Tamron 17-28 and the opinion no one asked for

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Skromny Tomasz
Skromny Tomasz Regular Member • Posts: 145
Tamron 17-28 and the opinion no one asked for


I was looking for a wide angle zoom for a while, specifically for nature photography. Perhaps this will help someone going through the same dilemma,

Intention was to have something wider than 24mm, so the choices were:

- Tamron 17-28 f2.8

- Sony 16-35 f4

- Sigma 14-24 f2.8

Thought process for elimination (can only get one of them), Zeiss goes out first,

- Sony Zeiss goes from 16mm (good) to 35mm (good), but it is one full stop slower and far corner sharpness varies between weak and horrible, also it might be difficult to re-sell given it's made of metal that attracts scratches in rough conditions. Weather sealed but does not inspire confidence. Available used though, plenty of them all around eBay etc.

Corner sharpness is important to me so down to Tamron and Sigma,

- Sigma goes to 14 (VERY good for my uses) and in the absolute terms is the sharpest of the bunch, but happens to be the largest and heaviest too, and most expensive. Takes rear gel filters that I don't have, or front square filters I also don't have, and poses some difficulty with a polarizer I have to use a lot (wet foliage). All else considered, the front bulbous element is why I eliminated Sigma. Tradeoff to lose 14mm crazy wide perspective in favor of 17mm that will take normal filters and weights a third of the Sigma.

So onto the Tamron, so what I ended up getting.

It is still wide enough (although no craziness of 14mm), much sharper than Zeiss and catches up with Sigma's sharpness at f5.6 or so. Made of plastic but sturdy and properly sealed, and takes normal filters.

So pretty much perfect for me in the wider end, but unfortunately the 28mm long end is a bit lacking. I didn't consider I would ever complain about it (looking for a wide angle after all), but here I am. The image quality at 28 is still fantastic, but zoom range is very limited, it doesn't sound like it when you read the spec sheet, but it really is when you actually try to zoom onto something with this lens. Perhaps this was the compromise Tamron needed to make to deliver on the 17mm end and constant aperture? Wish they could extend the zoom to 35mm, that would be an unquestionable budget winner.

So if you are looking for a wide angle zoom and sniff around this Tamron - know that it does very well at the wider end, but make sure you try the 17-28mm zoom in person in a store, see if this is good enough for you if you intend to zoom in from time to time!

 Skromny Tomasz's gear list:Skromny Tomasz's gear list
Panasonic FZ1000 Nikon D5000 Nikon D5500 Sony a7 III Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR +8 more
Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD
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