nikon Z system to save weight, but those who do have been missing a good telephoto option all this time.
One of the most popular stopgaps has been the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3, which is surprisingly good for a superzoom, but still a superzoom. It’s the lens I use for my lightweight landscape photography needs, but it has issues with image quality on the long end, maximum aperture, and reach (300mm would be more useful for a lens like this). The other most popular option is to use Nikon’s F-mount 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E combined with the FTZ adapter. Until today’s announcement from Tamron, there wasn’t a similar native lens available for Nikon Z, aside from much heavier options like the 70-200mm f/2.8 or 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6.
So, how does the Tamron 70-300mm look? I’ll go through the important details here.
Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 for Nikon Z
Starting with the specifications, we see a pretty typical 70-300mm variable aperture zoom:
- Full Name: Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD (Model A047)
- Shipping: Fall 2022
- Mount Type: Nikon Z Mount
- Focal Length: 70-300mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/4.5 at 70mm, f/6.3 at 300mm
- Minimum Aperture: f/22 at 70mm, f/32 at 300mm
- Aperture Blades: 7, rounded
- Filter Size: 67mm
- Lens Elements: 15
- Lens Groups: 10
- Special Elements: 1 low dispersion element
- Coatings: Broad-band anti-reflection coating
- Vibration Reduction: No
- Internal Focusing: Yes
- Internal Zoom: No
- AF Motor: RDX stepping motor
- Minimum Focus Distance: 0.8 meters (2.6 feet)
- Maximum Magnification: 0.2× (1:5)
- Mount Material: Metal
- Weather/Dust Sealing: Yes
- Dimensions (Length × Diameter): 77 × 150 mm / 3.0 × 5.9 inches
- Weight: 581 g / 1.28 lbs
- MSRP of Sony version: $550, often on sale for $500
One thing that stands out to me is the portability of the lens. The Nikon AF-P 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E, which is often praised for its small size and weight, is a heavier lens at 680 grams – not counting the extra 125 grams for the FTZ II adapter, without which you can’t use it on Nikon Z.
Although a pretty inexpensive lens, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 still has good construction, with weather sealing and a metal lens mount. It’s built with Tamron’s newer design philosophy that is much better than the plasticky Tamron lenses of the past, and similar to the look and feel of an inexpensive name-brand lens.
I’ve never tested the Sony version of the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3, but my impressions from seeing sharpness tests online are that it is a solid performer, especially beyond 70mm. It should outperform the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 through most of their shared focal length range, particularly at 100mm and beyond, where the 24-200mm is at its weakest. Compared to the Sony version of the lens, the Nikon version is a bit longer, heavier, and wider near the mount, which is necessary in order to fit the larger Nikon Z mount compared to the smaller Sony E mount. (See more here in Nasim’s article on lens mounts.)
If testing proves this to be the case, the Tamron kens will make an excellent complement for a three-lens zoom kit for Nikon Z users. The Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 and 24-70mm f/4 are already very good performers and fairly small, lightweight lenses. With the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 to round them out, the total kit (with something like a Nikon Z7 II) will weigh right at 5 pounds (2.27 kilos). For landscape and travel photographers, that combination of image quality, weight, and reach is going to be very hard to beat.
Development Announcement – TAMRON’s first “Nikon Z mount system” compatible lens: 70-300mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD (Model A047)
World’s smallest and lightest telephoto zoom for full-frame mirrorless cameras
August 30, 2022, Commack, NY – Tamron announces the development of the 70-300mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD (Model A047), a “Nikon Z mount system” compatible telephoto zoom lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras. The lens is expected to ship this Fall.
Tamron 70-300mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD (Model A047)
TAMRON’s 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 telephoto zoom lens combines the world’s smallest size and lightest weight together with high image quality based on TAMRON’s concept of “all photographers should enjoy easy and comfortable telephoto photography.” The lens features Moisture-Resistant Construction for extra protection when shooting outdoors, and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating that boasts excellent anti-reflection performance. Additionally, this “Nikon Z mount system” compatible 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 can be used with the dedicated TAMRON Lens Utility™ software. It is a highly practical lens that enables photographers to enjoy telephoto shooting like never before, from landscapes, portraits, sports and other action, plus pets, wildlife and more.
1. Compact telephoto zoom
Designed specifically for mirrorless cameras, and with an F6.3 aperture at the telephoto end, the 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless telephoto zoom lens, coming in at a mere 5.9″ long with a maximum diameter of 77mm and weighing just 20.5 oz. Easier than ever before, photographers can now experience the compression effects and limited depth-of-field unique to a real telephoto lens. This lens is also ideal for users who want to reduce the weight of their luggage or lighten their load on nature walks. In addition to landscapes and sports, users can enjoy telephoto shooting for a broad array of subjects like portraits, birds, and casual snaps.
2. Superior optical performance and supreme lightweight portability
Based on thorough simulations utilizing the latest design technologies, the optical design of the 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 successfully balances its compact size and high image quality. The optical construction includes 15 elements in 10 groups, with an LD (Low Dispersion) lens element precisely arranged to suppress axial chromatic and other aberrations that are likely to occur with telephoto zoom lenses. At 300mm, a commonly used telephoto focal length, the design delivers excellent resolution from edge-to-edge. The new zoom creates extremely crisp and clear images throughout the entire zoom range due to TAMRON’s BBAR Coating, which is world-renowned for its anti-reflection performance.
3. The RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit is exceptionally quiet
The AF drive incorporates a sensor that accurately detects the position of the lens while the RXD motor unit delivers optimized AF control. This achieves very fast and accurate autofocus operation and allows users to maintain tack-sharp focus on continuously moving subjects often shot with telephoto zoom lenses. Thanks to the exceedingly quiet AF, the lens can be used discreetly in concert halls and other situations that require low noise levels, as well as for video shooting.
4. Dedicated TAMRON Lens Utility software
With the “Nikon Z mount system” compatible version, users can employ the dedicated TAMRON Lens Utility software that was developed in-house by TAMRON. This feature enables users to easily update the lens to the latest firmware themselves, without going through the camera. On the firmware information screen, users can confirm that their lens has the latest version and perform an update if newer firmware is available.
5. Moisture-Resistant Construction for added protection
Seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to deter infiltration of moisture and/or rain and afford Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature provides an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions.
Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice.
 Among 300mm-capable telephoto zoom lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras (As of July, 2022: TAMRON)
 Connect a PC and lens using the TAMRON Connection Cable (USB Type-A to Type-C) sold separately.
 As the 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 is not equipped with a Focus Set Button, certain functions cannot be customized.