While its rival Sigma aims for a premium segment of well-funded photography enthusiasts, Tamron on Thursday announced two upcoming lenses with very long zoom ranges aimed at a broader, more consumer market.
The two lenses have 16-300mm and 28-300mm zoom ranges, but the Japanese lensmaker didn't detail how much they'll cost or when they'll ship. Update April 11, 2014: The 16-300mm lens will be available on May 15 for $629.
Because the designs are locked down and the company is showing them at the CP+ 2014 show in Japan on Thursday, presumably the wait won't be too long. The lenses will ship for Canon, Nikon, and Sony SLRs.
The 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro (Model B016), an 18.8x superzoom geared for entry-level and midrange SLRs with smaller APS-C sensors. In full-frame 35mm terms, that's the equivalent of 25-465mm.
That kind of zoom range is helpful for travelers who want to go light or people who dislike carrying lots of lenses, and this model goes a notch farther than Tamron's earlier 18-270mm. But it typically comes with image-quality compromises, too, in the form of geometric distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting, and an image that isn't as sharp.
It's got vibration compensation to counteract camera shake, something that's essential at the telephoto end of the range where a little wobble is magnified into a big blur. It's also got moisture resistance for some protection against the elements, and its 15.3-inch (39cm) close-focus distance means it can take close-up macro shots.
It's 3.9 inches (10cm) long, weighs 19oz (540g), has a 7-blade circular aperture, and comes with a petal-shaped lens hood.
Second is the 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD (Model A010), an overhaul of earlier models that brings an quiet motor, new lens coatings to cut down on reflections and glare, and vibration compensation. It'll work on full-frame SLRs -- pretty expensive cameras for the most part, but still a market where some customers appreciate a 10.7x zoom range. Again, expect some optical compromises, though likely not as severe as with the 16-300mm.
It's 3.8in (9.8cm) long, weighs 19oz (540g), has a 7-blade circular aperture, comes with a petal-shaped lens hood, and also is moisture-resistant.