In the Field with the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD for Sony E-Mount

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They cost way more than a jar full of pocket change, but figuratively speaking, premium 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses are a dime a dozen these days. Standard issue among street, wedding, corporate, architectural, sports, editorial, fashion and beauty photographers, fast 24-70mm resonate with just about every serious shooter out there.

The folk at Tamron wanted to join the party but, rather than being the last ones to pull up to the curb, Tamron’s optical engineers decided to design a comparably fast, f/2.8 maximum aperture lens with a focal range a smidgeon north of 24-70mm.

The result of their efforts is the new Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD for Sony E-mount cameras, and the differences between Tamron’s new premium zoom and all of the half-dozen 24-70mm out there goes well beyond a few millimeters.

The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD zoom is sharp, with optimized color, contrast, and tonal values.

For starters, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD weighs between two-thirds to a full pound less than the 24-70mm f/2.8 zooms produced by Nikon, Sony, Canon, Sigma, Pentax, and Tokina. Tamron’s 28-75mm zoom also has a slightly narrower form factor. If size and weight are an issue, take note.

Tamron’s new zoom focuses twice as close (7.5") as any of the 24-70mm f/2.8 zooms mentioned above, which only focus down to approximately 15". If you like getting in real close to your subject, take note.

The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD zoom focuses almost half as close as comparable 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lenses.

Tamron’s new 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom costs considerably less than any of these other 24-70mm f/2.8 zooms. If the thought of spending less money than necessary, without having to sacrifice image quality or overall lens performance appeals to you, take note here, too.

If the above paragraphs sound like pure sales spiel, look at the accompanying photographs before poo-pooing my pitch. Shooting in Aperture Priority, wide open at f/2.8, or stopped-down to f/8, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD more than holds its own against the A7R II’s 42MP imaging sensor. As the accompanying photographs clearly show, this lens captures remarkably distinctive detail, color, and contrast wide-open and stopped-down.

The new Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom captures sharp, well-saturated photographs, stopped-down and wide open.

Designed specifically for use with Sony E-mount cameras, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom features a Tamron RXD Stepping AF motor that’s equally optimized for stills and silent video capture with the option of full-time manual-focus override. It also features a smudge- and water-repellent fluorine-coated front element. The moisture-sealed barrel of the lens is made of polycarbonate, which undoubtedly contributes to the comparably lighter weight of the lens, and the filter size is 67mm.

When discussing image quality, it’s important to note that cameras with 30-, 40-, or 50MP imaging sensors demand maximum performance from your lenses—if you lens is just so-so in terms of resolving power, these cameras will exploit those weaknesses. However, when coupled to a Sony A7R II, the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD is a top-notch performer.

To achieve high performance levels, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom makes good use of triple aspheric elements, an XLD element, and an LD lens element. Wide-open, whatever is in focus is sharp, crisp, well saturated, and whatever is out of focus feathers off beautifully. The lens’s 9-bladed aperture enables well-rounded specular highlights that should please bokeh enthusiasts.

The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD truly shines when used at maximum aperture, up close to your subject. What’s sharp is tack-sharp with smooth, creamy falloff fore and aft of your subject.

The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD not only cuts the mustard when mounted on a high-resolution camera but, compared to comparable lenses in this focal range, it’s also a bit smaller, notably lighter and, without any doubts, more affordable than the competition.

Do you currently own a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom? If so, what are your thoughts about Tamron’s newest zoom offering?

3 Comments

I've been going back and forth between this lens and the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G lens. One factor that I recently considered is the optical distortion of the lens. While I plan on using this lens primarily on the A7iii, I would like to minimize the number of lenses I bring on a job. And the ability to use the lens with my old FS700 as well is definitely a plus (yes, I know the FS700 is a crop sensor). However, when using the raw output of the FS700 to record 4k to my Atomos Shogun, optical distortion won't be corrected. It seems the 24-105mm has quite a bit of distortion that needs in-camera correction. How does this Tamron lens compare in that regard? I can't find any info on this anywhere.

At f2.8 and at the price it is, if it performs well over several focal lengths, if should sell quite well, mainly due to price. Time will tell as to how good, or bad, it really is.. for the price. I really like it's low weight though!!

Yes as you said Chris, price is the first reason why people will go towards that 2.8 lens, like I did...but will be conquered by its performances (quite stunning coupled with my A7RII), weight, and filter diameter. I'm coming from the film era, went through a lot of zooms (starting in the 90's with the 35-70/2.8 Nikon...), and owned all the Canon's version of that range after that, I switch to Sony 2 years ago, keeping my EF 24-70/2.8 II for Events jobs (I'm shooting primes for the rest) and boy that combination is by far the most stellar one...but as you said, time will tell, for now, I'm in heaven... ; )

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