Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD Review
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD is a new wide-to-super-tele zoom lens for Sony's full-frame E-mount mirrorless camera system, covering a wide variety of subjects ranging from landscape photography to portrait photos and snapshots.
It can also be used with Sony's APS-C cameras where it provides a 42-300mm equivalent focal length range.
The Tamron 28-200mm for Sony is the first all-in-one-zoom lens in the world to achieve a maximum aperture of F2.8 at the 28mm wide-angle end.
Optically is is comprised of 18 elements in 14 groups including GM (Glass Molded Aspherical), hybrid aspherical, XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) and LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements that are precisely arranged to effectively control chromatic and other aberrations.
The 28-200mm Sony FE lens is dust- and moisture-resistant and has a fluorine-coated front element to protect against fingerprints and smudging.
The minimum focusing distance is 19cm with a maximum magnification of 0.32x and it has a near-circular 7 blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to the out-of-focus areas of the image.
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens is priced at £799 / $729 in the UK and the US, respectively, and is available now.
Ease of Use
Weighing in at 575 grams, the mainly plastic-bodied Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD is very light for such a wide-ranging zoom lens.
Its overall size perfectly matches a full-frame body like the Sony A7 III body that we tested it with, as shown in the photos below, not feeling at all front heavy even when fully extended to 200mm.
Note that the length of the Tamron 28-200mm for Sony lens changes dramatically as you zoom from 28mm to 200mm, measuring 117mm at 28mm and extending by a further 55mm at 200mm.
The build quality of the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens is pretty good, with a sober all-black design that matches the other lenses that Tamron have released for Sony E-mount.
It has a metal lens mount and accepts 67mm front filters via plastic threads.
The Tamron 28-200mm Sony FE has a sealed dust and moisture resistant design thanks to a series of seals that are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations.
The front surface of the lens element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water- and oil-repellant qualities.
The wide and ridged zoom ring and the narrower manual focus ring are the key external controls of note.
Manual focusing is possible via the textured focus ring when set on the specific Sony camera body.
Full-time manual focus override is possible, and the Tamron 28-200mm FE is compatible with Sony's Direct Manual Focus function.
There are no hard stops at either end of the zoom range, making it a little more difficult to set focus at infinity.
The lens utilizes a RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor to produce quiet and smooth focusing, making it well-suited to shooting video.
When it comes to auto-focusing, the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD zoom is a very quiet and pleasingly quick performer on the Sony A7 III that we tested it with, taking about 0.15 seconds to lock onto the subject.
We didn't experience very much "hunting" at all, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing virtually all of the time.
Polariser users should be pleased that the 67mm filter thread doesn't rotate on focus.
There's a handy Zoom Lock switch which can be activated when the lens is set to 28mm to help keep the lens in its retracted position when it's stored in a camera bag or hung around your neck / over your shoulder.
Note that the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens doesn't feature image stabilisation, unlike the similar Sony FE 24-240mm zoom lens.
The ability to shoot at f/2.8 is a major selling-point of this lens, but it only applies from 28-31mm, whereupon the maximum aperture changes to f/3.1.
For reference, the maximum apertures at the marked focal lengths are as follows:
- 28mm - f/2.8
- 35mm - f/3.2
- 50mm - f/3.5
- 70mm - f/4
- 100mm - f/4.5
- 135mm - f/5.0
- 200mm - f/5.6
This lens is fully compatible with all of these Sony camera features:
- Fast Hybrid AF
- Eye AF
- Direct Manual Focus (DMF)
- In-camera lens correction (shading, chromatic aberration, distortion)
- Camera-based lens unit firmware updates
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens is supplied with a fairly good quality plastic petal-shaped lens hood (HA036) and front and rear lens caps, but no bag.
At the 28mm focal length the angle of view is 75°23'
At the 200mm focal length the angle of view is 12°21'.
Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not very apparent in our test shots, only in high contrast areas. The example below shows the worst-case scenario.
Light Fall-off and Distortion
With the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens set to its maximum aperture of F2.8 at 28mm, there is obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 2 f-stops to prevent it.
There's some barrel distortion evident at 28mm in the RAW files. The Sony A7 III automatically and successfully applies corrections to the JPG files. At 200mm there's some pin-cushioning in the RAW files, which is again corrected when shooting JPGs.
Sunstars and Flare
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens has fairly good control over lens flare and ghosting when shooting towards the sun. Lens flare and ghosting can cause unwanted reduction in contrast when not controlled well.
Sunstars are reasonably lengthy, although there is at times a 'doubling' effect in some of those individual sunlight rays.
The Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD isn't claimed to be a macro lens, offering a minimum focusing distance of 19cm at 28mm and 80cm at 200mm, with a maximum magnification of 1:3.1 at 28mm and 1:3.8 at 200mm. The following examples demonstrate how close you can get to your subject.
Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.
In the 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens, Tamron have employed an iris diaphragm with seven rounded blades, which has resulted in quite appealing bokeh in our view.
We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we've included several 100% crops for your perusal.
In order to show you how sharp the Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.