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Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro

Going full frame

I realized that I wanted to go full frame with the new Nikon D700 so I started to sell my APS-C optimized lenses. I already have 2 full frame lenses- the Tamron models A17N II and 272E. The other two lenses are designated Di II- the models A16N II and A13N.

After seeking for a sharp copy of the fine Tamron model A16 NII, I decided to sell it and go for the model A09N II, the subject of this review.

No looking at Fred Miranda review site this time, as based on my experience, Tamron delivers a great deal, value for the money.

There is one thing that caught my attention though, and it is the fact that this lens was awarded the "European Lens of the Year" award for the period 2003-2004. I wonder how this "new" version, one with built-in motor for the Nikon, performs.

Specifications

There is no need to repeat what the manufacturer said here. This is a model that has Di designation, which means it is designed for both full frame and APS-C sized-sensors.

The build quality

Made in Japan. Yes! So far, all my SP lenses were made in Japan. That gives me some mind conditioning that this is another good one from Tamron.

But! Upon first inspection, I noticed something that none of my other Tamron lenses exhibited- the focus ring has a very, very slight play and to be honest, I was annoyed. While the zoom ring feel is much better than the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 that I tested before, this slight play is something I was not expecting.

Other than that, the build quality is the same as the other Tamron SP lenses that I have. It has a metal mount, and the lens body is made of composite plastic. And as I previously stated, for a hobbyist like me, I have no issues with the materials used. What matters most is how the optics inside it performs.

The zoom ring and focus ring has the usual ribbed rubber, for better grip. The damping on the zoom ring is tighter than the SP AF11-18mm, but not that tight compared to the SP AF17-50mm.

The focus ring has a very nice and smooth feel to it, and has the right damping.

Like the model A16, this model also sports a zoom lock at the shortest focal length 28mm) and will come in handy during mounting and un-mounting of the lens from the camera body. Due to the fact that most of the lens body is occupied by the zoom and focus rings, it is tricky trying to grab a very narrow area that does not rotate.

The filter size is 67mm, which is the same as model A16, so I was able to use the Sigma UV filter I bought for the A16.

It came with a lens hood, but again, no pouch  like the one provided with the model 272E.

The lens cap is the usual pinch type and I prefer it that way.

Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro

Performance

The AF speed is typical of my other Tamron N II lenses, and is not comparable to the kit lens which is silent, and fast.

The model A09 has IF designation. What's nice about having internal focus (the [IF] designation in the model name) is that during auto focus operation, the lens does not change length and the front element does not rotate, which will allow me to use a CPL without much fuss. The focus ring rotates though, and it is possible to have your fingers get in the way during AF operation.

I was pleased to find that it does not have focus issues that plagued the first copy of my A16. With this issue out of the way, I wanted to know how sharp it can reproduce pictures.

The "macro" feature allows me to shoot as close as about 6 inches, from the tip of the lens.

Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro

These shots were taken at f/2.8 for all marked focal lengths of the lens.

Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro  Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro 
28mm ISO 200 35mm ISO 200
Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro   Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro
50mm ISO 200  62mm (missed the 60mm mark) ISO 200 
Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro  Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro 
70mm ISO 200 75mm ISO 200 

The following shots were taken at 75mm, ISO 200, at different apertures

Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro  Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro 
f/2.8 f/4
Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro   Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro
f/8 f/11
Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro   
f/16  

That's it for now. I hope to be able to use this lens in real world situations, real soon. 

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It's refreshing to know that I can have decent shots at f/2.8 and ISO 200 with available light, and hand held. Bumping up the ISO to Auto on my D40 gives additional flexibility at the expense of noise. How I wish to be a human tripod :-)

With what I'm shooting, the focus speed disadvantage compared to a Nikkor does not prevent me from capturing those subjects, because they don't move :-)