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Shooting People With The Tamron 28-75mm & 70-200mm Lens

Shooting People With The Tamron 28-75mm & 70-200mm Lens - There are several practical advantages of owning f/2.8 lenses. Here, Will Cheung tries out two Tamron fast aperture lenses.

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Product : Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 Di
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One big advantage of fast aperture lenses used wide open is that you can handhold them without risk of camera-shake even when the light levels are quite low. A reflector and a blip of fill-in flash using a Gary Fong Lightsphere help to fill in any shadows.
Compared with zoom lenses of more modest maximum apertures, fast aperture lenses are bigger, heavier and usually much more expensive. Whether that extra cost is justified is a personal matter and many photographers happily go through their photographic careers without feeling the need to make the investment.
The benefits, however, of wide aperture (usually called ‘faster’) lenses are significant and, indeed, for some aspects of photography almost essential. The greater light transmission can lead to more efficient autofocusing as well as providing a brighter viewfinder image for easier composition. It also means you can continue shooting in low light without too much risk of camera shake or having to increase ISO as you would have to with a slower lens.
As I mentioned a little earlier, fast aperture lenses are much more expensive than slower lenses and that can be prohibitive, especially with the camera branded products, but significant savings can be had by buying independent products like this pair of f/2.8 lenses from Tamron. The SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro costs £356.99 and the SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro costs £618.99 from Warehouse Express.
The Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 towers over the 28-75mm f/2.8 standard zoom.
Both optics are a constant f/2.8 throughout their respective zoom ranges, and are suitable for 35mm full-frame as well as cropped sensor DSLRs. I have been using them on a Nikon D700 full-frame as well as the APS-C sensor D300 camera.
The fast f/2.8 aperture also provides some pictorial advantages too, and shooting wide open gives a very shallow depth-of-field. If you like portraits, for example, shooting wide open, especially with the SP AF70-200mm f/2.8 can give lovely out of focus backgrounds. The pictorial effect of an out of focus, blurry background is called ‘bokeh’ and this look can vary from lens to lens.

Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro

Charlotte photographed using the 75mm of the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 standard zoom. 

Given its fast f/2.8 aperture, this is a compact, relatively lightweight standard zoom lens and makes the perfect partner for 35mm and APS-C format cameras. For those photographers who appreciate good looks, they will like this lens’s smart exterior including the gold-coloured trim. 
The lens itself is a two-touch design with separate zoom and focusing barrels both with rubber-coating for a secure yet comfortable grip. The zoom barrel has a lock that operates when the lens at its 28mm setting. The lens size increases by about 3cm as it is zoomed from 28mm out to 75mm so it is never actually very big.
A useful feature is the lens’s internal focusing mechanism which means the lens’s size remains constant during focusing. A really useful facet of the focusing barrel is that the focusing range of infinity to its minimum focusing distance of 33cm is achieved in about one-eighth of a rotation of the lens barrel so AF, manual or automatic is achieved very quickly. 
During manual focusing the focusing barrel is smooth and free running but still with enough resistance for precise control. In autofocusing, you hear a gentle whirr of the motor when you focus but this is not obtrusive at all. Switching between the two focusing modes is done by flicking over a control on the side of the lens.
Richard Wall of Heart of England Raptors (www.hoeraptors.com) and Beatrice the barn owl.

Optically, this lens is impressive, particularly if its price is borne in mind. It sells for £356.99 from Warehouse Express. Nikon do not have an exact rival but the 24-70mm f/2.8 is £1192.99 from the same dealer. The Nikon lens is wider at the short end but the price difference is more than a little significant and makes the Tamron look exceptional value.
Quality wide open is very acceptable and images are contrasty. Stopping down to f/4 and f/5/6 do bring about noticeable benefits in resolution, especially on the full-frame D700 where the corners benefit especially from stopping down. Nevertheless, shooting at the wider apertures to produce a shallow depth-of-field still gives high image sharpness on what you have focused on.
A petal-shaped lens hood is supplied, but I did find that flare was not a problem even in bright lighting conditions, or when I was shooting in the dappled lighting of a wood.

Tamron SP AF70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro

Compare this fast aperture telephoto zoom with the Tamron 28-75mm and you can see it is over twice its size. It is a substantial optic and even comes with a tripod mount that saves strain on the camera body when the combination is used on a tripod. A deep petal lens hood is supplied as standard and, although this adds a couple of inches to the lens’ size, it should be used when there is a lot of light bouncing around.
However, Tamron’s 70-200mm is still lighter than Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 so there is a weight as well as cost saving. From Warehouse Express the two lenses are £618.99 and £1627.99 respectively so, as with the standard zoom discussed here, the saving of going independent is considerable.
Beatrice the barn owl again, this time snapped with the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 at maximum aperture.

Cosmetically, the 70-200mm is clearly from the same stable as the 28-75mm with the same styling of the zoom and focusing barrels and the gold trim. On this lens, however, there is no zoom lock for the simple reason that zooming in and out has no effect on the lens’s physical size. Thanks to its internal mechanism, the same applies during focusing.
It is worth noting that there is no autofocus/manual focusing switch as such. Choosing the focusing mode is done by pulling on the barrel itself. Pulling the barrel towards the camera engages manual focusing and pushing the barrel away gives autofocus. A quarter turn of the focus barrel takes you from infinity to the closest focusing distance of 95cm. It is worth noting that this lens manually focuses in the opposite direction compared with  the 28-75mm lens – even though both lenses are Nikon fit. This does mean that you have to remember in which direction each lens focuses, especially for frequent lens changers.
Jenna photographed in the very low light of a hotel function room. Settings of 1/90sec at f/2.8 and an ISO of 3200 on a Nikon D700. Handheld at a focal length of 122mm.

I did many frame-filling portraits with this lens and it is noticeable that the very shallow depth-of-field when shooting close up and at maximum aperture does mean focusing has to be very critical. In my portraits if the model’s eyes were not parallel with the camera back, one eye would be out of focus. This can look great used well but if you want both eyes sharp, taking your time to ensure perfect focusing is advised. It is worth saying that this applies to every lens used in this way and not just this Tamron.
When everything falls right, though, there is no problem with this lens’s performance. It is very sharp, perhaps sometimes too sharp for subjects with less than perfect skin, i.e. most of us. Some softening using Gaussian Blur in Photoshop might be needed for more flattering results.
Click on images below to view a high resolution image.
Two ways with the Tamron 70-200mm zoom. On the left, taken at maximum aperture so only the eyes are in focus. On the right, in the studio, shot with flash at f/11.


There are great benefits in having fast aperture lenses and this pair of Tamron lenses will let you enjoy the advantages without breaking the bank. For example, you could buy this pair of Tamrons for under £1000 while comparable optics from Nikon would set you back over £2800; with Canon two comparable lenses would cost just shy of £3200.
For your money these Tamron zooms will deliver an optical performance that will easily surpass the expectations of most enthusiast photographers.

Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 Di Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Pentax K SMC-FA
  • Nikon AF D
  • Minolta AF
  • Canon EF
Focal Length28mm - 75mm
Angle of View32 - 75
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/32
Filter Size67mm
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Min Focus33cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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Tamron SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Canon EF
  • Nikon AF
  • Pentax K SMC-FA
  • Sony Alpha
Focal Length70mm - 200mm
Angle of View13 - 35
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/32
Filter Size77mm
35mm equivalentNo Data
Internal focusingNo Data
Min Focus95cm
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

View Full Product Details

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