The Tamron 28-200mm f3.8-5.6 Aspherical (71A) is a compact ‘super zoom’ lens that benefits from at least one aspherical element.
|List Price when new||¥|
|Angle of view||°|
|Optical Construction (Groups / Elements)||14 / 16|
|Minimum Focus||82.7″ (2.1m)|
|Maximum Macro Magnification ratio|
Background and availability
The Tamron 28-200mm f3.8-5.6 Aspherical (71A) was one of the last manual focus Adaptall-2 lenses (manufactured from 1994-1998). It is a relatively compact zoom (thanks to the use of aspherical elements) lens that offers a really nice walkaround solution for Sony NEX and other CSC owners. Gone is the all-metal construction of earlier lenses in the Adaptall lines, but the lens nonetheless feels sturdy and well built. The lens extends considerably to reach 200mm, and the lens retraction means that it is quite a chunky, stubby lens.
The Tamron 28-200mm f3.8-5.6 Aspherical (71A) is quite common on Ebay and other online second-hand camera stores, but camera stores normally set the price too high, as do Buy-it-now auctions. Expect to pay anywhere from £50 to £100 plus if buying one this way. However, a patient buyer could (like me) pick one up for far less. I paid just £28 for one in mint condition with its original hood (which is very small and seems more suited to the wide end than the telephoto end).
Performance and handling
As much as I like the performance and convenience of the older Tamron SP 35-210mm f3.5-4.2 (26A) the Tamron 28-200mm has some advantages that are difficult to ignore: it is wider, lighter and smaller which makes it more convenient for carrying the camera in a small bag when photography isn’t the main purpose of the trip. The disadvantages are that the lens is slower, loses a little bit at the telephoto end and is arguably less well made (plastic vs metal). These differences are going to be more important to some users than others and I guess the main issue is going to be which lens produces the best results – in particular wide open or near wide open.
From my early experiences the Tamron 28-200mm f3.8-5.6 Aspherical (71A) is perfectly adequate and it has been with me on a few casual walks due to its size and flexibility. The lens is fairly easy to focus and I have got pictures of birds in flight at 200mm. In the right situation the lens seems – to my eyes at least – produce very sharp results when stopped down to around f7 (I’ve not really used the lens wide open that much, I’ll save that for more formal testing and comparison between this lens and the SP 35-210mm). See the photo of a Robin for evidence of this. It is certainly wide enough at 28mm for most purposes and 200mm on a crop sensor provides adequate reach for casual wildlife shots.
Certainly for £28 the lens is good value and some of the results have been very pleasing for both colours and sharpness. I look forward to testing it against the SP 35-210mm as I suppose I don’t really need both lenses to cover the same range.