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: Build & Handling
Unlike Tamron’s ‘SP’ range of lenses that are known for their metal build quality, this lens is mostly made from polycarbonate. The idea behind using high-grade plastic as opposed to metal is to strip the lens of any unnecessary bulk in an attempt to keep it as lightweight as possible for weight conscious mirrorless users.
It doesn’t have quite the same rock-solid feel as Tamron’s premium SP optics or Sony’s pro-spec standard zooms, yet feels more than robust enough for everyday use and is a standard above most entry-level standard zooms. The finish of the matte black barrel with its white numbering and lettering is excellent and the silver ring that encircles the rear of the lens looks smart butted up against the anodised orange mount of Sony A7-series cameras.
To provide extra reassurance in demanding environments, the lens has a rubber seal that compresses against the mount of the camera when it’s attached. This forms a weather-tight seal and was highly effective at keeping sand and moisture at bay during testing at the coast.
In terms of physical size, it’s of similar diameter to the Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar Carl Zeiss T* lens, but is around 20mm longer in length. With no focus switches or focus distance window it has a fairly minimalistic look to the barrel and whereas the zoom ring is rubberised, the focus ring has a ribbed plastic textured design.
Zoom operation is consistently smooth and it requires less than a quarter turn of the zoom ring to get it from wide to telephoto and vice versa. It has a good level of resistance to prevent zoom creep being an issue and the super smooth manual focus ring makes fine focusing adjustments all the more enjoyable.
Compared to the silver-coloured plastic on the Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar Carl Zeiss T*, you get a more robust metal mount on this zoom. Handling wise, it feels neither to big nor too small and rests comfortably in the average size palm when a little extra support is required beneath.
The overall build quality and finish of this lens for the price can’t be faulted. You don’t get premium features like a focus mode switch, focus hold button or zoom lock switch, but then again these features are rarely found on mid-range standard zooms and are typically found on pro-spec examples that come with a much higher price tag.