Photography News 111 - Newsletter

First test

FULLY FEATURED As well as a built-in tripod-mounting ring, there are a bank of handy function switches

FREE AS A BIRD Due to its shorter physical length, this wide-ranging zoom is a really portable option

missed. Of course, this does mean extra precision is needed to hit exact desired focal lengths, but spend more time with the lens and undoubtedly this would become second nature. The lens features a suite of function switches, offering quick access to essential modes. Vibration compensation can be flipped between a standard mode, one exclusively for panning, and another for framing priority, which assists with the tracking of fast-moving subjects. The function can then be switched off via a second dedicated switch. The same on/off option is present for autofocus. Naturally, AF mode is determined by the camera body, which I found to be seamless thanks to the X-T30’s own dedicated switch. And with a fourth on-lens switch, focus range can be set to full, 3m to infinity and 15m to infinity – undoubtedly helpful. Given the lens’ close-up capabilities, an additional shorter position would be useful. Currently, the closest focusing distances can only be achieved in the

unrestricted limiter position. This presents less of an issue when using AF, but when working manually, moving to close focus from a further plane requires considerable rotation of the focus ring. Furthermore, unlike the generous zoom ring, the focus ring is very narrow. Again, finding it would become second nature with prolonged use, but it’s not as intuitive as one might like. Another positive physical attribute is a zoom lock mechanism. Given that the Tamron extends significantly as it zooms, this is essential for keeping the lens safe as you travel, and a very welcome touch. Better yet, it can be applied at every zoom position during use, allowing it to function as a temporary prime, with no chance of accidentally ruining fixed compositions. Optical quality was astounding in virtually all conditions, with only slight loss of contrast – compared to native lenses – when working directly towards light. That’s to be expected, and is combatted to a fine standard with Broad-Band Anti-

Reflective coating. There’s further fluorine coating on the front element to increase protection and the whole lens offers moisture resistance, with sealing at all essential points. As a final touch, the 150-500mm f/5-6.7 comes with a tripod-mounting ring. It’s sturdy, easy to attach and its foot is Arca-Swiss compatible. It does sit a little close to that slim focus ring we mentioned, but that’s a small price to pay for pleasing balance. Offering stiff competition for comparable native and third-party lenses, it’s certainly one to consider for those of you who want to go to greater lengths.

Verdict A promising telephoto that’s convenient to carry and well-spec’d for field use. As a cheaper third-party alternative, some nuance is lost, but for the price point, it’s an exceptional optic. PROS Compact for focal length, fairly priced, good close-focusing capabilities, impressive AF and IS CONS Shorter coverage than Fujifilm’s official X Mount alternative, no teleconverter compatibility, optical quality dips slightly in more challenging conditions

Issue 111 | Photography News 61

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