Announced all the way back in September 2012, Tamron's 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD -- one of the company's gutsiest moves into the pro lens field -- had plenty of time to be picked apart by the photo cognescenti prior to its release. Though the lens was announced a year and a half after Canon introduced the second edition of their vaunted 70-200 f/2.8 IS, the Tamron was able to combine image quality and build that kept up with the competition at a significantly reduced price point. In May 2013, nine months after its initial announcement, Tamron's bold product was released -- and then vindicated by an outpouring of positive reviews.
Throughout its aperture and zoom range, Tamron's lens offers exceptional image quality that is equal to or exceeds what Canon's "L" line offers, especially in its performance at f/2.8. The lens' combination of a 9-blade aperture system and impressive sharpness yields pictures simply look more dramatic than their Nikon and Canon counterparts. Build quality, so often a worry on third-party lenses, befits a pro-level lens. The only gripes are slight: plastic threads for the 77mm filter and a strange arrangement of the zoom and focus dials.
Tamron's real trick is that they challenge Canon and Nikon's offerings at a much discounted price. Canon's 70-200 f/2.8 IS II, for example costs 60% more and offers the same feature set and image quality. Like the Sigma 35 f/1.4 (released in late 2012), the Tamron 70-200 challenges the notion that Canon and Nikon are alone in their ability to make pro-quality lenses. For its audacity, clarity, and accessibility, the Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD easily snaps up a place on the GP100.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers