As a manufacturer of an impressive array of precision optics, Tamron offers lens mounts for most DSLR models on todayâ€™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. Heâ€™s in charge of Tamronâ€™s technical representative team, traveling around the country to educate retail store personnel and Tamron end users via the companyâ€™s â€œTailgate Tour.â€
SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
The SP 15-30mm f/2.8 wide-angle zoom is the latest addition to Tamronâ€™s lens lineup. It was designed for fullframe cameras, as designated by the â€œDiâ€ 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 wonâ€™t be ultra-wide.
â€œThe lens has a very bulbous front element, so many people think that itâ€™s a fisheye lens,â€ Hubbard says. â€œHowever, itâ€™s rectilinear and corrects for distortion.â€ He adds that when you shoot a subject from a parallel vantage point, you can get straight lines with the SP 15-30mm. â€œIt will give you pretty dramatic images, especially when shooting landscapes or other wide scenes.â€
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. â€œItâ€™s the only full-frame ultra wide-angle zoom lens in the industry with image stabilization built in,â€ 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. â€œAfter about a half-hour, I stopped using my tripod and used the lensâ€™s VC feature instead,â€ he says. â€œBecause of the crowds, it was much easier to hand-hold the camera in dim light, and I still got sharp images.â€
Another new feature is fluorine coating on the front element of the SP 15-30mm, technology that utilizes Tamronâ€™s industrial lens expertise. â€œThis makes it very easy for you to clean off dirt, water and smudges,â€ 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 itâ€™s difficult to retouch images later on. â€œSo this coating is especially important for outdoor shooters,â€ he remarks.
The SP 15-30mm lens also has Tamronâ€™s proprietary eBAND coating, with strong anti-reflection properties. â€œIâ€™ve shot directly towards the sun and havenâ€™t had any flare in my photos,â€ 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 SPÂ 24-70mm is the only full-frame zoom lens in its class to include Vibration
Compensation. â€œThis feature is very important when youâ€™re shooting indoors at weddings, or outdoors in the field,â€ Hubbard says. â€œHaving stabilization on a mid-range zoom really helps out a lot.â€ Other features include weather sealing against moisture and dust, a boon for outdoor shooting. â€œThis is probably the lens I use most often when shooting landscapes,â€ he says, adding that the SP 24- 70mm is a very versatile focal length.
Other SP 24-70mm features include USD, Tamronâ€™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. â€œYou can really make a close object look more pronounced within a frame,â€ Hubbard explains. The aperture diaphragm blades in the 24-70mm lens are rounded, which creates a softer â€œbokeh,â€ 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. â€œItâ€™s the quintessential choice for portraits, weddings, sports, wildlife â€” you name it,â€ Hubbard says. Itâ€™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. â€œSome people who canâ€™t afford the more expensive 400mm and longer lenses can get a little more reach by using the SP 70- 200mm with a teleconverter,â€ 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. â€œIf youâ€™re using auto-focus on a moving subject and canâ€™t get sharp images, you can manually focus without moving any switches â€” just grab the focus ring and adjust manually on the fly,â€ Hubbard says.
The SP 70-200mm also offers Vibration Compensation, which is imperative for shooting sports or subjects in low light. Tamronâ€™s VC feature offers a four-stop correction, so even shutter speeds of 1/15 second at 200mm are possible. This lens features Tamronâ€™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. â€œWeâ€™re the only camera lens company that offers this warranty,â€ Hubbard states. In closing, he adds, â€œThese three lenses are always in my camera bag.â€
For more information on these and other Tamron lenses, visit www.tamronusa. com.