on Oct 19, 2016 21:45:22 GMT
Here are a few of Tamron's classic lenses - the misunderstood SP 300 f5.6 Macro, the behemoth 70-350 f4.5 and the real surprise, the 85-210 f4.5.
The introduction of the SP 300 f5.6 telephoto was a failure as Tamron failed to capture the imagination of the photographers as they never properly described its remarkable capability. It has always been overshadowed by the SP 300 f5.6 Reflex which is a compact mirror lens with all the issues of mirror lenses. The conventional telephoto is as sharp as they come and where it scores over many other similar lenses is in its macro facility which is truly outstanding. And its other big advantage over the reflex is it's variable aperture range of f5.6 - f32. The key to its quality is a spherical aberration compensation group of elements in the centre of the lens that removes all aberrations when close focusing. It is one of the very best lenses ever produced to allow macro shooting at a great distance from the object being photographed; a few wildlife photographers grasped this but other than the few 'in the know', it never took off commercially. Of course, nowadays it is a much sought after optic.
The first photo shows this lens alongside an older Tamron lens from the original Adaptall range made in around the late 1970s - the 85-210 f4.5. This lens has been a complete revelation as it is sharp throughout the focal range, offers a fixed maximum aperture and delivers chroma-free images - unusual for complex zooms from that era. I was lucky enough to read a user's report on another manufacturer's forum and grabbed one as soon as I saw it; it probably ranks as the best value zoom I own.
The second photo shows an amazing zoom - the 70-350 f4.5. I am lucky to have 2 mint versions in their original carry cases; those cases have protected them from the ravages of time. The lens weighs nearly 5lbs (2.2kgs) and is built to a very high standard. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was by far the most expensive lens in the Tamron line-up, only losing that position with the introduction of the 300 f2.8. It needs a heavy-duty tripod to get the best out of it and there are some photos elsewhere in this Forum showing its quality. I would certainly have designated my copy as a SP lens but I have seen a few reviews in which people were disappointed at the softness of their images. I suspect that they may have been using the first version of the lens or one that has not been kept in its case which prevents any warping of the body or movement of the optics - essential for a 13/15 specification on a 5lb lens! Much as I love them, I will sell one soon as I can't justify two given that I use them only once or twice a year for wildlife work.