Almost everyone in the photography community was delighted with Nikon’s decision to work with Tamron to bring third-party lenses onto the Z-mount; However, it seems that 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 Canon and Nikon mirrorless platforms has raged since the days both companies unveiled their mirrorless mounts. Unfortunately, it probably won’t stop any time soon either.
Canon has decided to substitute all third-party lens manufacturers so they can lock their users into Canon-branded RF mount lenses. On the other hand, Nikon recently announced that Tamron lenses with Z-mounts will be released. Hooray. However, it also seems that Nikon is determined to become the new Pentax by taking existing Tamron lenses and renaming them as official first-party Nikon lenses. This lens announcement proves the practice of rebranding. Sigh.
The new Nikon lens roadmap
The Nikon/Tamron rebranding efforts can be seen on the Nikon 17-28mm f/2.8 and the 28-75mm f/2.8. These lenses will probably look familiar to you as there are Tamron branded versions of these lenses available for Sony’s E-mount.
While there are some minor differences in the external design of the lenses, both lenses share the same design in terms of elements and their grouping. Whether other changes were made that are harder to spot remains unknown. However, the core of the lens is Tamron through and through.
Pentax had a bad reputation for doing this with DSLR lenses in the not too distant past. While Pentax and Tamron ever officially acknowledged that this was the case, it was pretty clear to everyone that the Pentax 24-70 f/2.8, 15-30mm f/2.8 and 70-210mm f/4 were just rebranded Tamron Lenses were what Pentax sold for quite a premium over the Tamron Canon EF and Nikon F mount versions.
But wait, there’s more
If you take a closer look at the lens roadmap above, you’ll see another well-known lens listed. That’s correct; Team Yellow happens to make their own 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 is nothing wrong with this practice. I understand that Nikon needs to flesh out its lens range quickly. Renaming existing Tamron lenses is certainly one way to do this. However, I think Nikon owes it to its faithful to be honest about what’s happening.
There’s another new lens on the roadmap that doesn’t appear to be a rebranded Tamron optic. The APS-C (DX) 12-28mm PZ looks like a pretty exciting option for Z-mount crop sensor cameras. We have to keep our eyes open. So take this information about the new “Nikon” lenses as you will. Again, I don’t think Nikon does this, but it would be nice to see some honesty. As it stands, both companies refuse to admit the practice.
What do you think of Nikon’s apparent rebranding of Tamron lenses? Do you think Nikon should stop this practice? Does it even matter? Let us know in the comment section below.