Update: Click here for our hands-on preview from Photokina in Germany.
Up until now, none of the third party lens makers has bothered to make a stabilized 70-300mm zoom for APS-C digital SLRs. So it’s exciting to see that Tamron has announced such a new lens, the SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD (what a name!) They already have a 70-300mm macro, but this is the first stabilized one. It comes at a surprisingly low price point of $449, and it’s only available in the Nikon mount at first, but Canon and Sony versions will soon follow. What’s more, you can get a $50 rebate by pre-ordering through Amazon. As expected, they are touting all the major features. From their press release:
“With superior optical performance, Tamron’s own USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) and VC (Vibration Compensation), the SP 70-300mm Di VC USD (Model A005) provides the performance of a high-end premium telephoto zoom that is appealing to a broad spectrum of photography enthusiasts.
In the pursuit to achieve the most outstanding image resolution in the 70-300mm class, Tamron’s Anniversary lens – the SP AF70-300mm Di VC USD (Model A005) – utilizes an advanced optical design that features an LD (Low Dispersion) and an XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) lens element made from specialized materials that prevent chromatic aberration. As a result, the SP AF70-300mm Di VC USD (Model A005) boasts sharper contrast and greater descriptive performance than all others in its class.
In addition, it is the first Tamron lens sporting a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive), Tamron’s very own ultrasonic auto-focus drive mechanism. This USD mechanism delivers fast focusing, making it a perfect telephoto zoom choice for photographing sports, racing, or other fast-moving subjects. The lens also boasts Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization to assist in hand-held photography, not only at long focal length ranges where blurring is common, but also under low-lit conditions, dramatically enhancing photographic freedom.
This combination of best in class image resolution, Ultrasonic Silent Drive and Vibration Compensation is a new achievement of Tamron technology, culminating in the production of a premium 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.”
Click here to read more from Tamron’s official press release.
Check out this nifty 360 degree interactive lens viewer on the Tamron Europe website. Usually, it’s Sigma filling the gaps that the big two giants miss out on. But lately, Tamron has been stepping up to the plate and doing things no other lens maker has done. For example, they were the first and only maker of the longest superzoom for APS-C cameras: the 18-270 VC; the first to make a wide angle for APS-C with a range of 10-24mm; and finally the first to make a stabilized 28-300mm for full frame cameras.
While obviously we can’t comment on the actual performance of this lens, we have high expectations given Tamron’s previous track record. They’ve done a pretty good job, and have a couple proven winners such as the 17-50mm f/2.8 and the 18-270mm is also a class leader. The jury is out until the reviews are in, but whatever the case, it’s good to see more competition. That benefits the industry as a whole and indeed all photographers.
More links on the new Tamron 70-300mm VC:
Amazon – get a $50 discount by with a pre order!
Nikon Rumors – lively comment thread here
Camera Labs – active discussion on the lens
Fred Miranda – more discussion on a popular forum
DPReview – press release and light commentary