Mostly everyone in the photography community has been delighted with Nikon’s choice to partner with Tamron to bring third-party lenses to the Z mount; however, it appears the deal between Nikon and Tamron could be about more than just Tamron lenses appearing on the platform.
The debate over third-party lenses on mirrorless platforms from Canon and Nikon has been raging since the days both companies introduced their mirrorless mounts. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to stop anytime soon, either.
Canon has decided to sub all third-party lens manufacturers so that they can lock their users into Canon branded RF mount lenses. On the other hand, Nikon recently announced that Tamron lenses would appear with Z mounts. Hurray. However, it also seems that Nikon is hellbent on becoming the new Pentax by taking existing Tamron lenses and rebranding them as official first-party Nikon lenses. This lens announcement evidences the rebranding practice. Sigh.
The new Nikon lens roadmap
The Nikon / Tamron rebranding effort can be seen with the Nikon 17-28mm f / 2.8 and the 28-75mm f / 2.8. These lenses will probably sound familiar to you as Tamron branded versions of these lenses are available for Sony’s E-mount.
While some slight variations exist in the lenses’ exterior design, both lenses have the same design regarding the elements and their grouping. Whether or not other changes have been made that are harder to see remains unknown. However, the core of the lens is Tamron through and through.
Pentax got a bad reputation for doing this with DSLR lenses in the not-too-distant past. While Pentax nor Tamron ever officially acknowledged that this is what was happening, it was pretty clear to everyone that the Pentax 24-70 f / 2.8the 15-30mm f / 2.8 and the 70-210mm f / 4 were just rebranded Tamron lenses that Pentax went on to sell for quite a markup over the Tamron Canon EF and Nikon F mount versions.
But wait, there’s more
Take a closer look at the lens roadmap above, and you’ll see another familiar lens listed. That’s right; team yellow just happens to be making its own oddball 70-180mm f / 2.8 telephoto zoom lens. You can read our E-mount review of this lens here. So, it’s pretty clear to see what the company is doing. There’s nothing wrong with this practice. I get that Nikon needs to flesh out its lens lineup quickly. Rebranding existing Tamron lenses is certainly one way to do this. However, I think Nikon owes it to their faithful to be honest about what’s happening.
There is another new lens on the roadmap that doesn’t appear to be a rebranded Tamron optic. The APS-C (DX) 12-28mm PZ sounds like it could be a pretty exciting option for Z-mount crop sensor cameras. We will have to keep our eyes peeled for that one. So, take this information about the new ‘Nikon’ lenses as you will. Again, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Nikon doing this, but it would be nice to see some honesty. As it stands, both companies are refusing to admit to the practice.
What do you think about Nikon’s apparent rebranding of Tamron lenses? Do you think Nikon should cease the practice? Does it even matter? Let us know in the comment section below.