Sunday, April 8, 2012

More on my new toy!

I'm following up my previous post about my new toy, the Tamron 70-200 F2.8 Lens.  Since purchasing it almost 2 weeks ago, I've been able to take more than 300 shots with it.  Based on this experience I'm going to share some of my thoughts and impressions.

To get this started you need to see what I'm describing.  After I set up a quick backdrop and stand I took a couple of shots of the Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 and the Canon 70-200mm F4L.  Let's start with the Canon.
The 70-200mm F4L and it's telltale white finish look pretty good coupled to my Canon 40D.  This combination is great when there's enough light.  In fact this lens has been used for everything from lions in Africa to the Blue Angles in El Centro California (see my previous post "Finally, Some Action).  The combination begins to reach it's limitations though when faced with lower light situations such as those I encountered at Little League night games.  The lights on the field are just not bight enough to allow action stopping shutter speeds.

Next, my Canon 60D with Tamron 70-200mm F2.8
The 60D is slightly smaller in size than the 40D.  But the Tamron 70-200 F2.8 is larger than the Canon 70-200 F4L.  It's not really that much longer, but it is larger in diameter.  It's also heavier.  The Tamron definately adds some heft that is noticable right away.  For some, fatigue may set it when used for longer periods of time.  One way to counteract this would be to use a tripod or monopod.  Personally, I was able to use this lens for  a couple of hours of non-stop Little League action without too much trouble.

Finally, here are both cameras equipped with 70-200mm's side by side.

Now lets talk about performance!  Under normal lighting conditions, I have to give the nod to the Canon.  It seems to lock on faster, especially when the camera is set to AI Servo (contineous autofocus) and I'm tracking/panning quick moving subjects.  Since this lens is a little bit smaller and lighter there isn't quite the same fatigue factor as it's larger counterpart.

When the light starts to fade is when the Tamron starts to shine.  Having that F2.8 apeture when you need it can be huge.  It could be the difference between getting the shot, and just sitting on the bench watching the action.  Now I won't lie and say that having F2.8 available solved all of my problems.  I still had to kick the ISO up to 1600 to have any chance at a decent shutter speed.  And the other problem is this lens doesn't focus as fast as the Canon.  There were a couple of times that I missed a shot waiting for the lens to catch up.  For my next outing, I'll use another technique to combat this little issue, that being to pick my spot and set the lens to manual focus and have it prefocused and ready.  That way I'll just have to worry about my timing with the shutter button, and not hope that the lens has focused.

To sum this post up, I'm still very pleased with my purchase.  If I had to pick just one of these 70-200's to keep I'd have to give the nod to the Tamron.  Even though it can't focus as fast as the Canon, it's not bad and the picture quality is great (to my eyes).  While you can't go wrong with either lens, you should make your decision based on what you are going to do with it.

Until next time, Happy Shooting!

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