This is a sponsored review from BlogHer and Tamron.
When Sean surprised me with a proper grown-up camera for my 30th birthday earlier this year—thus cementing my status as a proper grown-up myself—I was smitten. (With the camera, I mean. Although sure, he’s alright too.) But after taking it out of the box, I....well, I didn’t think outside the box, I guess you could say, and I do mean that quite literally. Yes, I fiddled around with it enough to figure out which buttons did what, dimly calling upon my knowledge of F-stops from a photography class I’d taken back when grunge was still in fashion, but it never even occurred to me to buy any accessories for my new camera. A lens? Why ever would I need a lens? It comes with a lens, doesn’t it? Oh, you mean a better lens? Those exist?
Well, apparently they do. I was recently sent the Tamron AF18-270 to play around with and if you stick around for a little bit longer, I’ve got one to give away to you too. One’s life becomes rather different when one realizes there is a world outside the standard oh-it-just-came-with-the-camera lenses. One could even say that a dark side is revealed: a gorgeous, expensive, crisp and clear and perfectly-zoomed-in dark side. Damn it: another thing to want.
As lenses go, the Tamron AF18-270 is pretty standard-looking, by which I mean it’s not hot pink or covered in Ed Hardy tattoos or shaped like an aardvark or anything , a small mercy upon which I think we can all agree. It resembles, in fact, a beefier, buffed-up version of the standard lens on my Canon Digital Rebel. It is, however, the world’s first 15X optical zoom lens and boy howdy, does it zoom. The first time I used it, I briefly considered a career in the paparazzi. Oh alright then, it wasn’t exactly briefly. I actually looked into rolling over my 401k.
While I use my camera for a lot of different things, it gets most of its mileage as my travel companion, and so I decided to take my new lens on a couple of different trips. First, it accompanied me to the wine country of Northern California, where I freaked out my husband by sticking it right in his face.
Actually, that’s a lie: this wasn’t right in his face at all. When I took this—on a rainy, cloudy, totally gray day in Healdsburg—I was standing a good ten feet away from Sean. Had he been a stranger and I a particularly zealous stalker, I could have got all up in his business like this without him even knowing. While my standard lens would’ve zoomed in to a decent degree, this bad boy got right up in there into every single crease and pore---all while I could have pretended to be taking a picture of the tree behind him. Great news for creepy people!
Another thing I liked about the lens was the built-in vibration compensation; I don’t have the steadiest hand, per se, even when I haven’t been sampling wine country’s finest. When I took super zoomed-in shots like the one below, I liked how the picture still turned out clear. What’s the use of seeing each individual chocolate chip in a mint chocolate chip milkshake if those chocolate chips don’t look crisp and sharp and good enough to eat, you know?
My favorite thing about the Tamron AF18-270 was its versatility. Nothing pleases me more than streamlined solutions, and as I am fundamentally lazy and probably not the ideal candidate for changing out lenses as the situation requires---let us please remember that I’ve just been using the one that came with my camera for close to a year---I do appreciate a good multi-tasker. This lens takes nice zoomed-in shots, as I mentioned, but has enough of a range that you’re not stuck taking super close-up pictures of everything you come across. Any time I can adjust a product to give me a different result without switching out the product itself, I’m happy. Even I’m not so lazy that I won’t even twist a lens.
Check out this shot I snapped from my hotel room on a recent work trip to Las Vegas, for example.
Now check out me going all paparazzi on it with a swivel of my wrist. Boom! Up close and personal! In your face, Vegas!
For a while before we took off for that trip to Vegas, I was taking pictures of my co-worker, who was sitting across the aisle from me and several seats away. Then I realized that taking multiple pictures of a girl I didn’t appear to be traveling with---many of them with a zoomed-out telescopic lens---probably looked a little suspect. So I stopped. Probably best for everyone; the last thing I needed was to be escorted off the flight.
Because I often have to take pictures in hotel rooms as part of my job, I tested out the new lens for this as well. I’m pleased to say that it did very nicely. Very nicely indeed.
Other things I liked about this lens were the handy lock feature—though perhaps I’m rougher than most with my camera, but I didn’t find it always held so well—and the fact that when I zoomed in on something, I really zoomed in on it; there wasn’t much background blur because of the tight depth of field. All in all, I found it a pretty nice improvement over the standard built-in lens that came with my Rebel, and it certainly made me feel a whole lot fancier when I was using it. Yep, "a whole lot fancier": that’s some technical camera speak right there.
So here's the deal: would you like a new camera lens of your own? The Tamron AF18-270 is valued at $629 and is designed for Canon or Nikon Di II DSLR cameras. I can’t guarantee that it’ll be the key to your most successful holiday card picture yet (if past experience is anything to go by, the law of averages dictates that no five pairs of eyes can ever be open at the same time) but I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. I did.
Since I'm going with a whole paparazzi theme here, to enter just leave a comment telling me which celebrity you'd like to get up close and personal with, if you know what I'm saying, and I think you do. The contest will end on November 30, 2010, at which point I will randomly select a winner and notify them by email with OMG YOU WON A LENS in the subject line. For a second entry, you can tweet or blog about this post with a link to it (and put your tweet or blog URL in a separate comment below). You can read the official rules here and read what other bloggers thought of their new lens right here. Good luck! And if you choose Tim Riggins, I will cut you.