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Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD (A046) Review

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Review - John Riley reviews the new Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD (A046) FE-Mount wide-angle zoom lens for Sony's full-frame mirrorless cameras.


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Tamron 17 28mm F2,8 Front Oblique View

Perhaps it is a sign that the Sony mirrorless system has come of age when third party manufacturers start to make lenses to compete with the marque alternatives. Tamron introduces here the new 17-28mm lens for full-frame Sony FE mount cameras, although it can still be mounted on crop sensor bodies if desired. In that case, the “35mm equivalent” field of view becomes similar to a 25.5-42mm. There are already some superb lenses available for Sony FE mount, so it will be very interesting to see how the new Tamron stacks up in terms of both handling and performance. Armed with the 24MP full-frame Sony A7 III, let's find out.


Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Handling and Features

Tamron 17 28mm F2,8 Without Hood On Sony A7III

One fair criticism of Sony's A7 series might be that, despite a small camera body, some of the lenses are every bit as large and heavy as those intended for full-frame DSLRs. This new lens bucks the trend as it is nice and compact, weighing in at a modest 420g. There is extensive use of high-quality plastics and the overall impression is of a very well made lens. It balances well with the camera body and the whole package is compact and fits the hands very comfortably indeed.

Our tour of the lens starts with the small petal-shaped lens hood. This reminds us that we have here an ultra-wide and there is little scope for a deeper hood. The bayonet fit is secure. Within this is a standard 67mm filter thread; usefully this is the same size as Tamron's matching 28-75mm, suggesting that we have a good pair of lenses that will work well together.

The zoom ring is fairly stiff but smooth and is clearly marked in 17, 20, 24 and 28mm focal lengths. Behind this is the manual focus ring, the setting of which is controlled from within the camera menus. The options are manual focus, a dumb ring in AF mode or an active ring in AF mode, where the focus can be tweaked manually. In Sony terms, this last option is designated DMF, or Direct Manual Focus.

Focusing is down to 0.19m (7.5 inches) at the 17mm end and 0.26m (10.2 inches) at the 28mm end. Measurement is from the subject to the sensor plane, not the front element. This means there is very little space for the subject and lighting at the wide-angle end in particular. Maximum magnification is 1:5.2 at 17mm and 1:6 at 28mm. This is not macro, but still usefully close.

Tamron 17 28mm F2,8 With Hood On Sony A7III

Optical construction is 13 elements in 11 groups, including 3 Aspherical, 2 LD (Low Dispersion) and 1 XLD (Extra Low Dispersion). Tamron's BBAR (Broad Band Anti Reflection) multicoating process is used, plus a Fluorine coating on the front element to repel water, oil and dirt. The aperture comprises 9 blades and a rounded opening is ensured at least until two stops down.

Construction is moisture resistant, which is almost a requirement in current lenses and in any event a very useful feature.

Finally, the AF motor delivers very fast and accurate AF. The description RXD refers to Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive, but the essential thing is that it works.

Overall, the lens is very pleasant to use, without vices and the only thing that might have been useful beyond that is an AF/MF switch on the lens itself. As it is, we have to delve into the camera menus to switch; hardly the most convenient method.

Tamron 17 28mm F2,8 Rear Oblique View
 


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Comments


lxtbell2 New Member
13 Aug 2019 4:13AM

Quote:One fair criticism of Sony's A7 series might be that, despite a small camera body, some of the lenses are every bit as large and heavy as those intended for full-frame DSLRs.

I don't get how this is fair. A7(9) series matches or exceeds every capability of any full frame DSLRs, so why is it not being a lot more lightweight a complaint? It might be a selling point at the beginning when there are few lenses, but that's no longer the case. Many FE lenses are now pushing the boundaries.

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13 Aug 2019 9:37AM
I have no argument with the quality of Sony's lenses, and our reviews of them show this very clearly. The point I was making was that mirrorless cameras were/are suggested as being more compact than DSLRs, and this is fine, but when coupled with large, high quality lenses that advantage can be somewhat whittled away. We still have a similar overall bulk to carry and we still need a similar bag to carry it in. Of course this doesn't apply equally to all combinations of body/lens and it's just an observation, not a criticism of one type of camera or another.
Hi John, thanks for the review...

Can I ask why the lens was tested on the a7iii and not the a7Riii? Since it's a lens more for landscape etc. I think it's now at the point where testing such a lens cannot be done on only 24mp, for sharpness at least because we need to know if it will perform well on the higher res bodies
16 Aug 2019 9:35AM
Hi Chris

It depends entirely on the availability of suitable camera bodies. In the days of film all lenses could be tested using the same film/developer combination and a direct comparison would therefore be valid. With digital, every marque has different sensor/software combinations and a variety of possible pixel counts. As a consequence, the best that can be done is to relate performance as a percentage of the maximum theoretical performance for any combination on test. It's a much more complex issue.

FFRAWHIGHDEF New Member
19 Aug 2019 3:08PM

Quote:mirrorless cameras were/are suggested as being more compact than DSLRs


Hi John Smile. Thanks for the review and sample images.
I think that's just a false/deceiving marketing slogan really. Camera companies do advertise it that way and they lie about many things to maintain the illusion. But, no matter what camera it is, the lenses are not going to be any smaller if they have to provide a certain light intensity and optical qualities. I think Tamron produced a beautiful lens. But it's not without compromises. I mean, it is a 1.65x zoom, not even 2x, which makes it more compact. And I would rather prefer an even smaller and uncompromised 20mm prime instead. I see that most of the samples were shot at either 28mm or 17mm, so we might have different opinions about it. Which is fine.

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