Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens for Nikon mount announced again

Tamron's press releases are a little tricky: back in March, they announced the "development" of a new Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) lens, which will be available also for Nikon mount. Today Tamron announced "the release" of that same lens. The price is $449.99 minus $50 rebate @ Amazon (here is the rebate form). This lens should be a direct competition to the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR which sells for over $500. If you shoot with a DX camera and are on the market for a similar focal length, you may want to wait till next week for the rumored Nikkor 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR DX lens which should be priced around $350.

Full press release after the break:

August 10, 2010, Commack, NY—Tamron announced another advance in the company's pursuit of high resolution images in the telephoto lens category with the release of its anniversary model 70-300mm F/4-5.6 telephoto zoom lens featuring VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization and an ultrasonic auto-focus drive –– USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive). The SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) high-resolution DSLR telephoto zoom lens is available for the Nikon mount, with the development of compatible mounts for Canon and Sony to follow. 3

This new lens is designed for digital SLR cameras, and it can be used with both full-frame sensor and AF 35mm cameras with a zoom range of 70-300mm; or with APS-C sensor cameras where the angle of view will change the zoom range equal to 109-465mm. 4.

With superior optical performance, Tamron’s own USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) and VC (Vibration Compensation), the SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) provides the performance of a high-end premium telephoto zoom that is appealing to a broad spectrum of photography enthusiasts.

Unparalleled optical performance in a fast and steady telephoto zoom lens

In the pursuit to achieve the most outstanding image resolution in the 70-300mm class, Tamron’s 60th Anniversary lens - the SP AF70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD (Model A005) - utilizes an advanced optical design that features an LD (Low Dispersion) and an XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) lens element made from specialized materials that prevent chromatic aberration. As a result, the SP AF70-300mm Di VC USD boasts sharper contrast and greater descriptive performance than all others in its class.

In addition, it is the first Tamron lens sporting a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive), Tamron’s very own ultrasonic auto-focus drive mechanism. This USD mechanism delivers fast focusing, making it a perfect telephoto zoom choice for photographing sports, racing, and other fast-moving subjects. The lens also boasts Tamron’s proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization to assist in hand-held shooting, not only at long focal length ranges where blurring is common, but also under low-lit conditions, dramatically enhancing photographic freedom.

This combination of best in class image resolution, Ultrasonic Silent Drive and Vibration Compensation is a new achievement of Tamron technology, culminating in the production of a premium 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Product Features

New optical system optimized for digital cameras achieves top resolution in the 70-300mm class with specialized glass elements including an XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) lens element
This lens’ advanced optical design employs a sophisticated XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) lens element made from specialized high-grade glass that has lower dispersive properties than standard LD lenses (where refraction causes the dispersion of white light into spectral hues). The dispersive properties of the XLD lens are at a level similar to fluorite, and in combination with LD elements make for an optimal optical design that delivers best in class resolution with advanced axial chromatic and magnification aberration correction - major inhibitors of image quality enhancement. The result is a lens that delivers sharp contrast and better descriptive performance throughout the entire zoom range.

Fast focusing with USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive), Tamron's ultrasonic autofocus driveThe lens is equipped with Tamron’s first-ever ultrasonic auto-focus drive USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive). It achieves faster focusing making this telephoto lens perfect for photography of sports, motor racing, and other fast-moving subjects. With advanced motor technology and newly developed software, Tamron's USD delivers precise and noiseless focusing at turbo speed.

USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive)
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, an element 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 produced simple motion into energy known as ‘deflective traveling waves’, which then moves around the circumference (rotation direction) of the ring.

With the USD, the friction between these deflective traveling waves created on the metallic surface of the stator and the surface of the rotor produce force, causing the rotor to rotate. The focusing ring lens, which is linked to the rotor, is thus moved, creating a fast and smooth auto-focus drive.

Equipped with Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization
The SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD employs Tamron’s esteemed image stabilization mechanism–VC (Vibration Compensation) seen in both the AF18-270mm Di II VC (Model B003) and SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II VC (Model B005). With VC, the photographer has the freedom to shoot at a shutter speed that is an extra four stops slower without having to worry about blurring. This makes capturing handheld, evening, night, and interior shots much easier.

VC (Vibration Compensation)
Tamron’s VC mechanism employs 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 that eliminates the blur from camera shake for cleaner, crisper shots.

Full time manual focus at your fingertips
Auto-focus has many benefits but sometimes the photographer needs the control of manual focus. Full time manual offers just that: the crossover from auto-focus to manual focus by simply adjusting the focus ring, allowing the photographer to make adjustments on the fly. This feature helps the lens produce impressive results even in telephoto situations where the depth of field is narrow.

Better balance and consistent length with internal focusing
When focusing, the internal elements of the lens move and the lens’ external size does not change. This offers better balance and easier telephoto shots. Moreover, the barrel is not subject to stray light entering from external helicoids that can negatively affect images. And because the external elements do not move, it makes it easier to utilize polarizing filters and the flower shape hood to control the amount of light that enters the lens.

Enjoyable photography for a wide range of enthusiasts, from those using traditional film cameras, to digital SLRs with full-frame or APS-C size sensors
With a full-frame digital or 35mm SLR, portrait and medium telephoto shots can be achieved on the wider 70mm end of the range and spectacular telephoto shots at the longer 300mm side. When using an ASP-C sensor camera the angle of view changes, giving it the equivalent range of 109-465mm for bold ultra-telephoto shots. And with a maximum magnification ratio 1:4, the lens can be used to explore in the realm of semi-macro photography.

Focal length on Various Format Cameras:

Focal length range for DSLRs with full-size sensors and 35mm film format SLRs 70mm 200mm 300mm
Focal length range for DSLRs with APS-C-size sensors 

*Tamron's conversion value is 1.55x

Angle of view
equivalent to approx.
Angle of view
equivalent to approx.
Angle of view
equivalent to approx.

Uncompromising countermeasures to reduce ghosting and flare
Digital photography requires extreme precision, which is why Tamron incorporates new BBAR (Broad-Band Anti Reflection) multilayer coatings that reduce reflection into the lens elements. This ensures excellent performance in all photographic conditions and enhances light transmission on both long and short wavelengths. In addition, Tamron applies internal surface coatings on cemented surfaces of lens elements to make images sharper with better color reproduction and balance.

Simple yet beautiful exterior design
Tamron adopted a simple design with a smooth silhouette to ensure that this lens fits well with various SLR cameras. The exquisite textured paint gives a well-crafted finish to the exterior.

Flower-shaped hood with excellent stray light shielding properties–a standard accessory
The flower-shaped hood has been designed specifically to block out damaging light rays and ensures clear, sharp descriptive performance.

1. XLD-Extra Low Dispersion lens is made from specialized high-grade glass that has lower dispersive properties than standard LD lenses.
2. USD-Ultrasonic Silent Drive is Tamron’s proprietary ultrasonic motor drive.
3. The Sony mount is not equipped with the VC image stabilization mechanism, as anti-shake functionality is included in the body of Sony digital SLR cameras. Consequently, the name of the Sony mounted lens, SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di USD, does not include the VC description.
4. Tamron’s conversion 1.55x

SP AF70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD
Model Name A005
Focal Length 70-300mm
Maximum Aperture F/4-5.6
Minimum Aperture F/32-45
Angle Of View 34° 21' - 8° 15'
Lens Construction 17 elements / 12 groups
MFD (Minimum Focus Distance) 59.1"
Diaphragm Blades 9
Filter Size Ø62mm
Size (Diameter x Length) Ø3.2 in. x 5.6 in.*
Weight 27.0 oz*
Max. Mag. Ratio 1:4 (at f=300mm: MFD 1.5m)
Standard Accessory Flower-Shaped hood
Compatible Mount Canon, Nikon, Sony**
*specifications based on Nikon mount 

**The Sony mount does not include the VC image stabilization functionality, as the body of Sony digital SLR cameras contains built-in image stabilization functionality

This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • they should learn to price them correctly. same as sigma, dreaming high, then most sales are done through weird discounts because nobody wants it.
    Who would buy it with all the issues tamron usually have for $100 less?

    Actual one sells for 120Eur. That is appropriate price for how POS it is.

    • MSRP never determines actual sale prices. This is nothing new.

    • Gan

      Sony mount but no Pentax mount? amazing what $ can do.

  • big eater

    So would this be an example of Tamron re-badging an existing Nikon lens? I don’t really understand how the lens business works, but it seems like there are a lot of lenses out there with similar specs. I know that the Nikon version has two ED glass elements and this has one, but a lot of the other numbers look alike. Or is it the case that lens designers all go to the same handful of universities, so they all come up with similar designs?

    • mike

      You start with product requirements, and then a design a product that fulfills those requirements, not the other way around. I am pretty sure they just wanted their lens to have similar on-paper specs to the competition (which, incidentally, includes Canon).

  • The invisible man

    f/4.0-5.6, give me a break…

    • Lolly

      Nikon’s 70-300 AF-S VR is slower at f/4.5-5.6. It’s a very good lens if you don’t need the speed. I read thru NikonRumors that Jay Maisel likes and uses the Nikon 70-300 AF-S VR. That says quite a lot.

      • The invisible man

        I had the 28-75 f/2.8 with my D700, very sharp lens, and a “true zoom”, not a varifocal like the expensive Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 (have to re-focus when changing the zoom’s focal)
        But f/5.6 at 300mm is really not good enough for me, too much DOF and not enough speed.

        • GlobalGuy

          For $400 bucks too much DOF is your complaint on a 3x+ tele-zoom?

          • The invisible man

            In my life I want the best of the best for 2 things; my cameras and my wife 😮

            • iamlucky13

              In contrast with the way you complain about the specs of a $400 lens, I can only imagine the complaints your wife might make about a $400 ring. 😉

              I also use the 70-300 VR. In most respects it’s a very good lens. The $400 MSRP compared to their old 70-300’s $200 price strongly suggests Tamron is attempting to equal the Nikon. I will be interested to see how close they come.

              For comparison, the Nikon 70-300 VR currently MSRP’s for $590 and is selling on Amazon for $520.

  • Kelly France


  • danny

    i might buy this one if the price is right…around 300 usd 😀

  • This isn’t “garbage” or “mispriced”, but neither is it intended for advanced hobbyist or pro users; it’s meant for relatively inexperienced shooters using entry-level bodies such as the D3000/5000. These people don’t need a $700+ f/2.8 zoom, they just need something that will give them good reach in the daylight that they do 90%+ of their shooting in.

    What I find interesting, is that it’s an full-frame lens, as opposed to a DX lens. I would expect that Tamron will try to use that distinction to their advantage when comparing it to the new Nikon 55-300.

    • lorenzo

      I really doubt a good 70-300 2.8 could come close to 700 dollars, c’mon. The 70-200 sells for 2000! If Tamron managed to creat a good 70-300 2.8 with VC for 700 dollars, I would be in for sure…

      • I was referencing the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8. Believe me, if anyone could build a 70-300 f/2.8 for $700, they’d never be able to keep them in stock.

  • ArthurCH

    I don’t understand why they announce a lens that both Canon and Nikon have for about the same price, while I guess it won’t have far superior quality. If I were Tamron, I’d make a 35 f1.4, because for that lens the Sony, Canon and Nikon versions resp. are bad, outdated or missing. THEN people will be interested!

    • GlobalGuy

      They know the industry. They know their price points. They know their reputations. There is an existing 70-300 market, with proven returns. This company made a “slightly brighter” on the 70-end version of an already good basic lens. They made it cheaper and faster. It will sell. Guaranteed.

      This will be like the 18-200. Proven market, proven price points, proven quality issues, some want it more reliable — some want it cheaper. The consumer chooses.

      I don’t know why they don’t make an innovative lens. Maybe for the reason that they aren’t the best lens manufacturer. It takes imagination to do better than the other guy. It takes a lot of imagination to do it completely different and better.

      • ArthurCH

        Guess you’re right, they play it safe. At least Sigma dares to make some innovative/difficult lenses, they’re not always good, but at least they try.

  • Lardinio

    Why are so may people aggressive towards a product they have absolutely no idea on it’s quality (optical, build or otherwise). It’s like those people who review an album without actually hearing it, just because they didn’t like the last one. The Nikon product in this range just happens to be particularly good, which is why Tamron’s release is suprising. However, I think we should give it the benefit of the doubt until someone has tested and proved it’s a crock of s**t. Afterall, Tamron have demonstrated recently that their optical designs are strong and their VC is actually pretty decent. It will be interesting to hear/see the performance of their first silent motor lens and I wish them good luck. Let’s hope the build and quality control is up to scratch, as I understand this is where they have previously been lacking.

  • Lolly

    I’m wondering how much Tamron has to pay for patent use to make “Tamron’s very own ultrasonic auto-focus drive mechanism”. If it’s really their “very own” I can understand why it took more than 10 years to develop. Finally, we can look forward to more lenses with USD. Let’s hope Tokina can do the same too.

    • Blaster

      Tell me, what is bad about Canon 35L lens? That lens is a gem…

  • The invisible family
    • this is an old PS job, I covered that last year I believe

      • The invisible man

        Photoshop sould only be sold to honest people like us 😮

  • Darryl

    Nobody can really comment about the Tamron lens without a review. Looks like this) lens has several elements of high-end glass (XLD/LD ) not one as someone stated.

    Just give it a chance, I will…Darryl

    btw…I plan on buying the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM, excellent reviews and it appears to be better then Nikon’s 16-85 for $200-300 less!!!

    • I have the Sigma 18-50 2.8 macro
      The zoom mechanism is broken, after 2 yrs of very light use.
      I won’t buy another sigma.

    • Exi

      I bought the Sigma to use it on a vacation and it’s a very nice lens. It feels solid and has good image quality. Great lens for the price.

  • Had some experience using the 70-300VR on a trip and found that the lens fails in overcast weather conditions and a rather high ISO is required when shooting wildlife, which is not all that ideal unless your body is D700 :p Still, at least a constant f/4 would be more than welcome 🙂

    • disco

      isn’t that quite obvious already?

  • gonzalo

    my good copy of Tamron 17-50F2.8 (japan) has even better MTF figures than the nikon 17-55F2.8. Obviously the build quality is better on the nikon side… but this is for a fraction of the cost!
    For us, buyers on a budget, it’s an excellent lens.

  • I think this is great news for all photographers in the market for a lens like this. The Nikon is not the best performer in the world, so why not have more options? I for one think the Tammy will be a good performer based on their previous track record.

    Here’s a little pre-review I wrote on my blog: http://www.aputure.com/blog/2010/08/11/new-tamron-70-300mm-vc-lens-pre-review/

  • ah, the usual bashers are at it again. This is full frame so that leaves the “dx is dead” crowd out of it. Fortunately it’s a relatively slow variable aperture lens. So, plenty to bash there. After all,e ven the nikon is a PoS so this should be worse, right?

    Seriously, I’m curious to see how this will do against the nikon both in price and performance. If they get it right that should guarantee volume sales.

  • Bwyan

    Aahhh…every time there’s a lens that is not f/2.8 (or f/1.4) we have to listen to the same nag:

    “Garbage” – really? Why? Have you tried it?

    “f/4.0-5.6, give me a break…” – no, YOU give ME a break will you!

    “but neither is it intended for advanced hobbyist or pro users; it’s meant for relatively inexperienced shooters using entry-level bodies” – I guess that is why the Nikon version is Jay Maisel prime lens (as pointed out before) and Moose Peterson, and he uses it on the D3-whatever btw, and a lot of other pros use this frequently!? (yes, yes, they might not be the most inspiring photographers out there, and not as good as you, but they make a living out of it!)

    Is it really that frikkin difficult to see the use of a lens like this? What would the prize, size and weight be if they were to make a f/2,8 of this? Do you really think that is comparable? Or doable? That’s like comparing Rollerblades to a Ferrari!

    As a walkaround in the city or nature this kind of lens is tops! I cant afford a 300mm f/2.8! And if I did I’d break my neck and back while lugging it around the forest for a stroll! If you’re the kind that sit in a hide in the forest for day, peeing in a bag, waiting for the not so often seen “green footed dweeb bird” then sure, you probably need a bigger gun than this. But we get that, you don’t have to mention it even, and you don’t have to talk crap about it either!


    peace and love all 😉

    • lorenzo

      You said alound what many here think, but do not want to say.
      2.8 does not always translate into good pics (actually…), and 4-5.6 does not always tranlate into bad pics (actually…).
      And, well, for people who do trekking and love (e.g.) mountains, it is not always desirable to have the 2.8 version of any zoom plus heavy tripod with them (and now, please, do not sermon me with the usual “I went to the Himalaya with 15 kgs of lenses, so I am a good photographer and you are not” kind of song)

      • Bwyan

        Thanx lorenzo, it was a dirty job, but someone had to do it 😉
        And I’m all with you, if you ask me, a 2,8 lens and cameras from D700 and up should only be sold after showing your portfolio! ;)) There’s so many sad lenses and cams out there far from being used to their fullest potential…

        • My “portfolio” is available by clicking on my name. Care to do the same?

          • Bwyan

            What is this? The my dad is bigger than yours routine?

            Well I’m not buying a 2,8 or a higher cam than the D700, so I don’t really see why ;))

            Besides, by asking this I wonder if you got my point at all?

          • lorenzo

            It is not a matter of showing muscles, you know. It is a matter of demonstrating that absolute quality does not always translate into a keeper. I may own the best lens in the world, but if I end up not using it because it is too heavy or big to carry around all day long, then I am not going to receive any benefits from it.
            I can understand pros (esp. wedding photogs) who need the 70-200 2.8. But the fact that some people really need the extra aperture does not mean everybody MUST need it, otherwise they are not good photographers.
            Or, to put it another way, although there are many situations when I find mysel wanting a couple of stops of aperture more from my lenses, there are many others when I want to have a couple of kilos less to drag.
            As everything in life, people chose depending on their actual priorities, which does not imply they are less skilled than other people having other priorities…

  • Anubis

    I’ve had the good fortune to be able to use both the Nikor 70-300 VR & 70-200 VR1 on DX. I have to say that the 70-200 VR1 is a fantastic lens is most shooting conditions. Sharp wide open, almost instantaneous focus and great image contrast and resolution. The 70-300 VR on the other hand is weak beyond 250mm. AF is almost as fast and IQ is almost as good as long as you are not a bokeh junkie. Which is the lens I kept? The answer is the 70-300 VR. Why? If you try lugging a 1.5kg lens around you realise that the weight penalty is not worth the effort or the potential usage situations (at least for me as I tend to get up close to my subjects whenever possible). I am very excited to see if this Tamron is as good as the Nikkor. If it is on par in terms of IQ, AF speed and is better beyond 250mm, I will switch over. Furthermore, IMHO Tamron has the best VC implementation amongst all lens makers, branded or 3rd party included. Nikkor VR is my experience is not as intuitive or responsive compared to VC.

  • Back to top