My typical travel photography kit consists of my dslr camera, two lenses, a selection of filters, a speed light and many other small (but important) bits of kit, but on a recent trip to Austria I had to reduce it back to the bare minimum.
The Austrian adventure consisted of a couple of days out in the Austrian countryside, a day in the Austrian town of Innsbruck and a day in the Austrian town of Salzburg. Whenever I go travelling I spend a lot of time beforehand researching the areas to check out the must see sights, the must do activities and anything else that may be relevant. Whilst researching the Austrian town of Salzburg I was concerned about the number of pickpocket and petty theft incidents that were all over the internet.
I have been the target of pickpockets in the past and I have to say I learned the hard way. Whilst in the European city of Rome I had a spare camera lens, and a few other bits and pieces, removed from my backpacking whilst I was actually wearing it. Okay, I was pre-occupied taking some photos of the architecture but I was still wearing the backpack and hadn’t left it alone whilst I wandered off to do something else. Having the lens pinched was annoying but even more annoying was the fact I had read Rome is notorious for pickpockets but I basically chose to ignore the warnings. Because of that experience I now take heed of any warnings and take appropriate action.
Whilst Salzburg seemed to be a place for pickpockets I didn’t see any reports about “camera snatchers” like I have about other European cities (Madrid, Barcelona,, Prague and Venice to name just a few) so I thought I would be okay taking a cheap dslr camera and a single lens which would be attached to my person at all times. Having a few days in the Austrian countryside and up in the Alps I would have liked to take my Canon 6D, 16-35 wide angle lens, filters and tripod but there was no way I was going to risk taking that so it was a one cheap camera and lens set up.
The camera and lens combination I decided to take was a (very old and obsolete) Canon 450D and the Tamron 16-300 zoom lens. The Canon 450D was my first ever dslr camera, and whilst it is now old hat it is still capable of capturing some decent images. Okay, the canon 450D isn’t a patch on my canon 6D, and I would prefer to use my Canon 6D, but I would prefer to lose the 450D than the 6D. I obviously don’t want to lose either camera, but if the worst comes to the worst I would be mortified to lose my 6D.
All things considered the Tamron 16mm-300mm f3.5 – 6.3 Di PZD lens is a very good lens that is capable of capturing great photos, and given its huge 16mm – 300mm focal range it is an ideal single take anywhere and do anything lens.
With a 16mm (effective 26mm 35mm film equivalent) the Tamron is wide enough to capture a good amount in the frame. Okay, it isn’t an ultra-wide angle and I would have loved one of those for panoramic mountain shots as well as capturing wide shots of the tight streets of the Austrian towns, but 26mm is sufficiently wide enough for a lot of situations. The 300mm (480mm 35mm film equivalent) allows zooming right in close and personal. The large focal range is ideal for many different situations and makes composing shots in busy towns and cities much easier.
The problem with such a wide focal range is it affects image quality. The image quality of the Tamron lens is very good, but there are lenses out there with better image quality. At the wide end the image quality can be a little soft, especially using the lens wide open, so this is something to think about before getting this lens. At the long end distortion is a common problem, although you can reduce the effects of this with some photo editing software. When the lens is stopped down the image quality improves, with the sweet spot being f8 – f11.
Another thing to consider with the Tamron 16mm – 300mm lens is the speed. This is not a fast lens and if you want to keep the shutter speeds up at the long end you are going to need a lot of ambient light. That said, the lens has optical stabilisation/image stabilisation which allows the use of slower shutter speeds whilst not being affected by camera shake. The image stabilisation is very good and works very well.
The build quality of the Tamron lens is very good and it will provide years of trouble free service, provided you don’t give it too much abuse. The Tamron lens isn’t built to the same high standards as the Canon l series lenses, but given the cost of the Tamron lens this is to be expected, and thinking anything else would be very naïve.
Below is a sample of photos taken with the Tamron 16mm – 300mm lens, all of which are taken straight from the camera with no editing what so ever.
I should point out that the photos were taken with using an old Canon 450D, and whilst it was a very good camera in its time technology has moved on and it is obsolete. The 450D is 12.2MP, which by modern day standards is very poor. The entry level Canon dlsr (1200D) has and 18MP sensor, so if you attach the Tamron 16mm – 300mm to one of these the photos are going to be of much higher quality than the ones I managed to capture on my Austrian adventure.
I also shoot a canon 7D and I have used the Tamron 16mm – 300mm lens on my 7D body. I have to say the photographs with that combination were very good and better than I thought they would be. The Tamron 16mm – 300mm is a budget lens so I was surprised by the quality of the photos, any of which I consider good enough for sale and have consequently added to my Zazzle store.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.
More photography related videos at "Photography Tips & Tricks TV"