Tamron’s 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 superzoom beats expectations
“Small and lightweight, this superzoom is perfect for casual photography.”
Bright f/2.8 aperture (at large finish)
Generally quick autofocus
Premium match and end
Poor edge sharpness
I’m not a fan of superzooms. These “do-everything” lenses often do the whole lot poorly, and my expectations for the Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6, a full-frame lens for Sony E-mount cameras, had been likewise low. At $729, it’s a comparatively reasonably priced multi-purpose lens, and that’s the place I believed the story would finish.
I used to be mistaken.
I largely shoot with primes – lenses which have a set focal size, and don’t zoom in any respect. Primes are sharp, shiny, and compact (nicely, not at all times), and will be optimized as such due to their single focal size. By distinction, the extra zoom vary you cram into one lens, usually the softer, darker, and bigger it turns into.
But the Tamron 28-200mm stunned me. It is mild and compact for a 7x zoom, whereas additionally being brighter than most, hitting a powerful f/2.8 on the large finish, 2/3 cease higher than a majority of different related lenses.
Tamron 28-200mm at 28mm
Tamron 28-200mm at 200mm
My expectations for sharpness, nevertheless, remained conservative. Mounting the lens to a 61-megapixel Sony A7R IV, supplied for this evaluate by Lensrentals, I knew intuitively that it couldn’t dwell as much as that digicam’s potential — and I used to be proper.
The factor is, it didn’t should. While it’s simple to query why somebody would put money into an costly full-frame digicam solely to outfit it with low cost glass, the reality is there are numerous the explanation why we take photos, and for many of us, capturing the best quantity of element is just not the principle one.
Daven Mathies | Digital TrendsThe Tamron 28-200mm isn’t a professional-level lens, however it’s additionally doesn’t have to be. It’s the proper “uncle Bob” lens you need to use as a visitor at a marriage, a lot to the annoyance of the skilled photographer employed to doc the occasion. But I imply this genuinely. This is a lens for the best way most individuals take photos more often than not, and in that function, it excels. Even that aforementioned skilled wedding ceremony photographer may wish to take the lens out on her off days.
At simply 4.6 inches lengthy (compressed at 28mm) and solely about 20 ounces in weight, the Tamron 28-200mm gained’t make you’re feeling overburdened. I carried it and the Sony A7R IV in my hand on a three-hour hike and by no means felt fatigued. I didn’t actually have a digicam strap.
This is the Tamron’s largest power. Full-frame cameras, even mirrorless ones, can balloon to unwieldy sizes when paired with some lenses, and becoming this a lot zoom vary into such a cell package deal is spectacular.
Daven Mathies | Digital TrendsThe lens can be moisture-resistant, which I very a lot appreciated whereas taking photos close to the bottom of a waterfall.
About half of the outer lens barrel is devoted to the zoom ring, which is wrapped in a grippy rubber that feels nice within the hand. The zoom motion could be very easy and lends a premium really feel to the lens not typically related to the superzoom class. The focus-by-wire ring is a bit flimsier, however I doubt many individuals will likely be utilizing guide focus, anyway.
A zoom lock is the only real swap on the lens, which might maintain it at 28mm when not in use to forestall lens creep. Even if you happen to neglect to make use of it, there’s loads of resistance within the zoom that this shouldn’t be an issue in regular use — I needed to shake the lens pretty violently to get the zoom barrel to maneuver in any respect.
Daven Mathies | Digital TrendsOptically, we’re 18 components in 14 teams, and Tamron lists “a series of specialized elements” designed to enhance sharpness. I take this which an enormous grain of salt as this actually is just not a stellar performer relating to picture high quality, however extra on that later.
The aperture vary is f/2.8 to f/16 on the large finish and f/5.6 to f/32 on the telephoto finish. At 70mm, the utmost aperture is f/4, a full cease brighter than Sony’s 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 on the identical focal size. This is one other actual benefit of the Tamron in comparison with different superzooms, as that additional light-gathering capability will help hold your ISO down or your shutter velocity up, decreasing noise or stopping movement blur, respectively.
Autofocus and picture high quality
The 28-200mm makes use of Tamron’s Rapid Extra-Silent Stepping Drive, or RXD, autofocus motor. In observe, I discovered the lens centered shortly and precisely the overwhelming majority of the time, though it sometimes lagged simply behind when my topic was transferring towards me. In equity, most of my testing was carried out whereas mountain climbing by means of a reasonably darkish forest. Even although it was the center of the day, I used to be typically taking pictures at ISO 3,200 or above, so I wasn’t working with a ton of sunshine. Focus efficiency would doubtless be even higher in brighter situations.
As for picture high quality, nicely, that is the place the 28-200mm begins to fall behind. On the plus aspect, the f/2.8 aperture permits for an honest quantity of depth of area management on the large finish, and the best way the lens renders defocused areas is definitely fairly good so far as superzooms go. The telephoto compression at 200mm additionally makes for an honest portrait look, even when the aperture is simply f/5.6. Subjectively, I don’t hate it, however neither is it something thrilling.
Daven Mathies | Digital TrendsIt’s not all excellent news, although. Objectively, the lens falls quick in a number of methods. Vignetting is intense, and whereas it decreases on the telephoto finish, so does general mild transmission. Shooting f/5.6 at 200mm seems to be to be about 1/3 cease darker than f/5.6 at 70mm. Gratefully although, at smaller apertures, transmission throughout the zoom vary is actually equal.
There can be some unusual conduct relating to element. At the large finish, sharpness falls off fairly considerably from the middle to the perimeters of the body, however the edges do enhance noticeably while you cease right down to f/5.6. The heart, nevertheless, doesn’t appear to get a lot sharper. At the telephoto finish, whereas element is of course extra uniform throughout the body, I didn’t discover any profit to stopping the lens down. F/5.6 and f/11 seemed equally sharp — or equally not sharp.
Part of this most likely has one thing to do with the digicam. At 61 megapixels, the A7R IV is diffraction-limited someplace round f/5.6 — so even when the lens was sharpening up at f/11, there’s an opportunity I simply couldn’t see it. The A7R IV’s is an extremely unforgiving sensor, and I’m not stunned the Tamron 28-200mm doesn’t ever look nice on it below shut inspection.
But it is a lens constructed for informal use in the true world, and until you intend on making enormous prints, I don’t suppose you’ll be dissatisfied with the standard. With in-camera lens corrections enabled, you most likely gained’t even discover lots of its shortcomings. The capacity to seize all kinds of pictures with dependable autofocus from such a light-weight package deal is a big benefit for the typical buyer, one which simply outweighs the imperfect optical efficiency.
One day, optical engineers will discover a technique to construct a superzoom lens that doesn’t sacrifice picture high quality. Today is just not that day. If you’re on the lookout for a lens that may showcase what your full-frame Sony digicam can do, this isn’t it.
But on this case, that’s OK.
The Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 is just not making an attempt to be the one lens to rule all of them. If your costly Sony G Master lenses are what get you thru the week, this Tamron is what you pull out on the weekend. It’s the lens you’re taking tenting or pack into your carry-on for a global flight (when that’s allowed once more). It’s the lens you select while you’re able to cease worrying about megapixels, area curvature, and bokeh, and focus as an alternative on making reminiscences.
And for many of us, that’s what images is all about.
Is there a greater various?
Sony makes a 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 which, at $1,050, isn’t that rather more costly and it offers you extra vary than the Tamron, however on the expense of a slower aperture. It can be bigger and heavier, at 27.6 ounces, making it much less appropriate for actions like mountain climbing.
What strikes me most concerning the Sony lens is the broader angle — the distinction between 24mm and 28mm is larger than you may suppose, however the additional 40mm on the telephoto finish I don’t personally discover to be that helpful. For most individuals, I don’t anticipate both is price giving up 2/3 cease of sunshine and including extra bulk to your digicam bag.
How lengthy will it final?
The stable construct high quality ought to give this lens good longevity and, like most lenses, it ought to final a few years. If you’re it as a primary lens, nevertheless, chances are you’ll shortly outgrow its limitations.
Should you purchase it
Yes, if you need a versatile walk-around lens for a Sony mirrorless digicam. Don’t anticipate optical greatness, however the Tamron 28-200mm is ideal while you want a transportable, one-lens answer for any informal images atmosphere.