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Technologies

Innovation In the pursuit of optical excellence

For well over half a century Tamron has been recognised as a leading innovator in cutting-edge optical design, and acclaimed for its mastery of the underlying mechanical and electronic technologies that make today’s amazing lenses possible. Developing practical, compact, easy-to-use lightweight zoom lenses with incredible zoom ranges, apertures and close focusing ability, that also deliver world-class imaging performance, is not simply a matter of refining existing ideas — it entails creative thinking at the highest level.

Here is a definitive list of the design concepts used in today’s state-of-the-art Tamron lenses.


9 diaphragm blades for superb blur quality

The number of diaphragm blades affects the "shape" of the blur in out-of-focus areas of the image. This is more important in portraiture, where the aperture setting is often wide open, and macro photography, where the high magnification results in blurred background and foreground even at narrow apertures. When backgrounds are soft and blurred, not only is the effect very pleasing and "photographic", but it also serves to isolate the subject from a distracting background, providing a professional-looking image. A high number of blades provides a rounder shape to the aperture, which in turn makes the shape of the blur more circular and much more natural.

Fluorine coating

Developed for industrial optics, fluorine coating offers long-lasting oil and water resistance to the lens. Moisture and smudges wipe away, making it easy to keep your lens clean.

eBand Coating

Advanced lens coating produces even sharper, crisper images

This new coating technique developed by Tamron deploys a nano-structured* layer with dimensions smaller than the wavelengths of visible rays of light. Called eBAND (extended Bandwidth & ANgular-Dependency), its ultra-low refractive index, combined with the sophisticated multiple-layer coatings underneath, yields significant anti-reflection properties, absolutely minimising flare and ghosting to deliver sharp, crisp images.

eband_coating1

*1nm = 1/1,000,000mm

Super Performance series

Performance takes priority for superb image quality

This line of ultra-high-performance lenses is designed and manufactured to the exacting specifications demanded by professionals and others who require the highest possible image quality. The foremost priority is achieving superior performance parameters – high design standards take priority over cost constraints. As a result, Tamron SP lenses feature innovative designs that have established an enviable reputation for excellence amongst demanding photographers.

Extra Refractive Index

More compact lenses with superior image quality

XR (Extra Refractive Index) glass can bend light rays at steeper angles, thereby decreasing the physical length of the lens while enhancing imaging performance by minimising optical aberrations. With its superior light-bending power, XR glass makes it possible to design a short-barrel lens with the same light-gathering ability (aperture value) as a long-barrel lens – even with a smaller lens diameter. By using this principle Tamron has been able to shorten the length of the entire optical system and produce lighter, more compact lenses of the same speed, and also to provide greater zoom ranges in lenses that are much more convenient to carry and hand-hold.

XR glass is costlier than conventional glass but it yields enhanced optical power distribution, making the innovative XR lens designs possible.

Aspherical

Far superior image quality – while reducing lens size and weight

Tamron uses several hybrid aspherical lens elements in its lenses bearing the Aspherical designation. The benefits are two-fold: first, their non-spherical shapes virtually eliminate spherical aberration and image distortion. Second, as one hybrid aspherical lens element can take the place of multiple elements without compromising performance, they allow the lens to be much more compact.

As a result, these innovative optics have played a crucial role in delivering uniformly high image quality across all apertures and focal lengths of extraordinarily compact ultra-zoom lenses.
 

Low Dispersion

Sharpens edges by reducing 'colour fringing'

Chromatic aberration occurs when a lens element refracts different wavelengths of a ray of light – its rainbow colours – at very slightly different angles. This results in the 'colour fringing' that reduces the sharpness of an image. LD elements are made from special glass materials with extremely low dispersion indices (i.e. the refraction of a ray of light into rainbow colours is extremely narrow). Thus they effectively compensate for chromatic aberration at the centre of the field (on axis), a particular problem at long focal lengths (the telephoto end of the zoom range), and for lateral chromatic aberration (toward the edges of the field) that often occurs at short (wideangle) focal lengths.

Although costly, LD glass materials result in clear, vivid image quality.

Piezo Drive

'Standing waves' drive a smaller, lighter, but highly accurate AF mechanism

Tamron's piezoelectric drive is an internal standing-wave ultrasonic internal motor system. Instead of the travelling wave of a USD lens, in a PZD lens a standing wave turns and extends the piezoelectric element. The entire element moves in a standing wave pattern, moving the metal tip (the contact surface) in an elliptical motion. The friction of this movement moves the rotor for a smooth, precise autofocus.

Lighter and smaller than other autofocus drives, the piezoelectric drive features simplified operation and requires fewer components, contributing to the reduction in size and weight of a lens.

Zoom-lock mechanism

Useful when carrying the lens/camera over the shoulder

Another original Tamron mechanical engineering concept is the zoom-lock mechanism, which prevents the weight of the lens barrel from extending the lens when carried on the camera pointing downward. This eliminates the danger of accidentally knocking the lens while walking around and enhances responsiveness in the field. Simply zoom the lens out to its widest focal length and use the sliding zoom-lock switch to lock the barrel in place.

Autofocus/Manual focus switch

The ability to switch quickly between autofocus (AF) and manual focus (MF) is a great asset in many types of shooting, especially sports and nature photography. This is easily accomplished with Tamron's ingenious AF/MF system. By simply sliding the focus ring back and forth between the two positions you can select either the AF or the MF focusing position. In manual focus mode Tamron lenses provide smooth, precise manual focusing by turning their wide, well-textured focusing rings.

Multiple-cam mechanism for smooth, stable zooming and precise focusing at all focal lengths

The manufacture of compact, high quality, high-power zoom lenses became a reality only when Tamron perfected a lens chassis that permitted stable, smooth extension of the lens barrel. The Multiple Cam Zoom Mechanism is an original Tamron design that incorporates several precision cams cut into a single cylindrical surface by high-tech automated machinery. This key component enables zoom lens barrels to be extended and retracted effortlessly, achieving compact dimensions at the wide-angle settings while holding precise extension at telephoto settings.

Engineering plastics technology

To ensure the highest levels of performance and durability without adding additional weight, Tamron high-power zoom lenses make extensive use of engineering plastic materials in many critical mechanical components of the lens. Tamron has developed advanced proprietary methods for manufacturing these advanced polycarbonate materials to a very high degree of precision, and exhaustive testing has confirmed their long-lasting properties and dimensional stability under the toughest conditions. Indeed, polycarbonate of this calibre is the material of choice whenever Tamron produces high-precision components that must withstand rigorous use.

Fine manual focus adjustments can be made quickly and easily

The USD motor is complemented by DMF (Direct Manual Focus) to enable manual fine-tuning after autofocusing if and when necessary. No need to engage a switch – just gently rotate the focus ring on the lens.

Rounded diaphragm

Use depth of field more creatively with spectacular but natural-looking background blur.

The rounded outline diaphragm of the lens is retained even when stopped down to f/5.6. Blur highlights in a photo reflect the shape of the aperture, and they are a much more prominent feature at wider apertures. Especially in higher-speed lens, this important optical design element results in more attractive, natural-looking images.

Regular diaphragm vs rounded diaphragm.

Broad-Band Anti-Reflective coating

Cleaner, crisper images without flare or ghosting

For the precision required by digital sensors, Tamron's BBAR (Broad-Band Anti Reflection) multilayer coatings reduce reflection into the lens elements, enhancing light transmission on both long and short wavelengths. Internal surface coatings are also applied on cemented surfaces of lens elements to make images sharper with better colour balance and reproduction.

Fluorine-coated front element

Since its large diameter and prominent convex profile prevents deployment of a protective filter, the front element of this lens has a fluorine coating that repels water and dirt, and makes it much easier to remove smudges as well.

Resistance to grime (in this case an oil-based felt marker): without (left) and with the fluorine coating

Integrated flower-shaped lens hood shields stray light

The integral flower-shaped hood matches the rectangular shape of the image sensor to most effectively block the interference of superfluous light rays entering from outside the borders of the image area, helping to ensure sharp, clear, flare-free images with crisp detail in the shadow areas.

Optimal relative illumination

The two new SP lenses deliver exceptionally uniform illumination levels across the image field to avoid non-linear pattern or fall-off toward corners.

BBAR Broad-Band Anti-Reflective coating

BBAR coating provides crystal-clear images by suppressing element surface reflections that lead to ghosting and flare.

Moisture-resistant construction

Constructed to prevent moisture from entering the internal mechanisms of the lens, the SP line is sealed to allow photographers to shoot outdoors in adverse conditions.

Vibration Compensation

Compensates for camera blur on long shutter speeds – for sharp images in much less light

Tamron's unique VC mechanism uses a proprietary actuator and algorithms to deliver an extremely stable viewfinder image with excellent tracking. The mechanism employs a tri-axial system in which three driving coils move internal optical components within the VC lens electromagnetically, based on signals originating from three steel ball bearings. The VC lens elements are held in place only by contact with the steel balls, achieving smooth movement with minimal friction. The simplicity of this mechanical structure is also one of the secrets of Tamron's compact lens sizes.

Internal Focusing

Focusing elements inside the optical design make for better handling

In many lenses, the front elements move back and forth to alter the focus distance. With an internal focusing (IF) mechanism, the focusing elements are inside the optical design. Because the front lens elements remain static, the lens’ actual length does not change. This provides several benefits both to the image and during photography:

  • The barrel is not subject to stray light entering from external helicoids that can adversely affect image quality

  • A non-rotating front filter thread makes it easier to use filters such as graduated filters and polarisers

  • A flower-shaped lens hood will remain in the correct position to most effectively shield the lens from stray light

  • Better balance and more predictable handling because the lens length does not change during focusing

  • Generally, a much closer minimum focusing distance throughout the zoom range

  • Improved optical performance by minimising loss of illumination at the corners of the image field (vignetting)

  • Suppression of other aberrations that become more troublesome at different focusing positions.


Integrated focus cam optimises internal focusing

Tamron's Integrated Focus Cam is a precision mechanical component that optimises the co-ordinated movement of the Internal Focusing (IF) system with the Multiple Cam Zoom Mechanism. This ingenious mechanism ensures accurate and seamless positioning of all the internal elements within the lens and coordinates them with the external zoom and focus controls.

Ultrasonic Silent Drive

'Travelling waves' generate a fast, smooth AF movement

Tamron’s USD works with the high-frequency ultrasonic vibrations that are produced by a ring called a ‘stator’. Energy from the vibrations is used to rotate an attached metallic ring known as the ‘rotor’. Piezoelectric ceramic is a material that produces ultrasonic vibrations when voltage of a specific frequency is applied is arranged in a ring formation on the stator. This electrode configuration of piezoelectric ceramic causes two ultrasonic vibrations to occur in the stator. By effectively combining these two ultrasonic vibrations, it is possible to convert the energy from the vibrations that produce simple motion into energy known as ‘deflective travelling waves’, which move around the circumference of the ring. The friction between these deflective travelling waves created on the metallic surface of the stator and the surface of the rotor produces force, causing the rotor to rotate. Attached to the rotor is the focusing lens, which is given a fast, smooth autofocus movement.

Ultra Extra Refractive Index

XR glass enhanced

UXR glass is a development of XR glass, bending light even further. Like XR glass, UXR plays an important role in minimising the size and weight of the lens, optimising handling and dexterity.

Anomalous Dispersion

Controls the dispersion of specific wavelengths of light

AD glass is a special type of optical glass that is used to achieve more precise control of chromatic aberrations, thereby enhancing overall imaging performance. Glass of this type provides an abnormally large partial dispersion ratio (amount of diffraction) for light of specific wavelength ranges (colours) within the visible spectrum. By combining AD glass having these special characteristics with elements made of normal glass having different dispersion characteristics, it is possible to control the dispersion factors of a specific wavelength.



This enhanced level of control results much lower levels of on-axis (central) chromatic aberration for telephoto lenses (or zooms used at telephoto settings) and a significant reduction of lateral (peripheral) chromatic aberration for wide-angle lenses (or zooms used at wideangle settings).

Like LD glass, AD glass material is costly but provides clear, vivid image quality

Extra Low Dispersion

Dispersive properties even lower than LD elements

Extra Low Dispersion lens elements are made from a special high-grade glass that has dispersive properties (i.e. where refraction causes the dispersion of white light into spectral hues) even lower than standard LD lenses, in fact being similar to those of fluorite. In combination with LD elements, these make for an optimal optical design that delivers superb resolution with advanced correction of axial chromatic and magnification aberrations – major inhibitors of image quality.

The result is a lens that delivers sharp contrast and better descriptive performance throughout the entire zoom range.

High Index High Dispersion

Minimises chromatic aberrations

The use of HID glass elements in a lens minimises on-axis and lateral chromatic aberrations that are the greatest hindrances to achieving high image quality. HID glass has allowed Tamron to produce complex lenses such as long-range zooms that are conveniently compact and lightweight while delivering outstanding performance.

Cleaner, crisper images without flare or ghosting

Tamron uses advanced multi-coating techniques to suppress reflections and light dispersion on lens element surfaces that result in reduced light transmission and may, under adverse conditions, cause flare and ghost images that reduce contrast and can diminish image quality. The BBAR multiple-layer coating technique also helps to provide the best possible colour balance for vibrant and accurate colour rendition. Tamron has developed an improved proprietary version of BBAR multi-coating that successfully increases light transmission in both longer and shorter wavelengths, and has applied it to all the latest Tamron lenses.

Precise, quiet autofocus that allows for fine adjustments

The B011's autofocus mechanism uses a stepping motor that's an ideal match for the contrast detection autofocus system used in Sony NEX series cameras. The stepping motor's actuator allows finely tuned control of angular rotation, and since it drives the focusing mechanism directly without an intermediate reduction gear, it also provides superbly quiet performance. You can count on this to enhance autofocus capability when shooting video.



Furthermore, after adjusting with the autofocus mechanism, you can use the Direct Manual Focus (DMF) function to allow delicate adjustments to the image.

XGM eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical

Corrects aberrations typical to wide-angle lenses
A large diameter XGM (eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical) lens element is featured in the first lens group of a system that also includes several LD (Low Dispersion) elements in its 18-element, 13-group optical design. This combination effectively controls distortion and chromatic aberrations that typically affect wide-angle lenses.

Moulded Glass Aspherical  Element Compared to a previous Moulded-Glass Aspherical element (left), XGM has a larger aspherical surface.

eBAND Coating

Advanced lens coating produces even sharper, crisper images

This new coating technique developed by Tamron deploys a nano-structured* layer with dimensions smaller than the wavelengths of visible rays of light. Called eBAND (extended Bandwidth & ANgular-Dependency), its ultra-low refractive index, combined with the sophisticated multiple-layer coatings underneath, yields significant anti-reflection properties, absolutely minimising flare and ghosting to deliver sharp, crisp images.

eband coating vs conventional coating

*1nm = 1/1,000,000mm

Moisture resistance adds protection

Moisture-resistant body construction helps prevent water from penetrating the lens, making it well suited ideal for travel and shooting outdoors.
Specifications, design, product name and standard accessories may differ by country or area. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, these matters are subject to change by the manufacturer without notice or obligation.

Global content © copyright 2001-2012 Tamron Co Ltd | Big-Cat images Steven Stockhall, Botswana 2014, All other images Steve And Tanya Ashton 2014

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