The day started with one of those eye-rolling Japanese lens maker teaser campaigns with a black background and a date (April 22nd) emerging from the mist. This time, Tamron. Now that the lens makers don’t actually pay for much advertising and just let social media spread this stuff, perhaps they don’t see the downside of repetitive, cliché messaging that doesn’t say anything. But then Nokishita connected the dots with a set of leaked images for the new Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.3, with a big fat set of filter threads (82mm), which indicates its coming after the Canon 100-500 f/4.5 -7.1, whose threads are half a centimeter narrower.
The Tamron zoom will have a faster aperture, a significantly closer focusing distance (1/3rd closer), and a form factor of just about the same length and width. But the weight. The new Tamron lens will be about a pound heavier. This suggests that Tamron is pulling out the image quality stops, attempting to revise its popular 150-600 series with adaptations to emphasize sharpness.
Later in the day, SonyAlphaRumors found the complete brochure leaked. Additional details added include that it has only 7 aperture blades and will be offered only on the Sony E mount system. It will offer through-the-camera firmware updates, which is the first we’ve heard of that compatibility being offered in a third party lens, perhaps obsoleting the Tamron dock.
It has a complex optical path, with 25 lens elements in 16 groups. This appears to fit nicely into Tamron’s much-respected VXD series, which blew away Sony E mount competitors in the standard zoom ranges over the last year. Camnostic has had each of these lenses in for testing, and they performed in the top two or three available options in each case; which is all the more impressive given that they were smaller and much, much cheaper.
This new 150-500 is not smaller by any means, which makes us look forward to 11 days from now when the lens gets released to see what sort of image quality can be created when Tamron opts not to compromise to make a lens smaller.
The lens has three modes of Tamron’s image stabilization, a manual focus switch and a focus limiter.
No word on price. We assume it will come in E mount only initially. Were it to offer an RF mount option there would be quite a bit of room to undercut the price, as Canon can’t make enough of its 100-500 while charging $2,700.