The Sony 16-35mm F2.8 GM vs the Tamron 17-28mm F2.8

If you have been eyeballing either of these wide lenses but can’t choose, you need to see this.

Just a few short years ago you would’ve been hard-pressed to find photographers who wanted to use third-party lenses over first-party offerings. Until Sigma and Tamron upped their game, the lenses they produced were slow, cheaply made, and couldn’t match the image quality of first-party lenses. Oh, how times have changed. Now, third-party lenses meet and sometimes even exceed the levels of performance from first-party lenses; they’re usually significantly cheaper too. If you like wide lenses and have been eyeing the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 or the Sony 16-35mm f2.8 G Master, you need to see the video we have for you after the break.

It took a while for Tamron to start making lenses for Sony’s E Mount, but the wait has been worth it. Tamron has produced some truly fantastic lenses for the platform in the last couple of years, and their new RXD line has impressed. They are significantly cheaper than Sony’s offerings, and their performance has been equally as good. Tamron’s 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD has been causing a stir, and for good reason. How does it stack up against the Sony 16-35mm f2.8 G Master though, and is the difference in price warranted? These are the questions that Jason Vong had, so he made a video comparing the two lenses.

The video (which you can find below) put these two wide lenses in a head-to-head-battle, and the results are a little shocking. Jason simply could not find anything between the two lenses when it came to autofocus speeds. The levels of noise from the AF motors were the same, and the color output was also identical. Jason said that, if you didn’t know, you’d swear the lenses came out of the same factory. The only time Jason noticed any difference was in tracking when walking towards the camera. The Tamron loses focus for a split-second but regains it almost instantly. This means the G master has a better hit rate. The video also shows that the G Master is ever-so-slightly sharper than the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8, but you have to really pixel peep to see the difference.

There are, of course, differences between the two when it comes to weight and build quality, but image-wise, both of these lenses perform admirably. We’re sure professionals in the field will likely opt for the Sony 16-35mm f2.8 G Master though. Is the Sony 16-35mm f2.8 G Master worth an extra $1,299 premium over the Tamron? Check out the video, see how it performs, look at the image quality, and be your own judge. The Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD ($899), and the Sony 16-35mm f2.8 G Master ($2,198) are both available at Adorama.

Brett Day

Brett Day is the Gear Editor at The Phoblographer and has been a photographer for as long as he can remember. Brett has his own photography business that focuses on corporate events and portraiture. In his spare time, Brett loves to practice landscape and wildlife photography. When he's not behind a camera, he's enjoying life with his wife and two kids, or he's playing video games, drinking coffee, and eating Cheetos.