How does the first third-party standard zoom for Sony full frame mirrorless cameras shape up? Michael Topham had the privilege to test the first working sample in the UK
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD review: Features
A standard zoom is a common favourite with photographers who’d like a versatile lens that’s suitable for everyday use. Their effective focal range starts at a moderate wide angle that reaches through to a mild or moderate telephoto and they fall into one of three categories – entry level, mid range or professional.
In Sony FE terms, this Tarmon zoom is squarely mid-range. Its 28-75mm coverage isn’t as wide as a 24-70mm lens and what you lose at the wide end you gain at the long end. Key benefits are its constant f/2.8 maximum aperture and lightweight construction.
Compared to a pro-spec standard zoom like Sony’s FE 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master that weighs a hefty 886g, this lens is over 300g lighter, which is a significant weight saving. Tamron has made every effort to keep the lens as compact as possible too while being mindful of not compromising on optical quality.
It measures 117.8mm long when fully retracted and features an internal focusing (IF) system to ensure the front element doesn’t rotate and a close focussing distance is preserved across the entire focusing range. It has a minimum focus distance of 19cm at the wide-angle end, which extends to 39cm at full telephoto.
Not to be confused with Tamron’s SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD [IF] Macro lens for DSLRs, this new zoom features an entirely new optical design. Study a diagram of its inner construction and you’ll find it’s made up of 15 glass elements in 12 groups. To help control various aberrations and produce stable resolution across the zoom range, Tamron has equipped the lens with Extra Low Dispersion (XLD) glass.
The hydrophobic fluorine coating that’s applied to the front element is said to be highly resistant to fingerprints and its nine aperture blades are designed to render attractive bokeh in out of focus areas at wide apertures.
The lens is also the first Tamron optic to debut a new high-speed AF drive system. Its RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive), stepping motor unit has been designed to operate very quietly, making it well suited for times when you want to work discreetly or record video footage that isn’t ruined by pesky whirring AF motor noises.
Tamron has opted against fitting the lens with its VC (Vibration Compensation) system, which will persuade Sony A7-series users to take advantage of their camera’s effective in-body stabilisation to compensate for camera shake. It’s worth noting that anyone who plans to couple this lens to a first generation A7-series model won’t have any stabilisation available at all.
At the front it accepts screw-in filters and adapters via a 67mm filter thread. It also has a bayonet mount to accept a petal-shape plastic lens hood that comes supplied with the lens in the box.