Monday, December 17, 2012

Third party wonders

I have now three third party lenses, each which do not measure up to "professional" standards which insist on a parent manufactured lens to get the right results. While I have never shot with a lens that meets "professional" standards in those terms, I do agree that some of these lenses do fall short when it comes to image quality. In some cases, this shortfall is apparent immediately and in some cases I have not been able to discover this shortfall until and unless I have done what is termed as "pixel-peeping"; which frankly I do not have the time for.

The third party lenses that I have are as listed below in descending order of purchase:


  1. Tamron SP AF 180mm f/3.5 Di LD (IF) Macro 1:1
  2. Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM
  3. Tokina AT-X M100 AF PRO D 100mm f/2.8


Of the three I have always had a very high regard for the Tokina. Spending a huge amount of money on the Sigma however gave me a deep feeling of disappointment because of the results. I have recently acquired the Tamron which is not as bad as the Sigma but compared to the Tokina is not that perfect either. Or maybe near perfect for my needs. I must caveat that by saying that the Tamron is a superb macro lens with the disappointment more on the long range where it may be not as sharp as the Tokina. Readers must bear in mind that most of the limitations / poor results are because of my experience or lack thereof and / or because I shoot handheld despite having frequent (and strong) advice to shoot using a tripod / mono-pod.

That being said, there are some times when I get some awesome shots. This post is dedicated to a few shots from the Sigma and Tamron lenses that left me pleasantly surprised.

Sigma surprises:

I took this one on a whim and was very impressed with the clarity, the bokkeh and everything else in between and beyond. The filter influenced disturbance in the bokkeh is just no there. Wow. Additionally, this photograph was shot at a focal length of 150mm which according to most is not the sweetest of spots for it.

Blade of grass outside Mayureshwar - 150mm, 1/500s, ISO400, f/8
I was left speechless with this shot because I always thought that this was from my Tokina. Stunning and full credit to the lens. The sweet spot of this lens is apparently 400mm at f/8 which is what is proven.

Flower in Ovalekar Wadi - 400mm, 1/800s, ISO400, f/8
Tamron surprise:

This was a surprise for me once it came out ... the bokkeh was good, the light capture was good and the overall feel was excellent. This was despite the ISO being high and the lens wide open. This is a heavy lens and without any optical stabilisation whatsoever.

Sunlight on the leaves - 180mm, 1/250s, ISO640, f/3.5
All this goes to prove that it is not the equipment but the person handling the equipment that decides whether the picture will be a good one. All you need is to know your equipment well and in these cases, have a little bit of luck.

In the meantime I guess I will need to get better, get a tripod and more importantly keep shooting. In the meanwhile, here is a toast to these lenses. Hey, where is the wine?

1 comment:

Sayantan Mondal said...

Nicely written Bernard!