Tamron Co.,Ltd. from Japan has just announced the development of a new app called Lens Utility Mobile™. It aims to allow users to tweak and change their Tamron lenses using smartphones and tablets. Since these features already exist in their desktop Lens Utility software, Tamron is now extending the functionalities to Android mobile devices.
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Fine tuning on the go
More and more photographers these days are choosing to carry less gear. We even have editing software with more mobile app options for editing your photos on the go. No wonder, then, that Tamron has decided to work on a mobile version of its desktop software Lens Utility. This is intended to give photographers the ability to adjust lens capabilities on the go. This would be very useful for photographers who already use these features on their laptops but would now more conveniently do so 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. AB Focus allows you to set two focus points for the lens and switch between them smoothly with the app. The mobile app allows you to adjust the focus drive time in 0.1 second increments. The desktop version only allows you eight speed settings. With Focus Preset, you can set a focus point and return to it as often as you like with just a touch of a button in the Lens Utility Mobile™ app.
Customize custom switch or focus set button
These are existing features in the desktop software version. It includes the option to configure the focus set button to toggle the focus mode between manual and auto. You can also configure the focus ring to set aperture instead of focal length.
Adjust the focus ring
According to Tamron, users can now change the direction of the focus ring and switch between different focus modes by rotating it.
Who could benefit most from this?
I’m not a beta tester when it comes to software, but I’m usually the first in line to update software as new versions are released. This includes firmware upgrades for cameras and lenses. Yes, it’s difficult if it means there can be bugs and problems. But since most upgrades can be easily undone, I tend to take the plunge and upgrade as soon as I know the update is available. For the most part, I’m happy with the choice to do this. I enjoy trying out new features right away and seeing how they can improve my photographic workflow.
While I take my laptop with me on most of my shoots and all of my travels, many these days would carry an iPad or an Android tablet instead. As it currently stands, they would miss out on adjusting their Tamron lenses until they go back to a desktop. This is an anxiety-provoking scenario if you find yourself in FOMO mode a lot. The new Lens Utility Mobile™ app should help allay those fears by allowing you to customize them on the go. I assume Tamron will let you do lens firmware updates with this app in the future as well. It’s definitely possible; Apps like Snapbridge let you update the firmware of your Nikon Z cameras over the air.
Imagine camping for a few nights in a place like Banff National Park. Understandably you want to travel light because of the distance you want to travel there as a photographer. Ditch your laptop and continue to customize your Tamron lenses with the app. Or maybe you’re someone who doesn’t own a desktop or laptop and only has a smartphone or tablet. It’s nice to see Tamron serving this user segment as well. I’m pretty sure this decision was prompted by feedback from their professional users and will no doubt be well received by them.
Times are getting better
I remember the days when you had to customize your lens by sticking a personalized sticker on it or putting on a rubber strap. The first lens I was able to electronically adjust was the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 sport lens. While using it for horse racing coverage I was able to increase the AF response speed, but that meant I had to buy Sigma’s USB dock and connect it to a PC. It’s super cool to see that you no longer need docks and smartphone apps can do a lot of what desktop software could do in the past.
Laptops and desktops still matter, but there are creatives today who prefer the freedom of mobile devices. I personally would love to take advantage of this app’s features if I had a Tamron lens in my arsenal. It’s not just what’s possible now based on what Tamron announced. The possibilities in the future are almost limitless.
iOS users will have to wait a little longer
Tamron estimates that the app will appear in 2022 itself. However, they have stated that the app is currently only being developed for Android users on devices that support Android versions 6 to 12. Only Android devices with USB-C 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 could receive the app.
Tamron states that “the application is still under development, the screenshots are subject to change without notice due to design developments or other factors”.
Mission statement of the article from Tamron’s press release