Nov 062009
 

I guess you knew it after you read the last post. Some questions can’t be decided theoretically, you simply have to act. I did, and now I have a Tamron SP AF 17-50mm 2.8 XR Di II VC LD Asp IF.

Impressive name, huh? Well, I’m just as impressed with the actual lens. I have titled this post “Toys”, but in reality this is no toy at all. I had always thought of Tamron as a cheap, low quality brand of lightweight, plasticky lenses, but this beast is big, heavy, and it feels entirely solid.

The Image of the Day was of course not made with the Tamron. I took it in the morning with the Sigma 70/2.8, but the other two were made with the Tamron. Today was a gloomy, dark day. I took the playground image at noon, just after I had left the shop. It’s the original JPEG as it came from the camera. The image was taken at 50mm, f6.3, ISO 200 and 1/8s. Yes, that’s right, 1/8s! Just look at the pink lady between the bush and the tree. She was not running 🙂

One thing is for sure, I can’t hold 1/8s at that focal length all of the time. I suppose the rate will be at or even below 50%, but that is no slouch either. At 17mm I would never have a problem at that speed. I think that’s quite impressive and just what I need in winter nights.

Why the decision for this lens and not for the Nikon 16-85 VR? Well, as I said yesterday, I really would have needed such a mid-range zoom in Udine, or in general, I need it when I am on a trip. On such occasions I invariably see things that I don’t have the chance to return to the next day. I have to take the image on the spot, or else I won’t take it at all. That means either compromising (like I did in Udine) or constantly changing lenses.

That alone does not explain my decision, but analyzing Udine, I realized that it had been not by chance that I had settled with the Sigma 28/1.8 and not with the equally available Nikon 50/1.8 or 70-300 VR. Both would have been perfectly possible, but on such trips, especially in cities, I tend to go rather wide than long. 28 was a compromise and I never wanted it to be longer, in doubt I would have liked it to be wider.

I wouldn’t have minded the bigger focal range of the Nikon, but the range of the Tamron seems to be what I need by far the most. On the other hand, while both lenses are stabilized, the Tamron is a whole lot faster. Not so much at 17mm, but at 50mm it’s two full stops.

So much for rationalizing my decision. The second image with the Tammy was made on the moving escalator. It’s been taken at 1/15s, the shutter speed that I have settled with as a lower limit before I let Auto ISO kick in. It was taken at f2.8, ISO 800, and I have used PTLens to correct the distortions, used Topaz Detail to add some local contrast to the in-focus areas, Noise Ninja to control the noise that Topaz Detail had left, added a silver toning, a levels adjustment, cropped the image slightly from both sides, and finally I added some noise 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Toys” from the 1983 XTC album “Mummer”. Hear it on YouTube.

  6 Responses to “1120 – Toys”

  1. Congratulations to the new lens. With lens speed it’s a bit like car engines: There is no substitute for cubic inches, except more cubic inches. The slower, more versatile zooms are good in summer light, but that’s exactly what we don’t have for 8 months. But your bracing technique must be really god, I rarely manage to hold 1/8 of a second.

    • Thanks. No special technique. This lens is just so good. When I have time and can re-try, I can even hold 1/4s at 50mm. I’ve just tried and the second attempt was successful. If there’s anything at all, then it’s that I try to press the release as soft as possible, but that’s it. From what I saw so far, I suppose Tamron’s VC is better than Nikon’s VR, or if not better, then it’s at least as good.

  2. Yup, saw that one coming. Looks like you made the right choice. When I’m considering purchasing a new toy I call my daughter and after I’ve related my angst over parting with the money she invariably says “Oh dad, just buy the damned thing.” and then I do. Problem solved.

    • It’s amazing how easy problem solving can be, huh? The meta-problem is, it does not scale, otherwise we were entirely satisfied with most of what our politicians do. There must be an additional clause like “… as long as you have the money and it belongs to you” 🙂

  3. That focal length is also for me usually “the right one” – for most types of shooting. And the combination with IS is a real winner. Congrats, this is certainly money well spent! Could be interesting to compare with the Canon IS 17-55 f2.8, which seems to be its evil twin…

  4. Congratulations on the acquisition of your new “toy!” Much more high-tech than mine. 😉

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