Like lots of you, I’m a novice photographer and videographer. I simply started taking photographs a number of years again and I’m nonetheless studying a lot with each shoot, from the lingo to the gear to the software program.
For example, I only recently 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 effective: I lack any formal training in pictures, am working with a restricted price range and, most significantly, can empathize with and relate to the readers like me who’re nonetheless figuring all of it out. Fundamental pictures is one thing I used to be tasked with in a earlier advertising and marketing 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 take pleasure in it.
That’s additionally how I taught myself videography: I watched sufficient movies (perhaps even learn a Photofocus article or two) to learn to shoot video, seize audio, gentle a set and edit all of it collectively into one thing for which a consumer pays 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 huge, huge 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 could help my work. My private video rig is highly effective sufficient to get the job accomplished however it’s positively minimal, principally in that I solely personal one piece of glass.
Everytime you see a put up on a videography dialogue board asking “When you might solely afford ONE lens for this digicam, what would you purchase?” Yeah, that’s me. And whereas a lone 18-35mm f/1.8 has all the time accomplished 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 introduced with the chance to check out a brand new lens, I jumped on it. Not solely would I acquire some much-needed information and expertise, however it wouldn’t price me a dime. Enter the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 lens for Sony APS-C cameras.
Since getting into the world of videography, I’ve been inquisitive about wide-angle, however it all the time appeared to be extra of a novelty and never one thing I might justify buying. Videography is my facet gig and I don’t shoot greater than 2-3 bigger initiatives a yr, so something I spend money on must be a staple in my setup.
Once I thought “wide-angle,” I pictured footage from a GoPro hooked up to a sky diver or a skateboarding video from the 90s — exaggerated, distorted photographs that, whereas enjoyable, aren’t applicable for the varieties of initiatives I usually produce. With a focal size of 11-20mm, I assumed the Tamron could be simply that: Enjoyable, not vital and positively 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 provide good climate. And since we solely expertise the sunshine and heat for a number 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 enjoying the drums on the sidewalk in a well-liked stretch of city that options loads of outlets, eating places and foot visitors. With the big measurement of his drum set and the dearth of area surrounding it on this busy nook, this offered the right alternative to check the ultrawide Tamron.
Having solely used my 18-35mm in current shoots, I naturally positioned myself a number of yards in entrance of the drummer, however once I turned on my digicam and seen the scene by the 11-20, I shortly realized I might 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 unimaginable. I shortly discovered myself working across the drum set, getting as shut as potential with out taking a snare to the chin.
I used to be not solely capturing the whole metropolis setting behind and across the drummer, but additionally a lot of the element up near him. The lens isn’t solely light-weight, however it looks like a stable construct, so I used to be in a position to simply maneuver with out exhausting my arms and did so realizing that if I ran into something, the barrel of the lens would be capable to take the hit.
Subsequent, I moved onto an out of doors swing dancing class that’s held weekly in a downtown park. The area is huge, it’s open and at these courses there are dozens, if not lots of, of individuals shifting throughout — one other good 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 digicam 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 easy.
The good outdoor
The day after I captured the music and dancing downtown, I headed out on a tenting journey with associates, a few of whom have been furrier than others. Whereas on the campsite, the canine have been filled with power and curiosity, giving me a chance to seize topics that have been a bit quicker and fewer predictable of their actions. The Tamron’s focal size allowed me to be shut sufficient to the canine to seize the element I needed whereas additionally maintaining the entire motion within the photographs.
When the canine grew drained, I moved on to topics that moved considerably much less — flowers, bushes and different plants. The number of photographs I used to be in a position to seize amazed me — from sharp, detailed close-ups of foliage to huge photographs of tree canopies. I didn’t use a gimbal for these photographs, however the in-body stabilization on the Sony a6600 appeared to just do positive whilst 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 photographs and felt as if I have been on the park with the dancers or within the forest with the canine once more. The colours from the Tamron have been wealthy and vibrant, and the photographs have been crisp with a pleasing bokeh — no complaints there. The lens appeared to work together effectively with the Sony physique, and because of this the autofocus was practically flawless.
Testing out the Tamron 11-20mm f/2.8 actually opened my eyes to what’s potential with an ultrawide lens. Trying again on most 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 previously, this was additionally my first time utilizing a product from Tamron, and it’s protected to say it gained’t be my final.
So will I run out and buy this lens right this moment? Onerous to say. However if you happen to occur to see a put up on a videography discussion board asking “which wide-angle lens would you purchase if you happen to might solely have one,” you possibly can guess it wasn’t posted by me, as a result of I already know.
Editor’s notice: We welcome this put up by Photofocus e mail specialist David Specht. David works in advertising and marketing 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 might be discovered strolling his two pups, Finn and Ripley, and touring along with his spouse, Sam.