It is easy to forget that photography was once a highly specialized activity. It took special equipment, experience, training, and patience in order to learn the fine art of photography. Additionally, it was not always easy to acquire the gear needed to do much more than the most basic work.
This is why the products created by Tamron were so impressive and innovative. They were among the first to be "interchangeable", and the company showed its clear insight into the needs of the market when it began producing special adapter systems in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This sort of product cannot be overlooked for its forward thinking function since in our current era we struggle with finding ways to adapt SLR lenses to digital cameras, and Tamron was already thinking about such applications fifty years ago.
The Origins of Tamron
The company was started by Takeyuki Arai in 1952 under the name of the Taisei Kogaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. The initial goal was to create quality optical lenses independent of camera brands. The company took its name from its best engineer, Uhyoue Tamura, who is considered an intuitive and innovative designer during this transitional period of optical design. After all, it was the dawn of computer assisted optical design, and yet it was not a flawless system. Engineers were counted on to contribute experience and instinct to the process, and the quality of Tamron lenses demonstrates just how remarkable the skills of its engineers were in that era.
Entering the Market
As its first entry into the market, the company created a 135mm lens with an aperture or speed of F4.5. This was considered "fast" in the early days of photography and allowed for quality zoom photography from a "prime" lens. At the same time, the company accomplished one of many "firsts" when it designed and marketed the first interchangeable (T-Mount) system for 35mm cameras.
Within its first ten years it had created an industrial optics division meant to meet the needs of the burgeoning film and security industries. And then really hit the big time when it achieved "mass production of 95-205mm F6.3 telephoto zoom lens for 35mm SLR cameras". (Tamron-USA.com, 2014). This was a lens meant for "general consumer use" and it opened the door to the non-professional photographer being able to use zoom lenses for photography of all kinds.
This success was followed up by one of the first CCTV camera lenses and further advances in general, professional, and industrial optics.
During the 1980s, the company established its reputation for top of the line quality when it released its "Adaptall-2" system that was capable of partnering with roughly twelve of the top camera brands. Additionally, the optical quality of the lenses made for the adapter were seen by many as some of the best performance lenses available.
The remarkable innovation of the engineers did not end here, however, and as the 1980s came to an end the company developed its own proprietary processes for working with the plastics and other materials used to craft their lenses. In fact, "the manufacturing technology which revolutionized the optical industry and which saw the introduction of the first high performance ultra wide angle to ultra telephoto zoom lenses." (Adaptall-2.org, 2014)
Within the decades that followed, the company continued with its many additional "firsts", making the first autofocus zoom for manual cameras, the first affordably priced zoom lenses, the first 28-200mm high ratio zoom lens, and the first independent lens manufacturer to obtain the coveted ISO 14001 certification (signifying optimal quality).
The firm still innovates on many levels making lenses for cell phone cameras, designing injection molding processes for lens production, and much more.
Their line of lenses and products is extensive and can be summarized as:
* Interchangeable lenses for DSLR and standard SLR cameras (these fall under many designations that include Di lenses, SP lenses, conventional lenses, and more)
* Adapter systems and lenses for many OEM bodies
* Optical components for cell phones, digital cameras, and camcorders
* CCTV lenses
* Projection lenses
* Injection molded parts
* Optical device units
* Test plates
Tamron is also the manufacturer of the world's most award winning line of lenses, and is clearly a wise resource for novice, professional, or even industrial/commercial photographers.