Ready, Steady and Go

an all-new op­ti­cal de­sign plus the ad­di­tion of im­por­tant fea­tures such as weather-proof­ing greatly in­crease the po­ten­tial of Tam­ron’s ul­tra-wide zoom for ‘aPs-C’ for­mat D-slrs.

Camera - - ON TRIAL - RE­PORT BY PAUL BUR­ROWS

Con­ven­tional wis­dom has it that op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion is only in­cor­po­rated into longer fo­cal length lenses. Well, of course, it’s log­i­cal that the greater the mag­ni­fi­ca­tion the greater the risk of cam­era shake, but what about shoot­ing in low light sit­u­a­tions which re­quire slower shut­ter speeds? Hav­ing im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion avail­able with any lens had been one of the sell­ing points of cam­era bod­ies with sen­sor-shift IS. But now Tam­ron has in­stalled an op­ti­cal sta­biliser sys­tem into the widest-an­gle zoom in its Di II se­ries of lenses for ‘APS-C’ for D-SLRs.

Tam­ron’s orig­i­nal 10-24mm zoom took the world by storm back in 2008, lever­ag­ing full ad­van­tage of the smaller sen­sor size – and a swag of new lens tech­nolo­gies – to push the en­ve­lope in terms of what was pos­si­ble with ul­tra­w­ide zooms. On a Nikon ‘DX’ for­mat D-SLR – which has a fo­cal mag­ni­fi­ca­tion fac­tor of 1.5x – 10-24mm is equiv­a­lent to 15-36mm and this fo­cal range is still the widest – as far as wide-an­gle zooms are con­cerned – there is in the ‘APS-C’ world.

Tam­ron’s new 10-24mm model has been com­pletely re­designed, both in­side and out, start­ing with the in­cor­po­ra­tion of multi-axis ‘Vi­bra­tion Com­pen­sa­tion’ (VC) op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion. The pri­mary rea­son for its in­clu­sion is to ex­tend the po­ten­tial for hand­held shoot­ing in low-light sit­u­a­tions, rather than sim­ply cor­rect­ing for cam­era shake which is an is­sue with longer lenses even in bright light­ing. The 10-24mm’s VC pro­vides up to four stops of cor­rec­tion for cam­era shake which means, if you’re shoot­ing at 15mm ef­fec­tive, it would the­o­ret­i­cally al­low the use of a shut­ter speed of just one se­cond (us­ing the one-over-the-fo­cal-length rule). In re­al­ity, that would chal­lenge any IS sys­tem – even if you have very steady hands – so where it comes in re­ally use­ful is in en­abling you to use smaller aper­tures (and at lower ISO set­tings) with­out hav­ing to re­sort to a tri­pod. Ob­vi­ously the depth-of-field is pretty ex­ten­sive at 10mm so stop­ping down is es­sen­tial if you’re chas­ing more se­lec­tive fo­cus­ing. Then there are many cre­ative rea­sons for us­ing slower shut­ter speeds (blur­ring sub­ject move­ment, for ex­am­ple) when sta­bil­i­sa­tion comes in handy. It’s also worth not­ing here that the in­clu­sion of im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion in this lens has ben­e­fits for video shooters too.

On The MOve

With its ex­treme wide-an­gle ca­pa­bil­i­ties, this lens is very much about mo­bil­ity and hand-held shoot­ing - espe­cially for ap­pli­ca­tions such as street pho­tog­ra­phy, travel or in­te­ri­ors. Tam­ron has worked hard to keep it as small and com­pact as pos­si­ble, de­spite in­cor­po­rat­ing the op­ti­cal im­age sta­biliser. This is achieved in a num­ber of ways, start­ing with the re­vised op­ti­cal de­sign – which utilises tech­nolo­gies such as glass mould­ing to cre­ate com­plex as­pher­i­cal el­e­ments – and an all-new aut­o­fo­cus­ing sys­tem called HLD which is short for ‘High/ Low Torque Mo­du­lat­ing Drive’. Torque is the all-im­por­tant mo­tive force in any sys­tem in­volv­ing a ro­ta­tional ac­tion and it builds to peak ef­fi­ciency which has an ef­fect on the aut­o­fo­cus­ing speed, espe­cially when driv­ing the larger-di­am­e­ter el­e­ments of an ul­tra-wide. Tam­ron’s HLD is de­signed to main­tain op­ti­mum torque, thereby en­sur­ing greater sta­bil­ity in terms of both power and speed, but equally im­por­tantly it’s a smaller and lighter weight as­sem­bly. Ad­di­tion­ally, it al­lows for a full-time man­ual over­ride should you want to fine-tune the AF.

The 16-el­e­ment op­ti­cal con­struc­tion com­prises two as­pher­i­cal types and two with low dis­per­sion char­ac­ter­is­tics. As just noted, the larger-di­am­e­ter as­pher­i­cal el­e­ment is cre­ated via glass-mould­ing (which en­ables more pre­cise shap­ing of the sur­faces) while the se­cond is a hy­brid which means it has a spher­i­cal core over which are laid as­pher­i­cal sur­faces in op­ti­cal resin. Both these el­e­ments are de­signed to cor­rect for dis­tor­tion while the LD/XLD types counter co­matic and trans­verse chro­matic aber­ra­tions. These op­ti­cal tech­nolo­gies also en­able a more com­pact con­struc­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing other as­pects of per­for­mance - such as main­tain­ing sharp­ness across the en­tire fo­cus­ing range.

On the out­side, the new Tam­ron 10-24mm zoom has much more con­tem­po­rary and smarter styling, but more im­por­tantly the bar­rel is now weather-sealed – and there’s also a sub­stan­tial gas­ket around the lens mount – which also in­creases its po­ten­tial ver­sa­til­ity. The front el­e­ment’s ex­posed sur­face has a flu­o­rine coat­ing to help re­pel mois­ture and grease, but also make it eas­ier to wipe clean with­out risk­ing dam­age.

The lens is avail­able in the Canon EF and Nikon F mounts, the lat­ter be­ing the G-Type con­fig­u­ra­tion where aper­ture se­lec­tion is con­trolled from the cam­era body. This is now stan­dard across Nikon’s D-SLR line-up, but pre­cludes us­ing the Tam­ron on older dig­i­tal bod­ies from around mid-2007 or ear­lier and, of course all 35mm film bod­ies. How­ever, us­ing the G-Type mount has en­abled Tam­ron to adopt an elec­tro­mag­net­i­cally-con­trolled di­aphragm in its Nikon mount ver­sion and this al­lows for more ac­cu­rate aper­ture set­ting – espe­cially frame-to-frame with con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing. As with all Tam­ron’s re­cently-launched new

THERE’S A FUN FAC­TOR AS­SO­CI­ATED WITH SHOOT­ING WITH THIS LENS WHICH COMES FROM FIND­ING OUT JUST HOW THE WIDER AN­GLES-OF-VIEW WORK WITH DIF­FER­ENT SUB­JECTS.

lenses, the 10-24mm is com­pat­i­ble with the op­tional ‘Tap-In Con­sole’ which is a USB dock en­abling var­i­ous ad­just­ments – mostly re­lat­ing to the aut­o­fo­cus­ing – and firmware up­grades.

PER­FOR­MANCE

Weigh­ing in at a lit­tle un­der 450 grams, it’s hard to be­lieve the Tam­ron 10-24mm packs 16 el­e­ments in­side, but this light­ness means that it’s bal­anced on the most com­pact of Canon or Nikon D-SLR bod­ies.

There’s a fun fac­tor as­so­ci­ated with shoot­ing with this lens which comes from find­ing out just how the wider an­gles-of-view work with dif­fer­ent sub­jects. Frame first at 24mm – (i.e. 36mm) which is re­ally the ‘stan­dard’ wide-an­gle fo­cal length – and then zoom out to see what hap­pens. More of­ten than not, you’ll be sur­prised at just how much ev­ery­thing has changed by the time you get to 10mm… and an an­gle-of-view of 108 de­grees. Sur­pris­ingly, dis­tor­tion is pretty well con­trolled, espe­cially if you can keep the cam­era per­pen­dic­u­lar to the plane-of-fo­cus (but, if not, the ex­ag­ger­ated con­ver­gence ef­fects can be fun too). The over­all sharp­ness is very good too, with only a slight soft­en­ing to­wards the cor­ners at the widest aper­tures. Stop­ping down to f5.6 de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent cen­tre-to-cor­ner sharp­ness, espe­cially for an ul­tra­w­ide lens and, what’s more, one that doesn’t cost a small for­tune.

An­other sur­prise is the min­i­mal vi­gnetting even at 10mm and f3.5, and while chro­matic aber­ra­tions do oc­cur here, they’re pretty well sup­pressed and only no­tice­able along very high con­trast edges in big en­large­ments. Again, stop­ping down to f5.6 or smaller vir­tu­ally elim­i­nates any colour fring­ing.

With an­gles-of-view of 100 de­grees or greater, flare could be a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue, but it’s pretty well non-ex­is­tent even when the sun is in­cluded in the frame. Con­se­quently, the con­trast and colour re­pro­duc­tion are ex­cel­lent in vir­tu­ally any light­ing sit­u­a­tion.

THE VER­DICT

It’s hard not to be com­pletely se­duced by Tam­ron’s new 1024mm ul­tra-wide zoom. It’s hugely ver­sa­tile – a lot more so than you might ini­tially ex­pect – en­hanced by the pro­vi­sion of im­age sta­bil­isa- tion and weather-proof­ing which ex­tend its us­abil­ity. This ver­sa­til­ity is backed up by op­ti­cal per­for­mance that is also much bet­ter than ex­pected – if only be­cause the very af­ford­able price tag sug­gests some economies might have been made along the way. If they have, it’s hard to see where be­cause this lens feels well-made, and then punches way above its weight in terms of sharp­ness, con­trast and the lev­els of cor­rec­tion across the fo­cal range.

It all adds up to a very po­tent lit­tle pack­age which of­fers plenty of cre­ative pos­si­bil­i­ties, balancing its ul­tra-wide ca­pa­bil­i­ties with more ‘gen­eral pur­pose’ widean­gle fo­cal lengths.

Best of all, it’s great fun ex­plor­ing the op­tions pro­vided by this fo­cal range and its abil­ity to re­veal in­ter­est­ing new an­gles.

Tam­ron’s new ver­sion of its 10-24mm ‘APS-C’ for­mat ul­tra-wide zoom has been com­pletely re­designed both in­side and out.

Restyled bar­rel has a sharper, con­tem­po­rary look and is also sealed against the in­tru­sion of dust and mois­ture.

The in­clu­sion of Tam­ron’s ‘VC’ op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion sys­tem ex­tends the zoom’s po­ten­tial for shoot­ing hand-held in low-light sit­u­a­tions.

The front el­e­ment’s ex­posed sur­face sur­face has a flu­o­rine coat­ing to help re­pel mois­ture and grease.

Test im­ages cap­tured as JPEG/large/fines with a Nikon D5300. The new Tam­ron 10-24mm de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent sharp­ness and con­trast, and is very well cor­rected for both dis­tor­tion and chro­matic aber­ra­tions. There’s min­i­mal vi­gnetting and very lit­tle flare or ghost­ing even when shoot­ing into the sun. Info 100% Doc: 2.8mb 2 img_2445.jpg@100%(RBG/8#) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 0

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