I love a good deal. Thank you Tamron…

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Autofocus Lens for Nikon SLR
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Autofocus Lens for Nikon SLR

A few recent shoots for myself and others made me realize that I would really like to have a constant aperture standard zoom for my Nikon. Then I started shopping for lenses in this range… Eesh. Did I mention that I have kids and a mortgage? After I picked myself up off of the floor I noticed an anomaly. The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. At a fraction of the others this must be a typo, made of styrofoam or something. After obsessively poring over the specs and comparing them to the others, and watching and reading countless reviews I came to the following conclusions:

  • Cons (kinda)
    • Point: It does not have IS like it’s newer (and $800 more expensive!) 24-70 sibling.
      • Counterpoint 1: Neither does the (almost $1,400 more expensive!) Nikon.
      • Counterpoint 2: At a constant f2.8 up to 75mm this should not be a large concern.
    • Point: It is not as sharp at the corners as the competition.
      • Counterpoint: Tragic, but I shall wipe the tears from my eyes with the $800 to $1,400 bills still in my pocket and soldier on.
    • Point: 3rd Party.
      • Counterpoint: Non issue if it plays nice.
    • Point: At 28mm not as wide as the others at 24mm.
      • Counterpoint: Your results may vary, but this was not a significant issue at the wide end. See below.
    • Point: It does not have IS like it’s… Wait. I already said that.
  • Pros
    • <ahem> It costs $800 to $1,400 less than it’s closest competition!
      • Apologies for harping on that, but for a hobbyist with multiple college tuitions closing in and no spare buckets of cash laying around this is very important.
    • It is very sharp at the center.
    • Minimum focus distance is surprisingly close even at 75mm.
      • Would not have been as surprising had I noticed the all uppercase ‘MACRO’ emblazoned across the side of the lens before yesterday. Can’t get anything past me.
    • It is quite compact (3.62″ L as compared to 4.6″ and 5.2″ for the other Tamron and Nikon respectively) and light (508g as compared to 825g and 900g for the other Tamron and Nikon respectively). Better to fit in my bag and avoid fatigue.
    • Good build quality, with nicely sized zoom and focus rings.
    • Unlike my existing Nikon lenses it is a Nikon F mount. Great considering the inevitability of a DX to FX upgrade in my future.
    • 75mm as opposed to 70mm is an agreeable trade off for the 28mm con listed above.
    • Teamed with the recently acquired Neewer TTL flash (at $55 a fraction of the factory option), I have been using mostly with the 18-55mm kit lens and very happy with, it should make for a very versatile indoor and outdoor combo.
    • More stuff, but I do not want to type any more bullets…

Decision made for me. To Southeastern Camera! Not in stock. Boo. Chris would order one so I could try it out. Yay. They did have the Tamron and Nikon 24-70mm models in store. Both excellent lenses that I would be happy to have in my bag. After giving strict internal instructions not to un-holster my wallet at any point I test drove the $1,886.95 Nikon and was shocked it did not reflexively eject my humble D3300 off of the back of it. Very nice lens. Oddly reassuring heft. Not nice enough change my mind though. I cannot remember if I tried the Tamron 24-70mm out, but if I did I am very sure it was also excellent, but it did not register any distinguishable highlights from the Nikon.

Enough rambling. The lens came in and in typical ELW fashion I chucked money and lens trades at Chris until I was able to rescue the new lens yesterday.

I have not done any dedicated shooting with it yet, but here are some sample shots from around Southeastern Camera that convinced to go ahead and pick it up.

-ELW