|EOS 7D; Tamron 70-200mm @200mm; 1/350th; f/2.8; ISO 200|
|EOS 7D; Sigma 18-50mm @40mm; 1/90th; f/11; ISO 100|
Thirdly, you have to balance the performance of the lens against your type of photography and shooting conditions. If you are even a little bit aspiring, lens performance and quality are important. Personally I do a very mixed bag of work from journalism and editorial type shoots to fine art and commercial photography. A relatively generous share of work is under poor lighting conditions. I do a lot of theater and performance shooting and other work in poorly lit galleries and in-doors. So fast lenses are important as is quick and responsive autofocus. IS/VR/VC/OC (image stabilization/ vibration reduction/ vibration compensation/ optical stabilizer) is also a must and (budget aside) you would be silly now days to consider anything less.
So it was with some concern that I read reviews on the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 that suggested that the lens' focus was a bit slower than its twice the price canon counter part. From what I read quality was on a par, even better some people suggested. For some 'commentors' the slower responsive time was unnoticeable or negligible. Nobody, from what I read, came out particularly strongly against the lens' supposed slowness. I am a canon user and was spoilt back in the day when canon cleaned up the competition gamboling faster focus against changing their lens mount. So I gamboled a little too. I reasoned that the 'less responsive' tamron, when compared to the canon would be negligible. If the argument is merely a matter of hundreths of a second then it is marketing hoo haa and would bring little to bear to the detriment of my photography.
So I got the Tamron. And was I right? The answer is no. Having used the Canon 70-200 f2.8 II and now the Tamron I can tell you that the Tamron's slugishness is indeed noticeable. Not all the time, but in bad light, which is when I do quite a bit of photography (and when you need the rapid responsiveness the most) the Tamron takes a bit. In good light it is, in my opinion, on a par, but with strong back light the lens hunts far more readily than I am used to with the Canon version.
So what is the verdict? Do I regret buying the lens? Absolutely not. Do I wish it was a little quicker and a little more responsive? Yes I do. Will I still be able to work professionally and capture quality images that my clients love? Absolutely. I am a HUGE believer in working within your means. Too many photographers are too quick to blame their equipment (or lack thereof). Students of mine constantly claim to not be able to shoot sport or theater because they don't have an image stabilized lens. So I see red and remind them that the dawn of sport and theater photography did not begin when manufacturers brought in IS/VR/VC/OC or the like.
Below are some images taken during a recent wildlife and landscape photography workshop conducted in the Thanda private nature reserve in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. Thanks to team 'Girl Power' for their enthusiasm, eagerness and humour.
|Team Thanda- June 2013, 'Girl Power'. Light painting with fill-in flash and torchlight. Canon EOS 7D; Sigma 18-50mm @ 18mm; 30 sec; f/5.6; ISO 200|
|EOS 7D; Tamron 70-200mm @200mm; 1/350th; f/4.5; ISO 100|
|A particular highlight of this photo workshop was meeting up with two, otherwise shy male Nyala antelope. Normally the males are solitary and retire in thick bush. During territorial disputes males engage in the most beautiful high-heeled, circular dance, heads lilted, fur fluffed and horns ready. EOS 7D; Tamron 70-200mm @152mm; 1/180th; f/2.8; ISO 800|
|EOS 7D; Tamron 70-200mm @152mm; 1/1000th; f/4.5; ISO 400|
|EOS 7D; Sigma 18-50mm @20mm; 1/45th; f/4; ISO 100|