Tamron Co., Ltd. of Japan has just announced the development of a new app called Lens Utility Mobile™. It’s aimed at allowing users to fine-tune and make changes to their Tamron lenses using smartphones and tablets. With these features already existing in their desktop Lens Utility software, Tamron now extends the functionalities to Android mobile devices.
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Fine-tuning On The Go
More photographers are opting to carry less gear these days. We’ve even got editing software with more mobile app options for editing your photos while on the go. So it’s no surprise that Tamron has decided to work on a mobile version of their Lens Utility desktop software. This intends to provide photographers the ability to customize lens functions while out in the field. This would be hugely useful for photographers who already make use of these features on their laptops but would now more conveniently do the same from their smartphones or even tablets.
What Can The Lens Utility Mobile App Do?
Here’s a look at what’s possible with the new app.
Tethered Remote Control
New dedicated features for the smartphone app. A-B Focus allows you to set two focus points for the lens and smoothly switch between them using the app. The mobile app will enable you to adjust the focus travel time in 0.1-second increments. The desktop version allows you only eight speed settings. Focus Preset will enable you to set one focal point and return to that as often as you’d like with just a tap of a button on the Lens Utility Mobile™ app.
Customize the Custom Switch Or Focus Set Button
These are existing features on the desktop software version. It includes the option to configure the Focus Set Button to switch the focus mode between manual and automatic. You also can configure the focus ring to adjust the aperture instead of the focal distance.
Customize the Focus Ring
As of now, Tamron says it will allow users to change the direction of the focus ring and switch between various modes of focus by turning the same.
Who Could Benefit Most From This?
I’m not a beta tester when it comes to software, but I’m usually first in line to upgrade software when new versions are released. This includes firmware upgrades to cameras and lenses. Yes, this is tricky when it means it could come with bugs and issues. But since most upgrades can be easily reversed, I tend to take the plunge and upgrade almost as soon as I know the update is out. On most occasions, I’m pleased with the choice to do so. I enjoy trying out new features immediately and seeing how they can improve my photography workflow.
While I carry along my laptop to most of my shoots and all my travels, many these days would instead carry along an iPad or Android tablet. As it stands currently, they would miss out on being able to customize their Tamron lenses until they get back to a desktop. This is an anxiety-increasing scenario if you’re in FOMO mode often. The new Lens Utility Mobile™ app should help allay those fears by allowing you to customize it on the go. I’m expecting Tamron to also let you do lens firmware updates using this app in the future. It’s definitely possible; apps like Snapbridge allow you to wirelessly upgrade your Nikon Z cameras’ firmware.
Imagine camping at a place like Banff National Park for a few nights. Understandably you’d want to travel light because of the distance you’d like to cover as a photographer there. Ditch your laptop and still be able to make adjustments to your Tamron lenses using their app. Or maybe you’re someone who doesn’t own a desktop or laptop and just has a smartphone or tablet. It’s nice to see Tamron catering to this user segment too. Quite sure that this decision was prompted by feedback from their professional users, and no doubt it will be well received by them.
Times Are Getting Better
I remember the days when customizing your lens meant slapping a personalized decal on it or slipping on a rubber wrist band. The first lens I could electronically customize was Sigma’s 120-300 f2.8 sports lens. While using it for horse racing coverage, I was able to increase the AF response speed, but this meant I had to purchase Sigma’s USB Dock and connect it to a PC. It’s super cool to see how now you don’t need docks, and smartphone apps can do a lot of what desktop software could do in the past.
Laptops and desktops are still important, but there are creatives these days who prefer the freedom of mobile devices. I would personally enjoy using the features this app could provide if I had a Tamron lens in my arsenal. It’s not just what’s possible now based on what Tamron has announced. The possibilities in the future are pretty much limitless.
iOS Users Have To Wait A Bit Longer
Tamron estimates that the app will be released in 2022 itself. However, they’ve stated that the app is currently being developed only for Android users on devices supporting Android versions 6 to 12. Only Android devices with USB-C type ports are compatible with the Lens Utility Mobile™ app. Apple users will have to wait for their follow-up announcement to see when their iOS devices might be getting the app.
Tamron states that “as the application is still under development, the screenshots are subject to change without notice due to design evolution or other factors.”
Article lead image taken from the Tamron press release