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Tamron creates SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD with ultrasonic focus

By dpreview staff on Sep 13, 2012 at 18:42 GMT
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Photokina 2012: Tamron has announced the SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD, a fast telephoto zoom lens that features optical image stabilization and an ultrasonic-type autofocus motor. Designed for both full frame and APS-C cameras, it's billed as the smallest in its class. It features moisture-resistant construction, and has a circular aperture diaphragm for pleasing rendition of out-of-focus backgrounds. It'll be available in Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts towards the end of 2012, but pricing is not yet available.

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Press Release:

TAMRON announces development of SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD telephoto zoom lens (model a009)

The most compact[1]full-size, high-speed telephoto zoom lens, delivering leading-edge image quality and featuring Tamron's proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation)[2] and USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive)[3]

September 13, 2012, 4PM JST, Saitama, Japan - Tamron Co., Ltd. (President and CEO: Morio Ono / Headquarters: Saitama City), a leading manufacturer of optical equipment, announced the development of a full-size, high-speed telephoto zoom lens equipped with VC (Vibration Compensation)2 image stabilization, and USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive)[3] that achieves leading-edge image quality while boasting the most compact design in its class. The SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD will be available in Canon, Nikon and Sony[4] mounts. The lens is expected to ship by the end of 2012. Pricing information will be announced at a later date.

Product Features

  • One special XLD (Extra Low Dispersion)[5] glass in concert with four LD (Low Dispersion) elements minimize chromatic aberrations. This combined with a new optical design that delivers high contrast and high resolution throughout the zoom range achieves leading-edge image quality.
  • Tamron's advanced multi-layer coating technology dramatically improves lens performance by reducing flare and ghosting for crisper, clearer images.
  • The rounded diaphragm[6] affords the photographer spectacular blur effects, delivering the kind of rich expression only achievable with a high-speed telephoto zoom lens.
  • The most compact full-size, high-speed telephoto zoom lens with VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization and USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) in its class delivers superior mobility, enabling photographers to capture the previously unattainable.
  • Features USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) to power a speedy AF drive together with a continuous manual focus mechanism.
  • The VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization mechanism reduces camera shake to deliver sharp images.
  • Moisture-resistant construction helps prevent moisture from penetrating the lens.

Image Stabilization and Focusing Systems

■    VC (Vibration Compensation)
VC (Vibration Compensation) is Tamron's proprietary image stabilization system. Tamron's VC is a three-coil system, whereby three driving coils activate the shake-compensating VC lens group electromagnetically via three ceramic balls. The VC lens elements are held in place only by contact with the ceramic balls, achieving smooth movement with little friction. This provides a stable viewfinder image with excellent tracking performance. And as the VC lens may be moved in parallel using only the motorized control, the mechanical structure has been simplified, enabling the creation of a more compact lens.
■    New VC System (moving coil method)
Tamron's original VC image stabilization mechanism utilized a moving magnet system whereby a heavy magnet was positioned near the moving VC lens element. In the new VC unit, the positions of the magnet and the coil are reversed, and because of this the VC optical lens element is attached to the coil. The new VC mechanism employs a moving coil mechanism with a lightweight coil, and the lighter coil reduces the load on the drive system. Thus, the lighter, more compact new VC unit contributes to the lens's overall light weight and compact size.
■    The Ultrasonic Motor
In the ultrasonic motor, a piezoelectric element arranged in a ring formation generates ultrasonic vibrations in a metallic ring stator, and the vibration energy is used to rotate a metallic ring rotor that is attached to the stator. The rotation energy is in turn transferred from the metallic ring rotor to operate the focus lens.

Excellent Companion to Tamron's Fast Standard Zoom
Tamron's SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (Model A007) is a high-speed standard zoom lens that is also equipped with four features: superior image quality, USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive), advanced VC (Vibration Compensation), and is designed for full-size SLR cameras. By combining these two lenses, the focal length will be extended from wide 24mm to telephoto 200mm.

Model: • A009
Focal length: • 70-200mm
Maximum aperture:   • F/2.8
Angle of view (diagonal):   • 34°21′- 12°21′ (with full-size SLR cameras)
• 22°33′- 7°59′ (with APS-C sized sensor digital SLR cameras)
Lens construction: • 23 elements in 17 groups
Minimum focus distance: • 51.2 in (1.3m)
Maximum magnification ratio: • 1:8 (at f=200mm: MFD 51.2")
Filter size: • Ø77mm
Length: [7] • 7.4 in (188.3mm)
Entire length: [8] • 7.7 in (196.7mm)
Diameter: • Ø85.8mm
Weight: [9] • 51.9 oz  (1,470g) (including detachable tripod mount)
No. of diaphragm blades: • 9 (rounded diaphragm)
Minimum aperture: • F/32
Standard accessory: • Flower-shaped lens hood
Compatible mounts: • Canon, Nikon, Sony

Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. may be changed without prior notice.

Notice of Classification Code Change for Nikon Mounts
Since the introduction by Tamron of the first Nikon mount lens featuring an internal AF motor, the 28-300mm Di VC (Model A20), all Nikon mount lenses with the internal AF motor had used the classification code "N II." Lenses using a coupler system[10] without an internal AF motor were designated as "N." Because future Nikon lenses will have the internal AF motor as a standard feature, Tamron has decided to simplify the designation and consolidate all Nikon mount lenses as "N," eliminating the "N II" designation for future models. This classification code change was made effective with the 18-270mm Di II VC PZD (Model B008).

The "N" classification lenses with coupler systems (no internal AF motor) are: SP 200-500mm Di (Model A08); and SP 180mm F/3.5 Di (Model B01).

[1] For high-speed telephoto zoom lenses for full-size SLR cameras, equipped with VC image stabilization and USD. Current as of September 2012. (Source: Tamron)
[2] VC (Vibration Compensation) is Tamron's proprietary image stabilization mechanism.
[3] USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) is Tamron's proprietary ultrasonic motor drive.
[4] The Sony mount does not include VC, as Sony digital SLR bodies include image stabilization functionality. The Sony lens is designated as "SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di USD"
[5] The XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) glass is made from specialized high-grade glass, which offers greater chromatic aberration correction properties than LD (Low Dispersion) elements.
[6] This rounded diaphragm retains a nearly circular shape even when taken two stops down from its fully open state.
[7] Length, entire length and weight values given are for the Nikon mount.
[8] Entire length is the distance between the tip of the lens and the tip of the protrusion.
[9] Length, entire length and weight values given are for the Nikon mount.
[10] Coupler system refers to a system that uses a shaft to harness the AF motor built into the camera body to operate the lens.

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Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD


Total comments: 119
By osullis (Sep 13, 2012)

The older version was really stunning, optically. I was so impressed. It's AF was as bad as it's optics were good. I wanted to buy it, but couldn't bring myself to. If this AF is decent, and if the optical quality is at least as good as the older version, this should sell like hotcakes. (Unless it's priced too closely to the OEM versions.)

By rude (Sep 13, 2012)

whatno 4/3 oly mount? what does that say to oly fans as myself although i dont have any oly dslrs at this time interchangeable wise at least. l

Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Sep 13, 2012)

The OM-D E-M5 is their m4/3 dSLR. And it's a beauty. But you would not want the same lens for that format would you? The point of going to a m4/3 body is that smaller lenses. Nice, though, if Tammy started making lenses for that system ... Panny quality optics and AF without Panny prices would be really something ...

By thx1138 (Sep 13, 2012)

You do realise Panasonic is releasing the m4/3 equivalent of the 70-200 f/2.8 in a 35-100 f/2.8. Alas the panasonic lens will be as expensive as the FF version, which is just outrageous.

By JakeB (Sep 13, 2012)

About a year ago Tokina announced a similar lens which still hasn't been released.

Given the quality of Tokina's 12-24 f4 lens I'd be very interested.

Tamron, not so much.

By astigmate (Sep 13, 2012)

the precedent tamron 70-200 2.8 is a very good lens, optically. They just added recent tech. By the way the tokina was a f4, but you'r right they also make very good products.

By rmpossible (Sep 13, 2012)

Tokina's lens is an f/4 lens while this competes with the f/2.8 crowd. I am interested to see both, but Tamron has the best IS (VC in their vernacular) on the market. If the AF is good, unlike the original version, then it is probably a winner as Tamron has been doing stellar work optically on recent releases. The Tokina on the other hand will be cool if it is lighter. Problem being they are usually heavy where an f/4 lens is usually optimized for weight and size. If both weigh in at about the same size and weight, wouldn't the smart buy for the Tamron?

Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (Sep 13, 2012)

I've had nothing but excellent optics from Tamron. I have several of their zooms right now and fondly remember the 180mm 3.5 Macro. It would be awesome if they went through their lineup and updated every lens, but not if it means losing some of the optical quality as VC did for the 17-50 ...

1 upvote
By JakeB (Sep 18, 2012)

All good points, guys -- yeah, Tokina's an f4.

I haven't heard good reports on Tamron AF, though. Maybe this one will be much faster.

Guess best will be to check out some reviews when they come out.

By mirkoc (Sep 13, 2012)

I hope the manual focus throw will be longer than on the model without VC.

By mick232 (Sep 13, 2012)

Looking forward to that lens.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
By techmine (Sep 13, 2012)

Poor man's equivalent of legendary Nikkor 70-200 f2.8?

Bright Storm
By Bright Storm (Sep 13, 2012)

Would love to try the actual lens. Tamron's 24-70/2.8 (announced earlier this year) is not bad at all. Regarding price tag, yap it's the Poor Man's choice.

1 upvote
By tkbslc (Sep 13, 2012)

Considering it doesn't exist yet, I'd check out the Sigma 70-300 f2.8 OS HSM.

By mick232 (Sep 13, 2012)

Wise man's equivalent rather?

By bocajrs (Sep 13, 2012)

Yes - but the Siggy 70-200 2.8 OS DG HSM is also a very nice alternative.

By JIMIX PHOTO (Sep 13, 2012)

I happen to have owned the Nikkor 70-200/2.8VRII. Gotta tell you - nothing extraordinary about the lens. Mechanically inferior to Sigma and Tamron (and Canon too). Optically it shines, indeed, but the Tamron (old version) was equally good, and a way better than the old Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VR. Provided that they did not screw anything up in optical terms, the Tamron will be the best choice, not only for non-professionals (I don't wanna say "amateurs", since pros can be amateurs too, and it's a good thing if they are).

By tkbslc (Sep 13, 2012)

Yeah, I meant to say 70-200 above, not 70-300.

By Tommot1965 (Sep 13, 2012)

Jimix...your Joking right ?...the nikon 70-200 VrII is the best lens Ive ever used bar none...if you were looking for a bite..congrates as you got one :-)

1 upvote
By chocjellybean26 (Sep 13, 2012)

Tkbslc... The sigma 70-200 os hsm does exist. I've had it for 6 months now and is a fantastic affordable lens compared to canon 70-200 2.8 II and via reviews is better then their first generation 70-200 2.8. I'd like to see the tamron lens compared to the sigma

1 upvote
By techmine (Sep 14, 2012)

I love Tamron's VC. I have a much cheaper 70-300mm and absolutely love it. I have heard only best things about nikkor 70-200mm, so can't say anything bad about it but price wise it is just too much. Will definitely look for the reviews. This might well be my next lens.

By GMart (Sep 14, 2012)

Would not say poor man, just not the professional (as a job) option.
For example I work in IT and have £5000 servers in the house - do Photo Pros? - does that make them poor man on the IT front?

1 upvote
By JIMIX PHOTO (Sep 14, 2012)

@Tommot1965: No joke mate. Clearly, you haven't had a chance to test both lenses side-by-side. I did. The old Tamron 70-200/2.8 is better than the old Nikkor 70-200/2.8 in that it's a tad sharper in the center and a way sharper than the Nikkor at the edges, where the old Nikkor has long been known to have sharpness issues no a full frame. I also tested the old Tamron with my new Nikkor 70-200VRII. No difference. In real life, you would not be able to tell the two apart unless looking at the EXIF. In the lab, where we tested a few 70-200/2.8 lenses, the Tamron easily equalled or outperformed its counterparts. On the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, wide open it reached an amazing 4344 LWH, and stepped down it went to 4385 LWH. At 135mm and 200mm, wide open, the results were 4000 LWH all across the frame, regardless of the point of measurement within the frame. the results are even across the frame, e.g. at 70mm/5.6, the edges were 4220 LWH, whereas in the very center the results were 4302 LWH.

1 upvote
By JIMIX PHOTO (Sep 14, 2012)

@Tommot1965 (continued):The sharpness measured turned out to be the most even across the frame from all of the lenses we tested. E.g. at 70mm/5.6 the edges were 4220 LWH, whereas the very center was 4302. The LCA results were stunning. In worst case scenario, the LCA took only 1 pixlel - irrelevant in real life shooting. The vignetting wide open was there, but it was there in every one of the 70-200 we tested: at 70mm the corners darkened by 0.8EV, at 135mm by -1 to -1.2 EV, and at 200mm by 1 - 1.2EV too. Iin this respect, the Sony 70-200/2.8 G SSM was better (never exceeded -1EV), Canon 70-200/2.8 L USM and the IS version too (same as Sony). As far as vignetting, the worst were Tamron, and Nikkor. The best results belonged to the Sigma 70-200/2.8 II EX DG MAcro HSM :) - in worst case, at 200mm, the edges darkened only by -0.5 - -0.8 EV. The vignetting in Tamron disappears when stepped down to f/4 - f/5.6.

1 upvote
By CarVac (Sep 13, 2012)

That's a lot of footnotes.

By Kfrog (Sep 14, 2012)

Yeah, what's with that?

Total comments: 119