Tamron 17-28mm user experience

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SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Tamron 17-28mm user experience
1

I'm planning on buying an UWA zoom for my A7Rii and have almost decided to get the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8. According to numerous reviews, the image quality seems pretty decent, the 2.8 aperture would be useful and the ability to use standard screw-on filters is appealing as is the reasonable cost relative to other UWA zooms.

I've noticed a few comments that suggest that AF may not be entirely reliable, distortion is quite pronounced and coma at the edges of the frame can be an issue for astro photography which I'd like to try one day. Are these things that you've experienced issues with.

I'm also attracted to the new Sigma 14-24mm 2.8 which seems to provide slightly better IQ but I don't think I regularly need to go that wide so not sure if the downsides - additional cost, larger size and weight and inability to easily use front-mounted filters - would outweigh the benefits for me.

Does anyone have first hand experience using both lenses? Which one would you buy?

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alan simpson Regular Member • Posts: 277
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
3

I had the Tamron 17-28 a few weeks ago, I returned as I did not like build quality.

The photos were ok, a few out of focus but generally good.

Nice lens to use but it felt very 'plasticky' and cheap (which it is not).

I now have the 16-35 f4 Sony which I really like.

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jl_smith Veteran Member • Posts: 3,907
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

Once you start shooting UWA, it's almost impossible to go 'too wide'.  You'd think 17mm is very wide (and it is), but then you get ideas to shoot other photos and even 17mm isn't wide enough. ..think 'confined' or tightly-composed spaces.

Personally I'm going to eventually get the Sony 12-24 but maybe I'll give it and the Sigma a rental first.  I'm sure the Tamron is swell and makes a lighter-weight option, so it really depends on what you need.

I wouldn't worry too horribly bad about coma unless you get really serious about astrophotography.

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voronspb Senior Member • Posts: 1,490
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

I can say that even "the worst" focal length of 17-28 - namely 28 mm - looks better than my FE28/2, right from F2.8. I've tested both lenses side-by-side, and Tamron is undoubtedly sharper everywhere. I haven't tested coma performance, but they say that it's good at 17 mm.

The AF performance of Tamron in difficult situations is a bit worse than that of the better native lenses, but not too much. Overall the AF is reliable.

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jarvasm
jarvasm Regular Member • Posts: 200
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

I have the Tamron 17-28/2.8 and can't complain about its image quality. It's super sharp and has amazing flare resistance.

But there is an issue with the AF, hopefully Tamron will fix it in a firmware upgrade. I opened a thread about it recently.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4434249

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OP SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
1

alan simpson wrote:

I had the Tamron 17-28 a few weeks ago, I returned as I did not like build quality.

The photos were ok, a few out of focus but generally good.

Nice lens to use but it felt very 'plasticky' and cheap (which it is not).

I now have the 16-35 f4 Sony which I really like.

When I used to spend more time on forums than I do these days, I remember there used to be reports of poor QC with the Sony 16-35 f4. It seems less of an issue now (?) but it still puts me off buying one.

Also have nagging doubt that f4 could be just too slow. I know that it's possible to use high ISO much more comfortably on the more recent bodies but lower ISO is still preferable.

I appreciate good build quality so I know where your coming from Thanks for the suggestion!

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OP SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
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jl_smith wrote:

Once you start shooting UWA, it's almost impossible to go 'too wide'. You'd think 17mm is very wide (and it is), but then you get ideas to shoot other photos and even 17mm isn't wide enough. ..think 'confined' or tightly-composed spaces.

Good point although my current UWA option is a 21mm prime which I often find is too wide. I want to explore the uwa perspective but the prime just doesn't seem versatile enough so I think a UWA zoom would be a better option for me and would get used far more often.

Personally I'm going to eventually get the Sony 12-24 but maybe I'll give it and the Sigma a rental first. I'm sure the Tamron is swell and makes a lighter-weight option, so it really depends on what you need.

The Sony lens is not an affordable option for me and almost certainly wider than I'd ever need. I'm thinking the Sigma is also probably too wide which takes me back to the Tamron...

I wouldn't worry too horribly bad about coma unless you get really serious about astrophotography.

Found a few examples of astrophotography with the Tamron and they look pretty decent to me.

Thanks for your comments - reinforcing my thoughts that the Tamron is probably my best option

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OP SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

voronspb wrote:

I can say that even "the worst" focal length of 17-28 - namely 28 mm - looks better than my FE28/2, right from F2.8. I've tested both lenses side-by-side, and Tamron is undoubtedly sharper everywhere. I haven't tested coma performance, but they say that it's good at 17 mm.

The AF performance of Tamron in difficult situations is a bit worse than that of the better native lenses, but not too much. Overall the AF is reliable.

Thanks for the info Vladimir

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noggin2k1
noggin2k1 Senior Member • Posts: 2,427
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
7

I’ve been nothing but impressed with the 17-28. Currently on vacation with it, and it’s not missed a beat.

I really struggle to understand people’s issues with build quality on it. You can tell Tamron have been wholly conscious on weight and size, but it doesn’t feel detrimental to the build. The plastics feel ‘different’ but it feels no worse build quality-wise than the GM zooms. It’s a league above 16-35/4 in this department.

I’ve also had no issues AF-wise - the only times I’ve had issues are down to the body. It’s a really nice lens to manually adjust with 1 finger (again, different story with the GM zooms).

throw into the mix screw in filters, and it’s an all round home run for me.

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AdamT
AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 59,321
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
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I had a Sony 16-35 F4 in 2015 and found it suprisingly good at 16mm wideopen across the frame (especially given how bad the 24-70 F4 was) and used ones can be had for quite a bit less than the Tamron .. if the Tamron ultra wide was the same price as the 28-75 then it`d be a different matter but at the price it is (UK) , I`d not even consider it .

I`m likely to go the prime route, the new 18mm Samyang is well under half the price of the Tamron , is wide enough for most things that don`t need ludicrously wide like a 12mm or so , is also F2.8 , compact and I never found the "long" end of ultra wide zooms to be up to much anyway, even expensive canon and nikon ones ..... otherwise I`d get another used  Sony 16-35 F4

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OP SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

jarvasm wrote:

I have the Tamron 17-28/2.8 and can't complain about its image quality. It's super sharp and has amazing flare resistance.

But there is an issue with the AF, hopefully Tamron will fix it in a firmware upgrade. I opened a thread about it recently.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4434249

Thanks for confirming the issue. Maybe I should delay making a decision until this is fixed.

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voronspb Senior Member • Posts: 1,490
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
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SimonOL wrote:

Good point although my current UWA option is a 21mm prime which I often find is too wide. Mostly, the prime just doesn't seem versatile enough so I think a UWA zoom would be a better option for me.

The same goes for me - dedicated UWA prime, or xx-24 mm would be too specialized lens to my taste, while 28 mm allows shooting "normal" photos too, being the only lens in my bag. Of course, 35 mm would be even better, but it's either very expensive (GM), or slowish, with lesser quality and expensive as well (ZA).

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OP SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
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AdamT wrote:

I had a Sony 16-35 F4 in 2015 and found it suprisingly good at 16mm wideopen across the frame (especially given how bad the 24-70 F4 was) and used ones can be had for quite a bit less than the Tamron .. if the Tamron ultra wide was the same price as the 28-75 then it`d be a different matter but at the price it is (UK) , I`d not even consider it .

I can find the Sony 16-35 f4 cheaper brand new than the Tamron lens! It's mostly that f4 max aperture which I think could be restrictive...

I`m likely to go the prime route, the new 18mm Samyang is well under half the price of the Tamron , is wide enough for most things that don`t need ludicrously wide like a 12mm or so , is also F2.8 , compact and I never found the "long" end of ultra wide zooms to be up to much anyway, even expensive canon and nikon ones ..... otherwise I`d get another used Sony 16-35 F4

I use prime lenses 99% of the time but at the wide end find myself wanting more versatility. I've looked into the Samyang 18mm - it does look good and it's so small but I think a zoom would suit me better.

Thanks for the suggestions

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mikedelderfield
mikedelderfield Regular Member • Posts: 237
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

Hi,

I'm loving the Tamron. Light, compact and great image quality. I have experienced the AF issue once, it wasn't a big deal for me; so it's a non-urgent firmware update required.

Here's a link to a 'astro' photo. Nice night but not great location only a few miles from Manchester, England so there's lot's of light pollution.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=335991

I'd prefer a bit wider myself; but hey ho you can't have everything........

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alan simpson Regular Member • Posts: 277
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

For a little more money than the Tamron, the Sony Sony SEL1635Z gives you more Focal Range, better build quality, image stabilisation and still has screw in filters, (into metal, not plastic).

I couldn't see any difference in image quality between the two and was happy with what they both produced. No focus issues at all with the Sony and only a couple from the Tamron.

When I unboxed the Tamron it reminded me of those cheap old kit lenses they used to fit on Canon cameras.

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randomguy Regular Member • Posts: 478
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

Bought a Tamron 17-28mm. Was not happy with corner performance and it was slightly decentered or tilted. So I tried the Sigma which turned out to be a stellar performer, sharp corner to corner wide open at all focal lenghts. Best UW zoom I've ever had by clear margin.

The Tamron wins in most aspects in my opinion: size, weight, cost, the ability to use filters and autofocus performance. But Sigma wins on IQ and in my copies the difference was quite clear and big enough that I went with the Sigma and returned the Tamron. For me the zoom range on the Sigma also fits better in my kit.

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EarthQuake Senior Member • Posts: 2,871
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
1

SimonOL wrote:

I'm planning on buying an UWA zoom for my A7Rii and have almost decided to get the Tamron 17-28mm f2.8. According to numerous reviews, the image quality seems pretty decent, the 2.8 aperture would be useful and the ability to use standard screw-on filters is appealing as is the reasonable cost relative to other UWA zooms.

I've noticed a few comments that suggest that AF may not be entirely reliable, distortion is quite pronounced and coma at the edges of the frame can be an issue for astro photography which I'd like to try one day. Are these things that you've experienced issues with.

I'm also attracted to the new Sigma 14-24mm 2.8 which seems to provide slightly better IQ but I don't think I regularly need to go that wide so not sure if the downsides - additional cost, larger size and weight and inability to easily use front-mounted filters - would outweigh the benefits for me.

Does anyone have first hand experience using both lenses? Which one would you buy?

I've got the 17-28mm 2.8 and think it is a fantastic lens.

AF in general seems reliable, it struggles in the same situations on my A7 III that my other Sony lenses (35/1.8, 35/2.8, 85/1.8) struggle, namely in very low light with low contrast. I don't have either Sony 16-35mm lens to compare it to so I don't know if the AF is any better or worse. AF is very quiet and works well in video.

The distortion is noticeable if you go looking for it, but not much issue in real world use. You can clean it up in post for shots where it is problematic.

Image quality overall is very good.

I haven't used it for astro so can't comment there.

It's an exceptionally light weight lens for this class (2.8 ultra wide). The build quality is good. Yes, it's made of plastic, but that's why the weight is so light. It's the perfect UWA for traveling. Some will complain about the build quality - I would say if you think good build means really heavy and a metal vanity shell covering the lens (with a plastic interior, as pretty much all modern lenses have), you might be disappointed. But if you're looking for relatively small and lightweight option, it's the best choice in the system.

I wish it went to 15 or 16mm, that's my only complaint. 17mm is good enough for most things, but as others said, you can never go too wide. If you think 17mm won't be wide enough, I would consider the Sony 12-24/4 in addition to the Sigma 14-24mm.

One final positive here is that since it's limited to 17mm, it can take standard 67mm filters. If you want a zoom that gets significantly wider, you're going to have to resort to a third party filter adapter system (if you use filters).

OP SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience

noggin2k1 wrote:

I’ve been nothing but impressed with the 17-28. Currently on vacation with it, and it’s not missed a beat.

I really struggle to understand people’s issues with build quality on it. You can tell Tamron have been wholly conscious on weight and size, but it doesn’t feel detrimental to the build. The plastics feel ‘different’ but it feels no worse build quality-wise than the GM zooms. It’s a league above 16-35/4 in this department.

I’ve also had no issues AF-wise - the only times I’ve had issues are down to the body. It’s a really nice lens to manually adjust with 1 finger (again, different story with the GM zooms).

throw into the mix screw in filters, and it’s an all round home run for me.

Thanks for the feedback and samples

I don't think the plastic body would bother me too much although I haven't actually had it in my hand. The fact you find it more than acceptable and can make direct comparison to GM lenses is reassuring.

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OP SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
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mikedelderfield wrote:

Hi,

I'm loving the Tamron. Light, compact and great image quality. I have experienced the AF issue once, it wasn't a big deal for me; so it's a non-urgent firmware update required.

Here's a link to a 'astro' photo. Nice night but not great location only a few miles from Manchester, England so there's lot's of light pollution.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/photos/dbpage.php?id=335991

I'd prefer a bit wider myself; but hey ho you can't have everything........

Thanks for more positive thoughts about the lens and for the sample.

There's no getting away from light pollution here either (about 20 miles south of central London)!

Wider would probably be better on occasion but I think I could live with 17mm quite happily.

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OP SimonOL Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Re: Tamron 17-28mm user experience
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randomguy wrote:

Bought a Tamron 17-28mm. Was not happy with corner performance and it was slightly decentered or tilted. So I tried the Sigma which turned out to be a stellar performer, sharp corner to corner wide open at all focal lenghts. Best UW zoom I've ever had by clear margin.

The Tamron wins in most aspects in my opinion: size, weight, cost, the ability to use filters and autofocus performance. But Sigma wins on IQ and in my copies the difference was quite clear and big enough that I went with the Sigma and returned the Tamron. For me the zoom range on the Sigma also fits better in my kit.

This is the dilemma. I like the size, weight, cost etc of the Tamron and f2.8 is useful...

but I tend to keep lenses for some time and don't want to end up wishing I'd bought something else.

I'm thinking that the Tamron makes more sense for my use. It's small, light and inconspicuous enough to take almost anywhere, 17mm is wide enough and I wouldn't have to buy any filters specifically for it. I think these attributes are enough for me to compromise a little in terms of IQ. I suspect if I bought the Sigma it might spend more time on a shelf once the 14mm perspective novelty had worn off!

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