Gadgets & Gizmos

There's the good and the bad with telephoto lenses. The 'good' is that they are relatively easy to design, compared to wide-angles at least. The 'bad' is that they quickly become large and heavy if you want a wide maximum aperture, like f2.8 or f4, and that can make them problematic for handling and travelling.

One of the reasons photographers wanted the wide apertures was to handle low-light situations. A wide aperture meant a faster shutter speed, which is what you needed to freeze the action, especially for sport and wildlife. Back in the film days, you could shoot with ISO 1600 emulsions, but the film was pretty grainy and often ISO 1600 wasn't fast enough anyway. A wider aperture was better than a high speed film.

Compare the situation today when Canon and Nikon cameras comfortably shoot at ISO 6400 (and often much higher) and the need for a wide maximum aperture can be reconsidered. Especially if you don't want to carry too much weight!

Enter Tamron's 100-400mm f4.5-6.3 Di VC USD (Model A035), for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras. As you'd expect with a new telephoto zoom, it features VC (Vibration Compensation) up to four stops, meaning you can more comfortably hand-hold the lens in a range of situations, from sport to wildlife.

The 100-400mm lens uses three LD (Low Dispersion) elements for aberration reduction and Tamron’s eBAND Coating for anti-reflection performance. And at 1115 g, the new lens is claimed by Tamron to be the lightest in its class.

Magnesium alloy is used in key areas of the lens barrel to improve weight reduction, strength and portability, and at 197 mm long (Nikon mount), it's surprisingly compact and easy to use. Certainly there's no trouble fitting it into a standard camera bag.

The zoom lens is compatible with Tamron’s 1.4X teleconverter and the Tamron TAP-in Console, an optional accessory enabling users to update lens firmware and customise the lens settings, including adjustments of focusing positions for autofocusing and the operation modes for the lens’s Vibration Compensation system.

Additionally, an Arca Swiss compatible tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. Price is around the $1250 mark.

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