Being both a small newspaper owner and a photography buff, I am always on the lookout for ways to not only take sharper, clearer pictures but a way to lighten my camera bag. Like all good photographers, I have multiple lenses, a couple of camera bodies and the accompanying accessories. As I get a little older, I am finding that I am not as steady handed as I used to be and lugging 12 pounds of equipment around or using two bodies with different size lenses is tiring, especially when I am out shooting multiple events, such as parades or local area sports. Removing and replacing my lens to shoot close-up and distance shots is an invitation for dirt, dust, dampness and the elements to invade my mirror. I went looking for a way to solve my problems and approached Tamron about trying out their new all-in-one zoom lens. This is how Tamron describes their newest lens:
Go to extremes with the world’s first* 22.2x ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom.
Introducing the world’s first ultra-telephoto all-in-one zoom lens for the APS-C format. With a focal length range of 18-400mm and 22.2x zoom, it has an ultra-telephoto range equivalent to 620mm in the 35mm format. This brings distant subjects closer, while providing perspective-flattening effects that are only possible with an extreme telephoto lens. Plus, it offers exceptional optical performance across the entire zoom range—from wide angle to ultra-telephoto. With this new lens—and its Moisture-Resistant Construction—Tamron brings the art of photography to the joy of travel. Now you can use the same lens to shoot everything from stunning landscapes and neon-lit cities to detailed portraits and delicate flora. The ultra-telephoto range makes it just as easy to photograph animals and sports. And with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.9, you can even enjoy tele-macro photography.
Here is how I describe it – Wow, what a lens - lightweight, well built, provides great images with little vignette, the stabilizing feature lets you shoot free-handed a couple of stops below what you normally can without a tripod and the picture quality is perfect for photographers looking for an all-purpose lens and don’t demand the perfection specialized glass does at three or four times the price.
When I originally asked to try this lens, I had five events scheduled to shoot, as well as planning to use it several days out shooting for pleasure. Due to weather (20 - 30 below wind chills for a week, 12+inches of snow one day and heavy rain three other days), four of the events were canceled and as much as I like being out taking pictures, the rain and wind chills kept all but those who had to be outside inside. I did manage to get some shots when I could. Using the lens on a Canon 60D, the event I did shoot was a basketball game where I had a chance to try moving shots as well as group photo’s, all while in a tungsten lit gym. All in all, this lens worked as well as my Canon 200-400 while being much lighter, and it kept me from having to bring my “nifty” 50 or my 18-35mm lenses. Since it was the first time using the lens in this situation, I initially had some problems with settings and getting shots that were not blurry, but after 5 minutes, I figured out the lens was better than I was and dialed my settings in and was happily snapping away.
While outside, I was able to catch some nice action photo’s as well as wildlife without having to change the lens out in the mist or blowing snow. The Tamron’s plastic body is sturdy with a metal mounting ring (unlike some which utilize plastic ones) as well as a rubber ring to help with weatherization. 18-400 meant I could take a landscape shot and then zoom out to 400 to get that close-up of what attracted me to the scene in the first place.
In conclusion, while I had this lens slightly less than a month with only had five shooting days, I know that I will be at my local camera store shortly purchasing one to use for both the paper and myself for those days I can go indulge my hobby. This really is the little lens that can do it all.