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07-07-2008, 10:58 PM   #1
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My New Tamron 70-300 Di Macro

On the weekend I picked up the Tamron 70-300 Di. Thought I might share my initial impresions.

Build Quality: far better then I expected for a $200.00 lens
Design: nice big zoom ring. Kind of a fat lens and very easy to hold on a K10D. good balance.
Focus Speed: It works for me in dim light. I've only ever used Pentax AF camers, So my opion is not all that worldly. It works. I'm happy.
Macro: Works well, easy to engage, kind of strange to dis-engage. Only took me 4 or 5 times to figure it out. Yup. I learn fast. not bragg'n.

Actual use:

Purple flair. It's there. Stop down to 7 or so and it goes away. Maybe 11 or so for harsh light.

Much sharper then I expected. So sharp I started pixel peeping, and thinking thoughts like "Hey, thats not that sharp, I can't read that liscence plate...I took the photo hand held, wide open, at 300mm, and the car is 3 blocks away from 9 stories up...". Ok. get real. The only lens I have that is sharper is my FA50 1.4.

I need to watch my shutter speed. This is my first long lens. I need to remember that SR only will help so far. hand held 1/100 at 300mm will look soft. I need to remeber this.

I need to remember to stop down. I found that I was shooting wide open, and getting "the purple". Stop down and it goes away.

So, faster shutter, stopped down, this leads to higher ISO. I need to watch the ISO when moving back into brighter conditions. I found myself shooting at 1600 ISO at a shutter speed of 1/1000. Hmmm... got to not do that.

Initial impressions of colour. Very bright. For some reason there was allot of green I my shots today (I was in a park, this is not a lens issue). The colours came through very nice. I think better colour and contrast then my SMC-M 135 3.5. Not the best Pentax lens, but still I think the Tamron did better.

I have found a new respect for those of you that photograph wildlife. I took some photos of ducks. Let me tell you its trickier then it looks. Image a warm sumer evening, a quiet park. I'm so relaxed I'm sleepy. Truly a beautiful night. and a pond full of wild, dangerous ducks. They will swim directly at you! And they look hungry! I managed to get a couple of shots of the ducks in focus. The rest were more or less a write-off. Do you think I could remember "High shutter, Stop down, adjust ISO"? not when the adrenalin is pumping and the duck is bearing down on you. I even forgot to use AFC.

I now understand why wildlife photographers do the things they do. Hike three days into the bush to find ducks that still fear humans. Less danger. Sit in a duck blind for days at a time. Protection from the ducks. Use a tripod, one less thing to think about. It must easier to use a 300mm with a 2X converter on a tripod then have to remember to use a faster shutter. And the cold weather. Now thats how to stay allert. Much easier at -30 then my sleepy day at the park.

I am joking.

I don't see much point in posting the first photos. There are much better examples of what the lens can do. I might put together a collection of mistakes, and fixes. That might be a better use of my duck photos. At least it would help me remember how to drive this lens, and it might be more usefull to others.

Peace.
Respect.
Ducks.


what not to do:

300mm, f10, 1/640, ISO 1600


Last edited by KungPOW; 05-22-2009 at 09:50 PM.
07-08-2008, 06:39 AM   #2
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So, faster shutter, stopped down, this leads to higher ISO. I need to watch the ISO when moving back into brighter conditions.

Why make it so hard on yourself? Mostly I set the aperture in Av mode, put ISO on Auto and spot meter (with exposure lock if the subject is small or not in the center). The camera figures out what to do with ISO and shutter speed better and faster than I can.

what not to do:
300mm, f10, 1/640, ISO 1600


I don't see anything wrong with the settings per se, you have enough speed to overcome motion and/or shake, F10 should be sharp, and there's no big problem with ISO 1600 when you need it. OTOH I find it a little overexposed, a bit soft and the eye is purple. PF is usual for the Tamron when you push the exposure, and it is a pretty sharp lens but noticebly softer at 300mm. A dark bird in bright water is always tough. IME water meters a lot brighter than it looks.

Last edited by audiobomber; 07-08-2008 at 09:22 AM.
07-08-2008, 11:06 PM   #3
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Audiobomber,

thanks for the advice. I went back this evening and shot more ducks. This time a remembered to use AFC, and did a better job at keeping the ISO under control. I also used the exposure lock and spot metering. Overall i got much better results.

I tried the auto ISO, but the camera kept dropping my shutter speed too low for the lens. Is there a way to keep the shutter speed from dropping when using Auto ISO?

Overall, I got some better shots then my first try.

Here is an improved shot of the same duck:



300mm f8 1/320 ISO 100

Last edited by KungPOW; 07-08-2008 at 11:17 PM.
07-08-2008, 11:42 PM   #4
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^^^^ It seems to me that you've captured her smiling as she wades past with her kiddies


cheers

07-09-2008, 12:44 AM   #5
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DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS! I love ducks!
07-09-2008, 05:54 AM   #6
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It's sharp enough at 300mm that you can get away with f/7 but try for f/8. Stay at or below ISO800 for serious work. OK 1600 is fine but i'm fussy like that.

I bought this lens used for $125, absolute bargain frankly.



07-09-2008, 06:55 AM   #7
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I'll have to post a few of my airshow pictures when I get home.

For airshows with the 70-300:
AF-C
Panning to follow the subject
Fixed ISO. Most of the last airshow I went to I actually only used ISO 200 for most of the show (last one I went to was mostly at 400 - far more clouds). If you don't like the shutter/aperture you're getting, manually bump the ISO up or down
RAW (Using a fixed exposure is HARD if the light is changing due to clouds, on the other hand a plane against sky is difficult for the camera's meter, so you often find yourself fixing exposure in PP. You want RAW for this.)
I actually just used Program AE - Shooting conditions just varied way too often to use anything more complex.
07-09-2008, 08:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by KungPOW Quote
I tried the auto ISO, but the camera kept dropping my shutter speed too low for the lens. Is there a way to keep the shutter speed from dropping when using Auto ISO?
Yes, much better. Mama duck really is smiling. The female is exposed perfectly, but I would still like to see a little more light to show the ducklings better. Of course then mama will no longer be perfectly exposed.

Auto ISO will raise the ISO before it resorts to dropping the shutter speed below an acceptable limit, so I don't quite see what you mean. Maybe the ISO was maxed out and there still wasn't enough light for a good shutter speed? Have a look at the EXIF data on one of those shots and see what all three parameters were doing.

What did you set for Auto ISO? I normally allow it to go from minimum (i.e. ISO 200 on my K100DS) to ISO 800. Sometimes I even set the upper limit to ISO 1600.


Last edited by audiobomber; 07-09-2008 at 08:27 AM.
07-09-2008, 08:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
I'll have to post a few of my airshow pictures when I get home.

For airshows with the 70-300:
AF-C
Panning to follow the subject
Fixed ISO.
Do you use Shake Reduction when you pan, or turn it off?

I see no advantage to fixed ISO. I'm perfectly happy with anything up to ISO 800 especially if it means keeping the exposure speed up. Unless maybe you're doing tricky stuff like freezing the prop? Even then wouldn't it be better to use Shutter priority and auto ISO to nail the exposure?
07-09-2008, 09:39 AM   #10
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I paid $90 for my copy and I have been very happy with it. I especially love the 1:2 close focus capability. Sharpness is great throughout the range for me. Purple fringe happens frequently especially on contrasty scenes. Stopping down to f/8.0 and smaller aperture seems works big portion of the time but I still find PF somewhat annoying. But the sharpness of the lens pays off for the PF for me.

I have tried the lens on couple of shooting

In longer range in 300mm, it is harder to hold still and I have more softer pictures mainly due to user errors, but when I manage to hold it still, results are reasonable to good sharpness for such a low price lens


@160mm with panning


@300mm, a bit soft due to movement and hand-holding


@260mm with panning


Great for close up



When I pan for bee or birds in flight, I always have SR on
Bee in flight (a bit soft) close up in macro range @220mm




Last edited by hinman; 07-14-2008 at 07:54 PM.
07-09-2008, 09:54 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Do you use Shake Reduction when you pan, or turn it off?

I see no advantage to fixed ISO. I'm perfectly happy with anything up to ISO 800 especially if it means keeping the exposure speed up. Unless maybe you're doing tricky stuff like freezing the prop? Even then wouldn't it be better to use Shutter priority and auto ISO to nail the exposure?
I just plain hate auto-ISO. I like having consistent noise properties between images.

Especially since, as I mentioned, for outdoor sunlight you can often get a good shutter speed at ISO 200. For a while I was at 400 but the shutter speed was just waaay too fast - generally it looks a lot better if the plane is sharp but the prop is blurred.

Even though SR is in theory not compatible with panning and doesn't have special panning support, it seems to work fine in my experience. Hin has quite a few good examples, requirements are similar to that of an airshow except you're focusing closer.
07-09-2008, 08:05 PM   #12
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Did they fix the auto-ISO bug in the KTenD? EV compensation wipes out the high ISO end in the KHundredD.
07-14-2008, 05:53 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote

Even though SR is in theory not compatible with panning and doesn't have special panning support, it seems to work fine in my experience. Hin has quite a few good examples, requirements are similar to that of an airshow except you're focusing closer.
I agree, I shot a cycling event this weekend and left SR on while panning, it worked out fine for me.

Re: 70-300, it works well from 70-200 at most aperatures, but above 220mm stopping down is a must. I don't really like the results at 300mm either. My main problem with it is the PF, I can see why people call this one the purple monster. I'd be willing to call it the blue monster too.

Check it out at F/8, 200mm in bright sunlight:



Fortunately PS can get rid of that pretty easily, but it'd be nice if there wasn't so much of it.

Wait, this is a $129 lens. I shouldn't be complaining.

I can't wait to see how the 70-200 2.8 Tammy performs on Pentax though.

Last edited by edl; 07-14-2008 at 11:07 PM.
07-14-2008, 07:07 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
It's sharp enough at 300mm that you can get away with f/7 but try for f/8. Stay at or below ISO800 for serious work. OK 1600 is fine but i'm fussy like that.

I bought this lens used for $125, absolute bargain frankly.

I see that you capture Ryan Briscoe(Aussie) ,was this at a recent race ?


cheers
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