The Alternate Choice

The Alternate Choice

An earlier column mentioned Tamron as a brand name and poked a little gentle fun at the Adaptall system that this company used in the film era. Readers may have gotten the impression that we thought little of the lenses – such is not the case. Camera Electronic and probably tens of thousands of Australians have a keen appreciation of the worth of the Tamron brand and products. It has developed over many items and many decades.

Here’s an example of what Tamron could do in the analog days  – do for themselves and do for you. It’s a 17mm f:3.5 lens with a Nikon AI mount affixed to the back. A similar lens would have been available for most of the major mounts in those days. If its design reminds you a little of Nikon or Tokina remember that the Japanese companies did see people and ideas flow from one to another.

Its mount is all metal, as things were in those days, and is sturdy and precise. The lens grind is excellent and the coating does a good job. And the kicker is that it is an extremely wide venture for the time – and at a price that the average man or woman could afford for their camera system. Sure you could get a 16mm f:3.5 lens from Nikon at the time and it was superb too, but its price years after as second or third-hand was as great as the Tamron brand new.

There might not have been bragging prestige in the Tamron, but there were a lot of pictures taken with them.

Rack forward to now. Full frame cameras and digital capture. Immensely fine resolution. Demanding autofocus mechanisms and people who are getting ever more impatient to capture fast-moving scenes without the need for any input on their part. And here again we have Tamron. More expensive than before and sleeker in design, but still excellent value for money – and with resolution that fully matches the best cameras.

All the bells and whistles – vibration control, close focusing, electronic connection.


And yes, you can genuinely regard it in the same light as the major maker’s lenses for continual use on your new DSLR body. Time will tell whether they will also appear in forms that match the newer mirrorless bodies as well. With Tamron, I’m betting they will.

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