Lens of the Month

Roaming Boston With the NEW SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2: Tech expert, Erica Robinson puts the SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens to the test.

By Jenn Gidman
Images by Erica Robinson

Erica Robinson, who has long documented her hometown of Boston with her camera, recently put the new Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens to the test there. "As photographers, we talk about how we see things, and I see things differently than others," she says. "Knowing Boston as well as I do, I wanted to put this lens through its paces in capturing the unique details my city has to offer. The 24-70 G2 was ideal for this test drive. It's the perfect focal-length range for someone who just purchased their first full-frame camera, as it offers a bit more of what we see as far as the wide angle, in terms of our natural field of view. And, of course, it offers a maximum F/2.8 aperture and the Vibration Compensation (VC) feature, which allows me to handhold and still achieve sharp images even at dusk and at night, which is when I love to wander around the city."

Erica explains how she used the 24-70 G2 for her promenade around Beantown:

Freedom Trail
© Erica Robinson
24mm, F/2.8, 1/13th sec., ISO 320

The Freedom Trail is one of Boston's most famous attractions. It's a 2.5-mile path that winds around the city, past 16 sites that played an important part in the city's history, from churches and meetinghouses to burial grounds and museums. I took this photo of a section of the trail on the other side of the State House, near where Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are.

I wanted to give the trail particular focus in my frame exactly because it's so important to Boston's history. Although people are always following the trail, they often simply walk over it and don't really pay attention to what it looks like. To get the unusual perspective I wanted on this well-known landmark, I got down low—not fully lying on the ground, but pretty close. The 24-70 G2 allowed me to selectively focus on the part of the path in the foreground before softly blurring into the background, where those colorful lights appear.

State House street scene
© Erica Robinson
24mm, F/2.8, 1 second, 100 ISO

One of the sights along the Freedom Trail is the Old State House, built in 1713 and once at the center of the events that spurred the American Revolution. I decided to create a time-lapse video here, shooting over a period of two hours and 40 minutes. I shot one frame every minute for the duration, then combined those frames later on.

However, when I was going through the images afterward, I spotted multiple still frames that could stand on their own as individual images. This one especially stood out. I'd really wanted to make sure the State House was the focal point, so I kept it low, as well as made sure the leading lines of the street and the car lights headed straight in that direction and drew the viewer into the State House as the focus.

Manhole cover
© Erica Robinson
50mm, F/2.8, 1/5th sec., ISO 320

One of the things I like to do most in my hometown is find and showcase details that other people may never notice. That's why I decided to highlight this manhole cover—it's a definite urban detail, but also place-specific in that it has "Boston" imprinted right across the front.

The illumination was coming from the top right, from a streetlight, but I had to position myself a little further back and zoom in to be at 50mm and make sure my shadow was out of the image. I wanted to create the photo so that the light was warmer on one side and darker on the other, where it would fall into itself and not be all one tone. Using the 24-70 G2, I was able to shoot at the shutter speed I wanted, handheld, because the Vibration Compensation kept everything stabilized for me and ensured the image came out sharp.

© Erica Robinson
24mm, F/2.8, 1/20th sec., ISO 1600

The Bell in Hand Tavern is one of America's oldest watering holes. It was established around 1795, and for more than 200 years since, imbibers have come to partake in its offerings. It helps that it boasts a very cool structure and is surrounded by cobblestone and brick—it has so much to offer as an authentic representation of "old Boston."

I used the lens here at the 24mm end so I could capture as much of the scene as possible. I also wanted to capture people in the image, first because that's such a big part of its overall vibe. But it's also because when you see destination shots, it's sometimes hard to tell exactly how big a structure or building is. Adding something we have a value for in our head—whether it's a car, dog, or person—can help add a sense of scale and place, especially for a viewer who's never seen that scene in person.

Click for more info on the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 VC G2 or check out the entire Tamron product line here.