Friday, April 17, 2009

The Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8

Been a week or so since I updated. Lotsa stuff been stealing my time. Mostly good stuff!

According to the Hollywood guys, things are moving forward (in a positive way) with the reality show. Seems there's two companies showing marked interest: A&E and Showtime. They said they've so far had 12 teleconference meetings with A&E and a number of conversations with Showtime. If it turns out that one of these companies move forward, the show would be very different depending on which one takes the plunge. Obviously, A&E would mean a tamer show. Airing on Showtime would mean a raunchier more risque series.

There's also been some forward momentum on my planned Pretty Girl Shooting DVD. I'll be having a lunch meeting next Wednesday with someone regarding funding and distribution. This person is very high on the concept. It seems programs of (what he calls) a "how-to" nature are currently a hot ticket. With the inherent "eye candy" value of a program such as this, coupled with the popularity of digital photography and glamour shooting in general, he believes a DVD of this nature is a no-brainer in terms of its potential.

Back to what I intended to write about: The Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR ZL Di LD Aspherical (IF) for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

I purchased a Tamron AF 28-75 last week. Bought it from Amazon, partially paying for it with sales commissions from my Amazon link here, on the blog. Thanks guys! Your Amazon purchases, via this site, puts gift certs in my pocket and I use them to buy books and other stuff from Amazon. (We don't need no steenkeeng cash!)

Recently, I was going to buy a used Canon f/2.8 28-70 L off of Craigslist (for about $700) when a friend told me about the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8. I was going to say something smart ass to him about Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina aftermarket glass, i.e., about them being inferior to Canon's L series, when he told me this particular Tamron lens is almost universally reviewed as being optically superior to the highly-touted Canon 28-70 L as well as Canon's newer ($1300) 24-70 f/2.8 L.

I did some research of my own and, from what I read in review after review after review, my friend was telling the truth. The Tamron wasn't reviewed as favorably as its Canon counterparts for build quality and auto-focusing in low light but the price difference was, well, ridiculous.

So I bought the lens from Amazon... for less than $400. In fact, for less than that after the gift certificates were applied. Free shipping too! Gotta love that.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to try out the lens with a model. I was impressed with its performance.

The Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 is much lighter than its nearest Canon competitor. That's due, of course, to its build quality-- No doubt there's a lotta plastic making up this lens. What impact this will have on the Tamron's longevity I don't know. But for the price, I'll risk it having a shorter life-span than comparable Canon "L" series glass.

While the Tamron doesn't have Canon's USM, it's very quiet when auto-focusing. Not only quiet, but fast. Very fast! Admittedly, I wasn't shooting in low-light conditions. But I've shot with similar Canon glass in the same sort of lighting and this Tamron was as quick to focus as the Canon lenses I've used.

Now here's the really cool part: This glass is sharp! And the resulting images look, IMO, as good as those produced with a similar Canon "L" lens. Obviously, this isn't a scientific review. I didn't take any pictures of rulers at various apertures or anything like that. I'm only saying this in a non-scientific way. But, non-scientifically speaking, I'll give this glass marks as high as similar focal length Canons for optical performance. I also liked the color reproduction.

With it's f/2.8 aperture available at all focal lengths affording a really bright image in the viewfinder, and considering the purchase price, I recommend this lens... especially as a utility or walk-around lens that can hang off your camera on a regular basis.

The pretty girl at the top is Marie from yesterday's quick shoot. Photographically speaking, it's a nothing special shot but, I think, a pretty decent example of a pretty girl captured with the Tamron lens I'm writing about today.

Marie captured with a Canon 5D and the Tamron AF 28-75 f/2.8. ISO 100, f/8 @ 160th. I lit (the VERY white-skinned and slightly nerd-ish looking) Marie with three Profoto Acute heads. The mainlight was modified with a 7' Photoflex Octodome and the two kickers, on either side up high and behind her, were modified with small, silver-lined umbrellas. Very minimal processing on Marie's pic. Model did her own (minimal) makeup.

And yes, those are real.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations JimmyD on the forward progress of your reality show and DVD series. Although A&E might provide a tamer show, it might reach a larger audience and thus provide more free marketing/branding awareness for your DVDs. Just a thought.

I am in your corner cheering for your success!

And I am glad to read that you're enjoying your new lens.


Anonymous said...

That's awesome Jimmy :) I'm really glad to know the show is moving forward and getting momentum :D!!!

Thanks for letting us know about the Tamron lens, I for one was searching for a mid range tele, because my back up lens died and I want to have a good back up lens that doesn't costs a fortune :).

BTW I came by your MM account and added you to my friend list hope you don't mind :)

My best wishes Jimmy


Bill Giles said...

I have had a Tokina 28-70mm f2.8 on my 10D since 2003. I have been pleased with it and never had any problems. I don't use it much anymore, but I keep it for backup. I had a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 that I bought when I was still shooting film and continued to use when I got the 10D. I was happy enough with the lens until I slipped on the ice and fell. I landed softly on my backside and the camera was fine. The lens, however, would neither focus nor zoom. I sent it to Sigma and got a "massive damage" report from them with an offer to buy a new lens at 10% off list. I could have bought one cheaper at B&H. I declined and requested them to return the old lens. I have been shooting an Olympus E1 since 2005 and had intended to get a 5D MKII when they came out. I thought very hard about buying one, but the cost of the camera and a canon 70-200mm f2.8L lens was just too much for me. I won't buy another Sigma, but I might buy another aftermarket lens if the cost differential was great enough. As it is, I'll stick with the E1 for a while longer.

Peter Wine said...

First, let me say I'm quite happy that your projects are moving along. I guess I'd agree that the Showtime version would be easier to shoot and to edit, but you'd probably still want to shoot enough so it could run on A&E after it's run on Showtime is complete (the way that Sex in the City did, though I'd actually WATCH yours)so either way will be great.

I have a Tamron 17-55, and when I first got it I was quite happy with it. I had been using a Canon 28-70 that got stuck around 50, so there wasn't much change there, and didn't notice much, if any, difference in quality.

Over the last three years, though, that's been changing. I guess it needs to go back for a tune-up because it's just not as sharp as it used to be.

Given that I use it on almost every shoot, and as a photojournalist, I'm not always, uh, as careful as I'd like to be; but it's never been dropped or anything so I think it's just a matter of the build quality (or lack thereof) showing up.

I suspect that you'll be kinder to it than I've been to mine, and you should be fine for a long time.

I really appreciate being able to share your adventures, and look forward to the DVD and TV shows.

WillT said...

You wrote:
"I didn't take any pictures of rulers at various apertures or anything like that."

I'm shocked, JimmyD, shocked!

And congrats on your show moving forward.


Anathaema said...

Good read, all of your blog and such. I've had some thoughts crossing my mind regarding the acquisition of this lens but I trust your word. And as a 5D wielder myself, you put me in a more difficult position.
But is it worth selling my 24-105 L for this ?

jimmyd said...


Here's what I'd do: If I was gonna buy the Tamron and I already had the Canon 24-105 I wouldn't sell the Canon until I had the Tamron, shot with it, and compared it to the Canon. Then I'd decide which to keep.

Rick Horowitz said...

Jimmy, I love your blog for lots of reasons. But not because of the money I'm about to spend because of you. ;)

Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

I vote for keeping the 24-105 as it is a better portrait length lens. Use the Tamron for back up and assignments where it fits.