A subjective look at Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro A09 @ Canon EOS 5D. Part 1 — Introduction. Design and Features. Autofocus

Tamron is a Japanese manufacturer of photographic lenses and commercial/industrial optics founded in November 1950 as Taisei Optical Manufacturing Company. The Tamron trademark was registered in 1957, the company changed its name to Tamron Co., Ltd in 1970.

Since 1957 Tamron made lenses with universal T-mount which later was modified to modern T2-mount. In 1966 the company designed Adapt-A-Matic system which allowed to transmit aperture value to the camera. In 1976 the system was updated to Adaptall, the Adaptall-2 appeared in 1979, the company made various manual focus lenses for use with cameras with different brands. The success of Adaptall-2 system and pro grade Tamron SP series of lenses led to the fact that in 1980 the company became one of the largest manufacturers of photographic lenses in the world.

Nowdays the company Tamron still produces interchangeable lenses for SLR cameras and is well known primarily for its superzooms of 28-200mm for full-frame cameras and 18-200/250/270mm for APS-C cameras.

The Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro A09 was introduced in 2003 and is in fact a base model for lenses designed for Minolta SLR cameras and later for Sony SLR cameras:

Feature Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro A09 Konica Minolta AF 28-75mm F/2.8 (D) Sony 28-75mm F/2.8 SAM (SAL2875)
Mount(s): Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Minolta/Sony A Minolta A Minolta/Sony A
Aperture blades: 7
Optical design: 16 elements in 14 groups, including 3 low dispersion elements, 4 aspherical and 2 XR elements.
Minimum focusing distance, m: 0.33 0.38
Internal focusing: Yes
The manual focusing ring rotates during autofocus: Yes
Discontinued: No Yes No

The Tamron SP AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro A09 is a full-frame standard zoom lens with constant speed of 2.8 which was designed for 35 mm SLR cameras with Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K or Minolta/Sony A mount and is made in Japan since 2003. This is a general purpose lens suitable for shooting landscapes, architecture, interiors, as well as portraits and even close-up photos. The focal range of the lens is slightly shifted to the telephoto range in comparison with typical reportage zoom lenses of 24-70/2.8 class, however it does not give any special advantages to the photographer, in my opinion. The significant drawback of this lens is a lack of optical image stabilizer (for Canon and Nikon versions) which is a must for modern reportage zoom lenses.

The build quality of the lens is good despite the fact that the housing of the lens is made of plastic instead of metal as it pertains to the lens designed primarily for the professional photographers. The mount of the lens is made of metal. Both the zoom and manual focusing rings are rubberized. There’s no dust and mousture seals. The lens has moderate weight of 508 g, maximum diameter of 73 mm and moderate length of 92 mm.

The zoom ring is located in the central part of the housing, is wide enough, well damped, rotates smoothly and with proper resistance. The overall length of the lens is minimal at 28 mm. The front part of the housing extends by 34 mm with zooming to focal length of 75 mm. There is a zoom lock at focal length of 28 mm.

The manual focusing ring is located close to the front part of the housing, is wide enough, rotates smoothly. The angle of rotation of the ring is only 45 degrees. The overall length of the lens remains constant during focusing thanks to the internal focusing design. However the ring rotates automatically during autofocus which looks a bit anachronistic by today’s standards. As you probably already realized the Full Time Manual focusing is not supported by this lens. Before the focusing manually you should use the AF-M focusing mode switch which is located on the housing of the lens (at least for Canon and Nikon versions).

The front elements and filter thread do not rotate during focusing therefore you can easily use gradient and polarizing filters. The diameter of filter thread is 67 mm.

Nikon, Pentax and Sony versions of the lens are equipped with the aperture ring, Canon version of the lens has no such ring (the aperture control is fully electronic). The aperture ic circular, has 7 blades, its minimum value is F/32.

Optically the lens is complex and consists of 16 elements in 14 groups, including 3 low dispersion elements, 4 aspherical and 2 XR elements. The lens uses Tamron’s proprietary multy-layer coatings.

The minimum focusing distance of the lens is 0.33 m which is even better when of Canon’s 24-70/2.8 lenses which have minumum focusing distance of 0.38 m.

The buyer gets both caps and DA09 petal lens hood which can be used in reversed position for storage or transportation purposes.

Canon and Nikon version of the lens is equipped with micromotor, Pentax and Sony versions of the lens rely on in-camera motor. Autofocus of Canon version of the lens is moderately noisy and not especially fast. The autofocus is also prone to hunting if you shoot a low contrast subject.

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