Like a lot of you, I’m a novice photographer and videographer. I simply started taking photographs a couple of years again and I’m nonetheless studying a lot with each shoot, from the lingo to the gear to the software program.
As an example, I only in the near past found bracketing, and the sheer variety of photographs I’ve taken — tens of 1000’s of photographs — that might’ve turned out considerably higher, will hang-out me for the remainder of my life.
However I additionally perceive why my perspective is efficacious: I lack any formal training in images, am working with a restricted finances and, most significantly, can empathize with and relate to the readers like me who’re nonetheless figuring all of it out. Fundamental images is one thing I used to be tasked with in a earlier advertising position not by my very own alternative. Over time, I watched sufficient YouTube tutorials to get down the fundamentals, my photographs started to look higher and higher, and finally I got here to get pleasure from it.
That’s additionally how I taught myself videography: I watched sufficient movies (possibly even learn a Photofocus article or two) to discover ways to shoot video, seize audio, gentle a set and edit all of it collectively into one thing for which a shopper can pay a couple of bucks.
A restricted perspective
One space I’m nonetheless stumbling by, and I’d argue has been essentially the most troublesome to navigate, is the large, large world of lenses. There are dozens of makes, numerous fashions and so they’re far too costly for me to check out even a fraction of them to higher perceive how they perform and the way they may assist my work. My private video rig is highly effective sufficient to get the job performed however it’s positively minimal, principally in that I solely personal one piece of glass.
Everytime you see a publish on a videography dialogue board asking “When you may solely afford ONE lens for this digital camera, what would you purchase?” Yeah, that’s me. And whereas a lone 18-35mm f/1.8 has all the time performed the trick for me — from capturing narrative work to occasions, from capturing poorly lit outside artwork installations within the lifeless of winter to staged product shoots in a studio — I’ve yearned to develop my assortment.
What I’ve been lacking
So, once I was offered with the chance to check out a brand new lens, I jumped on it. Not solely would I acquire some much-needed data and expertise, nevertheless it wouldn’t value me a dime. Enter the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 lens for Sony APS-C cameras.
Since coming into the world of videography, I’ve been interested by wide-angle, nevertheless it all the time gave the impression to be extra of a novelty and never one thing I may justify buying. Videography is my aspect gig and I don’t shoot greater than 2-3 bigger initiatives a 12 months, so something I put money into must be a staple in my setup.
After I thought “wide-angle,” I pictured footage from a GoPro connected to a sky diver or a skateboarding video from the 90s — exaggerated, distorted pictures that, whereas enjoyable, aren’t acceptable for the kinds of initiatives I usually produce. With a focal size of 11-20mm, I assumed the Tamron could be simply that: Enjoyable, not vital and definitely not discovering a house in my gear bag anytime quickly. However once I first peered on the world by the Tamron 11-20mm, I noticed one thing completely totally different. I noticed what I had been lacking.
Feeling the music, in wide-open areas
Since this was my first time formally testing out a lens, I made a decision to go the place I shoot most of my photographs and movies — downtown Grand Rapids. Michigan summers supply excellent climate. And since we solely expertise the sunshine and heat for a couple of quick months, everybody takes benefit of it, that means there could be loads of smiling faces out and about for me to seize.
My first topic was a pop-up performer taking part in the drums on the sidewalk in a preferred stretch of city that options loads of retailers, eating places and foot visitors. With the massive dimension of his drum set and the shortage of area surrounding it on this busy nook, this offered the proper alternative to check the ultrawide Tamron.
Having solely used my 18-35mm in latest shoots, I naturally positioned myself a couple of yards in entrance of the drummer, however once I turned on my digital camera and seen the scene by the 11-20, I rapidly realized I may transfer nearer — a lot nearer. And once I repositioned myself, I found that I used to be in a position to seize a lot motion, and it seemed unbelievable. I rapidly discovered myself working across the drum set, getting as shut as doable with out taking a snare to the chin.
I used to be not solely capturing your complete metropolis setting behind and across the drummer, but additionally a lot of the element up near him. The lens isn’t solely light-weight, nevertheless it seems like a strong construct, so I used to be in a position to simply maneuver with out exhausting my arms and did so figuring out that if I ran into something, the barrel of the lens would be capable of take the hit.
Subsequent, I moved onto an outside swing dancing class that’s held weekly in a downtown park. The area is large, it’s open and at these courses there are dozens, if not a whole bunch, of individuals transferring throughout — one other excellent alternative to place the Tamron to the take a look at.
Once more, I used to be in a position to effortlessly seize an abundance of motion. For each the drummer and the dancers, the digital camera was mounted to a three-axis stabilizing gimbal, which I nearly all the time use once I’m not utilizing a tripod. Being such a large lens, the Tamron is pretty straightforward to carry regular. Add to that the stabilization of the gimbal, and the footage was completely clean.
The good open air
The day after I captured the music and dancing downtown, I headed out on a tenting journey with mates, a few of whom had been furrier than others. Whereas on the campsite, the canines had been stuffed with vitality and curiosity, giving me a possibility to seize topics that had been a bit quicker and fewer predictable of their actions. The Tamron’s focal size allowed me to be shut sufficient to the canines to seize the element I needed whereas additionally retaining the entire motion within the pictures.
When the canines grew drained, I moved on to topics that moved considerably much less — flowers, timber and different flora. The number of pictures I used to be in a position to seize amazed me — from sharp, detailed close-ups of foliage to large pictures of tree canopies. I didn’t use a gimbal for these pictures, however the in-body stabilization on the Sony a6600 appeared to just do tremendous at the same time as I moved across the topics.
Merely put … I used to be wide-mouthed
Enjoying again the footage later, my jaw dropped. I used to be instantly drawn into these dramatic pictures and felt as if I had been on the park with the dancers or within the forest with the canines once more. The colours from the Tamron had been wealthy and vibrant, and the pictures had been crisp with a pleasing bokeh — no complaints there. The lens appeared to work together properly with the Sony physique, and consequently the autofocus was almost flawless.
Testing out the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 really opened my eyes to what’s doable with an ultrawide lens. Wanting again on lots of the initiatives I’ve accomplished, I can see now how this lens would’ve added to the movies. I’m grateful that my first expertise with this focal size was the Tamron, because it actually packs a punch. Having solely used native lenses up to now, this was additionally my first time utilizing a product from Tamron, and it’s secure to say it gained’t be my final.
So will I run out and buy this lens as we speak? Laborious to say. However should you occur to see a publish on a videography discussion board asking “which wide-angle lens would you purchase should you may solely have one,” you’ll be able to guess it wasn’t posted by me, as a result of I already know.
Editor’s be aware: We welcome this publish by Photofocus e-mail specialist David Specht. David works in advertising for an academic tech firm by day and does freelance picture and video by evening. When he isn’t flying his drone round Grand Rapids, David could be discovered strolling his two pups, Finn and Ripley, and touring together with his spouse, Sam.