Feel free to add your opinions on this lens in the comments below.
Written Review below the video review if you don't want to watch the video.
I had a shoot just this last weekend. I have not replaced my 50mm f/1.8D with the 50mm f/1.8G and was not wanting to manual focus the D. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I would rent a lens for the shoot and then at the same time I would do a review on it. So I went to lensrentals.com and looked around. I was thinking of renting either the 50-150mm f/2.8 or the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. While I was looking at them I stumbled across the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. I had never seen it in all my browsing of lenses before for some reason. I went over and looked on B&H and discovered that the lens is only $499 brand new. That is why it was so inexpensive to rent compared to the 24-70mm or the 50-150mm lenses. It had great reviews on B&H so I decided to rent it. I also figured it would be interesting to take to the football stadium on Friday night and see how it would rock out for sports. It also happened to go with me to OctoberFest too. So I shot it a lot over the weekend.
Let's start with the price. Most of the time when you find a zoom lens that has a consistent fast aperture through the zoom range you will pay a lot of money for that feature. Most of the time you are looking at well over $1,000 for those lenses. So this lens selling for $499 US is just amazing. If you are not sure what that means, when you look at a zoom lens it will show the maximum aperture either as a single number, like this one at f/2.8, or as a range, like the kit lens at f/3.5-5.6. The kit lens can get to f/3.5 when at 18mm, but when you are zoomed all the way in the best it will do is f/5.6 for the aperture. That is a difference of one and a third stops of light. So this lens lets in a lot of light no matter what focal length you zoom to.
Next, how did it actually perform. Well it is basically very sharp. I am sure if you put it head to head with the Nikon or Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 and fully zoomed in you would be able to see the difference. But the lens was incredible. It was so very sharp. The images were stunning. I have used a number of sub $500 lenses, and it is almost impossible to get this sharp of an image in that price range. The things that are out of focus in this football image are either because of motion blur or they are outside of the depth of field area of sharp focus. I was shooting with my minimum shutter speed set to 1/320th of a second in auto ISO and the shot is at ISO 2,200. I could have gotten 1/500th of a second and gotten less motion blur and a sharper image.
Next, the lens focused very fast. It was incredibly responsive. I never had an issue with it struggling to find focus or hunting for the focus. And it grabbed the focus spot on so quick. When I set the focus mode to continuous the lens tracked the moving subject very well. I would not recommend this lens for football, only because the 75mm max focal length is just too short. But I can totally see using this lens for basketball if you are courtside. So that fast autofocus will be very handy shooting that quick action. The lens zoom action was also very smooth. The lens was very lightweight too.
So bottom line, this lens is half the price of the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. It is well worth the investment, and a great lens to shoot. I would recommend it for shooting portraits, taking out on family outings, a good general walk around lens, and sports where you are fairly close to the action. If you want something for shooting football or soccer then this is not really your lens, especially if you cannot get right on the sidelines. I would think that if you want to take a single lens for your camera on a day outing or vacation then the best two choices would be either this lens or an 18-200mm lens. This lens does not have the long reach of the 18-200mm lenses, but it has a very fast aperture, sharp images, and it is very lightweight. In my opinion I would recommend this lens to most shooters over the 50mm or 35mm f/1.8 prime lenses. A prime lens will always have a faster aperture and sharper image, but they lack the versatility of a zoom lens. And this one is basically the same cost as the 50mm and the 35mm and covers both focal lengths and more.
Feel free to add your opinions on this lens in the comments below.
I like the look of video out of 8mm because it feels more organic than a lot of digital video. The nostalgia factor helps a lot too. I have some video of my wife and me on our trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It looks like the home movies when we were kids, with the addition of sound. And I have the phone with me all the time to capture the videos. The only challenge is in having enough memory to store the videos. So when I get my 5S eventually I will get either the 32 GB or 64 GB version.
I have also taken a number of photos with my iPhone. As a matter of fact one of the photos I took in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at Tequamenon Falls with the iPhone was one of my submissions for our camera club "competition". When I was going through the photos from my DSLR and my iPhone I would have to say that this photo of the falls is all the equal of the ones from the DSLR. I suppose if I were to make a huge print of some photos this one might not look as nice. But as a digital image it is incredible.
There are a number of really cool applications for the iPhone for photography too. Some are just great photo programs. Some are designed for giving either that vintage look, or other crazy and interesting edits. At some point I hope to review some of the different programs and let you know what is out there, and also how well they work. I know there are some for Android too, but I don't know at this point which are good and which are not.
The big thing to remember is that the best camera is the one that you have with you. The iPhone and the Android phones are always with you. Don't be shy in learning how to use them to take photos. It is a shame to miss a photo op just because you don't have your DSLR out with you. Take some time ahead of time to learn the phone camera, and maybe get a couple additional programs. It is worth it.
One final thing for this blog posting. I was on YouTube the other day and I stumbled across a review done by Michael the Mentor that compared the Nikon D7100 and the Canon 70D. I found it to be a very fair review. More importantly it did a great job showing how to compare two different cameras and what to look for when trying to select a camera. It is a little long, but it is very well put together and he does a great job putting together an awesome video. So I decided to share it here for you all to watch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
I regularly get asked what is the best camera to buy. Or I will be reading different internet posts talking about the same thing. Most of the time when other people answer they simply will say whatever camera they use. Either that, or they will say some expensive camera. Usually their reasoning for the expensive cameras is some take on one of the popular photography cliches. You know them... "oh you need lots of megapixels for a large print"... or "you need the DSLR so you don't get noise in the photo" etc. They fail to do the most important thing that needs to happen before answering the question. They don't ask what you want to do with your camera. So this post will actually break down why you would want different types of cameras.
Point and shoot and camera phones
The least expensive cameras are the point and shoot cameras and the camera phones. These are really good to have tucked in a pocket or purse and have available for those quick shots when you are just out and about. These are also the cameras to get if you simply want nice snapshot photos of family and friends. Camera phones have gotten quite good, and for many people will be good enough. Any of the name brand point and shoots will work pretty much just fine. So something from Nikon or Fujifilm or Canon are great choices. Kodak are pretty nice, but with the future of the company up in the air are hard to recommend at the moment. There are some really cool point and shoots that will have features like being waterproof (to like 10 or 20 feet), or shooting in 3D. So you can get some fun additional features.
The bridge cameras (also known now as superzoom) are some of the most overlooked options. Most people don't even know the term bridge or superzoom. These are the cameras that at first glance look like a DSLR, but the lens does not come off the camera. The camera will run between like $200 and $500. The biggest feature is that they can zoom to extreme telephoto lengths. You will see stickers on them showing values like 20x or 35x zoom. The Fujifilm HS20 will zoom all the way to 720mm equivalent. The cameras will also do macro, and wide angle focal lengths. Most of them will allow you to shoot full manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, and program mode, along with full auto. Many will also save the image in either RAW or JPG format. Pretty much any of them now will do full HD video too.
My advice is that if you want something better than a point and shoot, want a lot of different features like extreme telephoto, and like the idea of the control of manual mode or aperture priority etc. but don't want to invest a small fortune in camera equipment, then the bridge camera is totally the choice for you. I definitely like both the Nikon and Fujifilm bridge cameras. I have not had a chance to play with any of the Canon, Panasonic, or Sony versions. I would assume they would be good too.
A year ago I had a friend that asked my advice. I told him to get the Fujifilm HS10. He was going on a trip to Alaska. When he got back he said that it was the best camera he could ever have imagined getting for the trip. His photos were stunning, and he did not get sore muscles from lugging lots of equipment around. And yes, you can make huge prints from any of those bridge cameras. I will write in a later blog post about printing and some of the stupid stuff you will hear a lot of people say. But that is way beyond this blog post.
Digital SLR (DSLR)
The DSLR is that fancy camera that a lot of people buy. They are most notable for having interchangeable lenses. The biggest name brands are Canon and Nikon. Sony has a really nice lineup now with their Alphas. Panasonic and Pentax both have some really nice cameras, but you don't see them nearly as often. Personally I shoot Nikon. I love my Nikon. I almost went Pentax, but no local retailers carried them. That was probably the biggest reason I went Nikon instead of Pentax. It was like my second choice. Nikon does have a lot of options in lenses and other accessories that Pentax won't have because of more market share.
When trying to figure out which manufacturer to go with consider a few different things. First, do you have other family that uses a DSLR and whom you will want to share equipment back and forth with? This is a good way to save some money on equipment purchases. Second, see if you can find a camera store that carries the ones you are considering. Take some photos with them. Change the settings. Which feels natural to you? Are the buttons in places that seem to make sense? Third, what type of shooting are you going to do most? If you are going to do a lot of sports then you want a camera with fast frames per second. If you are doing sports inside then you want something that will do great high ISO. For most beginners pretty much any of the name brands will work well other than those stipulations for sports. If you want to do video also then it is really important to have an external mic jack on the camera (vital!).
I find that the Nikon and Pentax have the best high ISO results of any of the cameras. The Canon low end have a mic jack on them where on the Nikon you need to be in at least the D7000. The Sony Alpha do the best for frames per second for continuous shooting. Personally I like the menuing and button arrangement of the Nikon by far the best. The other thing with the Nikon that I have seen is that they tend to keep the controls in the same places on all models, so moving up to higher models later is easier to do.
Keep in mind with the DSLR cameras that once you pick a manufacturer you will pretty much stick with them throughout. The reason is that lenses and many accessories are specific to a particular manufacturer. So you get a Nikon and some lenses that fit Nikon, if you switch you need to buy all new lenses too. So take some time with picking your first DSLR body. One nice thing though is that if you decide after 6 months you want to go a different way then usually you can get most of your investment back from a DSLR and equipment on eBay to make the switch. So it is not all money lost.
Other types of cameras and final notes
There are some other types of cameras coming out now. The Nikon V1 is a good example. It has removable lenses on a camera body that is more like a point and shoot (but not really like it either). There are some cameras that are going back to the old rangefinder cameras for construction and styling. There are a number of mirrorless cameras out now. Sounds like some future blog posts to talk about those eh?
I have not gone into lenses and such for DSLRs. That is a fairly involved discussion that will probably be a number of different blog posts in the future. In future posts I will also cover things like filters, straps, tripods, and other accessories. Feel free to tweet me @onewithcamera or post comments below if you have specific things you would like me to write about. I also plan to have a number of additional video postings soon on all of this.
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My name is Rusty, and I am on a journey, almost more of an awakening, to really learn photography. Years ago I did a lot of photography in high school. After raising a family I find I have time once again to pick up the camera. The art form has changed a lot since my high school days. I am also finding that I desire to take my art to the next level. This site is a combination of documenting my journey and teaching you things that I am learning. So in the process of my becoming one with the camera I am hoping to also help you find that inner artist that is inside you as well.