Posted on: 2009-01-03 00:00:00 -0500

I picked up a Tamron 28–300 VC to pair with a Nikkor 50 f/1.8 AF-D as a lightweight travel combo. The 28–300 VC doesn't have the resolution of the Tamron 28–75, obliterate backgrounds like the Nikkor 70–200 VR, or offer the acutance of either one, but it looks way better than you'd expect for the zoom range. Its bokeh gets a bit nervous at times but generally looks neutral. It’s reasonably sharp across the frame at the wide end of the zoom range, the corners get soft in the middle, and the edges soften at the long end.

I took it for a spin during the reception of a recent wedding as well as for few backup portraits, and when the couple left the venue for their car. The latter is tough to photograph because the couple often covers a fair amount of ground. One option is to move with them, but it's often hard to do so without becoming overly intrusive. Today, I stood next to the car, which was about 20 meters from the door to the mansion/venue, and racked the lens out to 300 mm. This filled the frame with them as they walked out the door and down the walkway to the car, which was filled on both sides with guests blowing bubbles for them to walk through. I then got a couple of photos of them at 28 mm as they got into the car followed by a bunch while zooming in as they drove away. I've never gotten this many good shots of the couple leaving the wedding.

It’s VC capability works extremely well. I’ve gotten plenty of sharp photos at 1/6 s at 300 mm. The main drawback of the lens is that the small maximum aperture makes for slow focusing in dim light on the telephoto end. At 300 mm, it's f/6.3 wide open, which is a third stop smaller than f/5.6.