24-70: Ready for anything

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Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD; 24mm; F/4.5; ISO 320; 1/30s. Handheld, VC on.

It’s not often that I’m caught without a camera, but for one reason or another, I’m usually wherever the good light isn’t. But yesterday was an exception to this. My wife and I found ourselves in Sheffield in the late afternoon, as the sky began to glow.

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Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD; 24mm; F/4.5; ISO 720; 1/30s. Handheld, VC on.

We were out with our nephew, so I didn’t pack a tripod or filters, but thanks to a combination of wide apertures, high ISO ratings and the wonderful stabilisation system that Tamron use in their newer lenses, (such as the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD used here) I wasn’t left wanting.

The 24-70 is a fantastic walk-about lens for towns and cities, where I often find myself using wider angles than I would use in rural areas. I was able to capture quite a few wide shots; a large panorama, and then switch to a  longer focal length to isolate some of the “scenes within the scene”. It’s plain to see here how well the lens copes with extreme contrast. There is some fringing around edges under these conditions, but it disappears completely when using the lens calibration profiles found in Adobe Camera Raw plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom.

Incidentally, the lens is bundled with a premium RAW conversion package (Silkypix 4). Unfortunately, I’m unable to review this for you. Although it is compatible with the D800 on a Mac, for reasons I can only assume relate to processing power, humble PC-owning D800 users like myself can’t use it. For now, at least…

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Seven shot stitch. Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD; 24mm; F/2.8; ISO 320; 1/30s. Handheld, VC on.

 

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Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD; 70mm; F/2.8; ISO 320; 1/30s. Handheld, VC on.

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Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD; 24mm; F/2.8; ISO 320; 1/30s. Handheld, VC on.

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Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD; 50mm; F/2.8; ISO 320; 1/50s. Handheld, VC on.

 

After the sun dropped below the horizon, and on the way back to the car, we were approached by this happy chap, who was keen for me to take his photograph (sometimes it’s just easier to yes!). The VC meant I was able to get a useable shutter speed while retaining a modest aperture. This adds to the versatility of the lens in low light (although I could have dropped the ISO a stop by opening the aperture fully – not really an issue with the current generation of image processors).

When you’ve only got a few minutes to shoot before you lose the light, it’s an asset not having to change lenses.

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Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD; 46mm; F/4; ISO 4000; 1/25s. Handheld, VC on.

 

70-200: Turbines and tripod collars

This evening there was a beautiful lavender sky, so I headed up to my local windfarm to try to make the most of it. What follows is a pair of shots taken with the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD. Both were tripod mounted, and the second shot was actually underexposed during shooting to maintain the shutter speed I wanted. You can see that even shooting full frame, there is no loss of sharpness at the edges of the frame.

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Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD,
70mm; ISO 50; F/14, 1.6s

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Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD,
155mm; ISO 50; F/16, 1.3s

On the subject of tripods, I’ve not mentioned the tripod collar before. It’s a removable, wrap-around design, with a large release knob. I’ve found that this is easy to use, and doesn’t have to be tightened all the way to give a good grip on the lens barrel. The foot itself is a wide-based unit, which sits very well in the hand if not on a tripod, and makes for easy adjustment of the manual focus ring. When used as it’s designed, the large surface area makes good contact with your choice of quick release plate. There is a non-stick pad on the inside of the collar, which made for easy rotation of the collar when straight out of the box. However, I have found that over time, the adhesive which holds this pad in place will work its way into the groove for the collar, and I’ve had to maintain smooth running with a little light oil. 

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Tripod collar of the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD

Day 227: Cape Greko

Today I had a wonderful day out with my parents, where we travelled all over the island just to see what was out there. We ended up in the Troodos Mountains for lunch, where we were able to enjoy snowball fights despite warm temperatures that could best a summer’s day in Britain. We finished our day atop Cape Greko near Ayia Napa in time for a beautiful sunset. And it was only just in time: my first challenge before the photography was clearing the scene of a family of French tourists who were in the middle of a heated argument with each other. This was gratefully received by another landscape photographer who was as frustrated as we were by their lack of consideration for others. However, I did resist the urge to kick them off the cliff, so I get extra points.

Nikon D300; Tamron 18-270mm PZD @ 20mm; ISO 320; F/8; 1/160s. VC on.

More after the break…

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Day 212: A dying sun

Thickening fog at the end of the day seemed to sap the strength right out of the sun this evening. I liked the muted quality of the colours  that this produced, and decided that the photograph was best left to a plain, uncluttered composition. Incidentally, this is the sort of shot which sold me on my current camera: it was the first time that I’d seen a digital file cope with the high dynamic range of such a scene, without banding around the sun.

Compare this to yesterday’s photo. Both were taken at the same focal length, but at opposite ends of the focus ring. Today’s remain’s crisp and without fringing, showing that setting the lens to the minimum focus marker will have the most detrimental effect on the optical quality.

Nikon D300; Tamron 18-270mm PZD @ 270mm; ISO 200; F/7.1; 1/160s. VC on.

Day 189: Elsecar Reservoir

I visited a different location this evening for a walk around. It turned into a really lovely evening, and I even got to see a kingfisher zipping across the pond five minutes into my walk (although that makes my last two attempts to find one even more galling). It’s courtship season for the Great Crested Grebes again, so I shall be back there soon to try and capture some of the dancing. Whether that will make it on to this blog is going to depend greatly on how close they get to shore. Still, a beautiful evening.

Nikon D300; Tamron 18-270mm PZD @ 27mm; ISO 200; F/9; 1/60s. VC on.

Day 146: The walk of shame

For much of the afternoon, it was grey, overcast and a little bit bleak. I got a phonecall telling me that I didn’t have to give my fiancee a lift home from work today, as a colleague was going to drop her off. So there didn’t seem to be much point in going out.

Shortly after that, I got a message saying “Oops. Maybe not. [She's] put petrol in her diesel car by accident! What will that do?”

And that’s how I ended up at the local petrol station, back on transport duty, staring at a sky full of colour that appeared without warning.  You’ll see two characters on the right (blurred to protect the embarrassed driver) returning to the car in time for the tow truck to arrive.

In fairness to her, it’s been a hectic week. The saving grace was that she realised what she’d done before she turned the starter over. I’m sure it will seem funnier when the sting of having the tank drained wears off.

Nikon D300; Tamron 18-270mm PZD @ 18mm; ISO 200; F/7.1; 1.3s. VC off.