Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D

Started Mar 5, 2013 | Discussions
neonexxer
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Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
Mar 5, 2013

Just scored a used Tamron 28-105/2.8 constant aperture A-mount zoom for walkaround use with my Nex5N and LA-EA2.  It supplements/replaces my SAL1650 for low-light walks where more reach is needed.  I was actually saving up for a 70-200/2.8, but the range is more usable on a regular basis for me, and besides... I just couldn't let this curious beast escape from my collection.  Oh, what a beast it truly is...



Tamron 28-105/2.8 on 5N+LAEA2.  SAL1650 on left, SEL55210 and FDn 35-105/3.5 on right for comparison.

When fully retracted, it dwarfs the E-mount 55-210 zoom, and even manages to make the SAL1650 - a gorilla in its own right - feel a little anorexic.  Its length matches that of another large constant aperture zoom, the FDn 35-105/3.5.  Ah, but this blast from the past doesn't change length when extended.  Here is where the cartoon starts in earnest (lenses below, fully extended with hoods attached)...



SEL55210, SAL1650, Tamron 28-105/2.8.  Full zoom extension with hoods attached.

Still not as crazy as having a 1000mm ultra-telephoto attached, but some full-size DSLR owner consider the 82mm filter-size Tamron already ridiculously proportioned vis-a-vis their much larger cameras.  In case you're wondering, no - I didn't buy this lens for any "bigger-than-yours" contests or shock value.  28-105/2.8 is very nice for video, which I do a fair bit of, and where its a PITA to rebalance a stabilizer after every lens change.  For stills, my early tests suggest its not as bad as some make it out to be.  My SAL1650 clearly stomps all over this thing for IQ at any FL/aperture combo, but the Tamron takes very usable pics nonetheless, especially for typical digital consumption.

Yes, I can hear all the moans out there already...haha.  Anyone else out there got this combo?  Curious to hear your experiences

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cptrios
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to neonexxer, Mar 5, 2013

Heh I've always been very intrigued by this lens but never had the nerve to actually buy one. Please let us know how the IQ turns out!

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to cptrios, Mar 5, 2013

cptrios wrote:

Heh I've always been very intrigued by this lens but never had the nerve to actually buy one. Please let us know how the IQ turns out!

Will do   Its dark out where I am now.  Tomorrow, I plan on taking it out with the SAL1650 for a shootout at their overlapping FLs.  Stay tuned!

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RonFrank
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to neonexxer, Mar 5, 2013

I never  understand the idea of the tiny camera with a huge standard lens!

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to neonexxer, Mar 6, 2013

neonexxer wrote:

cptrios wrote:

Heh I've always been very intrigued by this lens but never had the nerve to actually buy one. Please let us know how the IQ turns out!

Will do Its dark out where I am now. Tomorrow, I plan on taking it out with the SAL1650 for a shootout at their overlapping FLs. Stay tuned!

Here ya go, here's a couple to start with.  Tamron was shot full manual exposure and focus.  All shots are at F2.8 for now since this is why I bought this thing in the first place.  (I'm trying to upload more test snaps to my gallery, but its been at "Queued" status for over an hour now)..



Here's the Tamron wide open at 28mm.

And now the SAL1650, also wide open at 28mm:

SAL1650, 28mm (but seems a little narrower than Tamron), F2.8

(While I'm writing this, I can't tell if you can see the above in full size... the ones I'm sticking in my gallery now will though)

As soon as my DPR gallery upload is complete, I'll post the rest.  For now, I can say the lens isn't going to win any MTF chart contests.  Center sharpness is usable, certainly sharp enough for me, but never takes your breath away.  OK for portraits, and very useful for video - just as I had hoped.  Contrast is low (and might seem even lower than usual in the shots I post because I have contrast dialled down -1 in for better video PP work).  My copy seems to be decentered as well, with a consistently smeary right edge.  Corners and mid-centers are weak, even at F8... this is no landscape lens. Absolutely unusable for this purpose (I haven't shot this past F8 though... thats a separate test, but I've better lenses for this purpose!)

AF is OK, but it misses often enough that I'd rather MF for anything needing spot-on focus.  MF isn't too bad, but the focus ring is an odd, plastic thing that could have longer throw and feels cheap.  Again, I'm reasonably happy with this for video work.

I could go on and on... but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves (as soon as they clear DPR's loooong queue today!)

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to RonFrank, Mar 6, 2013

RonFrank wrote:

I never understand the idea of the tiny camera with a huge standard lens!

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Because with the Nex, you can!  And its fun!  Of course, I have my RF primes and most of the E-mount lenses as well to go to when I want to return to the raison d'etre of the Nex

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SonyAlphaLab - Jay
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to neonexxer, Mar 6, 2013

Awesome!! Have tried the Tamron yet, but it looks good

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Jay from SonyAlphaLab.com

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to neonexxer, Mar 6, 2013

OK, the DPR gallery upload seems to have stalled.  Here are F2.8 shots at Tamron 105mm.  This time its versus the Canon FDn 35-105/3.5 constant aperture zoom (shot at F3.5, of course - not F2.8, but it is wide open for this lens).

Tamron 28-105/2.8 at 105mm wide open

Next up, the Canon...

Canon FDn 35-105/3.5 at 105mm wide open

Both lenses are FF, BTW.  So, the long end isn't quite the dog some have made it out to be, in the centers anyway.  Again, no problem for portraits and video.

More images coming... still trying to get the gallery upload to work...

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to SonyAlphaLab - Jay, Mar 6, 2013

SonyAlphaLab - Jay wrote:

Awesome!! Have tried the Tamron yet, but it looks good

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Jay from SonyAlphaLab.com

Thanks, Jay!  I'm not sure I'd buy the Tamron again if I could go back in time.  Then again, I don't think I'd sell it either...LOL

PS:  Am a fan of your site BTW - and I'm subscribed to your Youtube channel

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Ed B
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to RonFrank, Mar 6, 2013

RonFrank wrote:

I never understand the idea of the tiny camera with a huge standard lens!

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Plus 1

Kind of defeats the purpose of buying into a small system.

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to Ed B, Mar 6, 2013

Ed B wrote:

RonFrank wrote:

I never understand the idea of the tiny camera with a huge standard lens!

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Plus 1

Kind of defeats the purpose of buying into a small system.

But not the purpose of buying into a *flexible* system like NEX.  And I don't have a larger system to turn to (my other camera is an RX100).  Small isn't every thing to everyone.  Besides, I have my RF lenses when I wish to go small.

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goetz48
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to neonexxer, Mar 6, 2013

Now you know what I call 'active lens cup'.

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to goetz48, Mar 6, 2013

goetz48 wrote:

Now you know what I call 'active lens cup'.

Haha... It doesn't help that this giant Tamron is all plastic.  Feels like I'm attaching a Big Gulp to my 5N

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to cptrios, Mar 6, 2013

cptrios wrote:

Heh I've always been very intrigued by this lens but never had the nerve to actually buy one. Please let us know how the IQ turns out!

This is for you cptrios

And this is also for anyone who might be curious what you might gain (or avoid ...haha) with this lens.  Just uploaded a small number of full-size images to my gallery here: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/4116954684/albums/tamron-28-105-f2-8

At its 28mm wide end, its tested at F2.8, F4 and F8 against the SAL1650.

At 105mm full tele, it goes against the Canon FDn 35-105/3.5 wide open, F5.6 and F8.

As a bonus, you can see how the SEL55210 fares at 105mm  in this shootout at F5.6 and F8.

The images have been named to reflect the lens, FL and aperture, so you can tell which is which.

In a nutshell, the Tamron (my copy, at least) is only barely sharp enough by modern standards. My RX100 at 100mm/F8 grinds the Tamron into pulp.  Low contrast.  Big.  Heavy.  Expensive 82mm filter size.  Iffy AF.  Plasticky (not in a fragile way though). Heavy glass makes my EA2 work hard and saps battery very quickly.  Stiff zoom (but doesn't creep).  Looks ridiculously huge with hood and mounted on tiny 5N.

Whats good about it?  Range.  F2.8.  Cheap.  Robust.  Useful macro mode (MFD is about 1.3ft, but MF only).  Perfectly acceptable for video and some portraiture.  If still images are scaled to 1080p or even 2K (ie. "2160p"), with minor PP, I'd say results are quite passable.

I still kinda like this lens.  Certainly not for everyone's taste, needs or sensibilities, so file under "Curio"

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daddyman
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to neonexxer, Mar 6, 2013

Agreed. I have 9 lenses for my 5N, all small except for my monster.  A (mostly) metal, manual focus Konica Hexanon 300/4.5 that I use for wildlife.  It weighs in at 965g.  Fairly sharp tele that can be had for a reasonable price.

Mike

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Ed B
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to neonexxer, Mar 6, 2013

neonexxer wrote:

Ed B wrote:

RonFrank wrote:

I never understand the idea of the tiny camera with a huge standard lens!

-- hide signature --

Plus 1

Kind of defeats the purpose of buying into a small system.

But not the purpose of buying into a *flexible* system like NEX. And I don't have a larger system to turn to (my other camera is an RX100). Small isn't every thing to everyone. Besides, I have my RF lenses when I wish to go small.

I will admit that if you want a constant aperture 2.8 zoom lens, for an NEX, that's about the size lens you'd have to put up with.

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neonexxer
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Re: Rare monster zoom for my 5N :D
In reply to Ed B, Mar 7, 2013

Ed B wrote:

neonexxer wrote:

Ed B wrote:

RonFrank wrote:

I never understand the idea of the tiny camera with a huge standard lens!

-- hide signature --

Plus 1

Kind of defeats the purpose of buying into a small system.

But not the purpose of buying into a *flexible* system like NEX. And I don't have a larger system to turn to (my other camera is an RX100). Small isn't every thing to everyone. Besides, I have my RF lenses when I wish to go small.

I will admit that if you want a constant aperture 2.8 zoom lens, for an NEX, that's about the size lens you'd have to put up with.

Well, the Tamron is a full frame lens, and its made of plastic, which tends to make it "chunkier".   Then there's the LA-EA2 added to the bulk.  The wider 28-105mm range doesn't help cut the bloat.  Hopefully, any 2.8 zoom for a NEX (an APSC one, that is) can do better.  The size of the SAL1650 might be a better indicator of what to expect instead?  I actually think Sony can do much better even.  Read on if you're interested.

I have a personal theory about where the climb in megapixels might lead us.  With better sensors and smaller+faster+cheaper processors, even more aggressive lens correction becomes possible, giving a chance that final results will be no worse than today's software corrected Nex lenses.  For purists, there's always the Zeiss way, which stands by real glass to do the work.

More raw megapixels also might help stabilization. All-digital stabilization, that is, like what you get in Apple iMovie, or when you apply its rolling shutter correction.  You can throw around pixel offsets in RAM far more better than you can shift a physical sensor/glass, and with no size penalty (no complex, wear/damage-prone mechanisms).  Nex lens correction and stabilization already crop your image to some extent when activated. Battery life/size might stand to improve as well without physical stabilization.

So, an oversized resolution and wider-than-advertised FOV could allow for, say, a raw 36MP 14mm FOV unstabilized+uncorrected image, to be processed into a finished 24MP 16mm FOV stabilized+corrected image.  Small lenses, which would be unacceptable for their raw output, would make for usable glass. Silicon wizardry takes up the slack and bends physics once photons have become pixels.  Digital image processing has come a long way.

I hope that's where things are headed if it yields us higher performing small camera systems.  Owning and using the RX100 has instilled in me a faith of what can be done, even with truncated dimensions.  Those who choose to go the traditional route with intrinsically good glass can fall back on larger systems with established standard offerings.

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