When I first switched over to my Sony system, I had a basic kit lens which I bought with it. It was great, but had a variable f/3.5-5.6 aperture. I wanted something that would do f/2.8 without breaking the bank.
After talking to a few photographer friends and doing a bit of research I bought the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 A036 lens (B&H | Amazon). It was lightweight and fast, which was just what I wanted for studio portraits. I wanted something that would perform well in low light as well as with the studio lights. It quickly became my go-to workhorse for nature, landscapes, as well as portraits. I regularly put it through its paces with my Sony a7R III.
I wanted something that would give me a gorgeous portrait with studio strobes and natural light, lovely detail and some really nice bokeh. I was not disappointed. This lens was to become a fairly standard performer and my go-to.
I have other Zeiss primes lenses, but they can only offer a close up in my smaller studio space. The 28-75mm zoom allows me to obtain full body shots (with minimal distortion) from the 28mm wide-angle through to 75mm for close-ups with minimal compression that you can often get with a zoom. Not that I am against compression from a larger zoom … just not in my small studio.
Great for still life
OK, so it’s no macro lens, but I knew that when I bought it (I already have a macro lens). But it does allow you to get up pretty close on the 75mm (15.3 inches) and an image magnification of 1:4, so you can shoot fairly up close and get a nice blur like a macro. At 28mm it has a working distance of just 2.24 inches, which can give you some unique perspectives.
Great for nature photography
Like I said, this lens has become my go-to workhorse. I usually have it on my camera when I go to the local nature reserve and park. Throw my extension tubes in my pocket and I can capture everything from extreme macro to lovely landscapes.
Autofocus is fast and super quiet, another positive when it comes to nature photography. It also works well with the Sony AF-C mode, too. I found the zoom to be rather inadequate for shooting birds, as I had to get in fairly close. A longer zoom — say 200-300mm — would perform much better at a distance. But then again, I am not really much of a bird photographer.
Handles landscapes well, too
The 28mm does a fairly good job as a midrange wide-angle, and works perfectly fine with the Sony bracketing system. I get a lovely bokeh and good dynamic range on a basic landscape.
- Focal length: 28-75mm
- Aperture range: f/2.8-f/22
- Aperture blades: 9 circular
- Filter size: 67mm (max diameter 73mm)
- Length: 4.6 inches
- Weight: 550 grams (19.4 oz.)
- Mount: E-mount; designed for full-frame. Will also work with APS-C.
The body is lightweight and compact, smooth and easy to keep clean, the lens is moisture-resistant and has fluorine coating for protection against weather and oily fingerprints. The manual focus ring is smooth in its transition and zoom ring is ridged for grip (without being too much) and also smooth.
A good all-rounder
If you mostly do studio work — say still life or portraits — and want a really fast, quiet lens that is a good performer without breaking the bank, then the Tamron A036 might be a great option for you.
As an everyday workhorse, I have found it performs well in most scenarios and perfect for studio portraits but works wonders in natural light, too. It’s perfect for an afternoon at the park, and some basic landscapes and nature shots. Granted it is larger and heavier (295 grams, 3.3/8 inches long) and more expensive than the standard Sony kit lens, but I believe it packs more punch and has the faster aperture I was after. If you are after a good all-rounder, I think the Tamron 28-75mm (B&H | Amazon) is a great lens to have in your kit.