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Tamron AF28-300 Di VC lens -- one versatile zoom

Tamron 29-300mm Di VCI've been fascinated by jets since I can remember, and in recent years I've started photographing them at airshows. This spring I purchased a Nikon D60 and entered the realm of SLR photography. The camera kit came with two lenses, an AF 18-55mm Nikkor VR (Vibration Reduction) lens, and an AF 55-200mm Nikkor VR zoom lens. The AF 55-200mm was great for telephoto shots of airborne aerobatics, while the AF 18-55mm's wider angle lens worked better for static ground displays.

But that meant I had to tote both lenses around, and frequently change them out. I needed a better option.

So, I decided to give the Tamron AF 28-300mm VC (Vibration Compensation) a try.

The lens handled the bulk of my shots, both of subjects in the air and on the ground. Normally, telephoto zoom poses a challenge to a photographer without a tripod, but the lens' Vibration Compensation feature compensated enough for me to get some great photos.

 

Reservist telephoto 
Taken with the full 300mm zoom. Vibration Compensation kept the shot crisp and clean.

 

The Tamron lens is slightly heavier and wider than my Nikkor 55-200mm kit lens, but not longer when completely collapsed. Extended, it was about an inch and a half longer than my Nikkor lens. This didn't bother me at all, as I knew I was getting an extra 100mm of telephoto reach.

 flight formation
I shot with a wider focus (50mm) to get the entire formation in the shot as they flew overhead.

 

A locking mechanism on the side kept the lens in collapsed form. This secured it and prevented lens creep, that annoying telescoping motion of the lens as you walk around. The grooved rubber grip let me get a tight control on the zoom, and the autofocus was very quick.

One noticeable drawback was that the focusing ring rotated when in autofocus mode. This movement was right where my hand naturally held the lens and camera when steadying for a shot. This took a few minutes to get used to, as I had to keep repositioning my index finger to keep the camera still while it focused. The Tamron is a faster lens than my Nikkor telephoto starting at an f3.5, and once I got comfortable with my grip, taking shots was a breeze.

The Tamron’s 28mm is 10mm short of my kit lens, this just meant I had to step back a few feet to shoot the static displays on the ground at the show. The versatility of the Tamron AF 28-300mm VC lens let me leave the other lenses at home, and to easily get around the show and take photos. Also, I saved time by not having to change out lenses and possibly missing a great photo opportunity in the process.

 

RAF 
By using the zoom (100mm), I could get this detailed shot while still behind the safety fence.

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