24-70: Busy, busy, busy…

Let’s face it, December is manic. You run around planning for the last few days, and before you know it, it’s upon you. I love it.

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This year’s been particularly hectic for us. I’ve had a christening to shoot, and thanks to the rare occurrence of a week off between Christmas and New Year, I’ve managed to squeeze in a family visit and a trip to Edinburgh for my wife’s birthday. It’s been great to spend time with both of our families this year, since both live four hours from us in one way or another.

 
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I’ve used the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD quite a bit over the festive period. As I’ve said numerous times before on this blog, Tamron’s “Vibration Compensation” system is really outstanding. It’s so good in fact, that I rarely feel the need for a really fast aperture, since the shutter speeds it can handle are so impressive. It’s a great feeling to use a tripod for a shot at night, then be able to take the camera off an get a useable handheld shot of the same scene (although my camera’s ISO capabilities go some way towards this). However, the lens is surprisingly bulky, and it’s worth trying it out if you have small hands. My preference is to shoot with a vertical grip on the camera, but due to failure of my third-party grip (tip: don’t buy Gloxy – my fixing screw failed within three months) I’ve been shooting without one this month and it’s made the weight of the Tamron very obvious. I suspect that it’s also the large diameter of the lens which causes the vignetting mentioned in my last post.

But the Vibration Compensation makes any choice between lenses in this focal range exceptionally difficult. Right now, the Tamron is the only 24-70 lens to boast any stabilisation, and it’s a real winner. So if you often find yourself working with poor lighting conditions, it’s likely that this lens will really please you in spite of its size. At 24mm, you can hand-hold for almost a full second without seeing any detrimental blur.

_DSC7236In the shot above, which was hand-held at 1/1.6s, you can see that there is sufficient motion blur in the headlight trails left by the cars, and yet you can still read the estate agent name and phone number just beyond the pub on the right.

That’s with the D800, which is the most revealing sensor that I’ve ever worked with. I’m confident that with something like the D4 with its excellent 16MP sensor, you could easily break that 1 second mark.

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