Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tamron AF 18-270 Zoom Lens GIVEAWAY!

As many of you know, I love taking photos. I love looking at photos. And I love learning how to improve my photos.
I'm not a professional and my photography is an evolving process, as I understand more about my camera and how we can work together as a team. So when Tamron contacted me about reviewing their 15X Optical Zoom lens, I won't lie, I was super duper excited and said, uh YES!
In my FAQ's section you'll find detailed info about what camera I use and my various lenses. I typically stick with the kit lenses (18-55mm lens, or the 75-300 telephoto lens). I dabble with my 50 mm from time to time as well. But because the range of shots I take is so varied...from a close-up on my sewing machine, to a long shot across the park....I'm constantly switching lenses back and forth to capture the best shot I can.
Well, I don't have to do that anymore!
This new Tamron 15x zoom lens is like BOTH of my lenses in one. It ranges from 18-270mm!
No more quickly swapping back and forth. No more debating over which lens to take with me as we walk around Venice. I can have it all! Seriously, life just got really cool. Okay, it was cool before, but now it's super streamlined and even easier. It's sweet like cookies and honey.
For this review of the Tamron AF 18-270mm lens:
* I've experimented with the lens, taking photos in different settings.
* I've read online reviews to see what other photographers think of it.
* I've gathered 2nd opinions from my photographer friends, who tried out my camera and lens.
And we've all concluded that....It's GREAT!

So let me give you info on the lens, my Pros and Cons, and a brief slideshow (cause that's what you really care about, right? The photos!)

This is the AF 18-270mm:
The big official name is:
The Tamron AF 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC (Vibration Compensation) LD Aspherical (IF) Macro.
That's a lot to take in. I'll break it down for you.

It retails for $629
And today we're giving one away to one of you!

* 15X Zoom Lens and versatility
As I mentioned above, the thing I love most about this lens is the versatility. It replaces the need for me have multiple lenses. Some photographers shoot mostly portrait stuff and so they stick with a 50mm a lot of the time. My photo needs have a very wide range. I'm often shooting close-ups of fabric for tutorials. But when I'm out with my kids I prefer a long lens so I can capture the natural moment; to get those candid shots (I enjoy playing paparazzi to my own family). So, with this lens, I can truly put away my other two lenses. I hate to go on and on about the point. But when we're on vacation, it's so hard to decide which lens I'll take out for the day (since I'm not going to lug two kids, 2 bags bags, AND multiple lenses around). So, the zoom range of this lens is amazing! It's changed my photo life! I love it.

* The VC (Vibrator Compensation)
Okay, this is cool too.
So, though I've enjoyed my Canon 75-300 telephoto lens, when I'm zoomed-in all the way there's much more room for camera shake. It's hard to hold your body totally steady, while zeroed in on a moving child that's 30 feet away....which means it's more difficult to keep your focus sharp. But the Vibrator Compensation on this lens is meant to compensate for that! It helps minimize your own body shake to give you crisper photos. When you hold the shutter button down, the camera focuses and then it sort of locks in place for a moment, keeping your picture focused. It's really cool. And now that I've been using this lens, it feels weird to go back to my other lenses, which don't offer this feature.

Would you like to the lens in action?
I thought so.

Most of my long lens photography is to shoot pictures of my kids in-action. So we did just that. The UPS man dropped the lens off at my doorstep, I opened it up, and we went outside to jump on the trampoline.

To really give an honest review here I'd like to NOTE: these photos are straight from the lens. No editing or touch-ups have been done. These were taken at dusk around 6pm, in lower light, with the AUTO Focus:
Of course a bit of brightening and other minor touches would improve the photos but you can see how crisp and beautiful they are, even though the kids are moving and I'm sitting 20 feet away.
This will show you the range of the lens....
I'm zoomed out as far as possible. I can focus on things in the distance,
But I can also focus on my own hand! I could never do that with my Canon 75-300.
And if I zoom in all the way from where I'm sitting, you get this. A nice wedgie.
More action shots and static hair:
Notice that the camera focused on the kids, even though they're behind the trampoline net. You can see small grid marks on their bodies and faces.
The next morning we took photos indoors.
Shown straight from the lens, no editing:
Touched-up slightly to increase the black levels and brighten the shadows:
and here's a photo comparison; Before and After slight editing.

Straight from the lens:
AFTER touch-ups (simply done in iPhoto with the "auto enhance" button. I don't have any fancy software; I do all my editing in iPhoto):
And finally Lucy picked up my old 18-55mm lens, looked closer at my camera and asked "How did your lens grow?" Observant girl (and no, my kids don't normally handle my lenses but I wanted to show her the difference in the two).
If you've never used Tamron before, they're a brand of lenses that fit on any Canon or Nikon camera for about 1/2 the cost of your brand-name lens but with the same quality. If you're looking for an amazing zoom AND standard lens combined, this is it!

As with any review, however, I would like to mention a few CONS (when it comes to Zoom lenses):
* Prime vs. Zoom lens
I often complain that my photos are not as sharp as I would ultimately like them to be. It seems that no matter how exact I am with my focus, they don't give me the really defined sharpness I see in professional photos. Now, this is not a complaint against the Tamron lens but just zoom lenses in general.

Prime lenses are fixed at a specific focal length. You can not zoom in or out. Instead, you move your own body to adjust the distant between you and your subject. Prime lenses are typically known to focus a bit sharper on their images, when compared to zoom lenses. Now zoom lenses are still amazing (I mean, duh, I'm in love with my new Tamron) but I don't think it will be as sharp as a prime lens is. And that's totally fine. It's still amazingly sharp (as the previous photos have shown) and I love the versatility more than anything.

* Lens Creep
This also isn't a complaint against Tamron but just something to be aware of with larger zoom lenses. Since this lens offers more range, it's heavier than my other lenses. But it's not too heavy. It's easily managable and I hardly notice the increased weight now. However, it has tendency to "creep" down (or zoom in) when I'm shooting photos from straight above, such as close-up shots of my projects. I simply adjust for this by holding the camera tighter, so it's not a big deal. And when I'm not shooting, there's a lock on the lens to hold it in place. Again, nothing big just something to mention because it surprised me at first.
And with all that being said...

There's my review!
I've been using the lens for 2 weeks now and as I've said, I love it. I recommend it you!
Here's a sampling of additional photos....
(Note, these final photos have all been touched-up a bit in iPhoto)
So, the big question left is....
Would you like a Tamron AF 18-270 lens too???
Tamron has offered to give a lens to one of YOU!

Here are the details....

Giveaway Rules:
* Leave a comment, that's it!
* Leave your EMAIL ADDRESS in your comment.
* Only One entry per person.
* If you forget something and need to leave a second comment, go back and DELETE your first comment.
* Open to anyone in the US and Canada.
* ONE winner will be picked via random.org and will the Tamron AF 18-270 F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC Lens
* Giveaway ends _________

Ready, set, click!



  2. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)