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Sony 28-75mm f/2.8
© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

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Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 (Full frame, 35mm and smaller-format coverage, 67mm filters, 19.6 oz./554g, 1.1'/0.33m close focus, about $900, seems like the same thing as the Tamron 28-75/2.8 that sells for $475.)

This free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to this lens at Adorama or at Amazon (or the Tamron at Adorama or at Amazon) when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep reviewing these lenses when you get yours through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

 

June 2013    Sony   Zeiss   Minolta   Nikon   Canon   Fuji   LEICA   All Reviews

 

Sample Image

Katie reads from her birthday book from school, 30 May 2013

Katie reads from her birthday book from school, 30 May 2013. (Sony A99, Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 at 75mm, f/4 at 1/80 at Auto ISO 640, Athentech Perfectly Clear plug-in.) bigger.

 

Introduction       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

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This is a standard 28-75mm f/2.8 autofocus lens for Sony Alpha-mount cameras. It mounts, but does not work on my 1985 Minolta MAXXUM 7000; it won't autofocus or read apertures.

This lens appears to be identical to the Tamron 28-75/2.8 that sells for $475.

Autofocus is via a motor in the lens. As the lens focuses, the focus ring turns. It is not silent; the little motor sounds like a kid's toy.

There is no instant manual focus override. You have to move a switch on the lens. You can't even select manual focus on the Sony A99, which grays-out the manual and DMF ("Direct Manual Focus") override modes.

Optically it has very little distortion, but it's very soft on the sides at larger apertures.

The Sony A99 can correct other optical aberrations automatically as you shoot.

Sony 28-75

Sony 28-75mm. bigger.

 

Specifications         top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

 

Name        top

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8.

Sony calls this the model number SAL2875.

 

Optics        top

16 elements in 14 groups.

"Pumper" zoom: the front group extends as zoomed longer.

Internal focus.

Multicoated.

 

Diaphragm        top

Front, Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 at 28mm at f/32. bigger.

7 rounded blades.

Stops down to f/32.

 

Coverage        top

35mm film, full-frame and smaller format digital.

 

Focal Length        top

28-75mm.

When used on an APS-C style camera, it sees an angle of view similar to what a 45-120mm lens sees when used on a full-frame or 35mm camera.

 

Close Focus        top

1.1 feet (0.33 meters) from the image plane.

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio        top

1:4.5 (0.22x).

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?        top

No, you must let the AF system focus at infinity.

 

Focus Scale        top

Yes.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale        top

No.

 

Infra-Red Focus Index        top

No.

 

Aperture Ring        top

No.

 

Filter Thread        top

67mm, plastic.

Does not rotate, but moves in and out with zooming.

 

Size        top

Sony specifies 3-1/8 " (77.5 mm) diameter by 3-3/4" (94 mm) extension from flange.

 

Weight        top

19.555 oz. (554.4g), actual measured.

Sony specifies 20 oz. (565 g).

 

Hood        top

Sony 28-75mm hood

Sony ALC-SH109 hood for 28-75mm.

Plastic ALC-SH109 hood, included.

 

Case        top

None.

 

Included        top

Caps and hood.

 

Quality         top

Made in Japan.

 

Warranty         top

1 year, USA.

 

Packaging        top

Microcorrugated cardboard box.

Lens wrapped in bubble-wrap inside several layers of thick corrugated cardboard.

The hood is in a different part of the box, instead of stored reversed on the lens to allow a smaller box. This makes the box much bigger, implying the lens inside is much bigger, helping justify the $900 price.

Box, Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Box, Sony 28-75mm f/2.8.

 

Sony Product Number        top

SAL2875.

 

Price, USA        top

$900, June 2013.

 

Performance       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Overall    Autofocus    Bokeh    Coma    Distortion  Ergonomics   

Falloff    Filters   Focus Breathing   Ghosts   Hood    

Lateral Color Fringes    Macro    Mechanics    Sharpness

Spherochromatism  Sunstars   Survivability

 

Overall       performance     top

The Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 is a consumer lens. It's good enough for the people who will buy it, but it's nowhere near as good optically or mechanically as professional lenses like the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II or Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. Even the old Nikon 28-70/2.8 can wipe this lens off the map optically.

Specifically, this 28-75/2.8 is very soft on the sides and corners at larger apertures, but has very low distortion.

 

Autofocus       performance     top

 

AF Speed

AF speed is moderate.

The AF motor always sounds wheezy as it focuses.

 

AF Accuracy

On the Sony A99, focus is dead-on every time at f/2.8.

 

Manual Focus

Manual focus feels pretty good.

Its geared just right, and not noisy like autofocus.

 

Bokeh       performance     top

Bokeh, the character of out of focus backgrounds, not simply how far out of focus they are, is ordinary. It's neither that great, nor that bad.

 

Coma       performance     top

Coma (saggital coma flare) often causes weird smeared blobs to appear around bright points of light in the corners of fast or wide lenses at large apertures.

The Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 is pretty blurry on the sides at f/2.8, so you'll probably see plenty of coma.

 

Distortion       performance     top

The Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 has extremely low distortion for a zoom lens. It's invisible, except for moderate pincushion at 70mm.

When the Sony A99 is set to autocorrect distortion, it corrects this as well. The A99 doesn't do a good job of correction at the wide end, but does a great job from 50-70mm where distortion is otherwise the highest.

This can be corrected for critical use by plugging these figures into Photoshop's lens distortion filter. These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

At 10' (3m)

On full-frame

With Sony A99's in-camera autocorrection
28mm
+0.5
-0.7
35mm
-1.0
-1.0
50mm
-1.2
0.0
70mm
-2.0
0.0

© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Ergonomics (handling and ease-of-use)       performance     top

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8.

Ergonomics are pretty good. It's all plastic, but reasonably well put together.

The zoom ring is big, and the focal lengths are well spaced. It feels somewhat gritty when zoomed.

It's not easy to find and switch the AF/MF switch by feel, but when you do, manual focus works great.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)       performance     top

Falloff on full-frame is visible at f/2.8, and gone otherwise.

The Shading Correction in the Sony A99 improves it if you turn it ON.

I've exaggerated this by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background.

 

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff on full frame and 35mm at infinity, no correction:

 
f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6
28mm Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff
50mm Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff

75mm

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff

© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff on full-frame Sony A99 at ISO 100 with Shading Correction ON:

 
f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6
28mm Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff
50mm Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff

75mm

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 falloff

© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

Filters, use with       performance     top

There is no problem with vignetting, even with thick filters.

Even on full-frame, I got no vignetting at any setting with two stacked filters, and only at some settings with three filters.

The filter ring doesn't rotate, but it does move in and out as zoomed.

 

Focus Breathing       performance     top

Of interest mostly to cinematographers focusing back and forth between two subjects, the image from the Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 gets smaller as focused more closely.

 

Ghosts       performance     top

Ghosts are no problem with this multicoated lens, even on the complex Sony A99 which has all sorts of internal mirrors in the optical shooting path.

Here's looking directly into the disk of the noonday sun, which was blinding in person:

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 ghosts

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 at f/8. enlarge.

Enough glare to blind a dead man, and the worst I could show for it after several tries was one dim green-blue blob opposite the sun.

 

Hood       performance     top

The dinky plastic hood is included.

I never use it.

 

Lateral Color Fringes       performance     top

Shot on the 24 MP full-frame Sony A99, there are some minor magenta-green lateral color fringes with lateral color correction turned OFF. It's gone at 50mm and 75mm.

With correction turned ON, it's gone at all settings.

 

Macro       performance     top

Macro is no big deal. Here's how close it gets at 75mm on full-frame at 1 foot:

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Complete image at close-focus distance at 70mm at f/11 on full-frame camera.

At f/11, it's sharp:

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Crop from above image at f/11. If this is 6" wide on your screen, the complete image printed at this same magnification would be 40 x 60." (1 x 1.5 meters.)

Shot at f/2.8, it's soft:

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Complete image at close-focus distance at 70mm at f/11 on full-frame camera.

At f/11, it's sharp:

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Crop from above image at f/2.8. If this is 6" wide on your screen, the complete image printed at this same magnification would be 40 x 60." (1 x 1.5 meters.)

 

Mechanics and Construction       performance     top

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8

Sony 28-75mm f/2.8. enlarge.

The Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 is mostly plastic, except for the mount and glass. It feels OK; its the noisy AF system that creeps me out the most.

 

Filter Threads

Plastic.

 

Hood

Plastic bayonet.

 

Hood Mount

Plastic.

 

Barrel Exterior

Plastic.

 

Focus Ring

Plastic; rubber covered.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale

None.

 

Aperture Ring

None.

 

Mount

Chromed metal.

 

Markings

Paint.

 

Mounting Index Dot

Orange plastic nubbin.

 

Identity Plate

Sticker glued on bottom of barrel.

 

Serial Number

Printed on identity sticker on bottom of the lens.

 

Moisture seal at mount

No.

 

Noises When Shaken

Mild clunking.

 

Made in

Japan.

 

Sharpness       performance     top

Yes, it's very sharp if you know what you're doing. Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens, and lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good.

When looked at under my microscope, this Sony lens is much less sharp than the pro lenses from Nikon, Canon and LEICA I usually shoot, and as you can see at the top, it's more than sharp enough for actual photography.

My sample was much softer on the right side than the left, a sign of relaxed manufacturing tolerances.

As shot on the full-frame 24MP A99:

 

At 28mm

At f/2.8

The center is very sharp, while the sides are blurry.

 

At f/4

The center is perfect, while the sides are still blurry.

 

At f/5.6

The center is perfect, and the sides are much better.

 

At f/8

This is the optimum aperture; it's sharp all over.

 

At 50mm

At f/2.8

The center is very sharp, while the sides are quite blurry.

 

At f/4

The center is perfect, while the sides are blurry.

 

At f/5.6

The center is perfect, and the sides are much better.

 

At f/8

This is the optimum aperture; it's sharp all over.

 

At 70mm

At f/2.8

The center is very sharp, while the sides are quite blurry.

 

At f/4

The center is perfect, while the sides are still quite blurry.

 

At f/5.6

The center is perfect, and the sides are somewhat blurry.

 

At f/8

The center is perfect, and the sides are still a little blurry.

 

Spherochromatism       performance     top

Spherochromatism, sometimes mistakenly called "color bokeh" by laymen, is a minor aberration which can add slight color fringes to out-of focus highlights.

At f/2.8, the Sony 28-75 2.8 shows some spherochromatism at close distances, along with regular spherical aberration making things softer.

 

Sunstars       performance     top

Poo. With its rounded diaphragm, there are no sunstars on brilliant points of light.

 

Survivability       performance     top

I don't trust the little AF motor toiling trying to move the focus. It can die, and if there are no parts, you've got a manual focus lens on your hands.

Likewise, the fact that this seems like a Tamron lens simply rebranded as Sony doesn't impress me, along with the fact that it doesn't focus or read aperture on my MAXXUM 7000, so I don't put a lot of faith in this lens being a long-term investment.

 

Compared             top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

The Sony 50mm f/1.4 is significantly sharper on the sides at large apertures.

I have not tested the Tamron 28-75/2.8, but it seems like exactly the same lens for half the price.

 

Recommendations       top

Intro   Specifications   Performance   Compared   Recommendations

The Sony 28-75mm f/2.8 has a primitive motorized AF system and is very soft on the sides at large apertures if you're shooting test charts, but for its intended purpose as a people and event lens, the Sony 28-75 handles well and gives great shots under all sorts of conditions. You usually want the sides soft to keep attention on the subject, and this lens has much less distortion than other similar lenses.

Personally, I'd get the Tamron 28-75/2.8 for half price before I bought this Sony lens. I don't look at either as a long-term investment, and the Tamron seems to be exactly the same lens.

I prefer my Minolta 28-85mm (about $50 used) on principle. This MAXXUM lens is about as good optically, weighs a little less, works on my MAXXUM 7000 as well as my Sony A99, has a longer zoom range and is much better made mechanically.

If you want an optically great zoom for your A99, man-up and get the Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8.

If you've found the time, effort and expense I incur researching and sharing all this information for free, this free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially this link directly to this lens at Adorama or at Amazon when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep reviewing these lenses when you get yours through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. I'm not NPR; I don't get any government grants or do fund drives to support my research.

Thanks for your support!

Ken.

 

Deployment

I'd leave either a 67mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 67mm Hoya Alpha UV on the lens at all times. I would leave the hood at home.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 67mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

For color slides like Velvia 50, I use a 67mm Hoya HMC 81A outdoors.

For B&W film outdoors, I'd use a 67mm Hoya HMC K2 Yellow or 67mm Hoya HMC Orange.

 

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Thanks for reading!

 

 

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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