I’ve often heard that it is better to have a nice lens than the nicest camera.
So, when I had the itch to upgrade, I decided to look for a new lens. Up to this point I had only been using kit lenses and the Canon EF 50 mm/ f1.8 fixed lens. After asking some friends, what lenses they like best, the Tamron 18-270 mm lens was cited a few times. I had already heard great things about it and so I decided to go for it.
Well…I can see why people say it almost never leaves their camera. This is really such a great, versatile lens. (P.S. Indoor Photography tips are at the end :)).
Let’s break down the pros and cons.
– It’s legit. You can immediately feel and see that this lens is the real deal, as it is heavier than kit lenses and just all around more substantial. Of course, I am just comparing it to kit lenses and not other lenses of its kind, but I think it’s definitely worth the upgrade.
– The zoom range is awesome. I took these three shots of my Christmas tree from one spot. I didn’t move at. all.
Same with this mountain range. I took a shot of the whole range (not even zoomed out all the way) and then zoomed in on this peak:
It makes photographing my kids a little easier as well. I don’t have to move around so much or switch lenses to get different shots.
Here’s another comparison.
I can take full shots like this and then detail shots, of the boots she proudly put on the wrong feet ;), right after with just the twist of my lens.
And I don’t have to run far away or come up close to make that happen!
Oh and it makes blog tutorial pics easier for the same reason.
– It’s affordable. If you have ever priced name brand lenses, they are a preeeeety penny. At around $400, the Tamron lens is still quite an investment but much more affordable.
– Better print quality. You can’t really tell so much when the pictures are in digital format, but when you get your pictures printed, you can see that the Tamron lens or any non-kit lens yields a slightly crisper, cleaner shot.
– The aperture range is super versatile. You can dial down your f-stop number to as low as 3.5 which is great for indoor photography and portraits.
– Tamron lenses can fit both Canon AND Nikon cameras.
– This lens is heavy. Some may or may not consider that a con, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I personally take it as a sign that it’s good equipment, but you do have to get used to the weight.
– The lens zooms the opposite way from my kit lenses. I am sure this is something that typically varies from from lens to lens, but there is a little bit of a learning curve in teaching myself to zoom the other way.
– The rapid shutter response time slows a bit. It’s not a big problem, but noticeable.
To learn more about the Tamron 18-270MM F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, check out the specs HERE.
Now for some indoor photography tips for dSLR cameras.
With winter upon us over here, I find that we have to take more and more pictures inside. Even our family pictures!
Taken with the Tamron lens ^^^ :)
Here are FOUR tips to get beautiful pictures indoors:
1. Use natural light as much as possible. I know this isn’t always convenient, but whenever you can, make sure to take pictures near bright windows. If the light is too harsh or streaming in directly at your subject creating overblown highlights, try angling your blinds upward so the light bounces to the ceiling and fills the room with ambient light. You may also try positioning your subject so the light streams in from the side. Move your subject away from the window just a bit so there isn’t any direct light right on them.
You may need to adjust your settings and make your ISO higher or your shutter speed slower, to compensate for the reduced amount of light.
In most cases, you want to avoid putting them with their back to the window. This causes the background to over expose and the subject to be underexposed. Of course unless this is what you’re going for. You can either expose the background but not your subject for a silhouette shot, or extremely over expose the background and properly expose your subject to get a cool ethereal glow around your subject.
2. Avoid using flash. Unless you are proficient at using off the camera flash, I highly recommend avoiding it. It can create harsh shadows and all sorts of common photography problems like red eye, glare, etc.
3. Try stepping out of AUTO.
When taking pictures at night. Turn on as many lights as you can so there is a lot of ambient light. And if you can, don’t use AUTO. AUTO will almost always turn the flash on.
Instead, crank your ISO up all the way (unless it is amazingly bright) and dial down your f-stop number as low as it will go. Quick aperture lesson: smaller f-stop number = wider aperture = more light allowed into the camera =more background blur.
Now, looking at your exposure meter, determine how fast you need your shutter speed to be to get a well exposed picture (the little arrow should be at zero or into the positive range). You may need to slow it down significantly to get a properly exposed shot. Sometimes, I slightly underexpose the shots (not too much!), knowing I can fix the pictures later in editing. Or I switch lenses to one with a wider aperture range.
Think manual is too much work? For the most part, once you get your settings just right they will not change that much unless you move closer to or farther from your light sources.
Note: These are tips for not using flash, but there are techniques you can use with off the camera flash which I don’t feel ready to authoritatively cover yet. ;)
I must also add: If you don’t have photo editing software, then cranking up your ISO might not be a good idea, because high ISO creates graininess. If you can only use free editing software, try not to let your ISO go above 800 and try your best to slow your shutter speed down as slow as you can manage. You may have more picture blur, which is where the next step comes in handy…
4. Hold your Breath! Unless you want to add flash, then you will likely have to bring your shutter speed way down if shooting indoors at night with only ambient light. When your shutter speed dips below 1/200, your breathing can cause blurring. If you hold your breath when you press down the shutter button, it helps reduce camera shaking and blurring. And of course, hold really, really still! ;)
5. Expect some editing. I almost always edit my indoor pictures. I like to remove or reduce color casts, especially with the “warm” or yellow lamps providing much or all of the ambient light. I don’t remove all of it however, because I still want it to have an indoor glow, but that’s a personal preference.
It’s helpful to use editing programs like Lightroom to smooth out any graininess as well. When you shoot indoors, you often have to increase or max out your ISO. As I mentioned before, higher ISO numbers means more graininess or fuzziness in the pictures. This is easily remedied in Lightroom with the Luminance slider. Other editing programs may allow you to “smooth” out your photos in a similar manner. Your camera may also have a high ISO noise reduction feature. It drains the battery faster, but I take about 60% of my pictures indoors so I always have it on. It doesn’t reduce noise as much as post editing can, but every little bit helps.
That’s it! Those are my tips for capturing your memories indoors.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section.
Disclaimers: This post is sponsored by Tamron USA. This review was written in my own words, with my own pictures and my own honest opinions.
Please keep in mind that I’m a self taught, amateur photographer. Just a regular mamarazzi, sharing what I know! ;)