The Big T – My, Oh Yes…

The Big T – My, Oh Yes…

Big T, Little A and an M, R, O, and an N. It’s not Texas but don’t tell anyone…I would never have made it in Tin Pan Alley… But on we go.

Do you have a preference when you go to the supermarket for the big-name brand goods? For the nationally advertised name on a can of corn vs the lesser-known one that might be 50¢ cheaper? Is it a case of being a discerning shopper or are you just following a habit – a habit that the big-name canneries are delighted to have you continue.

Did you ever stop to think what the lesser-known brand of corn tastes like?

Well, keep this in mind as I introduce three cans that are filled with glass, not vegetables. I intend to suggest that you try them out forthwith. In this post, a zoom telephoto and a standard wide-aperture lens. They are made by the Tamron people.

Tamron is a name that Australian photographers have known for 6 decades – it reaches far back into the film era and far back into Japanese design and styling. They don’t make camera bodies – just lenses.

Some of their design work in the early stages was, ummm, …’refreshing’. There were a number of ideas like interchangeable mounts for automatic film lenses that called forth amazing machining and design skills. Adventurous lenses. Their cooking quality lenses were seen all over Australia in use by amateurs and became a real resource for people who wanted good optical bang for their buck. These days the Tamron lenses would appear to be just as useful for professionals.

Of course the camera makers who supply their own lines of lenses will dispute this. Business is business, and business backed by MTF charts and selected specifications can be quite competitive. But no-one can afford to dismiss these lenses. In the case of the examples illustrated, they are in Nikon mounts – of course Canon and in some cases Sony mounts are available.

The first lens out of the bag is the 70-200mm f:2.8 with the VC mechanism. Fairly hefty, good big removable tripod foot and a decently knurled lock knob for it. Superb machining on the mount and a proper rubber dust skirt. Smooth operation on both rings. Excellent specification for the resolution – see DP Review. This is professional thinking in every way.

The second lens under inspection is the f:1.8 SP 45mm with VC fitted. This is the giant killer for standard lenses – and the design of the barrel and fittings indicates it. I was mildly amused with the printed legends around the barrel:

You’d think that the legend “ Made in Japan” would be enough to reassure people – they have added the information that it was also designed there. So who would have thought otherwise…?

Nevertheless, the fit and operation of this one is equal to anything that the camera makers might do, despite what they might say. It also has a bouncing little price as well, so do give it a real test in the shop when you are testing the other versions of this focal length.

Tamron have definitely moved into the pro section.

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