My company had a football tournament today, and I managed to avoid the running around to get some photos of the event. Whilst this isn’t the best shot I took today, I’ve chosen this one since I’ve been able to crop it (protecting the identities of the players) whilst still showing the action. I’m not generally very interested in football, but it was an opportunity to answer one of the requests I’ve had to use the Tamron 18-270mm PZD for sports photography.
The key point to note is that the lighting conditions are really important to the results you’re going to get. The maximum aperture of f/6.3 at the long end of the lens means that you’re going to need pretty strong lighting to get action-stopping speeds. I explained in an earlier noteworthy post that whilst the Vibration Compensation feature of the lens is excellent (and one of its major selling points), it won’t help with subjects that move in more than one plane. I was fortunate enough to have reasonably good light for the duration of the day, so that didn’t really come into play. However, it was changeable enough that I had to work wide open to be sure of getting sharp shots. As a result, the shots I got were not quite as sharp as they might have been, and there was a little bit of chromatic abberation around some of the white shirts. Perfectly adequate for A4 printing though. The background separation you see here is largely due to the distance of the players from my position, rather than due to how wide the aperture is: faster lenses will give you smoother backgrounds not just because of shallower depth of field, but due to them generally having better bokeh because of differences in their construction.
Overall though, I felt that the lens did reasonably well. However, I’ve been aware for a while that the Tamron 18-270mm PZD performs better at shorter distances, so it probably won’t come as a shock that it’s not an ideal lens for football fans, in my opinion. But it’s worth considering that the ideal options will generally cost over twice as much as this one. And this one isn’t so large that you’ll risk concussing the person in front of you if you’re shooting from the stands.
Nikon D300; Tamron 18-270mm PZD @ 200mm; ISO 200; F/6.3; 1/800s. VC on