Somebody asked the other day what the main source of my product information is – press releases, online buzz or my own research? I said all three are pretty equal, but serendipity occasionally steps in.
A few weeks ago, I was heading south on the Interstate 95 on the racetrack section through Providence, Rhode Island, when I got distracted by a billboard advertisement for Tamron, a lens maker I’ve known since the 1960s but that has been off my radar for years. The ad was for a 16mm to 300mm “megazoom” lens suitable for all DSLRs. Such an optic would mean a keen photographer could take a DSLR body on a trip and be covered for everything from near fisheye wide-angle to serious telephoto.
Back home, the online word was that Tamron’s baby was a good ’un. So I asked the PR people in Germany if they could send one over for review, and they said, long story short, not really. So the newly revitalised Jessops chain stepped in with this sample. And it’s amazing. The zoom is dizzying. At the 16mm setting a man down a Soho street was indistinguishably tiny. At 300mm, his face filled a Canon screen. It’s a big lens, for sure – 10cm long retracted and weighing 540g. And its maximum aperture isn’t the widest, so it’s not good for low light. But the results in good light are of near-professional quality. A real asset for any DSLR owner.