Lens of the Month

Tamron’s 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens

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By Jeff Allen

Some photographers cringe when they plan to get out to shoot then the weather turns bad. Not me. I smiled when I saw the forecast for clouds and snow headed my way. The new Tamron 100-400mm f4.5-6.3 just arrived and I knew, due to its moisture resistant seals (along with my moisture-sealed DSLR camera body), it would shake off the snow showers and deliver sharp images with good contrast thanks to the use of three Low Dispersion (LD) glass elements in the optical construction.

Heading out as dusk and the blue hour approached before the storm, I encountered a few subjects to help me put the lens through its paces. Despite the flat light, the 100-400 delivered sharp crisp images for me, as seen with the red-tailed hawk.

© Jeff Allen
Red Tail Hawk at Dusk: Shot handheld with VC on at 400mm with crop sensor DSLR, ISO 1600, 1/125sec, f7.1

Photographers tend to overlook telephoto lenses for landscape photography, but as seen in these shoreline photos, the telephoto’s compression and magnification can capture interesting landscapes in addition to the usual sports and wildlife.

© Jeff Allen
Shoreline at Blue Hour: At 100mm, shot handheld with VC on, with crop sensor DSLR, ISO 800, 1/80sec, f4.5

© Jeff Allen
Shoreline at Blue Hour: At 400mm, shot handheld with VC on, with crop sensor DSLR, ISO 800, 1/40sec, f6.3

This snowman usually spends the winter in my front yard whether we have snow or not. After getting more snow than predicted, he was up to his nose in bright snow, so I needed some exposure compensation to accentuate the metal figurine’s details.

© Jeff Allen
Snowman: Shot handheld with VC on at 100mm with crop sensor DSLR, ISO 200, 1/100sec, f8.0 with exposure compensation set at +2 stops to compensate for bright snow in the background

Heading over to a nearby river in search of more subjects, I found some ducks paddling around looking to find some tasty morsels in the stream. Mallards always make for a splash of bold color in a photograph.

© Jeff Allen
Mallard Drake: Shot handheld with VC on at 400mm with crop sensor DSLR, ISO 400, 1/125sec, f11

I always like to put new lenses to a test of their capabilities, so all my shots were made handheld, including the photo of the thistle, protected from the weather under a highway overpass. I shot handheld at 400mm at the minimum focus distance of approximately 59 inches (as measured from the camera sensor) at 1/80 sec shutter speed! The amazing capabilities of the (CIPA compliant) 4-Stop stabilization, courtesy of the Tamron Vibration Compensation (VC) mechanism. Tamron recently upgraded the VC capacity with an additional microprocessor unit to control the VC in all the newest lens. Tamron’s best-in-class VC is now better than ever.

© Jeff Allen
Thistle Surviving Winter: Shot with crop sensor DSLR at 400mm handheld with VC on at minimum focus distance of 59 inches, which provides a magnification ratio of 1:3.6, ISO 1600, 1/80sec, f7.1

While the VC capabilities of this lens are outstanding, shooting on a good tripod or monopod can add additional stability for even sharper photographs in a variety of situations. There is an optional attachable light-weight tripod/monopod mount for the 100-400 which is Arca-Swiss compatible and has a standard ¼” thread for mounting on almost any support you choose. If you shoot a lot on a monopod or tripod the mount is a must.

With its compact design and light weight (only 40 ounces), there are no excuses for not taking the 100-400 along on your next shoot.

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