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.
Tonight was the start of another high school football season. I spent most of the time shooting photos of the band. But late in the game I had an opportunity to get down next to the field to take a few shots and really work the new D5100 camera. I was shooting with the kit lens. I set the camera on auto ISO with a minimum shutter speed of 1/200th of a second, and a maximum ISO of 6400. The stadium has new lights this year, and they are quite a bit brighter than in the past. But it is still a high school stadium. So the lighting is not perfect.
The shots I am putting in here were shot at ISO 4000. The aperture on the lens fully zoomed in is f/5.6, not really fast for an aperture. This means two things. First, I could have gone even higher on the minimum shutter speed and still gotten the shot inside my ISO range. Second, with say the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens I would have been able to get even more shutter speed if I wanted it. The auto ISO worked wonderfully. I was on aperture priority with the aperture set as wide open as possible for the lens I had.
If you look close at the photos you will see that they are more than acceptable for noise, even at 4000. My old D80 had a maximum ISO of 3200, and was getting pretty ugly after topping ISO 1000. Keep in mind also that I am working with the second to the bottom of the line for the Nikon bodies, and I am shooting with the lowly kit lens. Of course with using the kit lens I was only able to get really great shots on the times the play ran to my side of the field. Even with a 24-70mm lens I would not have had the reach to get shots on the far side of the field. But the image quality is incredibly nice. One of the reasons I got the D5100 was to show the proof in the pudding that you don't need really expensive camera equipment to get really good photos.
I will say though that the high ISO response on this camera shows that sometimes hardware can make a difference. Also, the high ISO performance of the newest cameras is really changing the game for photography. With the ability to easily shoot to ISO 6400 and still get great shots I can now shoot less expensive lenses. I can also get a much deeper depth of field for shooting action. Sure a fast lens is nice. But the shallow depth of field can be quite problematic. Also, being able to use auto ISO like I did tonight is really freeing. I can focus on the subject and getting great shots, not fiddling constantly with camera settings as we move across the field. Sure the high school put in new lights, but the end zones are still pretty dark, and the lighting is still not even and consistent.
Someone posted on a forum recently the question why doesn't Nikon give pro and consumer designations to their lenses. The reason behind the comment was so people could know which lenses would be the best to buy. I think that the images I shot tonight with the kit lens show that the differences between pro and consumer lenses are not as far apart as some would think. This is why people need to look closely at the lenses performance, not a designation of pro, or consumer, or even kit.
BTW, these photos are as shot in camera. I did not do any processing other
If you disagree make sure you put comments below. If you agree it would be nice to hear as well.
Often people can get stuck in a rut. They find something they are comfortable in and just keep doing that same thing. I think about a character in the movie The Four Seasons. She photographed food. She did the same thing over and over and just could not break out of the rut. BTW, it is a great movie. Check it out sometime. Anyway, I try hard to not get in a rut. Some would say I don't have to work hard at it. I am pretty much always willing to try something new, to dash into uncharted territory. For photography sports is sort of one of those areas. I did a fair amount in high school, but that was over 30 years ago. So when a chance came to start shooting for www.westmiallstar.com doing high school sports photos I jumped at the opportunity. I don't get paid for it. So some would wonder why I cram it in my already busy life. Well first I get to learn by doing. Reading is fun and all, but at the end of the day you just need to pick up the camera and start shooting. Second, I get exposure for this site and my other photography work. And they get exposure to their site from this site. A win win situation.
Well I got to go out on my first "assignment" this weekend. It was an incredible game between Rockford and Hudsonville high schools (in Michigan). The game ended up being a nailbiter, with Rockford winning by one point. There is an incredible write-up on the game by one of the writers. And at the top of the article is a photo taken by yours truly. It was pretty cool to see one of my photos on an article on someone else's site, and one that has started to get a lot of respect in West Michigan. I put one of the photos on the top of my site, and another here in the blog posting.
This was the first time I ever shot a basketball game, ever. I have done football (in high school and college). I have done hockey a few times at Griffins games here in Grand Rapids, MI. I did some baseball with my kids this last year. The photos came out pretty good. The hockey was pretty fast paced, but nothing like basketball. I think that the biggest reason the basketball was so much of a challenge was I got to be right down courtside (the beauty of a press pass). So I was almost right in the middle of the action.
I was unsure what lens to use for this. It was all new to me. I did tell Justin that this was a new experience. He was so cool about it. They are just happy to have people volunteer to shoot (he did say afterwards that he was happy with the photos I sent him - yea). I was shooting with a Nikon D80. The D80 is not known for high ISO. As a matter of fact it tops out at 3200, and gets kind of noisy there. I only have one fast lens, my 50mm f/1.8 prime. So that is what I shot most of the night. It worked like a dream, and I was able to stay down at 1600 with that lens.
Shooting with a 50mm prime was rather interesting. The first thing I noticed was that it was surprisingly too long sometimes. I would have to back up. I also lost a number of shots simply because they people were too close for that lens. The D80 is a crop sensor body, so the 50mm is effectively like shooting a 75mm lens. So it is technically a telephoto lens on the D80. I did like the shallower depth of field. I thought it would be too shallow, but that was not the case. It really helped focus the attention on the subject. Although you definitely need to get the focus point on the subject dead on. I did lose some shots because I ended up targeting someone just behind the main subject. Well that is why you take a lot of shots when doing sports I guess.
It was nice having the 50 on the camera for fan shots. A good fan shot is like an action portrait I suppose. So since the 50 is my fav portrait lens it makes sense it would work good for that. Now the depth of field is very short. Being so much closer to the subject shrinks the depth of field a lot! It also gives a very intimate feel to the photo.
I was also happy with the lens when the Rockford Competitive Dance Team came out during the half (is that what it is called in basketball?). I was able to get some good shots. I almost wish I had the 35mm prime (one of the lenses on my shopping list). I lost a lot of shots simply because they were so close I missed the framing. I included some of those in the photo gallery below. I am looking forward to more games. I am also looking forward to getting better at sports photography. It is fun partly because I am understanding photography so much more now than I did 30 plus years ago in high school. Many things are just clicking well. So I am able to adapt so much faster now. That is something I tell my students. Get to know the camera and subjects like exposure until those become second nature. That way you don't have to think about them and you can focus on the subject at hand, getting a good photo of the subject. Good shooting.
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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.