We report a repetition frequency tunable, passively mode-locked vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting semiconductor laser (VECSEL) with continuous repetition frequency tuning between 2.78 and 7.87 GHz using mechanical tuning of the laser cavity length. The laser emits near-transform-limited, sub-500-fs pulses over almost an octave tuning range between 2.78 and 5 GHz. At repetition rates above 6 GHz the pulse duration increases to ̃2.5 ps. Over the entire tuning range the laser emits an average output power of 40 ± 5 mW in a fundamental transverse mode. The change in pulse duration highlights a change in the dominant modelocking mechanism which forms the pulses. At high repetition frequencies the pulse duration is set by the saturable absorber recovery time. At low repetition frequencies the fluence and peak intensity on the SESAM increases to a point where the fast pulse shaping mechanisms of the optical Stark effect and carrier thermalization dominate the pulse shortening.