Tamron has announced three new lightweight primes in 20mm, 24mm, and 35mm with a weight of about 220g per lens and an unbelievable price of about $350 per lens. As a landscape photographer, I’ve been hoping someone would offer a truly lightweight lens with excellent MTF scores, and it looks like Tamron was first to the punch.
Why and I making a big deal about weight? When you are on long hikes, particularly in rugged terrain or at high altitude, carrying less weight makes the experience far more enjoyable, and leaves you in a better mindset to photograph. I’ve packed for days in the Sierra with 70-80 pound packs and my 4×5 film view camera, and at the end of most days, I was totally thrashed, even in my mid 20s. When hiking, weight sucks, and is an impediment to making great work.
Weight was a big reason I decided to go Sony, because they offered the best range of lightweight high resolution bodies with a good range of lightweight Zeiss lenses.
The last few years have given us a number of superb f/1.4 primes, but at a cost of weight. My Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is a brick. It feels as heavy as my old Nikon 180mm f/2.8, but is even less well balanced. And while I love being able to play with shallow depth of field, for my primary landscape work I’m almost always stopped down to f/11. I don’t need f/1.4 performance on a hike, and I don’t want to pay the weight penalty.
By making these lenses at f/2.8, Tamron is able to make a much lighter design, as well as offering a lower price. And from the MTF charts, they appear to be top performers…as good or even better than other primes in these focal lengths.
These lenses just made it to the top of my wish list. I can’t wait to try one out! Kudos Tamron for seeing an unfilled niche and filling it.
More info on the Tamron website and in their press release: