Monday, January 12, 2009

At the Long End

We've talked about the 17-50 2.8, we talked about the 50mm 1.8, but we haven't talked about anything in the Telephoto range. Today we're going to talk about the 70-200 2.8. Specifically the Tamron 70-200 2.8. Some of you may be wondering, why doesn't he use more Nikon lenses? Well to be honest, price. I have had the Nikkor 70-200 2.8. I have had the Nikkor 18-200 vr, as well as various other Nikkor lenes, but to be honest they were very expensive and not any better than the Tamron lenses in quality. I personally think that the Tamron 70-200 is a bit sharper than the Nikkor... Anyway on to why you need one of these lenses.

The 70-200 2.8 focal length is THE sports lens. I've never shot a sporting event where the other photographers weren't all using this focal length. Some were using Canon, some were using Nikon, some were using Sigma and Tamron, but they were all shooting this length. Why is it so popular? With the exception of baseline in basketball, most sporting events only allow you to get within a few feet of the field/mat/court so the 70mm is plenty wide enough when the action is right in front of you. On the opposite end, 200mm is long enough to single out an individual player or competitor. When it comes to Football, the photographers will get a longer lens. Usually a 400mm 2.8 on a separate body for when the action is at the other end of the field, but for most shots the 200mm is plenty long. The length is not enough though. You have to have wide apertures to be able to shoot in most indoor events where the lighting may seem good, but it is really not. That is where the aperture of 2.8 is so important. There are plenty of lenses out there that go from 55-200, or 70-300 but they are all 5.6 or more at the long end. To be able to shoot in low light you need 2.8. If you plan on shooting any kind of sports, this lens is for you.

Is this lens only for a sports photographer? No! I can't tell you how many times I use this lens for shooting portraits. The idea when shooting portraits is to make your subject look flattering right? Well why on earth would you want to be close to them shooting at some wide angle like 18 or 35mm? When you move farther away from your subject, and move your telephoto lens out to say 130mm you get more compressed features. The ears, nose, and eyes all look more proportional. The 70-200 is great for this situation. Want to move a little further away, and still keep a nice f/4 aperture? Can't do it with the 55-200, but with the 70-200 you can keep the aperture wherever you want throughout the focal length. On top of all of the above mentioned reasons, the optical quality of these lenses is usually better than that of the less expensive lenses. These are pro grade lenses so they have pro grade quality.

Pro grade, that must mean they're expensive! Well yes, they are expensive. However you don't have to break the bank. This my friends is why I shoot the Tamron 70-200 2.8. With a multi coated Hoya Filter I paid $800.00 out the door for it. That is way cheaper than the Nikkor equivalent. The Nikkor version I had cost me $1600.00 plus another $100 for the filter, plus tax! I had almost $2000 in this thing by the time is was all said and done, and to be honest it wasn't all that much better. OK yes the Nikkor has Vibration Reduction, and it has a clutch on the AF system which the Tamron lacks, but optically they're identical. The Tamron has a quick release system that allows you to adjust the focus quickly and efficiently, almost as fast as the Nikkor. The AF system on the Nikkor is a tad bit faster, but not by much. Is the Nikkor worth the extra $1200.00? I don't think so, that's why I'm shooting Tamron. There are some "lens snobs" out there that won't shoot with anything but the lenses that come from their camera manufacturer. They will tell you that the Nikkor, and Canon lenses are much better in quality. I'm not disputing their quality, but go try out a Tamron or Sigma for yourself and tell me if you can see a difference, and if you do see a difference, is it worth the extra amount that is being charged? I bet you can't, and I bet if you do, it won't be worth the extra amount. So what am I saying? Well if you want a great quality lens, that will allow you to shoot low light, get a Tamron 70-200 2.8. If you want a lens that is great quality, will allow you to shoot in low light, and costs twice as much, get the name brand. That's all from me today. See you again tomorrow. Jason

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