Tamron 17-28mm F/2.8 vs. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM – Can Cheaper Be Better?

Photographer Max Yuryev recently got the new Tamron 17-28mm F/2.8 and had a chance to do a preliminary side by side comparison against the highly acclaimed Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM lens and the results are pretty interesting.

Shortly after the Tamron 17-28mm F/2.8 was announced we published an initial review of the lens (see here), now that the lens has started reaching more costumers we are seeing more reviews and more comparisons.

Externally the lens is significantly lighter and smaller than the Sony (it also has a smaller front element and filter – 67mm vs. 82mm). Another added advantage – the Tamron does not extend – which is good for preventing dust from getting into the lens but also fantastic from a gimbal balancing perspective (it gets better – on the new DJI Ronin SC it balances very nicely while the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM not so much touching the back of the gimbal).

Optically Yuryev testing was far from exhaustive but it seems that both the Sony and Tamron performed very well in all aspects and the Tamron even demonstrated better flare handling (possibly due to the somewhat less wide angle of the lens).

How important is the 1mm between the 16mm and the 17mm – this one is hard to answer – both are ultra-wide on a full-frame camera. If you must have the widest possible angle there are other zoom lenses of course including the super-wide 10-18mm Venus (but that is a MF lens and its performance is not on par with these lenses).

The pricing of the Tamron makes it especially attractive given its performance and general build at just under $900 (less than half the price of the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM).

You can check out more of videos from our photography gear guides section here on LensVid.

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