Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Lens

Full name: Tamron SP AF Aspherical XR Di LD (IF) 28-75mm 1:2.8 Macro

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To begin I will give a list of all the Tamron abbreviations for better understanding:

  • AF: Autofocus
  • AD: Anomalous Dispersion. Special optical glass design that reduces chromatic aberration by reducing the amount of “undesirable” light wavelength passage through the lens.
  • ASL: Aspherical Glass used in the lens.
  • Di: Digitally Integrated Design. This is the same as sigma’s DG lenses and simply has extra coatings on the glass.
  • Di II: Lenses for Digital SLR Cameras Only (cameras with a APS-C size sensor) The same as Sigma’s DC lenses.
  • IF: Internal focus.
  • LD: Low Dispersion Glass used in the lens.
  • SP: Super Performance. Tamron’s “top shelf” high performance lenses sporting above average build quality, innovative design features and fine optical characteristics which set these lenses apart from standard lenses.
  • XR: Extra Refractive Index Glass.


After countless hours of doing research for a fast standard zoom lens without the $1000 price tag of the well know Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L, I ran into some reviews on the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di and decided to give it a try. All the reviews I read had PROS and CONS just as any other product on the market today, so the following review is from my own personal experience of this lens.

When I initially received this lens I was very surprised by the size and weight compared to other lenses of the same focal length and large aperture, which makes this an easy walk-around lens if 28mm is wide enough for your needs. Build quality is on the mediocre side and in no way comparable to Canon’s L series lenses. The body is plastic which could be good or bad depending on how you look at it (bad because it does not make the lens as durable but good because it keeps the weight down).

I find the zoom and focus rings to be well damped and easy to use. On all Tamron lenses, you rotate the zoom ring the opposite direction than Canon and other lenses. At first I thought it would be difficult to get used to but it catches on pretty quickly. While zooming in or out it is not as smooth as I would like it to be, but it is acceptable. The focus ring on the other hand is VERY smooth and easy to use, which is a big plus for manual focusing.

Unlike Canon and other lens manufacturers there is no focus windows on the Tamron, but if you think about it, how often do you use it anyways? This lens does have IF (internal focusing) which means the front element does not rotate while focusing. It does not, however, have FTM (full time manual) capabilities, so while the lens is focusing the focus ring does move. You have to be aware not to hold it because it could result in burning up the focus motor.

Another plus is that it has a lens lock when at 28mm to stop zoom creep. I find this to be a very nice feature because I always worry while walking around and the lenses zooming out without you wanting it to.

Now to get to the performance and image quality. The auto focus motor has a slight buzz to it which I think makes the lens feel slower than it really is. In normal lighting situations the focus is precise but a little slow compared to the Canon USM lenses I have used. In low light it seems to do its fair share of hunting but nothing major for me because I usually have enough light, and if not a flash is used. I will have to admit that this by far is the sharpest lens I have ever owned especially wide open! I have read other reviews that claim that this lens IQ-wise battles back and forth with Canon’s 24-70mm f/2.8L but I have never tested that lens so I cannot say for sure if it is true or not. I do know, however, that I could not be happier with the IQ which, to me, makes up for the CONS.

My final conclusion of this lens is that it is an excellent, fast, standard focal length lens that is light, easy to carry all day and extremely sharp! If you are on a budget and need the f/2.8 then, by all mean, this is the lens to go for because you will not be disappointed.

Below are some photos taken at 75mm using f/2.8, f/5.6 and f/8. All images have NO post processing work done to them. All I did was convert from RAW, add the details and the 100% crops.


Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Lens at f/2.8

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Lens at f/5.6

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Lens at f/8