An Obvious, Easy Choice. Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 G2 Review

In the long run, I sincerely think Tamron played a much smarter game than any other third-party company. While Sigma will create lenses that can compete with everyone else, Tamron doesn’t do that. The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2 is a perfect example. At an $879 price point, the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 is far more affordable than Sony’s 24-70mm, and a more attractive option than what Sigma offers. It focuses much faster than Sigma’s products too. Plus, there’s weather sealing and even innovations here. How do you beat it? Honestly, I’m not sure you can unless you’re dead-set on getting a G Master lens.

Editor’s Note: A little while back, we did some sponsored content that involved this lens. Here’s a link to that piece. However, this article is our independent review. We’ve used some images from the sponsored shoot because, well, they’re lovely photos! No expenses were paid for by Tamron. And again, this review is not sponsored in any way Our words here reflect our most authentic thoughts. For what it’s worth, this genuinely is one of the most innovative lenses on the market. This article is also being written by the founder and Editor in Chief of The Phoblographer. Advertisers know they’re not allowed to touch our reviews, except for factual inaccuracies. And, for the record, we’re rarely wrong. 

Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2 lens is a follow-up to the previous version. It’s arguably more useful for those who shoot events and portraits. There are also improvements to the focusing speed, the built-in USB port, and more. Overall, the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 is a very solid lens that we enjoyed using.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Beautiful image quality
  • Works with Sony’s autofocus algorithms
  • Weather sealing
  • Integrated USB port
  • Lightweight
  • Feels great in the hands
  • Works very well on older Sony cameras if you’re on the appropriate autofocusing type
  • Can do pretty well in continuous autofocus
  • It’s only $879

Cons

  • Slower to focus on moving subjects with the a7r III, but not by much
  • Needs a lot of extra help on the older camera bodies. Make sure you’re on the appropriate autofocusing subject type.

Gear Used

We tested the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 with the:

  • Sony a1
  • Sony a7r III
  • Sony a7
  • Profoto B10
  • Westcott 7 foot umbrella

Tech Specs

These specs are taken from the LensRentals listing

Angle of View

Diagonal
75° 23’- 32° 11’ (for full-frame mirrorless format)°

Aperture Blades

9, Rounded

Aspherical Elements

3

Autofocus

Autofocus

Brand

Tamron

Compatibility

Full Frame

Filter Size

67.0mm

Focal Length

28.0-75.0

Groups/Elements

15/17

Hood Included

Yes

Image Stabilization

No

Item Type

Lens

Length

4.6″

Lens Type

Normal Range

Low Dispersion Elements

4

Max Aperture

2.8

Maximum Magnification

1 to 2.7x

Mfr. Model Number

A063

Minimum Aperture

22.0

Minimum Focusing Distance

0.6feet

Mount

Sony E

Innovations

The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 mostly shows its innovations with being one of the first lenses to have the USB port built into it. Otherwise, Tamron has done all this before. It’s a good lens, but lacks in comparison to its bigger sibling, the Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 lens.

Ergonomics

Here’s the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2. This is it when it’s fully extended to the telephoto end. It doesn’t get much bigger otherwise. You can also tell it’s weather resistant. It kept working after this shoot. It’s characterized by the sheen finish, the rubber grips, and more. 

Turn to the side and you’ll spot the custom function button. Towards the mount, you may also see the USB port.

Tamron did this to ensure that folks don’t need to buy the USB dock to update the firmware on their lenses. It’s brilliant.

On the other side, you’ll see that there isn’t anything much to the lens. It’s a very minimal offering.

On the front, you can see a 67mm filter thread. With that said, again, it’s not a large lens.

Build Quality

We took the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 into a light rain shower and it kept working. Tamron, for what it’s worth, also consistently exhibits the best build quality of any lenses that we’ve used on the Sony system. Look at these product photos! The lens kept working even after this shoot was over. 

Tamron states that the USB port on the lens is weather-sealed in the same way that a phone is. To us, that means that at least one part of this area is IP-rated when it comes to the build quality. Combine this with the light weight and you’ve got something very awesome.

Ease of Use

The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2 isn’t complicated. Mount it to the camera, point, focus, and shoot! There isn’t a manual focus switch on the lens body. However, there is a custom function button. You can set it to what you’d need it to do. But otherwise, this is a straightforward camera lens.

As you’ll see in the sample images, we used second-curtain flash in a lot of the portraits to get the motion blur effect. This lens, of course, allowed us to do that easily. Just know that it isn’t camera shake! To that end, this lens doesn’t really need image stabilization.

Autofocus

The autofocus on the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2 is very good. The only time I had any sort of slight trouble was with tracking a cat moving closer to the camera. (Specifically this was on the Sony a7r III; with the Sony a1 it was a bit better.) And for what it’s worth, I don’t think anyone would buy this lens with the intention of photographing their pets moving closer. You should also know that Sony owns part of Tamron, so the autofocus is bound to be fantastic!

With humans however, it focused perfect fine on both cameras providing that the autofocus was set to the correct subject type. This worked both with moving subjects and stagnant ones. More importantly, it also worked very well in low-light. 

Essentially, you’ll have to be a bit more careful with photographing animals as they move. That’s a bit shocking as this lens starts out as a wide-angle optic. But otherwise, this lens works exactly as it should.

Image Quality

I’m very happy with the image quality the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 can produce. If you’re like me and don’t care about 100% critical sharpness except for autofocusing, then this lens is great. Quite honestly, I don’t work with a model who works extra hard on her makeup to then have to sit and retouch the photos for a while. And if I need the extra details, I can move a few sliders in Capture One. But I’d much rather just have the image look great right out of the camera. And that’s the case here.

Bokeh

With nine aperture blades, we’re really happy with what the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 can do. The bokeh is nice and creamy on the longer end while being hazy on the wider end. Either way, it’s very functional for making your subjects pop out from the background.

Color Rendition

Tamron tends to be vivid and have its own sort of color that Sony doesn’t quite give you. Sony is vivid, but also kind of sterile. Tamron isn’t that way. And in our tests, the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 stayed true to that philosophy.

Lens Character

This photo was purposely shot using a method I love to use to create painterly images. It’s very fun! It also shows “flaws.” In this case, we see distortion on the wider end of the lens. But it’s not that awful. And in this case where it’s used creatively, it’s very fun.

Otherwise, the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 lets the photographer have some lens flare. This is wonderful as it means your images are going to be super sterile. 

Sharpness

The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 is sharp without being too sharp. That’s my favorite kind! If you’re a fan of Canon L lenses, consider this lens to be on par with those. It will mean a whole lot less retouching needs to be done too!

Extra Image Samples

From day one, The Phoblographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the lens can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.

Edited

Unedited

Conclusions

Likes

  • Size
  • Build quality
  • Light weight
  • Autofocus performance
  • Image quality
  • USB port built into it

Dislikes

  • Honestly, not a thing

The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 is a great lens. It builds on the previous version with a built-in USB port, faster autofocus, and a new finish. Personally, I was a tad shocked to see it refreshed this early. But there isn’t a single thing bad or wrong with this lens. It boasts great image quality that you’ll really like. It innovates with the new USB port. And it retains the light weight design with a weather-sealed body. There isn’t a single thing to complain about really. 

Quite frankly, this lens would’ve won our Editor’s Choice award considering its $879 price tag. But it’s being overshadowed by the much more attractive Tamron 35-150mm f2-f2.8. Sure, that lens is a bit more than double the price, but it’s also arguably the only lens you’d ever need.

To be more forthright, this lens is part of what’s genuinely making me consider selling all my Sony lenses and going all in on Tamron glass. 

The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 receives five out of five stars. Want one? Check out Amazon!

Chris Gampat

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