The new Tamron lens sample, a SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD, is on display at the Salon de la Photo 2013 held from November 7 to 11 in Paris, France. With this ultra-telephoto lens Tamron wants to compete in an area where there are not so many players these days.
I still have a very old Tamron 200-400mm f/5.6 lens I used with my early EOS film cameras, but this new lens goes beyond anything Tamron has done before, even the 200-500mm model they have had for quite some time. Photographers, especially those photographing birds and wildlife, are always looking for lenses that offer a greater focal length range, but for those who also want to carry lenses with them for long periods of time, there's always the problem of weight. Tamron seems to have been able to limit it just under two kilograms, so this lens is not much different from the Sigma lenses it will probably compete with
In fact, the new Tamron has one direct competitor, the Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, and, to a certain extent, the Sigma 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, both well known to wildlife and bird photographers looking for an alternative to the camera brand lenses… which, in fact, rarely compete in this specific segment, when it comes to price.
There's still the question of price to know, to understand how much this lens from Tamron can compete with Sigma. In terms of specifications they all seem to be on the same level, although, as Tamron's lens is only a sample at the moment, it will be better to wait for it to arrive in the market to make final decisions.
Conceived to work both with full frame cameras and APS-C, the lens offers, in the smaller sensor, a stunning equivalent focal length range of 233mm to 930mm, almost 1000mm on a portable lens. This will be something bird photographers will probably appreciate, if the quality of the final images is as promised by Tamron. Considering this lens has the same aperture as the Sigma 150-500 at the longer focal length, it may be a good option and give Tamron a good start position with photographers looking into this segment. Two things will have to be considered, though: the fact that 600mm is a round number, so the real focal length will be somewhere under it, circa the 582mm according to the patent information, and the aperture of f/6.3 may create some focusing problems for Canon cameras, which usually have a f/5.6 AF limit on the popular models.
To build this lens Tamron took their 200-500mm and extended the focal length by 50mm on the wide-angle side and 100mm on the telephoto side, to create what might be a good choice even for those photographers waiting for the new 100-400mm from Canon. I am not sure it will have the same quality level, but for some types of photography the 200mm extra reach might be a welcome trade of, considering price, weight and quality. The general reports on the 200-500mm are good and if the rumored price around $1500 is true, Tamron may have a winner.
This all-new ultra-telephoto zoom lens features VC ( Vibration Compensation) image stabilization, speedy, precise USD ( Ultrasonic Silent Drive), state-of-the-art eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) Coating, which significantly reduces the unwanted light reflections that cause flare and ghosting, and, in addition a sophisticated and stylish new external finish, says Tamron in their press-release.
Long lenses like the old Tamron 200-400 have been used by wildlife photographers for a long time
Employing 20 elements in 13 groups and boasting an advanced optical design, it delivers a superior balance of resolution and contrast for sharp, clear images. The front group contains three LD ( Low Dispersion) glass elements (two in the first group, one in the third) for enhanced optical correction effectiveness, enabling the lens to thoroughly compensate for on-axis aberrations at the telephoto end. The lens also adopts eBAND Coating, developed from state-of-the-art coating technologies, and conventional BBAR(Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating to greatly suppress ghosting and flare even when shooting under adverse lighting conditions.
Ingenious optical design features minimize the movement of lens groups within the lens when zooming. This reduces the amount of barrel extension needed to cover the complete focusing range, making the entire lens more compact, and easy to carry around, considering what it does.
Adopting a 9 blade circular diaphragm enables users to create beautiful background blur effects (bokeh), which provide even greater potential for creative expression. This circular diaphragm retains a nearly circular shape even at two stops down from its maximum aperture.
Finally, Tamron’s new SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD features a USD ( Ultrasonic Silent Drive) ultrasonic motor drive for swift and accurate AF response, and delivers high torque, very fast response times, and very low noise. The full-time manual focus mechanism allows users to make fine manual focus adjustments at any time even when AF is engaged.The tripod mount has been, states Tamron, completely redesigned to provide superior stability, durability, ease of use, and portability.
The lens comes with “SILKYPIX Developer Studio for Tamron”. The SILKYPIX Developer Studio software can develop high-quality images from RAW data, incorporating adjustments that can express the personal style and taste of the photographer. These include white balance, color, sharpness, and the tonal curves recorded by digital cameras.
The SILKYPIX Developer Studio for Tamron provides a range of functions, in addition to the basic adjustment capabilities, such as correcting aberrations (chromatic aberrations of magnification, distortion, peripheral light fall-off), based on the optical data. Used in tandem with Tamron’s SP series lenses – renowned for their high-depiction capability – this advanced technology efficiently produces images that meet photographers’ most exacting demands.
So, now we just have to wait that the sample becomes a final product, so the first images start to show on the web and people can confirm if the new 150-600mm from Tamron is a new contender in the segment. It will be available for Canon, Nikon and Sony.