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Tamron 28-300mm - Vibration Compensation at work - The all-encompassing Tamron 28-300mm Vibration Compensation lens is the ideal tool to carry with you on your way to work. By doing so Peter Bargh explains why you won't miss any photo opportunities.
Tamron have recently revamped their popular 28-300mm super zoom lens, adding "Di" design so it's now more suited to digital photography as well as film cameras.
The "Di" design is achieved by applying a new optical design to its coated surfaces to provide high image quality whether you shoot film or digital.
When used with APS-C size digital SLR cameras, where a 1.5x crop is necessary, the lens provides an angle-of-view equivalent to approximately 44-465mm. This covers a standard to ultra telephoto range with no sacrifice of quality or aperture range. When used on film or full frame digital cameras you gain full advantage of the useful 28mm wide-angle design.
There's a saying that's regularly preached in photography magazines: "Always carry a camera with you - you never know what you might miss". Well I, like many photographers, have a day job that involves travelling to and from work, and I rarely act on that advice I've written so many times over the years. I wonder how many of you had a camera on your journey to work this morning?
I'm fortunate, my journey is only two miles and I tend to cycle in on fair weather days, but I still don't carry a camera. The main reason is I don't want to be faffing around changing lenses and I don't really have room for a tripod or can't be bothered assembling everything when I see something interesting.
Boasting an all-in-one lens range and a Vibration Compensation mechanism to reduce handshake, here's where the Tamron 28-300mm zoom could be a real asset for my typical 10 minute journey. So I put the lens to test one cold spring morning.
|Lens set at 28mm||Lens set at 300mm|
|The two shots above show the incredible superzoom range of the Tamron 28-300mm. Taken from the same place it's hard to see the boats in the wide-angle shot, but extend to full zoom and they appear loud and clear!|
Considering the range of focal lengths packed into this lens it is surprisingly short and light, so it doesn't look out of place on the camera. I used a Canon EOS 5D which I like for its full frame capabilities. The lens works equally well on APS-C size cameras such as the Canon EOS 450D or Nikon D60. Being a compact package you can get away storing the combination in a zoomster style case making it even more convenient to carry with you at all times.
What is a superzoom?
The term superzoom was coined in the 80s when Tamron and other lens manufacturers started to create lenses with huge focal length ranges of 28-200mm. Until that point photographers had to use two lenses to cover such a range. Tamron introduced this incredible 28-300mm to take us a step further. With a superzoom you can shoot groups, landscapes and buildings at the 28mm setting and move through to a standard 50mm area for waist-up figure portraits, still-lifes, and general photography. This is similar to the magnification of our eyes. Then up to the 80-135mm range for portraits and short-range wildlife and on to longer telephoto that's perfect for more timid wildlife, sports and other distant subjects. Having a 300mm focal length is similar to a 6x magnification of the naked eye. Add the digital crop and that's similar to 9x magnification.
The body has attractive gold writing for the branding and bright white for all the lens markings. This is easy to see, even for someone like me who now needs specs for reading.
Like most zooms there are two rotating barrels, one for the zoom and the other for manual focus. Both are big and have rubber grips. I wore gloves and still found it easy to adjust the controls.
There are two switches to the left side: one to switch from AF to MF and one to turn VC (Vibration Compensation) on or off . On the other side is a locking switch to prevent the lens extending when it's hanging by your side.
Enough about the lens. Back to my journey to work. The first step is to cycle from my house to the canal - it's a short stretch but at this time of the year there's little to photograph. I pass a Rugby club where an archery club get together in the summer evenings so I'll be back with this lens to shoot some portraits on my way home. I may even tackle (pardon the pun) some sports shots. At 300mm this lens will be perfect.
The field I pass is a mass of colour in late spring when the Rape seed flowers are in full bloom. I'll use the lens at 28mm for some colourful vistas.
But today I'm on the lookout for interesting patterns and wildlife. Once I'm at the canal I usually see coots and moorhens and, if I'm lucky, I may see a kingfisher. The 300mm end is ideal for filling the frame with ducks, even when they are at the other side of the canal.
Today I spotted a couple of mallards resting by the lock overflow. Thanks to the Vibration Compensation I can shoot at the 300mm setting and use a slow shutter speed to give some sense of movement by blurring to the water. This shot (below) was taken at just 1/8sec...that would be an impossible task without VC or a tripod!
|A slow shutter speed can be used to blur the water.|
How does VC work
Vibration Compensation is a mechanism developed by Tamron which uses coils and slide balls on a group of lenses in the construction. A gyro sensor detects hand-shake and a 32-bit RISC CPU kicks into play to counter the vibration effects. All clever stuff and it's not camera dependent, so you can even use it on your old Canon EOS300D or similar to get full benefit. The diagram to the left illustrates the mechanism. Click on the photo to view a larger, more detailed version.
This technology is what makes the Tamron 28-300mm zoom twice the price of its competitors, but a price you should consider if sharp shots at longer focal lengths are important to you.
To put this fully to the test I thought I'd shoot a close-up at full zoom with a slow shutter speed and here's what happened.
There's a guideline that suggests you should always aim for a shutter speed at least as fast as your lens' focal length. With this in mind I should be shooting with a speed of at least 1/300sec, but this lens allowed me to get away with a speed over 5 stops slower at 1/8sec. The lens manual recommends a maximum of four stops slower.
|This clearly shows the benefit of vibration compensation.|
This shot of a padlock was taken at the 300mm setting. It's resized to fit the web page, but the small area in the red rectangle is displayed on the right at 100%. This is how it would look if the photo was printed at 18x12in. The top version is with VC off, showing my hand shake and the bottom version is the Vibration Compensation version. This was over five stops slower than I should safely be using!
My journey by the canal brings me to the Shireoaks Marina. Here barges are moored and there's usually some wildlife and colourful subjects. Today I spotted a black swan. It's the first time I've seen one, so it's fortunate that I had the camera with me!
Just up from the marina is some wasteland where travellers had recently settled. They were moved on by the authorities, but a shoe remains and makes an interesting shot, which also demonstrates the shallow depth-of-field possible at the longer end of the zoom and, once again, highlights the great VC feature.
|Black swan at 300mm||Close-up at 300mm|
One of the major talked about features of this Tamron lens is obviously the Vibration Compensation, but another understated fact is the lens has nine blades. This means that out-of-focus highlights will be rendered smoother than a budget zoom lens with the usual five or six blades.
Having nine blades means that the aperture is closer to a circular shape rather than hexagon. In this shot of a daffodil I've deliberately shot at a low viewpoint and wide aperture to illustrate the effect of having nine blades. Look to the left and centre at the out of focus highlights. If this had been taken on a budget lens those would be hexagonal shaped and really stand out. Here they blend subtly into the background and add to the photo.
|300mm close-up of a daffodil showing nine blade quality.|
The final stage of my short journey, which took considerably longer and was more enjoyable today, was to cross a bridge over the Sheffield to Worksop railway line and then on to the industrial park where our office is located.
The bridge gives me a high vantage point of the railway lines and the 300mm allows me to tightly frame a section. The tracks catch the morning light well, giving strong defined lines for an interesting abstract pattern.
Just over the bridge are some brightly painted and freshly graffitied doors. I couldn't resist a wide-angle jaunty approach to take a more creative urban style shot.
My ten minute journey on a bike could be similarly rewarding on your 30 minutes by foot, hour on a train or distant trip by car. Without a camera you will miss the action. The Tamron 28-300mm and it's Vibration Compensation will ensure any once-in-a-lifetime shots aren't missed.
For more information about the Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro lens please visit the Intro2020 website.
Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Specifications
|Focal Length||28mm - 300mm|
|Angle of View||8.15° - 75.23°|
|Max Aperture||f/3.5 - f/6.3|
|Min Aperture||f/22 - f/40|
|35mm equivalent||No Data|
|Internal focusing||No Data|
|Box Contents||No Data|