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

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Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Performance

At 17mm, central sharpness is excellent all the way through from f/2.8 to f/16. Diffraction hits eventually, but even so, the results remain very good even at f/22. The edges are very good at f/2.8, excellent from f/4 to f/11 and very good at f/16. At f/22 the edges are softer but still good.

At 20mm, central sharpness is excellent from f/2.8 to f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges are very good at f/2.8, excellent from f/4 to f/11, very good at f/16 and good at f/22.

At 24mm, central sharpness is excellent from f/2.8 to f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges are very good at f/2.8, excellent from f/4 to f/16 and very good at f/22.

At 28mm, central sharpness is excellent from f/2.8 to f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges behave in an identical manner, being excellent from f/2.8 to f/16 and very good at f/22.

This is a remarkably good performance and basically, all apertures can be used at all focal lengths with total confidence.


Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution and sharpness as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony A7 III using Imatest. Want to know more about how we review lenses?

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is measured with all corrections switched off, as far as we can as we never know for sure what, if any, corrections are built-in. At 17mm, central CA is very low, the edges less so but still very reasonable. At 20mm the same pattern holds true, as it does at 24mm and 28mm. There is some colour fringing visible in images where the subject matter is demanding, such as branches against bright sky, but software correction will deal with that when required.


Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Sony A7 III using Imatest.


Likewise distortion, which can be corrected in-camera or in software. At 17mm we have -2.6% barrel distortion. This is reduced to -0.51% barrel at 20mm. We then move into pincushion distortion and this measures +1.05% at 24mm and +1.34% at 28mm. Compared to some zoom lenses these are not high figures, but they are visible in images with straight lines near the edges. This can be corrected in software, or in-camera if using the JPEG option.

Bokeh is not the meat and drink of wide-angle lenses, but nonetheless, this lens has pleasing out of focus effects, especially at wider apertures. This is aided by the rounded diaphragm.

Flare resistance is generally not a problem, only in the most extreme situations, such as the sun encroaching on the edges of the frame, can some artefacts be seen. There is no real reduction in contrast levels. Another excellent result.

Vignetting at 17mm starts of at -2.0 stops at f/2.8, reducing to -1.6 at f/4 before settling at around minus one and a half stops throughout the rest of the aperture range.

20mm starts at -1.9 stops and then settles to again around -1.5 stops. 24mm and 28mm start at -1.7 stops at f/2.8 and then also settle to -1.5 stops throughout. This can also be addressed in-camera or in software if required.

In summary, an excellent overall result.

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Sample Photos


Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

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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.

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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