Alongside their updated ultrawide 10-24mm zoom, Tamron have also announced a new 70-200mm lens with full frame coverage. Versions will be available for both Canon and Nikon, and the headline improvements over the outgoing model include faster autofocus speeds and five-stop image stabilisation.
IS = VC
The stabiliser (or Vibration Compensation in Tamron-land) offers three modes. VC Mode 1 balances the stabilisation between the viewfinder and the captured image. Mode 2 is used for panning. And Mode 3 prioritises captured images rather than stabilising what you can see through the viewfinder.
It’s also possible to configure the Mode 1 VC by using Tamron’s TAP-in Console, where you can plug the lens into a computer via a USB connection, tweak settings and update firmware.
Practicalities: focus faster, get closer
The new lens has an ultrasonic motor for improved AF speed, and full-time manual focus override: even when shooting in AF mode, you can grab the lens’s focus ring to manually tune focus.
The minimum focus distance has also improved over the outgoing model, coming down to 0.95m from 1.3m: you’ll be able to get a lot closer to whatever you’re photographing.
Moisture, fingerprint resistant
The all-metal barrel is ‘moisture sealed’ (no IP-rating though so don’t take it out in a thunderstorm) and the front element has a fluorine coating that is said to repel water and oil. Though frankly if you’re touching the front element of your telephoto zoom you’re an animal and deserve every mucky fingerprint you leave behind.
The other stuff
If 70-200mm isn’t quite enough reach for you, the new lens is now also compatible with Tamron’s 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. And Nikon users with a new-ish camera (from around the D3s on) will feel the benefit of an electromagnetic diaphragm. Canon users can be forgiven for wondering what the fuss is all about as they’ve had fancy electromagnets for ages.
The one big mystery at the moment is price, although there won’t be long to wait to find that out as the lens is due to be released at the end of February. A fast 70-200 can be a considerable investment, especially if you’re buying first-party. If Tamron can undercut Canon and Nikon’s 70-200 f/2.8 beasts while offering comparable image quality, the SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (phew) could be well worth a look.