Tamron SP AF60mm F/2.0 Di II LD 1:1 Macro Lens Review

At f/2.0, the world of macro just got a bit faster.

Tamron SP AF60mm F/2.0 Macro. This APS-C macro is one stop faster than others in its class, and balances nicely when attached to the camera. Optically, it performed admirably. Courtesy of Tamron.
Tamron SP AF60mm F/2.0 Macro. This APS-C macro is one stop faster than others in its class, and balances nicely when attached to the camera. Optically, it performed admirably. Courtesy of Tamron.

Any-and every-macro lens excites me with the challenge of portraying my subjects in intimate detail. So when I heard that Tamron introduced the SP AF60mm f/2.0 Di II LD 1:1 Macro, my heart truly started pounding. Normally, macro lenses in this focal length range start at f/2.8. So we’re talking about a macro lens that is a full stop faster.

Are you beginning to feel the adrenaline? Because this is an APS-C lens, that 60mm translates into a very respectable 96mm short telephoto on the Canon Rebel T1i that I used in my testing (soon to be available for Nikon and Sony). That short telephoto focal length gives me added breathing room between the lens and those tiny, often skittish critters I routinely confront.

Why We Need a Fast Macro Lens

Now, granted, most of us shoot our close-ups stopped-down. And it’s a given that depth of field is minimal when shooting at or near life-size. Still, depth of field does matter. We try to squeeze out every pixel of sharpness we can, especially when shooting handheld. The slightest hand tremor is enough to throw a subject out of focus.

You could add image stabilization to the lens and get around the worry over camera shake, at considerable added cost (provided it’s even available). And the benefit of this feature at or near life-size magnification is questionable. Besides, that addresses only one challenge. Outdoors, any breeze can make long arduous moments spent in fine-tuning focus on a delicate blossom a memory. Hence, you’ll often see me using a ring-flash attached to the front of the lens as a means of addressing practically any close-up challenge.

So where does a fast macro lens enter the picture? For one thing, not everyone likes to use flash or has a suitable flash in their camera bag. But there are even more important reasons. When shooting wide open (using selective focus), you surround the subject in a soft blur of color that many of us find pleasing. Or you want to throw distracting elements out of focus as much as possible and focus attention entirely on your subject-or one aspect of it. Combine that with exposing at a usable handheld shutter speed (preventing camera shake) when shooting under low light levels. And, last but not least, shooting wide open provides the added benefit of allowing shutter speeds that may be fast enough to prevent subject motion blur.

Of course, it’s all relative. You go with the flow, and tailor your approach, prioritizing depth of field and motion control-or both equally, as the situation and your artistic sensibilities demand. The fast macro lens gives you that added flexibility. (more…)

Continue Reading

Comparative Digital SLR Lens Review: Fast, Wide Aperture Lenses

Field Test Report

Peter Burian tests five lenses with great light gathering ability: the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro, Tokina AF 50-135mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX, Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX and the Sigma AF 30mm f/1.4 EX HSM DC

Because most digital SLR camera owners demand compact, lightweight lenses, the vast majority of zooms feature a small maximum aperture. A typical kit lens is designated as f/3.5-5.6 indicating that the maximum aperture is quite small at the short end and becomes very small at longer focal lengths. In practical terms, that translates to moderate light gathering ability. The larger the numeral the smaller the opening in the lens and the less light that will reach the camera’s digital sensor.

A wide aperture lens is ideal for fast shutter speeds in low light conditions when you cannot use flash or a tripod. Shooting at f/2.8 allowed me to get many sharp photos at 1/125 sec. during a stage performance, using ISO 1000. With a more typical (smaller) aperture, much higher ISO levels would have been required for the same shutter speed and the images would have been seriously degraded by digital noise. (Nikon 17-55mm at f/2.8.) (c) 2009 Peter K. Burian
A wide aperture lens is ideal for fast shutter speeds in low light conditions when you cannot use flash or a tripod. Shooting at f/2.8 allowed me to get many sharp photos at 1/125 sec. during a stage performance, using ISO 1000. With a more typical (smaller) aperture, much higher ISO levels would have been required for the same shutter speed and the images would have been seriously degraded by digital noise. (Nikon 17-55mm at f/2.8.) (c) 2009 Peter K. Burian

(more…)

Continue Reading

Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di-II LD SP AF Aspherical [IF] Zoom Review: Field Test Report

Peter Burian tests this new lens with true ultra-wide angle capability when used on a DSLR with an APS-C size sensor



Since the vast majority of digital SLR cameras employ a relatively small sensor, there’s a definite need for very short lenses for an expansive angle of view. Hence, Tamron’s highly-rated 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Di II zoom has been a best seller among serious photo enthusiasts who appreciate ultra wide angle images. In my tests, that zoom produced beautiful results, but the new 10-24mm model is even better in some respects.

Tamron SP AF 10-24mm
Tamron SP AF 10-24mm

(more…)

Continue Reading

Tamron 180mm f/3.5 SP Di LD [IF] Macro AF Review Round-Up

tamron-af-180mm-f-35-sp-di-ld-if-macro1If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Get information and user reviews for this lens from Amazon: Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Lens for Konica Minolta and Sony Digital SLR Cameras

Photo Zone

The Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 SP Di LD [IF] macro offers a near-flawless performance. Optically it doesn’t leave anything to be desired – the resolution is very good to excellent from f/3.5 all the way down to f/16 and vignetting, CAs and distortions are non-issues in field conditions. The bokeh (out-of-focus blur), a primary aspect in macro photography, is very smooth and buttery. The build quality of the Tamron is very good but there is one bug – the lens has no focus limiter and the rather slow AF combined with AF hunting can be a frequent and rather tiresome experience. Thanks to a focus clutch mechanism you can switch between AF and MF as easy as pushing/pulling the focus ring so if necessary you should give the AF a better hint by manual pre-focusing. Other than that it is a really impressive lens. READ FULL REVIEW

(more…)

Continue Reading

Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical IF SP AF Review Round-Up

tamron-af-17-35mm-f-28-4-di-ld-aspherical-if-sp

If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.  Get information and user reviews for this lens from Amazon: Tamron AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4.0 Di LD SP Aspherical (IF) Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Photo Zone

The Tamron AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di LD Aspherical IF SP proved to be a very decent standard zoom lens within the tested APS-C DSLR scope. The resolution figures are excellent in the center of the image and good to very good at the borders. Distortions are very pronounced at 17mm but very moderate otherwise. Typical for full frame lenses vignetting is very well controlled. CAs are a little on the high side specifically at 24mm. The build quality is generally pretty good but the direct competition does a little better job in this respect. When shopping for a new lens the Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 SP may be a tad better and more versatile in terms of focal length range but without full format capabilities. If you prefer to have a lens living in both camps the AF 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di SP may be still worth a deeper look. READ FULL REVIEW

(more…)

Continue Reading

Tamron 500mm f/8 SP Review Round-Up

tamron-500mm-f-8-sp

If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Photo Zone

When used with care the Tamron 500mm f/8 SP mirror lens can be able to produce decent results but don’t expect this to be easy – most of my real life sample images were blurred (caused by shake). A (max.) aperture of f/8 is very slow for a 500mm lens (750mm equivalent on APS-C) to start with and effectively this is a f/11 (or to be precise: T/11) lens due to the light loss caused by the secondary mirror. For reasonably sharp results you either need a very sturdy tripod or extremely fast shutter speeds (1/750sec or faster). When used “hand-held” you will need to choose very high ISO settings even in bright light conditions which can’t be desirable in terms of image quality and a tripod would destroy the weight advantage of a mirror lens in field conditions. The rather poor bokeh may be a funny effect in the beginning but once the initial coolness is gone it is just odd and often disturbing. Unless you want to have a lens for “emergency” use you should probably better consider conventional tele lenses. “¦ READ FULL REVIEW

(more…)

Continue Reading

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR AF Review Round-Up

tamron-af-28-75mm-f-28-sp-xr

If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Get information and user reviews for this lens from Amazon: Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR ZL Di LD Aspherical (IF) with Built-In AF Motor for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Photo Zone

The Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR (forgive me for using a shorter variant of the name …) proved to be a very good lens in the lab. The resolution figures are among the highest tested among the standard zoom lenses – the center resolution is generally excellent and the borders follow closely on very good to excellent levels. The distortions are very low as is the amount of vignetting and even CAs are very well under control. Nonetheless it should be mentioned that this is the 2nd tested sample of this lens and both showed centering defects – this is worrisome. The build quality of the lens is decent but nothing to rave about. If you can live with the rather odd zoom range within the APS-C scope the lens is worth a deeper look – assuming you can get a good sample. “¦ READ FULL REVIEW

(more…)

Continue Reading

Tamron 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical [IF] macro AF Review Round-Up

tamron-af-18-250mm-f-35-63-di-ii-ld-aspherical-if-macro

If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Get information and user reviews for this lens from Amazon: Tamron 18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 AF Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Photo Zone

Early user comments already suggested that new Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II LD Aspherical [IF] macro does not only offer a longer range but also a higher quality over the old Tamron AF 18-200mm XR and the lab results confirm these impressions. The results may not touch the sky but the new AF 18-250mm delivers a very solid performance for most of the range. Unsurprisingly the weak spot is at 250mm @ f/6.3 – stopping down to f/8 is a good idea here. Nonetheless the resolution characteristic is fairly amazing regarding the extreme zoom range. Typical for such lenses the Tamron exhibits a quite extreme level of barrel distortions at 18mm but at longer focal lengths to the problem isn’t overly significant. Vignetting is a problem at 18mm f/3.5 and in critical situations you should generally stop down a bit. … As to be expected for a zoom lens in this price league (<450€/US$) the lens body is mostly made of plastic but the build quality is fairly decent. The AF speed is quite slow on the D200 whereas the AF accuracy is generally fine here. All-in-all the Tamron is a decent all-round/travel zoom lens. Just make sure that you can live with its rather slow max. aperture at the long end which requires quite a bit of light or high ISO settings for stable hand-held photography. “¦ READ FULL REVIEW

(more…)

Continue Reading

Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2 AF Review Round-Up

tamron-70-300mm-f-4-56-di-ld-macro-12-af

If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Get information and user reviews for this lens from Amazon: Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

SLR Gear

While there are a few standout bargains to be found, the lens world is much like the rest of life: There’s no free lunch, you tend to get what you pay for. It’s thus no surprise that lenses as inexpensive as the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 don’t perform as well a those costing three or four times as much. Within its price bracket though, this Tamron competes quite strongly against the camera makers’ own offerings, delivering as good or better image quality, a long zoom range, decent build quality, all at an exceptional price. If you need a long zoom on a tight budget, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2 AF is worth a close look. “¦ READ FULL REVIEW

(more…)

Continue Reading

Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di AF Review Round-Up

tamron-28-300mm-f-35-63-xr-di-af

If you own or have used this lens, let us know what you think! Leave your comments and thoughts below.

Get information and user reviews for this lens from Amazon: Tamron AF 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD VC (Vibration Compensation) Aspherical (IF) Macro Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

SLR Gear

This Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 could be a good choice if you do a lot of shooting from 35-70mm, with only occasional excursions out to the 300mm limit, and/or if you tend to print many of your shots at 5×7 inches or below. Since this describes the shooting and usage patterns of a lot of casual photographers, the Tamron 28-300mm could indeed be a good choice for vacation use when you don’t expect to need a lot of wide angle capability. READ FULL REVIEW

(more…)

Continue Reading
  • 1
  • 2
Close Menu
[i]
[i]