3 Affordable Zoom Lenses for Pro Photographers Using Sony FE Cameras

This is a fascinating time in photography gear history. We’re in a unique spot where you don’t need to spend a whole lot of money to shoot as a professional photographer. You can do a great job with a meager budget. That’s incredibly evident in the Sony FE lineup of cameras. Companies like Tamron make great, affordable zoom lenses for the Sony FE camera system. Plus, they’re protected from the elements, reliable, and deliver excellent image quality. Proud of your #SonyFam? Then you can enrich your passion for photography even more without spending a ton of money.

The Phoblographer’s various product roundup features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve thoroughly reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

This piece is presented in partnership with TAMRON. We’ve independently and ethically reviewed all the products in this roundup already without sponsorship. And we worked with them to recommend a few essential gems to you.

Pro Tips for Using Zoom Lenses with Sony Cameras

Here are a few professional tips for photographers reaching for affordable zoom lenses:

  • Most professional photographers know that a zoom isn’t a substitute for getting closer. Sometimes you really, truly can’t get closer. But don’t use it as a crutch. Always remember the powerful framing a wider angle can provide.
  • These lenses have some degree of weather-resistance built in. We’d know; we’ve tested these lenses. They’ll do the best job of keeping the sensor on your Sony camera clean.
  • These lenses work with Sony’s autofocus system to get great autofocus performance even in low light.
  • These lenses can fill a lot of gaps for you. Shooting a wedding? Are you a photojournalist? Going to photograph landscapes? Well, these lenses are capable. 
  • These lenses use Tamron optics and achieve a pretty unique look. There’s surely character and it’s evident once you load the images into post-production software.

Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD

ModelA046
Focal Length17-28mm
Maximum ApertureF/2.8
Angle of View (diagonal)103°41′-75°23′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
Optical Construction13 elements in 11 groups
Minimum Object Distance0.19m (7.5 in) (WIDE) /
0.26m (10.2 in) (TELE)
Maximum Magnification Ratio1:5.2 (WIDE) / 1:6 (TELE)
Filter SizeΦ67mm
Maximum DiameterΦ73mm
Length*99mm (3.9 in)
Weight420g (14.8 oz)
Diaphragm Blade Number9 (circular diaphragm)**
Minimum ApertureF/22
Standard AccessoriesFlower-shaped hood, Lens caps
Compatible MountsSony E-mount

In our review, we state:

“The Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD is a fantastic lens when it comes to image quality. This makes it a stellar performer. I’m positive that if photographers weren’t pixel peeping they’d be incredibly happy with the sharpness the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD offers.”

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Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD

ModelA036
Focal Length28-75mm
Max. ApertureF/2.8
Angle of View (diagonal)75°23′-32°11′ (for full-frame format)
52°58′-21°05′ (for APS-C format)
Optical Construction15 elements in 12 groups
Minimum Object Distance0.19m (7.5 in) (WIDE) /
0.39m (15.3 in) (TELE)
Maximum. Magnification Ratio1:2.9 (WIDE) / 1:4 (TELE)
Filter SizeΦ67mm
Maximum DiameterΦ73mm
Length*117.8mm (4.6 in)
Weight550g (19.4 oz)
Diaphragm Blade Number9 (circular diaphragm)**
Minimum ApertureF/2.8-22
Standard AccessoriesLens hood, Lens caps
Compatible MountsSony E-mount
Available Firmware updatesClick for details

In our review, we state:

“One of the things that makes the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD so appealing is just how good the image quality is. Not only is the lens capable of delivering sharp images, but the colors are vibrant and the bokeh is smooth and beautiful. Add onto that the fact that you can also go to 75mm instead of 70 and you’ve got yourself a bit more of a bokeh advantage due to having a slightly longer focal length. Overall image quality is really top notch and, considering that you’ll likely process your images anyway, I don’t see a major reason to nitpick.”

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Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 Di III VXD

ModelA056
Focal Length70-180mm
Maximum ApertureF/2.8
Angle of View
(diagonal)
34°21′-13°42′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
Optical Construction19 elements in 14 groups
Minimum Object DistanceAF: 0.85m /33.5 in (Full zoom range)
(MF: 0.27m /10.6 in (Wide), 0.85m /33.5 in (Tele))*
Maximum Magnification RatioAF: 1:4.6, MF: 1:2 (Wide) / 1:4.6 (Tele)*
Filter SizeΦ67mm
Maximum DiameterΦ81mm
Length**149mm (5.9 in)
Weight810g (28.6 oz)
Aperture Blades9 (circular diaphragm)***
Minimum ApertureF/22
Standard AccessoryFlower-shaped hood, Lens caps
Compatible MountsSony E-mount

In our review, we state:

“Colors rendered by the Tamron 70-180mm f2.8 are vibrant and saturated but lean towards the warmer side out-of-camera. This is preferred by some photographers, providing a more organic tone to images. Those seeking more color-accurate images will want to shoot using custom white balances.”

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.