Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Lens Announced

by on February 6, 2012

in Tamron

Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD

Tamron has announced a nice-looking 24-70mm f/2.8 lens that has image stabilization (or “Vibration Compensation” as Tamron says) built into it.  The new lens has a silent drive AF that should put into the conversation with Sigma’s 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, as well as an alternative to the Canon and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses.

I don’t think any other manufacturers offer a stabilized 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, so this makes Tamron somewhat unique.  Surprisingly, it weighs 825g, which puts it in the same weight category as other 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses – and it is, in fact, lighter than some of them.

Tamron hasn’t announced any pricing for the new lens; however, the feature-set and touted quality lead me to believe it will be at or above the $1000-mark.  When it is made available, you should be able to find it for Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts.

Full press release and spec list below.

Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Lens Press Release

TAMRON DEVELOPS WORLD’S FIRST [1] FULL-SIZE, HIGH SPEED STANDARD ZOOM WITH BUILT-IN IMAGE STABILIZATION – SP 24-70MM F/2.8 DI VC USD (MODEL A007)

New Super Performance full-frame zoom lens features class-leading resolution and Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation)

February 6, 2012, Saitama, Japan - Tamron Co., Ltd. (President & CEO: Morio Ono / Headquarters: Saitama City), a leading manufacturer of optical equipment, announced the development of the SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD (Model A007), the world’s first1 full-size high-speed standard zoom lens equipped with VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization and USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive)[2], with resolution at the top of its class. The lens will be developed for Canon, Nikon and Sony mounts. A release date has not been announced.

Product Features 1. World’s first full-size, high-speed standard zoom with built-in VC (Vibration Compensation)[3]. Even when shooting in low-light conditions with a slow shutter speed to render sharpness, Tamron’s acclaimed VC allows for stable handheld camera work, to more fully enjoy the benefits of this high-speed zoom lens.

2. Uses specialized high-grade glass in the three LD elements, three Glass Molded Aspherical Lenses, one Hybrid Aspherical Lens and two XR (Extra Refractive Index) glasses, delivering top-of-the-class quality images suited to this high-grade lens. Using a rounded diaphragm[4], the lens achieves gorgeous blur effects.

3. Features USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) to power a speedy AF drive together with a continuous manual mechanism.

4. This high-speed standard zoom lens has a wide-end focal length of 24mm that expands the photographic area.

5. The lens adopts the new technology including the latest optical design, VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization and USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive), all in a lighter and more compact package.

6. Moisture-resistant construction helps prevent water from penetrating the lens.

VC (Vibration Compensation)

VC (Vibration Compensation) is Tamron’s proprietary image stabilization system. Tamron’s VC is a three-coil system, whereby three driving coils activate the shake-compensating VC lens group electromagnetically via three steel balls. The VC lens elements are held in place only by contact with the steel balls, achieving smooth movement with little friction. This provides a stable viewfinder image with excellent tracking performance. And as the VC lens may be moved in parallel using only the motorized control, the mechanical structure has been simplified, enabling the creation of a more compact lens.

New VC system (moving coil method)

Tamron’s original VC image stabilization mechanism utilized a moving magnet system whereby a heavy magnet was positioned near the moving VC lens element. In the new VC unit the positions of the magnet and the coil are reversed, because of this the VC optical lens element is attached to the coil. The new VC mechanism employs a moving coil mechanism with a lightweight coil, and the lighter coil reduces the load on the drive system. Thus, the lighter, more compact new VC unit contributes to the lens’s overall light weight and compact size.

Because the 24-70 mm F/2.8 Di VC USD is a high-speed zoom lens with maximum aperture of F/2.8, its VC system must drive a lens that is larger and heavier than other zooms. Therefore, the shape, size and layout of the drive coils are all designed to obtain sufficient thrust. The result is a full-size, high-speed zoom that provides the same high level of compensation effect.

About the ultrasonic motor

In the ultrasonic motor, a piezoelectric element arranged in a ring formation generates ultrasonic vibrations in a metallic ring stator, and the vibration energy is used to rotate a metallic ring rotor that is attached to the stator. The rotation energy is in turn transferred from the metallic ring rotor to operate the focus lens.

Tamron 24-70mm Spec List

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{ 1 comment }

1 Stratman February 10, 2012 at 2:55 am

Great article. I have no idea how an optical image stabilizer module looks like internally, but recalling back I remember seeing exploded diagrams of gyros and a moving, de-centering lens that corrects for angular camera shake. I think it was a diagram from Canon.

What I didn’t know was how Tamron designed its VC mechanism and I learned a few things about the internal moving magnet and coils. From my 2-year plus experience owning the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC, it seemed like a rushed job by Tamron’s engineers.

That lens’ VC mechanism was literally clunky and slow to engage and disengage. I later learned that the proper way to use the 17-50mm f/2.8 VC was to give it a bit of time for its VC mechanism to actuate before releasing the shutter.

There’s also another design flaw with the 17-50mm f/2.8 VC: poor sharpness at the edges and especially at 50mm focal length, compared to the original non-VC version, which was cheaper.

I only realized this AFTER I had purchased this lens and wished I had done more research between the two models. The non-VC variant as tested by The Digital Picture review site, is about as sharp as Canon’s pricier EF 17-40mm f/4L USM (if you call the 17-40mm f/4L sharp, that is).

I hope this lens will be optically better than the original 24-75mm f/2.8 XR, because I’ve noted several folks on Flickr who had been inquiring about the 17-50mm f/2.8 VC opted for the non-VC model, which is sharper and cheaper albeit without image stabilization.

Canon’s EF 70-200mm f/4L USM is a sharp lens to begin with, and its IS model turned out to be even sharper. With Tamron’s 17-50mm f/2.8 models, it was quite the reverse. If Tamron really wants to win fans with this new 24-75mm f/2.8 VC USD, it better be a true improvement over its predecessor.

What happened to the “PZD” moniker? Is the new “USD” designation merely a change in acronym or is the USD is the better version of the PZD autofocus drive?

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