As a manufacturer of an impressive array of precision optics, Tamron offers lens mounts for most DSLR models on today’s market. Since 2012, the company has expanded its lineup of interchangeable lenses for full-frame digital cameras. Its most recent introduction is the SP 15-30mm f/2.8 wide-angle zoom, preceded by the SP 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom and SP 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lenses. Together, these three lenses cover wide, mid-range and telephoto focal lengths.
To learn more about these lenses, I caught up with Ken Hubbard, Field Services Manager at Tamron. He’s in charge of Tamron’s technical representative team, traveling around the country to educate retail store personnel and Tamron end users via the company’s “Tailgate Tour.”
SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
The SP 15-30mm f/2.8 wide-angle zoom is the latest addition to Tamron’s lens lineup. It was designed for fullframe cameras, as designated by the “Di” in its model name. (Lenses with a Di II designation are designed for smaller APS-C camera sensors.) While the SP 15- 30mm zoom can be used on DSLRs with smaller sensors, the focal length won’t be ultra-wide.
“The lens has a very bulbous front element, so many people think that it’s a fisheye lens,” Hubbard says. “However, it’s rectilinear and corrects for distortion.” He adds that when you shoot a subject from a parallel vantage point, you can get straight lines with the SP 15-30mm. “It will give you pretty dramatic images, especially when shooting landscapes or other wide scenes.”
This lens offers a fast, maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout its zoom range, as well as Vibration Compensation (VC), a unique feature in wide-angle lenses. “It’s the only full-frame ultra wide-angle zoom lens in the industry with image stabilization built in,” Hubbard points out. This is a useful feature when shooting exposures of a half-second or longer, or in low light.
On a recent Tamron Tailgate Tour, Hubbard shot pictures at busy Antelope Canyon in northern Arizona. “After about a half-hour, I stopped using my tripod and used the lens’s VC feature instead,” he says. “Because of the crowds, it was much easier to hand-hold the camera in dim light, and I still got sharp images.”
Another new feature is fluorine coating on the front element of the SP 15-30mm, technology that utilizes Tamron’s industrial lens expertise. “This makes it very easy for you to clean off dirt, water and smudges,” Hubbard says. The coating repels dirt and water, which can be removed easily with a lens blower brush or cleaning cloth. Dust can easily create lens flare when shooting sunsets or towards a bright light source, and it’s difficult to retouch images later on. “So this coating is especially important for outdoor shooters,” he remarks.
The SP 15-30mm lens also has Tamron’s proprietary eBAND coating, with strong anti-reflection properties. “I’ve shot directly towards the sun and haven’t had any flare in my photos,” he says. The SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens sells for $1199.
SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC
Like the SP 15-30mm f/2.8 lens, the SP 24-70mm is the only full-frame zoom lens in its class to include Vibration
Compensation. “This feature is very important when you’re shooting indoors at weddings, or outdoors in the field,” Hubbard says. “Having stabilization on a mid-range zoom really helps out a lot.” Other features include weather sealing against moisture and dust, a boon for outdoor shooting. “This is probably the lens I use most often when shooting landscapes,” he says, adding that the SP 24- 70mm is a very versatile focal length.
Other SP 24-70mm features include USD, Tamron’s proprietary ultrasonic silent drive, for fast, quiet operation. Many Tamron lenses offer excellent close-focusing distances, and this lens has a minimum focusing distance of 15 inches. A short focusing distance allows you to focus sharply on a foreground subject or close-up subject. “You can really make a close object look more pronounced within a frame,” Hubbard explains. The aperture diaphragm blades in the 24-70mm lens are rounded, which creates a softer “bokeh,” or out-of-focus highlights in the background when shooting at a wide aperture. The SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC lens retails for $1299.
SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC
This lens offers a range of classic focal lengths from moderate to long telephoto, with a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout its zoom range. “It’s the quintessential choice for portraits, weddings, sports, wildlife — you name it,” Hubbard says. It’s also a great tool for shooting landscapes when you want objects to have a compressed look, which is an inherent feature of telephoto lenses. “Some people who can’t afford the more expensive 400mm and longer lenses can get a little more reach by using the SP 70- 200mm with a teleconverter,” he comments.
As with other Tamron lenses, the SP 70-200mm is weather sealed against dust and moisture. It also offers full-time manual focus. “If you’re using auto-focus on a moving subject and can’t get sharp images, you can manually focus without moving any switches — just grab the focus ring and adjust manually on the fly,” Hubbard says.
The SP 70-200mm also offers Vibration Compensation, which is imperative for shooting sports or subjects in low light. Tamron’s VC feature offers a four-stop correction, so even shutter speeds of 1/15 second at 200mm are possible. This lens features Tamron’s ultrasonic silent drive for fast, quiet operation, another handy feature for wedding or sports photographers. It also has a rounded diaphragm, which produces pleasing blurred background (or bokeh) effects.
A lens hood is included with all Tamron lenses, and each comes with a six-year warranty. “We’re the only camera lens company that offers this warranty,” Hubbard states. In closing, he adds, “These three lenses are always in my camera bag.”
For more information on these and other Tamron lenses, visit www.tamronusa. com.