For the past six decades, Tamron has pioneered the creation of high-quality lenses for practically every imaging application. Senior Education Manager John VanSteenberg says, “Our philosophy is that lens design is part technology and part art. The art lies in understanding the things photographers want to do, but can’t do yet because of technical limitations. Then we create technologies and products that break down those limitations, making more great photos possible.”
He adds, “We implement these technical advances at world-class, ISO 9000-certified production facilities. We are also committed to minimizing the depletion of natural resources and reducing hazardous wastes, and to that end, we maintain our ISO 14000 ‘green company’ certification.”
Tamron lenses can be used on virtually all contemporary interchangeable lens SLRs from Canon, Nikon and Sony. More specifically, Di designated lenses work on both full frame and crop sensor camera bodies, while Di II lenses are for crop sensor bodies only. The SP (Super Performance) designation indicates models designed for the most demanding photographers, including fast apertures and other state-of-the-art features. “SP lenses deliver the highest optical quality, often with more macro and other benefits,” says VanSteenberg. “While there is a tendency to infer that our non-SP lens-es are inferior or ‘consumer grade’ lenses, nothing could be further from the reality. Our non-SP lenses typically add features and functionality not found on competitors’ offerings, such as extended zoom range, better macro and closer focusing.”
18-270mm Di II VC PZD
Announced in December 2010 as a 60th anniversary innovation, this lens is the world’s lightest, smallest 15x zoom. “No other maker exceeds 18-250mm, and most are limited to 18-200mm,” says VanSteenberg. “This 18-270mm compares favorably with most 18-200s produced by other manufacturers, but with better telephoto imaging and more range and macro.”
This ultra-high-power zoom lens represents a 24 percent reduction in length and an 18 percent reduction in weight from the previous generation 18-270mm. It weighs in at 15.9 ounces and is 3.8 inches long from the mount face to the tip of the lens. The lens itself is 2.9 inches in diameter, with a filter diameter of 62mm. It includes Tamron’s first PZD (Piezo Drive) — a standing wave ultrasonic motor exclusively for digital SLRs with APS-C sensors. This type of autofocus motor is smaller than its traveling wave counterparts, allowing a more compact SLR lens size.
Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) technology has a number of advantages: the speed with which it acquires stability, the ability to pan while maintaining stability, the ability to stabilize and shoot with the camera in a “tilted” position (between horizontal and vertical) and the ability to maintain shake control up to four stops.
VanSteenberg summarizes, “This lens is great for all-around use. What sets it apart is the focal length range, image quality, exceptionally small size for ease of travel and long days of shooting, and very nice macro capabilities.” Retail price ranges from $650-$750 before rebates.
SP 70-300mm Di VC USD
The SP 70-300mm is an ideal choice for a two-zoom system, perfectly complementing a wide-to-moderate telephoto zoom. It’s the first lens to feature Tamron’s USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) auto-focusing mechanism, which offers fast, smooth focusing and extremely quiet operation.
According to VanSteenberg, “The image quality of this SP (Super Performance) lens clearly makes it the best in its class. Exceptional gains in center vs. edge sharpness define a breakthrough in performance for this optic.”
This lens combines XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) and LD (Low Dispersion) glass in a 17-element, 12-group formula. APS-C photographers can take advantage of extreme magnification of telephoto subjects, with a picture angle range approximating a 109-365mm lens on a 35mm film or full-frame DSLR. Sharpness for handheld slow shutter speed shots is enhanced by Tamron’s tri-axial VC image stabilization.
The option of full-time manual focus override makes fine tuning easy. VanSteenberg says, “Instead of fumbling with switches, you can easily change from autofocus to manual by adjusting the focus ring. This feature helps produce impressive results even in telephoto situations with a narrow depth of field.”
VanSteenberg recommends this lens for sports and wildlife photographers who need the optical performance once available only from more costly lenses, and who need the expanded low light and handheld shooting potential offered by the VC. Retail price is around $450 before rebates.
SP 17-50mm Di II VC
This wide-to-moderate telephoto zoom offers an exceptional value for the price in terms of image quality and functionality. Van Steenberg notes, “The speed and optical performance are simply excellent, and the size and weight make this lens desirable to work with in hours-long situations, like weddings and portrait sessions.”
The SP 17-50mm weighs in at 20.15 ounces and is 3.7 inches long. The picture angle range approximates a 26- 78mm lens on a full frame DSLR or a 35mm SLR. The fast f/2.8 maximum aperture gives you added viewfinder brightness, more freedom in lowlight conditions and the ability to softly obscure cluttered backgrounds.
Two types of glass, XR (Extra Reflective Index) and LD (Low Dispersion), combine to assure sharpness, contrast and image fidelity. Van Steenberg explains, “Each of these glass technologies solves different problems. XR glass has the ability to bend light more than non-XR glass. In effect, by managing the light path with this technology, we can make lenses that perform as well or better than traditional glass and still make the lens significantly smaller and lighter.”
He continues, “What the LD glass does is minimize or eliminate the tendency of light to spray as it passes through the lens — making edges more precise and color tones more accurate, and improving sharpness and color rendering.”
Retail price is around $650 with VC and $500 without VC, both before rebates.
About Tamron RebatesThe easiest ways to find out about Tamron USA consumer rebates are from an authorized dealer, from a Tamron representative at PPA, WPPI and PSA events, or by visiting www.tamronusa. com. Important note: only official Tamron USA lenses carry Tamron’s consumer rebates and six-year warranty. You can find out if the lens you are being offered qualifies by checking the serial numbers at www.tamron-usa.com or by calling Tamron USA’s Customer Service Department at 800-827-8880.