Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tamron delivers the goods
in new 18-270mm PZD VC lens

A lens with a relatively slow variable maximum aperture has to be loaded with advantages and features to get me to even consider purchasing it. I've been looking for the ideal do-all, light-tote lens for spur-of-the-moment and/or one-day travel outings for some time, and Tamron recently put the answer to my quest on the market in the 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD lens ($650). I was fortunate to make the decision to buy on the final day of a $50 mail-in rebate, softening the wallet lightening a tad.

The lens is an upgrade of Tamron's previous 18-270mm that is equipped with a traditional auto-focus motor. The new model -- designed for APS-C sensor cameras -- has the novel PZD (short for piezoelectric drive) technology as well as upgraded vibration compensation (VC) technology that effectively makes this a more compact -- and lighter (15.9 oz.) -- lens that covers an expansive 15x focal range.

To top it off -- and this was the clincher for me -- Joe Farace, who reviewed the lens in the June 2011 edition of Shutterbug magazine, says the improved VC technology was so astute, he was able to not only fire the camera hand-held at 1/8 of a second and get sharp shots, but also to fire off three hand-held auto-exposure bracketed shots as slow as 1/8 second -- and still get sharp images. Wow ... being able to shoot HDR without having to worry about packing my tripod each and every time? It got my attention, and I took the plunge. I've been very open to Tamron products; Tamron's 28-75mm f/2.8 lens has been my primary walk-around since summer of 2007. And even though the 28-75mm was made primarily for full-frame camera users in mind, it has served me and my two Canon APS-C sensor cameras well; I just get more effective focal range (because of the 1.6x multiplier) for my millimeters.

The photos you see in today's post were all HDR treated shots -- three auto-exposure bracketed frames melded into one in Photomatix -- taken using the Tamron 18-270mm PZD lens Monday evening in the two hours or so before dark, my first test drive of the new lens. And yes, all of these bracketed shots were hand-held. Needless to say, I'm ecstatic.

The lead photo (at the top) of the dense cloud formation through which a bit of the lowering sun found an opening to splay these unusual ray patterns, was taken on the western fringe of Garfield Park, looking over over the Manual High School campus (right).

Several variations of the scene appear in subsequent photos below, including a monochrome conversion of a scene similar to the one above. In two instances (near the bottom), I provide two versions of the same scene of the main entrance to the Garfield Park Arts Center -- one treated through the exposure fusion option of Photomatix (the more realistic "look"), the other treated with the tone-mapping option (the more artsy, painting-like veneer).



  1. The first picture posted is breath taking. I also loved the bleacher picture. The rays of sunshine are beautiful.

  2. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)