New Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 Lens: Their First for Sony FE-Mount

The lens's mount is perhaps even more interesting than the lens itself: this will be Tamron's first lens designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Tamron has officially announced the development of a new lens, a 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III RXD designed specifically for  Sony’s mirrorless full-frame E-mount cameras. The lens’s mount is perhaps even more interesting than the lens itself: this will be Tamron’s first lens designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras, and the development marks their intention to expand into the full-frame, autofocus mirrorless market (currently occupied solely by Sony and Leica, but Canon and Nikon won’t be far behind). Tamron is the first of the major Japanese third-party lens manufacturers to produce lenses for Sony full-frame E-Mount (aka, FE-Mount), with Sigma relying on an adapter to mate their SLR-optimized lenses to the mirrorless species1.

Having been designed especially for E-mount, the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 Di RXD will be relatively lightweight and compact; the 4.6 inch lens will weigh 19.4 ounces (550g), which is  nearly and inch shorter and only about 60% the weight of  Sony’s 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens (886g), for comparison.

For a rough size comparison, the new Tamron lens rendering compared to a photograph of the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens, with sizes based on the standard lens mount.

Sony’s full-frame lenses are notoriously expensive (many of them are Zeiss designs), yet some do not perform up to their prices. In particular, Sony’s 70-200 f/2.8 GM OSS costs about $2600, but does not perform as well as Canon’s 10-year old 70-200 f2.8L IS II ($1900), in terms of resolution and consistency2. It also appears that many of Sony’s lens designs are simply adaptations of DSLR lenses, making them larger and heavier than should be necessary for the mirrorless format. This being the case, the entry of Tamron into the FE-Mount market is very welcome indeed, particularly with their reputation for excellent optics at modest prices, and the performance of the existing Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD (stellar optics, at least on par with the Canon).

But the announced Tamron lens is also interesting in itself.

Tamron says that the lens will be weather-sealed, DMF3 compatible, and feature a “Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive” (the RXD designation in the lens name), which should be similar to Canon’s STM motors and ideal for shooting video. Like any lens manufacturer worth its salt, they claim that the optics will be super-sharp and that the large aperture will provide nice bokeh, but of course the details will have to wait for real-world tests.

Illustration courtesy of Tamron
The new Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 Di RXD III lens will look something like this. Click to enlarge.

Price & Availability

Lens development is not sufficiently advanced for Tamron to have announced the number of glass elements in the optical formula, nor the types of special glass and lens coatings that they’ll be using. For that matter, they didn’t mention the number of rounded aperture blades that they’ll be using in the press release, and these optics companies talk about lens groups and aperture blades any chance they get.  As such, it’s no surprise that Tamron has not announced even a vague or tentative date for the appearance of this lens on the market, nor have they mentioned a price.  My guess would be around $1200 in the nine-months to a year timeframe.

  1. Budget Korean lens maker Samyang produces a line of autofocus lenses for Sony-E, but they’re decried for their noisy, sluggish AF motors and unimpressive optics.
  2. according to tests performed by Roger Cicala  and others at LensRentals
  3. Sony’s “Direct Manual Focus” system that automatically switches to manual focus settings in the viewfinder when the focus ring is rotated.
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  • Nice lens, but $1200 would be way too much. It will be more expensive than the old Tamron 2,8/28-75 for DSLR’s, but not three times… $800 might work, but not more.

    • Yes, I agree. I think that when I was writing this, I was thinking of the lens as a 24-70, and of course, Tamron’s current 24-70 f/2.8 G2 still costs around $1200.

      If we were basing the price on the assumption that the old lens design is just being re-fitted to a new lens mount, I’d think that the price could be anywhere from $650 on up.

      But of course, the old Tamron 28-75 lenses from previous decades simply aren’t great lenses… they were pretty average at the time… and it would be foolish for Tamron to make a new lens without significantly improving the optics for high-resolution sensors.

      So, updating the design probably means adding expensive exotic glass elements (FLD, SLD, etc), and though they should be small elements, they’ll still be expensive. But I agree… $800 seems possible.

    • Hi Gustavo,

      It may very well end up having one or both of those things. The product image that I was given by Tamron is a “development” stage image, which means that it may change significantly before the product actually hits the market. We also only have one angle of view on this lens, so far, and some Sony lenses have their AF/MF switch practically on the bottom of the lens on the left side, so on lenses like the 85mm f/1.8, the switch is pretty much invisible from the top. It’s possible that we’re seeing something like that here.

      – Matthew

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