Eric L. Woods

Third Party Lenses and Sony: Tamron Full Frame Trio

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I have always liked Tamron zooms since my first one used on a Nikon D3300, the DSLR 28-75mm f/2.8.

Really liking this new lens. Tamron 28-75mm f2.8

While an odd choice for a crop sensor I really enjoyed its versatility and great IQ for a very reasonable price.

Really liking this new lens. Tamron 28-75mm f2.8
Some shots...
Shots from the day.
Recent shots...
Recent shots...

Some time later I switched to Pentax crop and full frame and one of the first lenses I picked up was the Pentax mount of the same 28-75mm f/2.8 lens.

Pentax K-3ii and Tamron 28-75mm

Once again great performance at a very reasonable price.

UNC Healthcare Multicultural Festival
UNC Healthcare Multicultural Festival
Pentax K-1 at Duke Gardens
Pentax K-1
Pentax K-1
Small Town NC
Small Town NC
Small Town NC
Small Town NC

This led to a Tamron DSLR 70-200mm f/2.8…

Pentax K-3ii and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di
Small Town Parade
Life
Pentax K-70
Pentax K-70
Pentax K-70
Small Town Parade
Family Portrait

…and Tamron 10-24mm.

Tamron 10-24mm in front of 70-200mm big brother
Clouds and Tamron 10-24mm
Clouds and Tamron 10-24mm
Nature
Friday Night Lights
Homecoming Parade and Bon Fire

Having moved on to Sony E mount I first used an A Mount adapter with another, now third mount version, DLSR 28-75mm f/2.8

Sky
SE Camera
Random

…and I was thrilled when Tamron announced that they were making a 28-75mm f/2.8 built specifically for Sony mirrorless.

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

And it was not only as good as the DSLR models, it was even better. Even better IQ along with better construction and weather sealing that the DSLR models did not have. After hoping for a Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 Tamron instead released the 17-28mm f/2.8. While interesting to complete a lens trio a wide angle f/2.8 lens was not what I wanted next. Had tried the Sony 70-200mm f/4 variant…

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4.0
_DSC2404

…and while it is OK it was not good enough to keep. Having held out for Tamron I had some events coming up so I finally caved and picked up the only Sony FE G Master 70-200mm f/2.8.

Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master OSS
Kauffmann Wedding Shoot - The Wedding

It was great. But then Tamron finally announced the 70-200mm… hold on 70-180mm f/2.8? At first I paused, but once I realized that I could trade the much more expensive Sony towards both the Tamron 70-180mm and 17-28mm to complete a Tamron f/2.8 zoom trio (decision outlined in this post) it was a no-brainer. I bought all three from my local camera shop, Southeastern Camera, Carrboro.

Tamron Trio

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Samples

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
UNC Bell Tower
UNC Bell Tower
Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
UNC Bell Tower

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Samples

Graduation
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
Kauffmann Wedding Shoot - The Wedding
Kauffmann Wedding Shoot - The Wedding
Sermon
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Samples

Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
One Handed at Arm's Length - Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD
Manual AF 1:2 Macro at 70mm
1:2 Close Focus at 70mm - MF
Manual AF 1:2 Macro at 70mm

Why am I saying all of this?

Well I recently wrote a post extolling the virtues of the Sigma prime trio and how along with the stellar AF performance of Sony crop cameras made an unbeatable combination as far as I was concerned. Well I contend that Tamron has now pulled off the same trick for full frame Sony.

Look at other mirrorless full frame camera brand systems like Panasonic, Canon, and Nikon.

Lenses:

Sony did itself a huge favor by getting out ahead of these other brands. With that comes more lens options. Panasonic has options, but they are mostly either new or Leica branded so priced higher than I am willing or able to spend. The good news for Canon and Nikon is that it looks like Tamron is coming to their rescue (Which is interesting since I heard Sony owns part of Tamron so Sony wins no matter what.) with f/2.8 lenses for them as well. But even when these Tamron lenses come out for Canon and Nikon there is another issue…

Cameras:

Once again Sony has the advantage of having gotten out ahead of the mirrorless full frame competition. With that there are great values to be had. While not having IBIS and only OK AF there is the A7 as a very affordable full frame option. For more spend there is the still compettitive A7II. How competitive? I had bought a Canon EOS RP for its bargain price, but traded it for the A7II as soon as it went on sale for $899 to gain IBIS and better AF. There are more expensive A7 models but I still argue that the A7III is the screaming bargain of the A7 model line. This stellar camera is better than competitive with great pricing, long battery life, IBIS, great low light performance, and class leading AF.

Back to Sony there are other lenses with more premium materials and features like lens stabilization and switches. But the Tamron has build quality that is quite good and performs where it matters most, IQ. I have absolutely no concerns moving to Tamron. With that I now own zero Sony full frame lenses. That is not a bad thing. That means that there are great third party choices and that is a great indicator of camera system viability.

With that you can buy a Sony A7II ($899) and acquire the Tamron trio (combined around the price of one native 70-200mm f/2.8) for little more than a Canon, Nikon, or Panasonic and one native high end lens and have a competitive solution.

That is it. That is my point. While there are announcements that bring me down like Olympus selling off their business this is a bright spot. I started my digital interchangeable lens journey with Olympus and it served me well. I hope that the new owners bring the brand forward and are more successful at keeping the brand relevant than Ricoh has done with Pentax, which is another brand I am close to from my first SLR experience with the ME Super to the Pentax 645 to the digital K-3 and K-1. Good news is welcome.

Thank you Tamron.

Happy capturing.

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