Tamron 14-150mm F/3.5-5.8 Di III VC vs. Olympus M.Zuiko 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 vs. Panasonic Vario HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS hands-off comparison.

For some reasons only known to Tamron's managers, the company chooses to enter the micro 4/3 format with a 14-150mm zoom, closely matching the popular Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 and the elder Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8 ASPH MEGA OIS lenses.

Now, if they had bothered to shave a millimeter or two off the wide end, it would have been really exciting news, but as it stands now, the micro 4/3 mount is served by no less than 11 zoom lenses all sharing the 14mm wide end. Is there enough playing field for the New kid? 

Tamron 14-150mm versus the competition

Lens Construction: Both The Tamron and Panasonic are more complex optically than the Olympus.
Aperture size: The Tamron is slightly faster at the wide end, f/3.5 versus f/4 for the other two, but that's just a 1/3rd of a stop, no biggie. Same goes for the tele end where the Olympus is the tiny bit faster one.
Max magnification: The Tamron has a slight lead again at a 0.26x ratio versus 0.24x for the Olympus and 0.20x for the Panasonic lens.
Filter diameter: It may seem like a small difference, but for avid filter users Tamron's miniscule 52mm diameter means saving on a substantial amount of money. Also, less glass area exposed to the elements and easier to clean.
Video: Both Tamron and Panasonic offer silent and smooth  focusing and zooming, while the Olympus is a step behind in this area.
Image stabilization: Tamron's new VC is more efficient than Panasonic's older O.I.S version. Olympus has none, because it takes the smarter approach of putting the stabilizer in the camera body.
Body construction: The Tamron claims to be mostly metal, Panasonic's lens is a mix of mostly plastics and some metal, and the Olympus is clad in plastics for as far as the eye can see, except for the mount.
Weight:  Despite having a metal barrel and an advanced image stabilizer built in, the Tamron is olny slightly heavier than the Olympus, but a lot lighter than the Panasonic.
Dimensions: Dimensions are roughly the same, with the Tamron gaining a slight edge.
Price: Tamron executives have acknowledged the fact they're entering a field where established brands rule, and have thus promised competitive pricing.


Some safe conclusions that can be drawn after this quick comparison: Tamron's entry is well placed in opposition to its 2 older counterparts. None of the older lenses are optically stellar performers, and I fully expect the newcomer to beat them on that field. If Tamron does a good job at vignetting, CA, and distortion correction they will be able to win the hearts and minds of micro 4/3 shooters, at least in the Panasonic camp.

However, not many Olympus fans will be thrilled to pay-or to carry, the overhead that comes with the image stabilizer, except maybe for video oriented shooters that need this specific range. It is also noteworthy that both older lenses are due for replacements, and these will likely be announced before Tamron's lens enters the market.

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