Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 review - Verdict
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Verdict

The 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD is Tamron’s first native lens designed specifically for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless E-mount bodies and is cleverly pitched between the entry-level FE 28-70mm kit zoom and the much more expensive FE 24-70mm f2.8 G Master models from Sony. It has excellent sharpness in the APS-C image-circle, has very usable close-up capabilities and gets away with 67mm filters. It also focuses reliably and offers good black levels in contra-light situations.

What’s not to like? Well, the lens has its softer spots: The area outside the APS-C image-circle is clearly softer – and not just in the corners of a full-frame sensor. The lens can produce some nasty ghosting when the light-source is near the middle of the frame. And compared to 24-70mm lenses, it misses-out on 4mm at the short end which restricts the angle-of-view by almost 10 degrees – which might be a decisive disadvantage for some.

I hope to test more standard zoom lenses for E-mount in the future, allowing me to make direct comparisons and recommendations. But for now, as mentioned on the first page, I’ll make a comparison out of interest with the first zoom for Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless system, the Z 24-70mm f4S – again this is purely out of interest and possible because I tested them at the same time.

 

 

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Compared to Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S

In my tests the new Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S turned out to be optically as good as the renowned Nikon 24-70mm f2.8E VR with a one stop advantage in image stabilization and almost no loCA. It also delivers very usable close-up performance and retains its high contrast even in contra-light situations. Plus by being roughly half the size and weight it’s much more portable and a perfect match for the compact Z-series bodies it’s designed for. The new Z Nikkor also focuses very fast and reliably and is sealed as thoroughly as the 24-70mm f2.8E VR.

Compared to Tamron’s new 24-70mm f2.8 the only drawback of the Z 24-70mm f4S is its relatively ordinary f4.0 focal ratio, but it starts at 24mm giving users a noticeable wider angle of view. The Nikon is also slightly smaller and lighter than the Tamron and can cost less (depending on availability of the Z-lens in a kit). And with the exception of the sharpness in the APS-C image circle the optical quality of the Z Nikkor is better than from the new Tamron: better full-frame corner, better close-up performance, better resistance in contra-light, less loCA, less coma at the short end. But the differences are not huge.

For more details see my Nikon Z 24-70mm f4S review.

 

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Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 final verdict

The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 is a valuable addition to the full-frame E-Mount market, that’s wisely pitched between Sony’s entry-level FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 kit zoom and the high-end FE 24-70mm f2.8 G Master. The Tamron is stunningly sharp in the APS-C image-circle and delivers very usable close-up performance too. It’s small and light and comes at a reasonable price that makes it a viable option for those who can only dream of f2.8 zooms and were otherwise heading to the budget kit lens. For the price, the sharpness unsurprisingly becomes softer in the full-frame corners and many will miss the wider coverage of zooms that start at 24mm; there’s also some irritating flare and ghosting under certain circumstances. But all-in-all the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 is an attractive option for E-mount owners who want a step-up in aperture from the entry-level Sony FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 kit zoom without the considerable cost of the FE 24-70mm f2.8 G Master – and while it may become soft in the corners, subjects towards the middle will be sharp with the potential for attractive blurring behind them. So overall I’m happy to award Tamron’s first native E-mount lens a recommendation!

PS – should Tamron plan to offer this lens for Canon’s EOS R and Nikon’s Z system too it would certainly be a valuable addition to the lens-choices for the new mirrorless systems.

Good points:

  • Constant f2.8 focal ratio.
  • Small and light.
  • Excellent resolution and contrast in the APS-C image circle.
  • Good black levels in contra-light situations.
  • Very usable  close-up performance
  • Relatively low price.
  • Reliable AF operation.

Bad points:

  • Not so sharp outside the APS-C image circle with soft full-frame corners.
  • Strong flare/ghosting with light source near the middle.
  • Wide end starts at 28mm focal length, not 24mm.

 

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Tamron 28-75mm f2.8

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