Tamron has updated their ever-popular 28-75mm lens with a new second-generation version that packs a punch for Sony E mount users. Read on to see how it performed in the field when challenged by a variety of subjects and lighting conditions.
As a professional photographer using Sony mirrorless camera systems, I am always excited to try out new lenses for our E mount cameras. I have tested countless telephoto lenses, and here, I had a chance to try a standard zoom lens, the updated Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens for Sony E. In testing this lens, I am approaching it with fresh eyes. I haven’t tried the previous version. As a wildlife and landscape photographer, I approach testing standard zoom lenses very practically: I want to see how they could fit into my kit, if they perform in challenging light conditions, their weight, and most of all, their sharpness. With a camera backpack with limited space and long hikes ahead, my lenses have to keep up. Let’s see if the Tamron 28-75mm belongs in your kit.
- E-Mount Lens, Full Frame Format
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
- Updated Optical Design
- VXD Linear Motor Focus Mechanism
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 7.1"
- Tamron Lens Utility Connector Port
- Focal Length: 28-75mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
- Minimum Aperture: f/22
- Lens Mount: Sony E
- Lens Format Coverage: Full Frame
- Angle of View: 75° 23' to 32° 11'
- Minimum Focus Distance: 7.1" / 18 cm
- Maximum Magnification: 0.37x
- Optical Design: 17 Elements in 15 Groups
- Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded
- Focus Type: Autofocus
- Image Stabilization: No
- Filter Size: 67mm (Front)
- Dimensions (ø x L): 3 x 4.6" / 75.8 x 117.6 mm
- Weight: 1.2 lbs / 540 g
Design and Features
Right out of the box, the 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 is extremely light. At only 1.2 lbs, it is a great option for photographers who value a lightweight kit. Whether you are traveling, hiking, or just want to give your arms a break, the lens gets a checkmark for being portable. Another checkmark goes to the constant f/2.8 aperture and minimum focusing distance of just 7.1". A lens like this can be used in low-light conditions. This helps keep your kit small, rather than carrying multiple lenses of this focal length to cover changing light, subjects up close, or night skies. Lastly, the brand new technology of the VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motor focus mechanism completely changed how the lens operates internally. The VXD motor is peppy, making for fast and precise focusing, again great for video or moving subjects. All of these specs and features combined make for a great all-around lens on paper. Let’s see how it performed in the field.
In The Field
The 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 is just a solid little lens. It is quick to focus, and I was constantly pleasantly surprised by its lightweight form factor on my mirrorless camera. This is what we enjoy about mirrorless cameras!
I took this lens on a whirlwind fall color road trip, camping through five states and photographing everything from foliage to deep underground caves. In all situations, the lens did well. It is even so small a lens that the 67mm filter size surprised me. I used a step-down ring so that my usual big filters for a wide angle could pair perfectly. I have to have my circular polarizer when photographing landscapes.
For fun, I wanted to create a variety of samples for you all, knowing that with the big camping trip, I had a real assortment of subjects to choose from. For your viewing pleasure, I have a four-image panoramic of a waterfall in low light, low-visibility fog landscapes, farms at blue hour, lake reflections, mountaintop vistas, and, of course, the aforementioned cave full of stalactites and stalagmites. Fun fact: the stalactites are the mineral formations that cling to a cave's ceiling (think stalactites = cling tight), whereas stalagmites are the formations that grow up from the ground (think stalagmites = mites in the ground). At the cave I visited, pools of water create amazing optical illusions, reflecting the ceiling and blurring reality. Sometimes, what you think is a stalagmite is just the reflection of thousands of stalactites in the ceiling. Can you spot the difference?
Having used the 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 for over a month of field testing, I find it to be a nice standard zoom for the traveling photographer. There are really only two points that stand out to me, but they are also what factor into the strengths of this lens. Let me explain. As I have mentioned, this lens is a great pairing for a mirrorless camera, as it is so small and lightweight. Helping make this lens light in form factor and weight are the exclusions of two features: optical stabilization and a switch to change the focus back and forth from autofocus to manual. While an initial shock, there is an easy fix to the lack of an AF to MF switch. You can create a custom setting in your Sony camera body to use any button as that function.
The next challenge is the lack of optical or image stabilization. Now, one can say that in such a light lens, you get a bit of practical stabilization just due to not holding up a heavy device. A lens with optical stabilization built in will be much heavier. You have that trade-off here. With landscape photography, I tend to photograph the best scenes with my tripod, then get what I call "grab-shots" while handholding. When on a tripod, you wouldn’t use stabilization, so it really depends how you use your gear and what your needs are.
The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 lens for Sony E brings updates to a popular budget lens for the everyday photographer. Having put it through its paces on a variety of subjects and conditions, I can see how it would be a great addition to a photographer’s kit. This lens' lightweight, constant f/2.8 aperture, fast autofocus, and wallet-friendly price point make it a great option for many photographers. You can find the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 Lens for Sony E right here.