The unexpected announcement in late 2021 of the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 – with identical optics as the Tamron G1 28-75mm f/2.8 – set me wondering what would be next. Several months later, the Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8 appeared, with the same optics as Tamron’s version for Sony E. (And those aren’t the only two.)
Will Nikon and Tamron work together on any more Z-series lenses? If so, these are the lenses they should prioritize.
Before going through the list, I should emphasize that we don’t yet know what agreement Nikon and Tamron have behind the scenes. The 28-75mm f/2.8 may simply be a one-time trial balloon floated to see how much interest there is in budget Z-series lenses. Or, it could represent a more substantial partnership where Tamron can ease some of Nikon’s manufacturing pressures and create a larger lineup of lenses.
In any case, it seems plausible that we’ll see more Nikon Z lenses with Tamron DNA in the future. Some photographers might feel divided about that if it’s true, but I think it’s almost always good to have more choices. So, let’s take a look at the existing catalog of Tamron lenses and which ones would be the most useful for the Nikon Z system.
Table of Contents
Current Tamron Mirrorless Lenses
Here’s the current list of Tamron mirrorless lenses for aps-c sensors and larger:
- Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8
- Tamron 20mm f/2.8
- Tamron 24mm f/2.8
- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
- Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6
- Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8
- Tamron 35mm f/2.8
- Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8
- Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3
- Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7
The four lenses that I bolded are currently available for Nikon Z or are under development. The 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 retains the Tamron branding, while the other three are branded as Nikon Z lenses.
All of the lenses above are Tamron’s mirrorless offerings for the Sony E mount, too, and it makes sense that the next Nikon/Tamron lenses will be as well. Although other Tamron/Nikon lenses are certainly possible, the lenses on this list seem especially likely to see first.
Note that some of the Tamron lenses above have an older G1 version and a newer G2 version. This is true of the 28-75mm f/2.8 that Nikon is adapting. The G2 versions of Tamron’s lenses are better on balance, but some of them are very similar to the G1 versions. Nikon chose to adapt the earlier G1 lens for the 28-75mm but may not always do so.
Current Tamron DSLR Lenses
There’s a huge lineup of Tamron lenses if you include all lens mounts and especially older lens designs. Below, to simplify things, I’m only going to mention the lenses currently listed on Tamron’s website, and only for aps-c sensors and larger.
- Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 (aps-c lens)
- Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8
- Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4
- Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8
- Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3
- Tamron 35mm f/1.4
- Tamron 35mm f/1.8
- Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4
- Tamron 45mm f/1.8
- Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8
- Tamron 70-210mm f/4
- Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3
- Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3
As before, some of the lenses on this list have G1 and G2 versions, such as the 15-30mm f/2.8.
What Lenses Should They Make for Nikon Z?
To me, the most important releases for Nikon and Tamron to prioritize are lenses that don’t currently exist for the Nikon Z system. In other words, rather than a lens like the 28-75mm f/2.8 (basically duplicated by the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8), the two companies should focus on lenses that have no Nikon Z equivalent at the moment.
Since it’s likely that the first Tamron/Nikon lenses will be from Tamron’s mirrorless lineup (rather than their DSLR set), let’s go through those lenses below. I’ll start with the four aps-c mirrorless lenses:
- Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8: Could be very useful. Nikon already has a 12-28mm DX lens on their roadmap, but it’s unknown whether that lens will be an f/2.8 or a lightweight variable aperture zoom. (Knowing Nikon, it will probably be a variable aperture zoom.) The Tamron lens could keep Nikon DX competitive.
- Tamron 17-70mm f/2.8: Unless Nikon deviates from the roadmap, it will be a while before we see an f/2.8 DX midrange zoom. This 17-70mm f/2.8 would be a great stopgap and pair nicely with a hypothetical Nikon Z90.
- Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 (aps-c lens): There’s already a Nikon Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 DX lens. I don’t think the extra reach to 200mm would be especially useful, so this lens can be safely skipped.
- Tamron 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 (aps-c lens): Eventually, Nikon is bound to produce an 18-300mm DX superzoom, or something similar like 16-300mm or 18-250mm. I don’t care if they partner with Tamron when they do.
Next are the full-frame Tamron mirrorless lenses:
- Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8: Already adapting! Nikon already has a world-class Z-series 14-24mm f/2.8, but the Tamron lens is a good budget choice (and it pairs well with the Nikon/Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8).
- Tamron 20mm f/2.8: I’m always a fan of lightweight f/2.8 primes. This Tamron lens weighs 221 grams / 0.49 pounds and costs just $250, compared to the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 that weighs 505 grams / 1.11 pounds and costs $1050. No one is saying that the Tamron has better image quality between the two, but it’s still sharp and would be a great choice if you’re trying to save money or weight. I hope this lens appears in the Nikon Z lineup at some point.
- Tamron 24mm f/2.8: My thoughts on the Tamron 20mm f/2.8 hold true here. The 24mm f/2.8 is 215 grams and $200, while the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 is 450 grams and $900. I don’t think Tamron needs to make both the 20mm and 24mm f/2.8 lenses immediately, but at least one would be excellent. (I’d prefer the 20mm f/2.8 to differentiate from the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8.)
- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8: Already adapting! I wouldn’t have considered it a priority, but it’s at least a good option for Nikon Z photographers who need an f/2.8 zoom on a budget.
- Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6: Nikon already has the Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3, which is the best superzoom we’ve ever tested. The Tamron version is f/2.8 at the wide end instead of f/4 (at the expense of missing some wider focal lengths) but otherwise doesn’t make much sense for a Nikon Z shooter. I think Tamron and Nikon can skip this adaptation.
- Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8: This is a wild lens and pretty much unprecedented before Tamron announced it in August 2021. I hope we see a Nikon Z adaptation.
- Tamron 35mm f/2.8: It’s a good lens, but Nikon already has an inexpensive 40mm f/2 compact prime that weighs 40 grams less than The Tamron 35mm f/2.8. I wouldn’t prioritize this one. That said, the Tamron does have good macro capabilities (1:2 magnification), so it may be the preference for some Nikon Z users.
- Tamron 70-180mm f/2.8: Already adapting! Nikon already has a fantastic Z 70-200mm f/2.8, but this Tamron lens is much less expensive and lighter. Nikon was dead-set on adapting the full 17-28mm, 28-75mm, and 70-180mm f/2.8 trio for photographers on a budget.
- Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3: Already available (with Tamron branding)! This is one of the top lenses I wanted to see Tamron adapt for the Nikon Z system. It’s currently the closest thing to a lightweight telephoto zoom for Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless system – which is a crazy statement. (The only native Nikon choice right now is the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3, or adapting something via the FTZ adapter.)
- Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7: Nikon’s Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 is a great lens. Unfortunately, it’s also a very expensive lens at $2700. The Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 costs $1400 by comparison and frequently goes on sale for less. Nikon definitely needs a budget optic at some point that goes beyond 200-300mm. This lens could be the ticket, or perhaps the unannounced 200-600mm from Nikon’s roadmap could fit the bill instead.
That’s it for the Tamron mirrorless lenses, but what about the company’s DSLR glass? I suspect these lenses are less likely to be adapted. (Even if they were, they’d be bigger than the DSLR versions, since they would need an FTZ-style spacer on the back.) Nevertheless, I’ll briefly cover the top five Tamron DSLR lenses that I’d like to see for Nikon Z mount.
- Tamron 70-210mm f/4: This is the DSLR lens I’d most like to see adapted, for obvious reasons. A (roughly) 70-200mm f/4 lens is sorely needed on the Nikon Z system to pair with the excellent 14-30mm f/4 and 24-70mm f/4 lenses. I don’t care if it’s from Tamron, Nikon, or anyone else; it’s a major gap in Nikon’s lineup at the moment.
- Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4: The Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 is a very interesting ultra-wide lens. It retains the useful f/2.8 aperture at its widest focal length (helpful for astrophotography) but still stays compact because of the narrower f/4 aperture as you zoom in. Nikon doesn’t have a Z-series equivalent and probably won’t any time soon.
- Tamron 35mm f/1.4: I like that Nikon has been prioritizing image quality and compactness with their mirrorless lenses, but it does mean that most of the Nikon Z primes have an f/1.8 maximum aperture instead of something wider. Since Nikon doesn’t seem to have plans for a 35mm f/1.2 or f/1.4 any time soon, Tamron could step in instead. An aperture of f/1.4 gains 2/3 stops of light compared to f/1.8. It’s not a massive difference, but there’s a reason why wedding photographers so often love 35mm f/1.4 lenses in low light conditions.
- Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4: Unlike the unusual mirrorless Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8, this DSLR lens has a more standard f/2.8-4 maximum aperture. Still, the focal length range is unusual and potentially useful, such as for event photographers who don’t want to carry too many lenses. It would be an intriguing Nikon Z adaptation.
- Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3: I don’t particularly care whether Tamron adapts this lens or the 150-500mm f/5-6.7 mirrorless lens that I covered in the prior section. This would be a better choice for users who want 600mm rather than 500mm in exchange for a bit more weight. Tamron doesn’t need to adapt both, though.
As for the rest of Tamron’s DSLR lenses, I don’t consider any of them critical to adapt to the Nikon Z system. But the five lenses in the list above would make compelling adaptations.
Nikon created a bit of a stir when their Z 28-75mm f/2.8 was shown to have a Tamron optical design. But I don’t think it has to be a bad thing. Nikon clearly knows that they need more lenses if they’re going to be competitive with Canon’s lineup, let alone Sony’s, in a manufacturing environment as strained as this one. Working with Tamron should let them sell some less expensive lenses and fill in their gaps more quickly.
I do hope, however, that Nikon’s next adaptations are from the newer G2 versions of these Tamron lenses rather than the G1 generation. That’s a disappointment so far about the upcoming 28-75mm f/2.8. I also hope that our testing at Photography Life confirms the Nikon/Tamron lenses to have focus speed and accuracy equivalent to those of original Nikon Z glass – which I suspect they will, but I’m curious to test.
In the end, there are a lot of Tamron lenses I’d like to see for the Z system. Some lenses would fill in a critical gap in Nikon’s lineup, while others would keep costs down in places that Z-series glass is especially expensive. And perhaps if this whole endeavor is a success, Tamron will start to make entirely new lenses dedicated for the Nikon Z system, rather than just re-using their existing designs.
Whatever the details of this new partnership may be, I’m cautiously optimistic. If Nikon and Tamron keep working together on new lenses, it could speed up their progress and make them more competitive, which is better for everyone.
I really really hope they will do the 70-180 2.8. The Nikon Z lens is too heavy and too expensive for me. I love my 24-70 2.8s though!
Nikon already makes a really good 70-300 full-frame in F mount, under $600. Why not carry it over to Z?
The idea of Nikon creating an extension of their marketing and participating in an outsourcing agreement with a Production of compatible lens for Nikon F or Z Mount Bodies is off interest.
I will assume it will be off great importance to the users of such lenses, as the interface between the Body and Lens will be catered for in the long term and firmware updates may be extended to the outsourced produced models.
For myself, I am wondering if the relationship becomes very successful and proves to be a stimulus for increased Nikon Camera Body Sales, will Nikon possibly make the Phase Fresnel Technology available to be used.
( I’m thinking maybe a PF Zoom Model, or a Macro Model ?? )
“will Nikon possibly make the Phase Fresnel Technology available to be used”
It’s only the deployment of Fresnel lens elements:
I’ve known the general knowledge about the origins of the Fresnel Lens for quite some time.
To use that Technology with a Camera Lens is probably requiring a very tight tolerance of parameters, and the Nikon Patent for the Technology, is possibly making it very difficult to be copied by other Brands.
With the success of the PF Lens Sales, it seems strange no other Brands are offering their own versions.
Canon’s deployment of Fresnel elements is named Diffractive Optics.
A Diffractive Lens ‘if True to the Design’ will Break Up Light Transmissions.
A Refractive Lens, i.e, a Fresnel Lens Type, ‘if True to the Design’ will Bend Light.
There appears to be a fundamental difference in how each Lens functions in relation to managing transmitted light and there seems to be a very strong argument for the Sharpness and Image Quality of a Nikon Lens that has the Phase Fresnel Lenses as part of the Design.
As said it would be a real treat for a Nikon user if this technology was loaned to a Lens Producer that Nikon went in to a collaboration with.
Nikon has made a serious inroad to be competitive with rival brands with the Z9 Model, the R&D for this Model, is the foundation of the next model ranges to be offered, and the more ancillaries to support the growth of the Nikon Range of Bodies, should suit the marketing strategy, if maintained as the present method, where the Company has shown they are embarking on a period of aggressive challenges to the pricing in the Flagship Model Market.
Hopefully this same aggressive pricing is to be maintained for a long period.
John, It seems that you have misunderstood the Nikon and Canon Fresnel-lens-based technology.
Both implementations use these lens elements, not for the purpose of refraction per se, but to provide dispersion in the opposite direction to that of the glass lens elements in the telephoto lens. This enables the lens designer to use a more powerful negative telephoto group, thereby reducing the overall length of the lens. Without this technology, the axial chromatic aberration of the shortened telephoto lens would be unacceptably high.
Happy New Year to you John,
Happy New Year to You as well Pete.
I have had a look at the Canon DO Lens design, which I had no knowledge of prior to your posts.
My investigation does show the Fresnel Lens design is being used in the Canon DO range of Lenses, and the use of the technology has been released in updated generations where the lenses have been reconfigured.
Canon do not appear to refer to the term Fresnel in the Lens Marketing information I have reviewed, so maybe this could be contributing.
The marketing competition between the Two Brands and their versions DO and DF, should hopefully keep progressing to further generations of the technology being offered from either Producer, and keep their customer base interested in new product options.
I have been encouraged to move onto the Z System over the past few years, but I sat tight with maintaining the DSLR System, in anticipation of this latest type of Z Technology becoming available.
A little longer wait will be the time when the latest Z Technology is fed down into other Z Body Models and then I will be serious customer for a Z System.
I don’t get this lens nor see the value in a rebranded older $800 lens being sold for $1200. I really hope this isn’t us seeing Nikon partnering up with Tamron just to jack the prices up on lenses too. This may actually push more people away from Nikon. Seriously, who wants to pay 40% more for a Tamron lens that has the Nikon branding on it?? This is marketing straight out of the Harley Davidson book.
They need a 70-200 F4 zoom, I don’t know why this isn’t even on the roadmap.
Compact primes and a wideangle zoom for APS-C.
I would prefer the 17-28, but a new version with sharper corners for astro.
In the case of 28-75mm, the Tamron G2 reviews show very substantially improvement over the G1. Tamron’s decision to adapt the G1 to Nikon is extremely strange.
As for the 70-180mm, it is NOT redundant to the Sony 70-200, because it is much smaller and lighter, and also lacks in-lens stabilization. A mixed bag but in the Sony world the Tamron is a much better fit for my needs than the Sony.
This is not the first time Tamron and Nikon joined forces. The original Nikon 70 to 300 mm 4.5-5.6 AF-D ED lens had the same optical configuration as the Tamron as well as the non-ED version. I had this lens and it was a very good lens in spite of the fact that there was some Chromatic aberration on shiny objects. Nikon is also claiming do use their own glass in this lens which include a super ED element. So I assume Tamron is assembling and building the lens and branding it as a Nikon but Nikon is supplying the glass. At any rate it looks like a very good lens and half the cost of the 24 to 72.8 I’m sure it will find its way into mini camera bags this next year.
The Nikon 28-75 is 50%+ more expensive than the original Tamron. No image stabilization. It should cost under 1k
As a birder & WL photog, the only one of interest to me would be the FF 150-600mm. I already own the Tamron 100-400mm.
70-300 – enjoyed the F-mount version on my D7200. Decent quality even when cropped for BIF