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.
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.
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.
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