Tamron is Proving the Photo Industry Needs to Think Differently

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If you look at the lineup of lenses that every manufacturer has, you’ll see a lot are the same, more or less. They’ve all got their focal lengths, and many of them deliver good image quality. But the brands that create totally different focal lengths are the ones that stand out. Tamron has done that. Just last week, they announced two new lenses in development. There’s the Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III VXD. There’s also the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2. Both of these lenses are for Sony E mount. They’re providing the variety the already-saturated camera system really needs. Better yet, it doesn’t look like they’re skimping on features.

We’ve worked with Tamron for years. And, amazingly, they’re striving to do things differently. Not only that, but they’re making their lenses super affordable. Instead of a 28-70mm f2.8 Contemporary lens with weather sealing only at the mount, there’s a 28-75mm with more reach and full weather sealing. Tamron’s optics have always been more than good enough for lots of photographers. That’s not to be harsh on Sigma: they made the 24-35mm f2 and 18-35mm f1.8 many moons ago. Somewhere along the line though, they lost their innovation.

The biggest thing that they get right is weather sealing. Sony sensors are prone to get dirty because of their awful mount. As weather-sealed as you think it is, that’s not the case. Their sensors still get very dirty. But with Tamron lenses, that’s bound to rarely happen. 

Let’s go back to the original point, though. Focal lengths are a big thing to worry about. For DSLR cameras, Tamron made their 35-150mm f2.8-4 years ago. We reviewed it and liked it. But for mirrorless, they’re doing a Tamron 35-150mm f2-2.8 Di III VXD. That’s even better! And it’s bound to be smaller because of the inherent nature of mirrorless. A lens like this just makes sense too. How many times have you gone from shooting street photography to doing portraits? At 150mm, you’re going to have a pretty shallow depth of field at f2.8. If anything, this could be one of the only zoom lenses you need. Tamron makes this lens and their excellent 17-28mm f2.8, which is a lens that basically lives on my Sony a7r III. Together, these two lenses could cover the entire range that you need.

Other cool things to note are the snap focusing mode and the programmable focusing ring on the lens. Those are coming through a firmware update. They’ll also come to the new Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2.

Then there’s the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8. Personally speaking, I’ve always been the biggest fan of this lens vs. all the other options. The Sony G Master lens is great for what it is. The Sigma Art lens is optically great but slow to autofocus and unreliable at times (plus, it’s heavy). But the Tamron lens is lightweight and effective. It’s more functional as a portrait lens because of the extra focal length. I’m elated to hear that a second version is coming.

More than anything, though, I’m delighted to see that the photo industry isn’t just trying to run with the same ideas over and over again. If anything, the other brands should be trying new things. I mean, if Sony said they could make a 50mm f1 and get autofocus, why didn’t they? Fujifilm surely beat them to the punch!

Oh, and I want to see these lenses come to L mount, Z mount, and RF mount.

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