Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical IF SP AF

 
Lens Reviews / Tamron Lenses i Lab tested
28-75mm $499
average price
image of Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical IF SP AF

(From Tamron lens literature) The most compact and lightest in the history of fast zoom lenses. Thanks to the revolutionary downsizing "XR" technology employed by Tamron in the development of high-power zoom lenses such as the 28-200mm and 28-300mm, the dramatic compactness that makes this lens the world's smallest and lightest is achieved. Its compactness makes it look and feel like an ordinary standard zoom lens, yet the versatility that a fast constant maximum aperture offers will definitely reshape your photographic horizons.

Note: On May 15, 2008, Tamron announced a Nikon version (model A09NII) will be available with a built-in AF motor for use with all Nikon DSLRs including the D40, D40x and D60.

Test Notes

The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens is a contemporary of a design produced by every other major lens manufacturer. The zoom range would qualify it as a wide angle to short telephoto on a film body, but on a digital body with an APS-C size sensor, the focal range is an equivalent 42-113mm ( 1.5x) or 45-120mm (1.6x). It's arguable whether this focal range has been supplanted by a newer crop of so-called digital lenses, optimized for the smaller sensor size: however, the remaining asset for this category of lens is its constant f/2.8 aperture, useful in low-light situations and portraiture where a thin depth of field is required. As well, it's a traditional full-frame lens, usable on full-frame film and digital cameras. As a third-party lens maker, Tamron provides this lens offering in four major mounts: Canon, Minolta (Sony), Nikon, and Pentax, at a much lower price than the competition in all four. The question is, are you better off spending the extra dollars for one of the manufacturers' lenses, or does the budget lens prove itself an excellent value for the money?

Sharpness
Given that one of the most marketable features of this lens is its constant f/2.8 aperture, this will no doubt be the most popular aperture employed by shooters using this lens. Thus, an important question is, how does the lens perform when shooting wide open?

On a digital body with a sub-frame sensor, the sensor is using the central "sweet spot" of the lens: Thanks in part to this, the lens exhibits excellent sharpness with slightly soft spots in the corners on the wider side (28-35mm) at f/2.8. Zoomed out further, the sharpness deteriorates but still maintains a level that's quite acceptable. Reducing the aperture just one stop to f/4, however, produces incredible across-the-frame sharpness all the way from 28-75mm: if you demand optical excellence, then this is the optimal aperture for this lens. The lens is very well-behaved to f/11, exhibiting excellent sharpness across the frame, but diffraction begins to set in around f/16 where images become less sharp, but not unreasonably soft either.

These results change on a full-frame body. Corner softness at f/2.8 is very pronounced at all focal lengths, while still being remarkably sharp in the middle (no surprises here, as that's what we saw on the sub-frame results). Again, stop down to f/4 and these sharpness issues become almost negligible, and by f/5.6 the lens is again very well-behaved across the frame, showing excellent sharpness. When diffraction sets in around f/16, the story remains the same as we saw with the cropped sensor: not unreasonably soft, but not overly sharp either.

So you do see excellent performance, but the best results only come when you stop down to f/4, if not f/5.6; at f/2.8, you will encounter some corner softness, especially when shooting full-frame.

Chromatic Aberration
The Tamron 28-75 handles chromatic aberration very well, its optimal performance exhibited at 60mm with an aperture of f/4. CA tends to be most apparent in wide- or superwide-angle lenses, and with a wide focal length of 28mm, CA is never too much of an issue here. Points where CA occur most are with the lens wide open at f/2.8, at the widest and longest ends, but even there, it is very well controlled and shows up only in the corners of the frame. Happily, the CA performance on a full-frame body is very similar.

Shading ("Vignetting")
Looking at the test results for the APS-C sized sensor, corner shading is almost non-existent with this lens, with the worst-case scenario being wide open (f/2.8) at 75mm; even there, the light falloff in the corners is only one-quarter of an EV. However, the story changes when the lens is used on a film or full-frame sensor body, where it vignettes to some extent across the board, at all focal lengths and apertures, but most evidently at apertures wider than f/5.6. Wide open at f/2.8 at 28mm, the corners are over a full stop darker than the center of the frame (1 1/4 EV). The best performance on full-frame appears to be at 50mm from f/2.8-f/5.6, and at f/8 and smaller vignetting turns into a non-issue at the telephoto end. Fortunately, all of these problems are relatively easy to compensate for in Photoshop.

Distortion
In most zoom lenses, we see barrel distortion at the wide end, changing to pincushion at longer focal lengths, and the Tamron lens is no exception here. On the APS-C sized sensor, distortion is only truly evident on the wide end (28mm), where it reaches it maximum value of 0.5% barrel in the corners. Fully zoomed out to 75mm, there is very little pincushion distortion. These results are somewhat exacerbated on a full-frame sensor, where at the widest (28mm) the distortion increases to about 0.6% barrel, and you begin to see some pincushion distortion in the corners when zoomed out, to a maximum of 0.5%. Depending on your subject, you might not even notice these elements of distortion, and they are correctable to some degree in Photoshop.

AF Operation
The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 is mechanically driven, so it's not going to be as fast as newer offerings that use ultrasonic motors. That said, we found it to be quicker than we expected, and quite snappy when changing between close focus points. Racking through the full focus range is comparatively slow and there's a pause at the far extension: perhaps one second in total (though the pause could legitimately be the Canon AF system we were testing this lens on, and not the lens itself). It is not possible to override the autofocus at any point by turning the focus ring while in AF mode: you can, but you are working against the clutch, which is probably not healthy for the lens gearing. There is an MF setting which releases the clutch, and easy manual focusing is possible. There is perhaps an inch of travel in the focus ring, more than some cheaper lenses, which gives sufficient travel for accurate manual focusing. The autofocus itself is slightly noisy, but still relatively discreet. As described earlier the lens filter mount doesn't turn or extend at all while focussing.

Macro
Tamron claims that with its close-focus range of thirteen inches (33mm), it is the best in its class for this particular specification; and indeed, comparing the specifications across comparable lenses, this does indeed appear to be the case the case. There are better lenses devoted strictly to macro work, but with its maximum magnification of 1: 3.9 at 75mm it does a respectable job of macro reproduction.

Build Quality and Handling
The lens is built with the bigger zoom ring closer to the camera body, and a smaller focus ring at the far end. Both are textured well with a good grip. The lens is "assembled in China" and has a definite plastic feel: One has a definite sense that as little metal has been used as possible to make the lens lighter and less expensive. The lens comes with a substantial petal lens hood, and while attaching the hood to the lens, we noted some flex in the lens barrel. When taking some test shots from a Canon 30D with the built-in speedlight, on the wide (28mm) end you will see a shadow from the lens hood on the bottom third of the frame: you want to use an external flash for shots in this situation, or remove the hood.

There's no aperture ring, so you'll need a newer body which controls aperture from the body, and a mechanical focus drive to enable autofocus. (This leaves out cameras like the Nikon D40 and D40x, which lack an AF drive motor.) There's a lock to prevent zoom creep, but waving the lens around, we didn't experience any; perhaps in time when the mechanism is a bit more worked out, zoom creep would become a factor. Regarding the lens caps: Both are quite solid, the front being a pinch-style which goes on easily and works well. The rear is finicky about getting attached but once it's on, it stays on. Some readers remarked that the focus ring of this lens rotates during AF operation. This is true, so be aware of this fact if you're likely to be bothered by it. In our own use, it didn't bother us, as we generally didn't grip the lens towards the end of its barrel where the focus ring is located.

Alternatives

There could be a lengthy discussion concerning alternatives to this particular class of lens, not just with other lens manufacturers, but with other classes of lenses: With the advent of the digital (APS-C sized) sensor, digital lenses have now become popular to replicate the zoom ranges of traditional lenses, such as the 28-70mm range. It's arguable that the 28-75mm lens range has lost its prominence, being subordinated by zooms starting at 18mm to regain the wide-angle capability that's been lost due to the "crop factor" of the most common digital sensors. To reduce this level of complication we'll compare only lenses with a constant f/2.8 aperture. This is made a little difficult by the fact that we've only tested one other lens in the same category as of this writing, so we can really only make objective comparisons for that one, the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM ~$1,150
As if to raise a few eyebrows, the Tamron lens is actually a hair sharper than the Canon competition, across all apertures and focal lengths. While the Tamron achieves stable sharpness across its focal lengths by f/4, it's only at f/5.6 that Canon is uniformly sharp. Both lenses do fairly well with chromatic aberration, though it's much more noticeable on the Canon on the wide end. This can perhaps be expected, as the Canon goes a little wider (24mm). The Canon controls vignetting much more reliably than the Tamron though, and distortion is similar between both models. So optically it's a mixed bag, but for fit and finish it becomes quite clear that you get what you pay for: The Canon is almost twice as heavy and much more robust, and its autofocus is exceptionally quick.

Konica Minolta 28-70mm f/2.8 G AF $?
If you're using a Sony Alpha, this is your default lens in this range if you want to stay true to the brand (inasmuch as you can); otherwise, the Tamron is available in this lens mount. You're not likely to find a new version on dealer's shelves, however. When it retailed, the KM model was more than twice the price, and is about fifty percent heavier.

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 IF-ED AF-S ~$1699.95
Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8 IF-ED AF-S ~$1530
Renowned for its sharpness, but similarly to the Canon model, the Nikon 28-70mm is almost three times the price and almost twice the weight. For a few dollars more though, you might want to get the new 24-70mm, which is 35 grams lighter ( 1.2 oz) than its older brother, and is one of the crop of new lenses that Nikon announced in August 2007, calling particular attention to their designed-for-digital optical quality.

Pentax 28-70mm f/2.8 SMC P-FA ~$?
The Pentax offering in this lens category, similar to those of other major manufacturers, is about fifty percent heavier than the Tamron. It was also more than twice as expensive, if/when you can find it on the shelves.

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro ~$400
Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG ~$310
Sigma has two lenses in this particular range available for about the same price and weight as the Tamron. Again, we haven't tested either yet, but readers give the 24-70mm good marks for build quality, image quality, and bokeh (rendering of out-of-focus elements in the scene), but readers were divided over its wide-open sharpness. The average user rating was 8.14 out of 10 points. Only one reader had reviewed the 28-70mm as of this writing. He liked it well enough, but was disappointed with the softness at f/2.8. (He still felt it was a worthwhile value though, given its low price, giving it 7 points out of a possible 10.)

Tokina 28-70mm AT-X 287 AF PRO SV ~$?
At 719 grams, the Tokina is slightly heavier than the Tamron. Unfortunately, you're not likely to find it on many dealer's shelves. When you can, it should be slightly less expensive. We've not tested the Tokina ourselves; the one reader who's reviewed it reported softness at f/2.8, but gave it 8 out of 10 points overall.

Conclusion

Without detailed test results for the majority of competing offerings by major manufacturera, it's hard to make a definitive conclusion on the worthiness of this lens. However, we can say this: for the money, the lens has excellent optical qualities that rival at least one major (and much more expensive) lens in its category (the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8). The real question may be the longevity and fitness of the lens. Being made of mostly plastic, it will be a delight to carry for long stretches, but who knows how it might fair from a bit of knocking around. (In fairness, while a number of readers remarked on its plasticky feel, none reported reliability problems with it.) If you're a pro, you may already know you need a pro lens that can take it; if you're not as worried about where you may take it, then you may find yourself very pleasantly surprised by the performance of this lens, and pleased by the extra cash in your pocket.


Sample Photos!
Beginning in July 2007, we now provide sample photos of two laboratory test targets to help in our readers' evaluation of the lenses we test. The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.

As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and f/8. For the "VFA" target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.

To see the sample shots from this lens captured with this lens on our test body, just click on either of the thumbnails below, and scroll as needed in the window that appears.


Still Life shot


VFA target

Full-Frame Test Notes:

Sharpness

On a sub-frame sensor, sharpness was excellent; these results change on a full-frame body. Corner softness at f/2.8 is very pronounced at all focal lengths, while still being remarkably sharp in the middle (no surprises here, as that's what we saw on the sub-frame results). Again, stop down to f/4 and these sharpness issues become almost negligible, and by f/5.6 the lens is again very well-behaved across the frame, showing excellent sharpness. When diffraction sets in around f/16, the story remains the same as we saw with the cropped sensor: not unreasonably soft, but not overly sharp either.

Chromatic Aberration
The Tamron 28-75 handles chromatic aberration very well, its optimal performance exhibited at 60mm with an aperture of f/4. CA tends to be most apparent in wide- or superwide-angle lenses, and with a wide focal length of 28mm, CA is never too much of an issue here. Points where CA occur most are with the lens wide open at f/2.8, at the widest and longest ends, but even there, it is very well controlled and shows up only in the corners of the frame. Happily, the CA performance on a full-frame body is very similar.

Shading ("Vignetting")
Corner sharpness wasn't much of an issue on a sub-frame sensor. However, the story changes when the lens is used on a film or full-frame sensor body, where it vignettes to some extent across the board, at all focal lengths and apertures, but most evidently at apertures wider than f/5.6. Wide open at f/2.8 at 28mm, the corners are over a full stop darker than the center of the frame (1 1/4 EV). The best performance on full-frame appears to be at 50mm from f/2.8-f/5.6, and at f/8 and smaller vignetting turns into a non-issue at the telephoto end. Fortunately, all of these problems are relatively easy to compensate for in Photoshop.

Distortion
In most zoom lenses, we see barrel distortion at the wide end, changing to pincushion at longer focal lengths, and the Tamron lens is no exception here. On the APS-C sized sensor, distortion is only truly evident on the wide end (28mm), where it reaches it maximum value of 0.5% barrel in the corners. Fully zoomed out to 75mm, there is very little pincushion distortion. These results are somewhat exacerbated on a full-frame sensor, where at the widest (28mm) the distortion increases to about 0.6% barrel, and you begin to see some pincushion distortion in the corners when zoomed out, to a maximum of 0.5%. Depending on your subject, you might not even notice these elements of distortion, and they are correctable to some degree in Photoshop.

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical IF SP AF User Reviews

8.2/10 average of 41 reviews Build Quality 7.3/10 Image Quality 8.6/10
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Image quality, relatively cheap, full frame lens
    Build quality, sharpness on edges

    This lens is similar to the Tamron 17-50 in terms of built quality and image quality. My copy may have an issue because it lacks sharpness on the edges of the APS-C frame. I see this lens, as a future full frame standard zoom if it is a good copy. Given that images are blurred on the edges of the APS-C frame, I wonder how bad it would be when used with a full frame body. But for now, I'd only write the pros and cons of this lens as I used it on APS-C.

    Pros:
    - great sharpness in the 2/3 of the frame (center)
    - fast f/2.8
    - sharp when closed 1 stop, tack sharp when closed two stops
    - cheap
    - reliable AF
    - works with 24x36 image circle
    - Tamron 5 years guarantee


    Cons:
    - a bit heavier that 17-50 (feels like 28-75 has more glass)
    - noisy AF

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    reviewed October 30th, 2015 (purchased for $350)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (7 reviews)
    Sharpness, Light, Useful range
    nothing really - the autofocus is "old-school" but efficient

    This a review of my second Tamron 28-75mm. I use it on 5D MarkII. I've an old "made in Japan" sample. Due to the choices on 24-70mm, this lens is no more considered as really an alternative... Well it should!

    If the focal range beginning at 28mm doesn't bothered you, you can take a deep look at this lens.

    There could be sample variations (as many zoom, even with Canon L) but my 28-75mm:
    - Is very sharp across the range, even @f2.8/75mm. I'm not a "corners pixel-peeper" but I can say you for portraits this lens is sometimes too sharp!
    - Focuses accuratly (I've tuned the Micro Adjustment of my 5DII to -4, and the focus is spot on with every focal length)
    - I like the colors, with a nice contrast
    - Out-of-focus blurs render nicely (the bokeh @f2.8 is for me very good - with only 7th blades when stopped dows it could more harsh but if you want bokeh, use it @f2.8 or @f3.2)
    - Costs me few bucks (200€ in 2nd hand - mint condition). The best 24-70mm for Canon costs 2000€, the stabilized Tamron 24-70mm 850€, and are really heavier/bulkier.
    - Very good performance at minimum focus distances for near-macro shots.
    - Is correctly built and light, unobtrusive.
    - For the transport & durability, the lock at 28mm is a nice plus.

    The minus are the audible Autofocus, the zoom ring not really smooth, the not-so-good flare & ghost when light is pointed to the lens. Use the lens hood to limit this effect.

    To summarize, it's a very good performer, and it's sufficient light to put it often in your camera bag. My favorite lens is the 24mm TS-E II, and this Tamron 28-75mm compliments well it during trips/holidays.

    reviewed October 9th, 2014 (purchased for $200)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (52 reviews)
    sharp, nice build, (relatively) light, price
    72mm filter, harsh bokeh

    a budget alternative for the pricey 24-70. great for film or fullframe users. It produces sharp images. Build quality is ok, and relatively light (compared to the "real" 24-70). It uses non-standard 72mm filters (I prefer the pro-77 size, but hey they cut the weight out of it). Images are sharp, but it has a "harsh" bokeh character. Not a problem if you're shooting landscapes, but for portraits, Sigma does better in terms of bokeh quality.

    reviewed October 12th, 2012 (purchased for $375)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    affordable fast lens, decent focus, compact and lightweight
    at this price point not many, but compared to $$$$ lenses, it's a bit soft at the edges

    I've used this lens for several years and have been happy with its performance. I bought it as an affordable 2.8, used it in many scenarios from portrait to action to news. It's a great all around medium telephoto at a good price. If you're serious about a good deal, this is it. However, if you're serious about the highest performing 2.8 lens, you'd be better off looking at the Canon version, or the new ultrasonic focusing Tamron.

    If you're in the market for this lens, I'm selling mine on ebay right now to upgrade to the Canon version.

    Here's the link http://bit.ly/K7UPsZ

    reviewed May 28th, 2012
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Excellent sharpness, color
    None

    I have a Sony A580 and this lens is fantastic. The Pics are excellent, sharpness, color, clarity are all wonderful. I do not have any issues with the af hunting in low light. I am able without any issues take action low light pics.

    As for being wide enough, yes it is for what I do. I do not miss the extra wide as this lens does about everything I need it to do.

    This is an excellent walk around lens, and for fine more demanding photography. I have found a lot of Semi-Pro Photographers love this lens for what it is able to do.

    The only time I switch lens is for of course longer shots such as the kids playing soccer, wildlife where a longer Tele lens is requried.

    All in all this is a great lens!!!

    reviewed October 29th, 2011 (purchased for $450)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Sharp, bright glass; rapid focusing even in low light

    I got this lens because I don't have a standard zoom. I wanted a bright, sharp zoom that would work with my D5000, and this was much less expensive than the comparable offerings from Nikon and Sigma (the Sigma with a focusing motor is over $900 and the Nikon is about twice that).

    The one thing that I was worried about was how well it would focus in low light, because a number of other users have faulted it in that regard. I tried the lens out when my son was playing at a dark local bar. I had to set my ISO to my maximum 6400 and the lens to f/2.8. Still, the shutter speed ranged from about 1/10s to 1/30s -- it was dark on that stage! The lens focused without hunting every time. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and accurately it focused. I don't shoot sports, so I don't have high demands for focusing speed, but for normal use the lens was perfectly appropriate.

    I also have the Tamron 90, which is a very good lens but has a bit of a LoCA problem. I have not yet seen any evidence of LoCA with this lens.

    I like the focal range of this lens -- it is just about perfect for portrait shoots -- how sharp it is, even wide open (though f/4 is even better), and how close the lens focuses. It is ideal as a "walking around lens." For me, this lens is a real keeper.

    ETA: I just finished a two-week vacation with this as my primary lens. My vacation album indicates which lens was used with each shot -- about 2/3 of the shots are with this lens, and can be viewed here: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/6370541681/invite/7CC9C0BB24A840A7BE68C051C4134093

    The biggest surprise I found when using the lens on vacation was how often I wanted to adjust the barrel distortion at the wide end. The SLRGear review suggests that this is minimal, but for some reason I found it more noticeable than I was expecting. It is simple distortion that is easy to correct, but was just more obvious than I was anticipating. At the long end, I have also occasionally corrected for pin-cushion distortion (again, simple distortion that is easy to correct). Nonetheless, this has become my default lens. It is very pleasing in terms of sharpness, contrast, and color fidelity. And the brightness and focal range are very much to my liking.

    reviewed May 17th, 2011 (purchased for $475)
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by (2 reviews)
    light and inexpensive
    soft @ 2.8

    I did not buy. I have an old 35-70 Nikon 2.8. I compared 6 images shot with this lens @ 2.8 handheld @ 35 and 70 focal length. The Nikon was just sharper and brighter after I downloaded. I did not "upgrade" to the Tamron.
    Handheld may be unfair but on the 6 images w each lens the Nikon was consistently sharper.

    reviewed March 24th, 2011
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Optically excellent. Usable F2.8 and very good by F4. Light weight. Good value for the money.
    Inconsistent AF accuracy. No image stabilizing.

    I bought my Tamron 28-75 F2.8 brand new a few years ago. The build quailty is acceptable for the price and the optic is excellent. I took many of my best photos with this lens I have a few Canon DSLR bodies and this lens works well most of the time. The image quality is almost as good as most Canon primes using in the 1.6 crop DSLRs as reviewed in the web.

    However, this lens has a fatal less known problem: inconsitent AF accuracy. For critical works, I must check every picture with maximum manification on the LCD for sure. Perhaps best with 10X on liveveiw.

    I think Tamron had designed this lens with too short path in the focus ring (a trade off for the weak & noisy AF motor & gear?). The focus ring turns from 0.33m to infinity in less than 90 degree. This is difficult to acheive exact focus operation even by MF. The AF motor and gear are simply not precise enough for this Tamron.
    I won't recommend this lens for the pros who need every photo counts without 2nd chance. I would prefer a slower AF operation to trade for accuracy.

    If I'm a Tamron engineer, I will redesign this lens with ring type USM. Perhaps even add image stabilizing for better low light operation. Hopefully, with similar low price.

    reviewed June 19th, 2010 (purchased for $300)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by (2 reviews)
    Cheap, at f/4 image is usable, but not tack sharp
    image is blurry at f/2.8 especially at 75mm FL

    I used this lens as alternatives for nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. This tamron is a so..so...lens. OK to have, but the image quality is not really sharp, especially at 75mm f/2.8. It is blurry. Stop down to f/4, the image is usable. So, to answer my curiosity, (after saving for months), I finally afford to buy Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8. Then I compared it side by side with this lens. And...the price tells everything. The Nikon blow this lens away. So, After about 8 months of using tamron, I gave up and sold it.

    reviewed April 29th, 2010 (purchased for $360)
  • 4 out of 10 points and not recommended by (1 reviews)
    Size, Sharpness and Color
    Really bad AF speed, inconsistant quality of lenses

    After reading reviews here I decided I would give this lens a try with my new D700. I lucked out and got a pretty good sharp version of the lens. I was initially pretty happy with the lens, it was a little blurry at the edges at 2.8f but sharp from 4f. Captured color pretty well and I liked that it is fairly small and light weight.

    However it didn't take long for me to realize this lens was almost unusable because of the slow AF speed. I tried to ignore it for awhile since you can't expect everything from such a low cost lens but the 3-4 sec focus times (indoor lighting) were unacceptable. Works better in broad daylight but still not reliable enough to capture action.

    I thought my AF issues might just be due to the inconsistent manufacturing of these lenses, but versions I tried at my local camera store were also slow. Also I just didn't feel like jumping through all of the hoops of testing the lens quality over and over to make sure I got a "sharp" version again. Might be a good starter lens, but you'll be missing some photo opportunities because of the slow AF

    reviewed August 20th, 2009 (purchased for $400)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Price, image quality, colors
    quality control, soft at f/2.8

    First let me say my first copy of this lens was totally bad, soft at just about every everything under f/8.0. My second copy behaves very similar to the review copy from SLRgear.

    I'm using this lens on A Pentax K2000 (K-m in Japan), that has the same sensor as the Pentax K200. I have several other lens but my best lens is Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 and I define sharpness, color and contrast in light of the quality of this lens (one of the better 50mm primes).

    at f/2.8 it is soft and at center or corners depending on the focal length. Still, testing also shows potential for smaller images after sharpening, especially at the shorter end. My Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 gives much better images at f/2.8.

    at f/4.0 everything improves a great deal, especially center sharpness but there are still signs of some corner softness at some focal lengths. My Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 is still better at f/4.0.

    at f/5.6 this lens can go "mano a mano" with my Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 and at times I think the Tamron does better. I suspect that both lenses are exceeding the resolution of the camera sensor at this aperture. The fact that this quality at this aperture is so consistent across the full focal length gives the Tamron many points.

    at f/8 the lens acts a little strange. At some longer focal lengths it is as almost as good as when used at f/5.6 while in the shorter end we get a significant lost in quality. Totally usable and still good at f/8 but the lost of quality is unexpected, a little better than f/4.0 at center but no corner softness on the short end.

    at the longer end sharpness is excellent from f/5.6 - f/7.1, very good from f/8-f/11 and still good from f/13-f/16 with little distortion to talk about.

    Macro is very good at 75mm f/8.

    My biggest issue with the lens are as follows: my first copy was bad and too many people write similar experiences. That is not good quality control. My second issue is that from an expectations point of view, at least on my Pentax K2000 camera, the lens seems like a good constant f/4 lens with a f/2.8 in case of emergencies. I would avoid using the f/2.8 aperture if possible (remember, I have a Pentax SMC-FA 50mm f/1.4 lens and used to very good quality at f/2.8). Now, since I paid $400 for the lens and that is more or less what Sigma would charge for a similar lens and 2/3's of what Pentax would charge for their Pentax SMC-DA 17-70mm f/4 AL SDM (that is a little soft at the long end) this is a good buy. Were it not for the quality control issues getting this lens would be a simple "YES". As it stands, I'm like, think about it and be ready to test and return if necessary. If you get a good copy you will find it a good value.

    Update: After some more testing in real life the f/2.8 aperture setting has done well. The photos are at least average and usable after sharpening so I'm giving this lens a 9 in image quality.

    reviewed July 25th, 2009 (purchased for $400)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    light, very sharp, cheap, big bang for the buck
    build quality

    very sharp, contasty, great lens overall

    reviewed June 16th, 2009 (purchased for $400)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    sharp, fast focussing, cheap, weight
    zoomlock, plastic construction

    I recntly bought this lens as a temperary one for my D700, but the IQ convinced me to keep it as permant, at least till some other things are bought for FX camera's.

    Even on iso 25600 the combination(D700) will fpocus correct and fast, this is realy dark.

    The focus is nearly as fast as on my Nikkor AFS 17-55, but a lot faster as other screwdriver AF lenses. Sometimes it seems that the AF is a little off through the short focus rotation, but it only seems, never found any proof on a pic.

    reviewed March 3rd, 2009 (purchased for $250)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Fast, sharp, good color rendition, lightweight, inexpensive.

    This focal length was so so on my D80, but on my new D700 it's fabulous! Portraits coming out very attractive.
    Costs 1/4 of it's Nikkor equivilent. If you are a full time pro, treating your gear roughly, peraps you need the sturdiness of the $1600 lens. Then again you could goe through four of these to break even. If you stop it down to f/4, you probably can't tell the difference.

    reviewed December 22nd, 2008 (purchased for $400)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by (3 reviews)
    cheap, small, IQ
    mecanically weak

    I am a Pentax K10D user. I bought this to replace the kit lens.
    The first one had some kind of front/backfocus problem so it was sent back, the second i got after a week had some centering fault i beleive and now i am waiting for the third lens.

    I'we got my third lens and it was allright between 50-75 but between 25-50 very soft and the camera couldnt focus properly at distances over 2m on shorter distances i was ok. Even this lens was sent back.

    Now i have got both my camera and lens calibrated but it is not what i hoped for and not as good as the test here shows, its sharp in the center from f2,8 and from f4 its almost sharp overall but the contrast i not what i have expected.

    They who have problems with sharpness with this lens I would reccomend to calibrate both the camera and lens.

    After using my lens for several months now i have reeditet my review, the lens overall i a dissapointment, its useful but nothing to rave about

    I belive that the quality is very uneven, there can maybe be good lenses but there are many poor lenses too.

    Kjell

    reviewed October 27th, 2008 (purchased for $410)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Cheap, light, fast
    Plastic feels cheap, noisy focus

    I previously reviewed this lens and was unhappy with the sharpness, speed of focus, focusing noise, and the number of times it would focus inaccurately. I have since purchased the 50mm f/1.8 and the 17-55 f/2.8 lens so can better compare these lenses against the Tamron.
    My perception that this lens was inaccurate at focusing was mostly due to my lack of experience with fast lenses. I have a harder time getting accurate focus with the f/1.8 lens since the depth of field is so small. The 17-55 f/2.8 has less occurrences of focus hunting than the Tamron and is slightly sharper, but you pay for this in weight, size and cost of the lens. The noise of the focusing is still an issue of this lens, as is the cheap feel of the plastic.
    Over all this is great value for money and so much better than the kit lens! If you want fast, light and cheap, then this is the lens for you. If you don't mind weight and cost, then go for the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8. If you want absolute quality and don't need the zoom the 50mm primes produce the best results.

    reviewed September 10th, 2008 (purchased for $300)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Light, Sharp, Fast (f/2.8), great images
    Plasticy feel

    Only downside is the plastic / cheap build feel however it's never had a mechanical issue for me so the feel is not a critical issue.

    Review says there's no aperture ring. THERE IS & it's clearly visible in the picture of the lens at it's base near the mount. Not sure why the reviewer made this clear blunder but I suspect SLR Gear is just rewriting older reviews of other lenses.

    Also, I purchased mine for only ~$350 through a well known used online lens retailer (K E H . c o m) and bought one that had an excellent built rating (highest they had available at the time) & have had not issues with it whatsoever.

    reviewed September 7th, 2008 (purchased for $350)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by (1 reviews)
    Cheap, light
    Soft wide open, focus hunts in low light, focus frequently inaccurate, noisy, construction quality

    After reading the great reviews here on this lens I ordered a copy. Unfortunately I seem to have one of the soft copies that many people mention in their reviews. My advise is only buy this lens if you can buy it from a shop that will let you try 2 or 3 lenses till you find a sharp copy.
    I suspect that the softness in the lens is also the cause of the poor focus performance.
    Overall I am left wishing I had purchased something else as I simply can't trust this lens to capture the moment.
    I ended up purchasing a 50mm 1.8 Nikkor as a replacement for this lens as I couldn't justify the cost of the Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 or 28-70 f2.8

    reviewed June 9th, 2008 (purchased for $300)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Small, Light, Sharper then Canon, Less expensive
    Not really. but just a bit more mm on both ends would be nice

    I've had Tamron in the past when I did film and trust there lenses.

    After switching to Canon I had both the Canon 24-70 and 24-105 and the Tamron 28-75 beats them both with first hand real world test I performed on them all.

    Color is equal, contrast from the tammy was better, sharpness, the Tamron won by just a bit.

    AF from the Tamron is just a hair under the speed of the Canon's and is accurate in low light.

    The Tamron was a bit soft wide open @ 2.8 but any smaller it was killer sharp.

    If you need weather sealing and IS then you know your choices.

    But if your after IQ the Tamron 28-75mm is King and well built too.

    The newer generation of lenses in the world of 3rd party are now equal or surpass Canon.

    I'm very much a Canon red ring, L nut but this Tamron 28-75 stands out as a winner for Tamron similar to the Cinderella story.

    reviewed February 29th, 2008 (purchased for $329)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Light, fast and tack sharp
    None so far

    One of the sharpest lenses I have come across. I use it almost all the time now and would be lost without it. Everyone says it is poorly built but I don't think it is. It is a very good inexpensive lens ( NOT CHEAP ). I just wish someone would make a F2.8 16 -120 and have it this sharp from F2.8 on. If you are planning on getting this lens though save yourself some hassle and buy it at a good shop where you can take your camera with you and test it first hand ...... that will eliminate getting a soft copy but then I suggest this advice when buying any lens ! .... Bottom line is don't hesitate to include this lens in your kit it is superbe

    reviewed February 3rd, 2008 (purchased for $280)
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    Sharp @ 2.8, Critically Sharp at 5.6, light weight, contrast, short MFD, works well with extension tubes
    slow af

    This lens is very sharp at 2.8, I stop it down just to get wider DOF. At 5.6 it can at certain distances outresolve the 400D 10mp sensor.
    Contrast is great, color seems to have a tiny bit of yellowish cast (compared to canon) which a gray card solves completely.

    Lightweight, though made out of plastic and rubber, after a year of use it is still like new.
    With an extension tube can be used as a half decent macro lens (sharp enough and can go very close).
    See: http://www.pbase.com/katzer/tamron_28_75_macro

    The only complaint I have is about the AF, a tad slow but still acceptable.

    Highly recommended

    reviewed December 23rd, 2007 (purchased for $400)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Extremely sharp from f4 to f11, acceptable at 2,8.
    Slow AF, build quality a bit poor.

    I was worried about image quality at corners on my 5D, but I found them more than sufficient. AF is a bit slow but precise, the keep rate is quite high.
    Using it a bit stopped down and not on fast moving subjects will delivery really crisp images.

    Quality/Price wise it is a winner! I'm happy I bought it.

    reviewed June 7th, 2007
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    Optically great
    None relevant

    As the Tamron 90 mm F2.8 Macro, this lens is really a jewel, especially seen its price. Extremely versatile and optically valid, it pays just a bit of plasticky finish compared to brand lenses. But would be better having a more expensive, perfectly finished lens which average to poor optical quality? As for the 90mm, which is another Tamron bestseller, I think they should add some kind of inner motor to make it even better. Of course, its sweet spot is around F8/F11 but even wide open is really good.

    reviewed April 23rd, 2007 (purchased for $445)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (3 reviews)
    Small, fast, light, inexpensive, and fully usable wide open.
    Focus not as fast as Canon's USM, a bit noisy, too.

    I bought this lens to go on my Nikon N80 and have been very pleased. I wanted a compact general purpose lens that I could use in low light. Its constant f2.8 has proven its worth again and again. The lens is fully usable wide open and is surprisingly sharp across the field at all apertures and focal lengths. Much smaller and lighter than OEM equivalents, and much more affordable. I bought mine used (but indistinguishable from new) at B&H for a laughable $150.

    No, it's not as well built as the Canon equivalent, but considering the images it produces are equal to the Canon, I'll take the lighter weight and smaller size (not to mention the savings) anytime.

    I haven't used it on a digital SLR as yet, so I can't comment on its utility in that regard.

    Very highly recommended.

    reviewed January 13th, 2007 (purchased for $150)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Light, sharp, f/2.8
    None at the price, occasionally need wider

    I bought this lens for my Rebel XT before the Tamron 17-50 was available. However it makes an excellent walk around lens and I find the 75 mm length gets used a lot. Sometimes I wish it was wdier, but I generally stitch my landscapes anyway. I will probably get a 10-22 for the wide angles rather than upgrade to one of the 17-xx lenses. Mine is very sharp and focuses accurately. Colors are not quite as vivid as my 70-200L, but stil very good. It is light and compact, so a very good fit for the small XT. The lens cap has internal clasps, making it easy to remove with the hood in place - very convenient!

    reviewed January 9th, 2007 (purchased for $330)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    can beat an L lens in center sharpness, small, light, f2.8
    AF not fast enough for kids

    excellent sharpness with a large aperture in a cheap price.
    great lens for normal shooting.

    FF compatible. hard to beat for its price.

    AF is not fast enough for moving objects, but can get amazing shots in stills. sometime a 2nd AF press is needed for better results.

    reviewed January 8th, 2007 (purchased for $390)
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Wide aperture, Affordable
    Not as sharp as the Nikon version

    Very the price this is a very good lens. I use it for indoors in low light situations and it goes all the way down to 28mm so I can use it in tight places where I wouldn't be able to use my 50mm or my 85mm.

    reviewed December 17th, 2006 (purchased for $325)
  • 5 out of 10 points and not recommended by (9 reviews)
    Cheaper than the equivalent Canon L lens (24-70L); light; f2.8.
    Colours muted; terrible autofocus especially in low light.

    This lens has been nothing but trouble for me. I bought it because I read reviews saying it was a good, cheaper alternative to the Canon 24-70L or 24-105L. When I first bought it, I noticed that a very large proportion of photos were out of focus... with both back and front focusing. Something wrong with the camera's autofocus. Thus I had to send it for Tamron recalibration. 4 months later the lens returned... In apparent working order. Now most of shots are sharp. One still must switch to manual focus in low light. It is slow to focus under all conditions in comparison to Canon L. However, my biggest complaint with this lens is the colour. Always muted and less intense than through my Canon L lenses. meaning more post-processing to achieve similar looking results. Also the barrel extends when focusing- irritating with a polarizer etc attached. To sum up. This is not a cheaper lens that gives similar results to Canon L's. It is a cheaper lens that gives inferior results. I wish I had the money to buy the Canon 24-70L. For now, I am stuck with it. I should say that some people have had good experiences with the lens sharpness/colour. Quality control at the CHinese plant(where the lens is made) must be an issue.

    reviewed December 16th, 2006 (purchased for $300)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (4 reviews)
    F2.8; light weight, good image quality, good zoom range
    Autofocus sometimes hunts and ring moves

    The lens covers a nice range for photographing kids indoors with a Canon 20D crop factor. The lens is light, compact and short at 28mm which means that shadowing is not a problem in flash photographs. (I also have a Sigma 24-70 F2.8, which has a serious shadow problem at short focal lengths.)

    The lens occasionally fails to focus and sometimes overshoots/hunts in low light focusing and is not quiet, but overall, it is an excellent lens. The light weight and good range means it stays on my camera almost all the time.

    In addition to being very useable and light weight (for an F2.8), it takes great pictures! I highly recommend this lens.

    reviewed December 12th, 2006
  • 8 out of 10 points and recommended by (6 reviews)
    Fast, Sharp, Low Cost
    Construction leaves a bit to be desired, No IF

    If you don't have the bucks for a Nikon ED or Canon L lens this one is worth considering. Very sharp and fast. Focus is good. The biggest con I have, is as others have said, is in the construction. Kind of cheap feeling. Otherwise a good product.

    reviewed December 11th, 2006 (purchased for $375)
  • 6 out of 10 points and not recommended by (7 reviews)
    *can* be shockingly sharp, cheap
    focus ring spins, big, very plasticky

    I have bought two copies of this lens, but returned both of them due to extreme softness at the long end. I have tested both extensively, an so have a good impression of this lens.

    First off, it's quite big, especially when extended. Search the web for images of it extended - you'll see what I mean, if you don't know already. The build quality felt surprisingly poor, in a 'lowest-bidder' kind of sense.

    The focus ring spins when AF is working, and has a sharp and abrasive ribbing, so it really jumps in your hand if you're holding it wrong (which is very easy to do). I found this a real problem, having big hands.

    I found the focal range is rather on the long end on APS-C, not truly ideal for touristy walk-around. Unfortunately there's no cheap lens that has the right focal range and also works on FF, for future upgrades of the camera body.

    One of the copies was unbelivably sharp at the wide end (fully open!), so I can believe all the raves about this lens. It just wasn't amazing enough overall for me to try a third time...

    reviewed December 7th, 2006 (purchased for $400)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (17 reviews)
    size, weight, constant 2.8 aperture, price, SHARP, included lens hood.
    a little slow to focus in low light, Wish it was 24mm instead of 28mm.

    This lens is a complete steel.

    Although it's 1/3 the price of canon's 24mm-70mm 2.8 L, I actually prefer the color and sharpness from the tamron.

    The constant 2.8 aperture is fantastic for portaits and low light work. Although acceptable for small prints at 2.8, it's sharpness is fantastic from 4.0 and up.

    My only real complaint, is that it's focus motor is a bit slow.

    reviewed November 21st, 2006 (purchased for $380)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (15 reviews)
    Resolution,distortions,vignetting,CAs,bokeh, Size and weight.Price.
    Not found. Some would want faster AF.

    This is a very good lens. the center resolution is very good to excellent and the borders follow very close (only a little soft at 28 mm, F:2.8) . The distortions are very low as is the amount of vignetting. CAs are low. Nice bokeh. Decent macro. Nice size and weight compared with Nikon´s 28-70 mm. The build quality of the lens is good. Excellent as a portrait lens.

    reviewed November 20th, 2006 (purchased for $399)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (12 reviews)
    2.8, fast AF, sharp
    took a while to find a sharp lens, barrel extends

    after my 70-200 2.8L this is my 2nd most used lens.

    my first copy was soft but my second copy was sharp.

    Great color, great saturation and image quality through out.

    reviewed November 18th, 2006 (purchased for $600)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (17 reviews)
    Very Sharp, Good Price, Lightweight, good build quality.

    Great Value for Money, and to be fair, can't beat for 2-3 times more expensive lens.

    Great Sharpness, especially from f/4 upwards and all the way from center to corners.

    Great Contrast, Natural Colors.

    I wish it was better build, but then it would be an L lens......

    Highly Recommended.

    reviewed November 16th, 2006
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (8 reviews)
    budget f/2.8 lens, light weight, excellent color rendition, good macro capabilities
    focusing issues, build could use some work, some flare issues, at times frustrating on an APS-C camera

    This was the first ever good lens I brought (the previous being a Canon 35-80 first issue), and the first for my 30D. It's been a main stay for a while now.

    For a constant f/2.8 lens, it's price, weight and flexibility can not be beat. This lens travels between my 30D and my Rebel Ti (yes, film :-) ), and constantly yields great results that don't require excruciating amounts of post-processing.

    Yet as much as I love the pictures, there are just times when this lens frustrates the heck out of me.

    For one, focusing is quite slow; it may not seem like it at first, but once you've grown into the lens, the AF mechanism starts to show its limitations, esp. when you want to capture moments that only last for one time; I've had to go MF at times, and even then, that's not fun. It's also true that the motor "whines" when it tries to acquire a focus...

    I also would have liked it if the lens were made more sturdier, but then again, I've abused it like crazy :-).

    One more niggle, is that it's range on my 30D = 45-120, which is not so wide, but then again, it makes for excellent macro shots, which this lens is quite good at.

    All these complaints aside, I'd still say go for this lens if you want a good constant f/2.8 lens that won't break the bank and yield excellent results. Also, keep in mind it comes with a lens hood and a long warranty!

    reviewed November 14th, 2006
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Price, sharpness.
    Can't think of any

    I think this is the best lens for the price anywhere. I shoot 35mm film on an EOS1 and an EOS10 and this is my lens of choice. The edge sharpness just about can't be beat for under 1500USD and I wonder if the higher price is worth it.

    Cheers

    LL

    UPDATE: I recently bought a 30D and it's on that camera almost all the time now.

    reviewed June 6th, 2006 (purchased for $390)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    fast at 2.8 throughout; relatively light; crisp images
    sometimes hunts to focus, mostly plastic construction, could be wider

    This lens almost never leaves my Nikon D70. It is a fabulous general-purpose lens. I bought it because I wanted a medium-range zoom that was faster than the run-of-the-mill 4.5, 5.6, etc. zooms on the market. It wish that it were a tad wider angle, but it suits my needs for general purposes. Because it is 2.8 throughout, it is heavier than slower zooms, but still portable and manageable. I highly recommend this lens (and in fact recommended it to a good friend).

    Image quality is terrific. I have not been disappointed. I use it for landscapes, portaits, even quasi-macros.

    It is not a super wide nor a great telephoto, but for me it really covers the range of the most-useful ranges.

    reviewed March 17th, 2006
  • 10 out of 10 points and recommended by (5 reviews)
    Very nice contrast. Sharp. Good build quality. F2.8 max aperture.
    Kinda wish it was 17-85.

    This is a very sweet lens.

    Nice and sharp, good contrast.

    I love the Tamron look to my shots.

    Very good build quality, useful zoom range.

    Nice to have the F2.8 max aperture.

    Kinda wish it was a 24-85.

    This is an excellent lens for a Rebel XT or a Canon 20D.

    If I lost this lens, I would buy another one, just on the principle that this is a classic lens.

    reviewed October 28th, 2005 (purchased for $420)
  • 9 out of 10 points and recommended by (1 reviews)
    Lightweight
    A wee bit noisy but not objectionable

    This lens spends a considerable amount of time on my 20D. It is quite sharp and contrasty throughout it's range.

    Bright f/2.8 and close focusing ability makes this a very flexible lens. Build quality is a bit better than one would expect in this price range.

    One of the best values out there for a medium range telephoto. I am quite pleased with this lens and Highly Recommend it!

    reviewed October 23rd, 2005 (purchased for $350)
  • 7 out of 10 points and recommended by (2 reviews)
    Well built lense
    Front focus ring turns when auto focusing

    Great lense for the money, don't think you could beat it anywhere. BUT, like several friends this was the second lense we got. The first one front focused so bad it was unusable for close shots (1ft. to 20ft.) With this lense now it's sharp from f2.8 thru the entire zoom range up to f16. Great natural color, good contrast, and sharp. Highly recommended -- if you get a good copy! Nice all around lense.

    reviewed October 20th, 2005 (purchased for $389)