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.
I am not sure I want to sell my AF-P 70-300mm 4.5-5.6E lens yet to buy this one.
I agree with previous comments that we must wait and see if there is any compelling reason to use this lens rather than the F-mount 70-300 with the FTZ adapter. I’ve been happy with the latter. (It’s also useful for film photography.) Why is Nikon snoozing on a 70-300 Z-mount? You and I and others have been asking for one for a long time.
Useful for dx Z-mount. A pancake 10mm, 18-140 and 70-300 is pretty decent and light.
Of course, a 16-140 would’ve been better …
“Vibration Reduction: Yes”
No, sorry about that – I could have sworn I had written no in the list there, so I’m glad you caught it.
I’ve no real interest in this one, but it’s massive news. Tamron coming to the Z-mount is amazing, and if they can nail the focus on their lenses it will be massive for Nikon shooters, and Nikon brand as well (seeing that it will bring clients that were considering going Sony for the affordable third party lenses)! As a Nikon shooter, I know this opens the door for quality affordable lenses for enthusiasts and professionals as well, and I might be in the market for a couple of them!
Now, if they make a usable 150-600, count me in. Or the amazing 35-150 f2.0-2.8.
Yes, part of the excitement here is what it implies for the future – big-name third party Z lenses! Maybe Sigma will join in at some point too, although they’re probably busy with their L-mount alliance stuff.
I do not see this Tamron as a replacement for the 24-200 as the important range from 24-70 is missing. This is an important range for traveling and landscape, more then to have 300mm at the end. At least for what I use it for.
My light kit for traveling und multipurpose use is the 14-30 and the 24-200 together with the Z6II.
The missing VR does make the Tamron 70-300 not very flexible in use with different cameras as it dos not make sense to use it on a camera like the Z50. This is so sad, because it would be a perfect 105-450mm lens!
It’s definitely not a replacement for the 24-200mm. I think two reasonable kits now are the 14-30mm + 24-200mm, and the 14-30mm + 24-70mm f/4 + 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3. The first kit is lighter and smaller, while the second kit has better image quality through at least 70mm and reaches 300mm instead of 200mm.
Hopefully Nikon releases a 70-300mm at some point that has VR.
I went back to fujifilm (X-H2s.) Fujis 16-80 and 70-300 makes a terrific travel combo. Looking forward to your reviews on this system as it was Nasim’s review of the X-2 that led me to Fuji a number of years ago. Thanks,
What about colour rendition of Tamron versus Nikon today?
I’ve used Tamron lenses in the (analog) past and always had colour differences.
That’s what prevented me buying Tamron lenses (and other brands) the last 20 years.
I’ve shot with Tamron lenses a good bit in the recent past and never found any issues with their color rendition. You can see some of my photos with Tamron lenses on the Nikon D780 in this review and judge for yourself, though:
Currently, when I want to travel as light as possible, my backpack includes Nikon:
Z7 + Z30 + DX 16-50 VR + DX 50-250 VR + 14-30 f/4 + 40 f/2 = 2 kilos (4,7 pounds)
That’s a great kit! You already have the telephoto end covered well, albeit on DX. Are you thinking about adding the Tamron lens?
Hello Spencer thanks for your answer and for all your reviews !
No I had some Tamron Lenses in the past, but I was never fully satisfied by the pictures delivered vs with Nikon lenses (except with the 15-30 f/2,8).
If I want to travel with less DX and more FF (for a roadtrip) , my backpack includes as follows :
Z7 + Z30 + 14-30 f/4 + 24-120 f/4 (DX = 36-180 / with the crop sensor Z7 or Z30) + 300 f/4 (if required) + 40 f/2 + DX 16-50 VR (as spare)
Ps: the two Z DX lenses give very good results on the Z7 & Z30 (but only 20Mo files)
All the best, Régis
That’s a great set! Also, I used the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 for a couple years and took some of my favorite landscapes with it. Great lens, even though the Z 14-24mm f/2.8 surpasses it these days.
It needs to be a substantially better than the 24-200 above 100mm for me to get it (and carry it). Without VR it also needs to work well with the IBIS. Long lenses usually work better with VR which is a great plus of the 24-200 for me. From the Sony E mount reviews of the same lens, it seems to be a solid performer with little chromatic problems, a fixable distortion and good sharpness.
I’m happy with my 24-200mm and don’t intend to switch, but the possibility of going to 300mm, and potentially getting better image quality than the 24-200mm, is intriguing. The lack of VR is a potential concern, though.
Why is the lack of VR a concern when the Z series mostly have IBIS to 5 stops? Surely, it has to be compatible with that to be classed as a Z mount lens?
For full-frame Z users, it won’t be a problem, at least with the full-frame Z cameras so far. But DX Nikon Z shooters will want to stick to the dedicated Z DX 50-250mm VR for this exact reason, and dual FX/DX users don’t have an obvious answer until a lens like this has VR.
This Tamron Z-mount 70-300mm is about the same size as the F-mount Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E AF-P but is 135g lighter. As the FTZ weighs another 135g, this new Tamron lens will be 270g lighter on a Z-mount body than the F-mount equivalent. It will also be shorter to the same extent as the FTZ.
The Tamron Z-mount 70-300mm is f/6.3 at the long end while the Nikkor F-mount 70-300 is f/5.6. This Tamron Z-mount 70-300mm does not have VR.
The initial price will like be at a reasonable $550 will be available this fall.
I have long been waiting for Z-mount 70-300mm but I am ambivalent on this lens.
I am attracted by the net 270g weight savings compared to using the Nikkor F-mount 70-300mm with an FTZ.
But what will make me consider this lens is if Nikon still appears as having no plans to release a Z-mount 70-300mm or 70-200mm f/4 S, and how this Tamron’s lens performance at 300mm. If the Tamron performs better at the 300mm than the Nikkor F-mount 70-300mm despite not having a VR, then I may consider this.
Larry, that sums it up well! If it outperforms the 24-200mm and Nikon AF-P 70-300mm, it would be a compelling lens. I’m still hoping that Nikon releases one of their own, but they haven’t given any indication that they will.
Is it convertible with Z teleconverters? Is Tamron making their own Z teleconverters?
I’d be surprised if it’s compatible, but I haven’t seen information one way or another yet.
Compatibility with the Nikon F 1.4 TC was my big wish for the Nikon 70-300 AF-P but it is ruled out by (amongst other things) the proximity of the rear element to the mount. Presumably this will not be an issue with the Tamron Z 70-300 so we can but hope!