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Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Review

John Riley reviews the new Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD full-frame lens for E-Mount cameras.

| Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD (Model A071) in Interchangeable Lenses
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Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Review: Tamron 28 200mm Front Oblique View

The concept of the “Super Zoom” has been around for a very long time, and Tamron were right in at the start with a 28-200mm lens. Those early lenses were perhaps not the sharpest, although they were aspiring to be an all-in-one solution, they did not cut it in either terms of quality or in terms of close focus. Here we have what may be a unique lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras, a new 28-200mm that has the luxury of being able to draw on many years of development and also many new types of glass. Can one lens really do it all? Let's find out, using the 42MP Sony A7R III.


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Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Handling and Features

Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Review: Tamron 28 200mm On Sony A7R III

We have a compact, weather-resistant lens that weighs in at a very reasonable 575g. This is achieved by the use of plastics, although we still have a sturdy metal mount. A bayonet fit lens hood is provided, which is fine, but of course a lens hood that will give good flare protection for a 28mm lens is not really going to do much for a 200mm lens. Something is better than nothing, and the hood's function to protect the front element is useful. The hood bayonets securely into place. Within the bayonet fit is a standard 67mm filter thread.

The zoom ring is wide and has an excellent rubberised grip. Focal lengths are clearly marked. Zooming in towards 200mm extends the lens barrel considerably, but stability is well maintained. There is a zoom locking switch that will secure the lens at 28mm to prevent zoom creep whilst being carried. With a new lens there is no indication that there is any creep at all, but perhaps with heavy use it may eventually be a useful feature.

There is a reasonably sized manual focusing ring, and the function is selected in the usual Sony way, from the camera menu. This includes AF modes, DMF (Direct Manual Focusing where manual tweaks can be made during AF operation) and MF. Focusing is down to 0.19m (7.5 inches) at the wide end, a maximum magnification of 1:3.1 and 0.8m (31.5 inches) at the telephoto end, a maximum magnification of 1:3.8. This is close enough to deliver very satisfactory images of small flowers, animals and other wildlife and the reach at 200mm makes it ideal for portraits of flowers at the far edge of herbaceous borders.

Finally, the lens barrel tapers in the Tamron style to the metal lens mount. This is of good solid quality and is a firm fit, perhaps a little less smooth than a Sony lens but nonetheless perfectly functional.
Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Review: Tamron 28 200mm Full Zoom On Sony A7R III

Optical construction is 18 elements in 14 groups. There are 2 Hybrid Aspherical, 2 Aspherical, 2 LD (Low Dispersion) and 1 XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) elements. The diaphragm comprises 7 blades. Apart from Tamron's excellent multi-coating, there is a Fluorine coating on the front element to repel moisture, dust and grease. There is no Vibration Reduction built in, this being covered by the Sony Steady Shot system built into the camera bodies.

There are some lenses that are just so well designed in terms of handling and Tamron at the moment seem to have this spot on. Controls also feel good. The AF is quiet, fast and accurate and doesn't hunt at all, even in quite low light. The f/2.8 aperture at 28mm is also very welcome, allowing low light shooting. At one time there might well have been issues with the minimum focus distance of a super zoom, but no longer and here the maximum magnification is very satisfactory. The idea of a lens suitable for all general subjects is a compelling one, perhaps especially for travel, but this all depends on the quality of the results. We look at that aspect next.
Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Review: Tamron 28 200mm Rear Oblique View

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5 Oct 2020 6:55PM
Which is better optically in the overlapping ranges: Tamron 28-200 vs Sony 24-105?

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