First a bit of glowing bluster.
This lens was the first lens that really opened my eyes up to what was possible with interchangeable lens camera systems. Was so impressed that it easily made a top Pentax list I wrote for KEH. More on this later, but first let me back up.
A lot of virtual ink is spilled about new lenses, including this space. New and shiny is very attractive. Most recently, I have been low-key obsessing over a Tamron lens so new that it is not readily available at major camera retailers when this is being posted.
The lens in question is the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. And I am not talking about the new G2 Sony FE mount variant.
I am not talking about the older, original Sony FE mount variant either.
Nope. Here we are talking about the old-timey DSLR mount version. Unlike the newer mirrorless Sony E mount only version, this one is available in Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Sony A mount. While not available new anymore there are plenty on the used market that cost far less than newer DSLR or mirrorless options.
Think $150-$250 instead of thousands.
This lens was my on ramp to both Tamron and realizing what these interchangeable camera systems were really capable of. First purchased the Nikon mount for my humble, but great Nikon D3300.
Technically this was not the best lens choice. A full frame 28-75mm lens works out to 42-112.5mm on an APS-C camera. So it was not the norm. But at the price I decided to give it a shot and soon after I did not care if it made sense or not. This humble combination was capable of amazing results.
Sometime later I entered digital Pentax land.
And soon after a K mount 28-75mm f/2.8 followed.
There was a brief dance with an A mount variant adapted to Sony E Mount.
But the Pentax K-1…
…was where this lens found its home.
As outlined previously bought when it was first released I mistakenly sold an earlier K-1. I later came to my senses and bought my way back in. At first, I tried to fight the urge to buy this lens until I asked myself “why?”. The answer was that I already had the newer FE. That was not good enough and I went ahead with another copy…
…and in an odd twist of fate, I no longer have the FE variant. So here we are back together again. And this lens is as good as it always has been. A welcome return and it has not turned a lens element wrong since.
Here I will cut and paste my summary of this lens from the KEH blog post I wrote mentioned at the opening.
- While not available new, they can be purchased for around $250 or so used.
- Not a true macro, but gets closer than I expected.
- Great image quality and colors at any focal length.
- A solid performer.
- Build quality could be better.
A great lens.
Add to that a used price tag of $150-$250 and the fact that they were made in Canon, Pentax, Nikon, and Sony A mount variants and this lens is a no-brainer as far as I am concerned. As shown above, if you do not have a full frame camera it does very well on crop sensor cameras also.
If you have a camera that it can be mounted on natively it is one of the easiest lenses to recommend. With the low price of some used DSLR camera bodies, it almost justifies the purchase of a body also. Sure you will not have access to the latest and greatest mirrorless features like Eye AF, but we all made do for years without it and this brings something to the table few mirrorless could brag about. For under a $1,000 dollars you could have a camera and lens capable of this.
A Nikon D3300 and this lens could be had for $500 or less. For a few hundred more I could get on just fine with this lens and a Pentax K-70 and it adds image stabilization to the mix. Sure the lens lacks weather sealing and it is a bit plasticky, but when I see the results this lens churns out I do not care about any of that.
Thank you once again, Tamron.