Photography News Issue 71

First test

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PRICE: £899

INTRO2020.CO.UK

At a competitive price, this compact E-mount lens offers a fast aperture, wide coverage and a moisture-resistant build Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

SPECS

›  Prices £899 ›  Format Full-frame mirrorless ›  Mount Sony E-mount ›  Autofocus Yes, using RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) motor ›  Construction 13 elements in 11 groups ›  Special lens elements Two moulded aspherical element, one hybrid aspherical element, two LD (Low Dispersion), one XLD (eXtra-Low Dispersion) ›  Coatings BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coating, fluorine on front element ›  Filter size 67mm ›  Aperture range F/2.8-22 ›  Diaphragm Nine blades ›  Internal focus Yes ›  Manual focus Yes – DMF (Direct Manual Focus) ›  Minimum focus 19cm at 17mm, 26cm at 28mm ›  Focus limiter No ›  Maximummagnification 1:5.2 (at 17mm), 1:6 (at 28mm) ›  Distance scale No ›  Depth-of-field scale No ›  Image stabiliser No ›  Tripod collar No ›  Lens hood Supplied ›  Weather sealed Yes, moisture resistant ›  Dimensions (dxl) 73x99mm ›  Weight 420g

THE HUGE POPULARITY of Sony cameras means the brand is well served by independent lens brands and Tamron’s latest arrival is a full-frame, fast constant aperture wide-angle zoom: the Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD. It sells for £899, so it’s competitive for what’s on offer. Its wide coverage and fast f/2.8 aperture throughout are two key selling points, but there’s much

more including a moisture-resistant build, silent autofocusing – and it’s compact, too, making it ideal for travel among other subject areas. I tried it on a full-frame Sony A7R III and APS-C format A6300. The lens handles and balances well on both, although I did find on the A6300 that, while the lens body is contoured as it approaches the camera body, the gap between body and lens might be a bit

tight for those with long or chubby fingers. I found my knuckles grazing the lens body, although it is true that the smooth body finish means there should be no friction issues. If you intend buying this lens with a view of using it with the new A6600 with its chunkier handgrip, this is something that might be worth a check. There are no distance or depth-of- field markings and the focal length

range is swiftly covered in less than one quarter rotation of the zoom ring. The autofocus is smart and worked very nicely with both cameras, giving a swift, precise performance. Manual focus is also good, with the smooth- running focus barrel and you get focus assist, too, which is a bonus. Another bonus is that lens’s size stays constant during focusing and zooming and – for filter users – the accessory thread does not rotate. Optically, the lens delivered a capable performance and showed itself very usable at the wider apertures. At 17mm, for example, there’s lovely sharpness across the frame at f/2.8 and that got better, peaking at f/8 before gradually falling away after f/11. It was a similar performance pattern at 20mm and 24mm, too (only the 20mm results are shown in print, but 24mm shots are on our website). The centre and edges are impressive even at f/2.8 and detail rendition got even better, with stopping down reaching a peak at f/8 and f/11, and then the image softening due to diffraction at the smallest apertures. Apologies for repeating myself, but the Tamron produced a very similar performance at 28mm as we saw at the shorter settings, ie fine image quality at apertures from f/2.8 through to f/8 and then tapering away from f/11 to softer images at f/16 and f/22. Of course, the downside with this lens is that its smaller aperture performance is not as good when maximum depth-of-field is needed, so that is a point to bear in mind, but you still get plenty at f/11 though. With good control of flare and distortion, coupled with its very capable resolution performance – notably at its wider apertures – this Tamron wide-angle zoom is an impressive optic and deserves some serious consideration. WC IMAGES The Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD is compact, making it ideal for travel, and meshes well with Sony full-frame and APS-C bodies

ON TEST

17mm

20mm

28mm

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/4

Verdict The Tamron is a competitively priced wide-angle zoom covering a really handy focal length range and it’s a capable performer throughout its aperture and focal length ranges. It meshes well with Sony full-frame andAPS-C PROS Constant f/2.8, smooth handling, useful range, compact CONS Image quality at f/16 and f/22 not bodies with slick AF, and the fact it is so portable for a lens with this coverage is a big benefit. It’s lovely to use, too.

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/22

F/22

F/22

F/22

F/22

F/22

as good as wider aperture values

Our test shots were taken at IWMDuxford using the Tamron 17-28mmon a Sony A7R III, with the twomounted on a Benro FIF28C carbon-fibre tripod. The shutter was released using the self-timer and Raw files processed through Lightroom

Issue 71 | Photography News 47

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