Archive for April, 2014

Lens Review Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD

30 Apr


Tamron SP 150-600mm

Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD was tested in April 2014.  The version of the lens tested is for the Canon DSLR mounts and it is compatible with both crop and full frame sensor bodies. The lens is also compatible with Nikon and Sony bodies.

On a Canon crop factor camera body the lens provides a field of view equivalence of 240-960mm. The lens has fast, silent focusing, Vibration Compensation and eBAND (Extended Bandwidth and Angular-Dependency) lens coating in addition to the conventional BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coating. These coatings are designed to reduce flare and ghosting, and to increase contrast. The lens has a moisture-sealed construction, and has 20 lens elements in 13 groups including three low dispersion (LD) elements and an iris diaphragm with nine rounded aperture blades.

What is in the box

The lens, a large lens hood, a removable tripod mount collar and a large fold out guide  or manual.

Specifications of the lens tested

  • Focal Length (full frame): 150-600mm
  • Aperture Maximum: f/5.0-6.3 Minimum: f/32.0-40.0
  • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF Format
  • Compatibility: 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor, Canon (APS-C), Canon (APS-H)
  • Angle of view: 16° 25′ – 4° 8′
  • Minimum focus distance 8.86 ft (2.7 m)
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 1:5
  • Lens elements/groups 20/13
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter thread front: 95 mm
  • Dimensions (DxL): 4.16 x 10.15 in (105.6 x 257.8 mm)
  • Weight: 4.30 lb. (1.95 kg)

Handling and Features

This is a fairly large lens compared to the Canon 100-400 f/4-5.6 push-pull L series lens, and weighs 4.3 pounds as compared to the Canon 100-400 at 3.2 pounds. Tamron have used high quality plastics for the lens barrel in order to keep the weight down. Had this lens been made as an all metal construction, it would be much heavier and would not be as well balanced.

Tamron SP 150-600mm extend to 600 mm

The lens extend to 600 mm

The lens was tested using a Canon 5D Mk III and a Canon 7D. I found the lens reasonably well balanced while hand holding. It does get to be a bit of a strain during extended shooting so a tripod with a smaller gimbal style tripod head is advisable.

Switches on the Lens Barrel

Switches on the Lens Barrel

The lens is equipped with tripod mount, footed lens collar. An Arca Swiss style long lens plate was mounted for all tripod based testing.

The lens has three switches; each is a two position switch which is flush mounted on the lens barrel. The switches have a positive click and an audible feedback when operated. The switches are for: Autofocus/Manual focus, Vibration Compensation on or off, and focus limit. A lens lock at 150mm is also provided.

Lens Zoom Creep

The lens barrel tends to zoom creep over an extended period of time when positioned at an acute angle downward .  There is also some zoom creep when pointed directly upward.  The greater the angle the greater the creep. Extending an index finger to grip the lens barrel just beyond the zoom ring prevents any creep when the lens is handheld. Tamron has provided a lens barrel lock that will keep the lens locked in the 150 mm focal length position.  This is good during transport but Tamron should have considered making the lens lockable at all the major focal length positions.


The autofocus is fast and fairly accurate. The lens uses a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) focusing motor. The lens barrel has a two-stage focus limiter switch with a full and a 15 meter (49.2 feet) to infinity limited range. This is a very nice feature that prevents the lens from hunting through the whole focus range particularly when the subject is beyond 15 meters.

Manual focusing is reasonable as the focus ring is damped and very smooth. The position of the manual focusing ring could be improved as the lens collar comes in the way. For hand held operation it is preferable to rotate the collar 180 degrees or remove it entirely. Manual focus adjustments can be made in Auto or Manual focus modes as Full Time Manual is fully supported. The minimum focus distance is 8.9 feet/2.7 meters provides a magnification of 1:5. A focus window provides distances in meters and feet from the minimum focusing distance to infinity.

The front filter tread is 95mm and the front element does not rotate while focusing. This is a welcome feature, particularly for polarizing and split/graduated ND filter use.


Micro Focus Calibration Tool

Micro Focus Calibration Tool

I set up the lens to test auto focus accuracy. Using a LensAlign Mk II micro focus adjustments were made at 150mm and 600mm. At 150mm no adjustment was needed while at 600mm a -5 was needed to correct for some back focusing.

The Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USM) motor in the lens is very quiet when focusing and the speed is comparable to the Canon 100-400mm f/4.05.6 IS L lens. At 600mm the lens first retracts to the closest focus distance before extending to the focus on the distant subject. Overall it does not affect the focus speed, as this phenomenon is controlled by the camera body. This issue was prevalent using both camera bodies.

Manual Focus

As mentioned earlier the manual focus ring is in an awkward position for my liking. The total rotation is 120 degrees and very manageable at shorter focal lengths but is not as well tuned at focal lengths greater than 450mm, and focus appears to have a slight lateral shift.

Once focus is established on a subject, varying the focal length does not maintain focus. Refocusing is required for any change in focal length.


The lens was tested using the most accurate center focus point on the Canon 5D MarkIII as well as the focus assist group.

With both bodies the “One Shot” (AF-S on Nikon) and “AI Servo” (AF-A on Nikon) focus methods performed well from focal lengths of 150mm to 400mm. At 500mm through 600mm the lens did not track well in AI Servo mode due to the high magnification, but was fine in One Shot (AF-S) mode. The lens was erratic, and if it dropped focus lock on the subject it rarely recovered to lock on again. Re-focusing was the only way to track a moving subject again. The loss of tracking is more apparent for subjects that are approaching the lens and less problematic for subjects moving left to right, or vice versa.

Vibration Compensation

Overall performance of image stabilization was very good. At focal lengths of 150 through 500 the lens maintains stability 2 to 3 stops below the hand held shutter speed guideline of 1/focal length as the minimum shutter speed. Hand holding at ISO 200 while looking through the viewfinder, one notices an image shift when the VC (IS) motors kick in.

Here are some images of the full moon (cropped and sized to the same frame size) Settings used were: ISO 250, f/6.3, at 1/400th of a second, at focal lengths of 600mm, 500mm, 400mm and 300mm. The VC (IS) functions very well and is a pleasure to use.

Focal length 300 mm

Focal length 300mm

Focal length 400 mm

Focal length 400mm

Focal length 500 mm - some chromatic aberration is visible

Focal length 500mm – some chromatic aberration is visible

Focal length 600 mm - some chromatic aberration is visible

Focal length 600mm – some chromatic aberration is visible and there is a slight drop in sharpness

Test Results

All controlled environment testing was done in the studio with constant lights and and a test chart as shown below.

lens sharpness chart

The Sweet Spots

f/8.0 from 150-250mm:  at 300mm there is a loss of sharpness both in the center, as well as on the edges. At 400-600mm the center is sharp with some fall off toward the edges.

During tests, f/11 was found as a good aperture from 300-600mm. At 600 mm the edge fall off is pronounced, but that is also a factor of chromatic aberration. At the widest aperture in the 150-300mm range the lens has better overall sharpness from 200-300mm than at 150-200mm.

Aperture settings of f/8 through f/11 provide the best performance across the frame on a full frame sensor. f/5.6 through f/6.3 are good in the center. On a crop factor camera like the 7D the edge sharpness is acceptable in the f/6.3 to f/8.0 range at focal lengths of 300mm and higher while f/5.6 to f/6.3 is acceptable at focal lengths 300mm and below.

Pincushion Distortion

There is a slight amount of pincushion distortion through the entire focal length range of this lens. This distortion however, is minimal and very easily corrected using lens correction in Adobe Camera Raw or in Lightroom.

Edge Exposure Fall Off

Only visual testing was conducted for this test. The lens handles light fall off very well. It is most noticeable at f/22 but does not pose a problem at f/20. On the 7D body the frames captured at f/22 were acceptable with no cropping applied. f/20 is a very safe aperture for maximum “Depth of Field” and minimum edge fall off.

Chromatic Aberration

There is fringing at apertures of f/16 through f/22 at focal lengths of 400-600mm. Progressively getting pronounced as the focal length increases, it should be noted that though there is chromatic aberration it is not bad compared to other lenses in this class and could be considered low.

Chromatic aberration at 300 mm

Chromatic aberration at 300mm

Chromatic aberration at 400 mm

Chromatic aberration at 400mm

Chromatic aberration at 500 mm

Chromatic aberration at 500mm

Chromatic aberration at 400 mm

Chromatic aberration at 600mm

Pros and Cons


  • Great value for the price point
  • Very good build quality
  • Well damped focusing
  • Center sharpness throughout the range
  • Very quiet operation
  • Very good Vibration Compensation (Image Stabilization)
  • Low distortion and chromatic aberration


  • Position and rotational direction of focusing ring
  • Image shifting when VC (IS) engages
  • Edge sharpness fall-off at 600mm on a full frame body
  • Focus speed decreased at longer focal lengths


You might conclude from this list of cons, and some of the criticism, that the Tamron 150-600mm is not exceptional, but that would be very wrong. There are very few perfect lenses and the issues should be taken under consideration based on their significance for type of photographer who will use this lens, and the type of photography they do with it. This lens is a great performer, and the price point just can’t be beat. Used properly, and keeping its small limitations in mind, this lens will deliver excellent images and is a highly recommendable lens. It is an ideal hand holdable lens for nature and sports photographers.

Sample Images

Canon 7D, Tripod, ISO 250, f/9, 1/640 sec. As shot.

Canon 7D on tripod, at 600mm, ISO 250, f/9, 1/640th. As shot.

Image as above cropped to fill frame.

Image above, cropped to fill the frame.

Same image cropped to show head detail - crop size 280 x 187 pixels then zoomed to 600 pixels (Greater than 2X magnification)

Same image cropped to show head detail – crop size 280 x 187 pixels then zoomed to 600 pixels (Greater than 200% magnification)


Canon 7D, at 500mm, hand held, ISO 2000, f/6.3, 1/125th


Canon 7D, at 450mm, hand held, ISO 250, f/6.3, 1/1000th


Canon 7D, at 600mm, on tripod, ISO 250, f/6.3, 1/200th

Image as above cropped to fill frame.

Image above, cropped to fill the frame.

Canon 7D, at 600 mm, hand held, ISO 250, f/6.3, 1/800 sec.

Canon 7D, at 600mm, hand held, ISO 250, f/6.3, 1/800th

A recent press release from Tamron announced  – TAMRON WINS TIPA AWARD 2014 FOR SP 150-600MM F/5-6.3 DI VC USD (MODEL A011) “BEST EXPERT DSLR LENS” These awards are presented each year by the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) to top photo and imaging products.

The post Lens Review Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD by Shiv Verma appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Es werde Farbe

30 Apr

Ich habe Kolorierungen für mich entdeckt. Alten Schwarzweiß-Aufnahmen neues Leben einzuhauchen, sie etwas mehr ins Jetzt zu holen und mit Farbe zu versehen, macht unglaublichen Spaß. Und auch, wenn ich die Technik noch nicht perfekt beherrsche, bin ich völlig fasziniert von dem Möglichkeiten und Ergebnissen.

Alte kolorierte Fotos haben mich schon lange beeindruckt. Im Netz findet man einige großartige Beispiele. Und diese Bilder waren es auch, die mir gesagt haben: Sowas schaffst Du bestimmt nicht.

© Toni Frissell, Kolorierung: Katja Kemnitz

Als ich vor einigen Tagen in Photoshop das Farbe-Ersetzen-Werkzeug entdeckte, merkte ich jedoch, wie wunderbar man damit im Modus „Farbe“ Farben verändern kann, ohne Tonwerte zu verändern. Ich öffnete eines meiner Lieblingsbilder von Toni Frissell, eine Unterwasseraufnahme, und begann, das Werkzeug auszuprobieren. Nach drei Stunden, einigen Sackgassen und neuen Versuchen war ich fertig mit meinem Bild und zu meiner Überraschung sehr zufrieden.

Hat man erst einmal einige Grundtechniken entwickelt, ist das Kolorieren gar nicht so schwierig, braucht aber Geduld. Ich dubliziere für jede neue Farbe, die ich anbringen möchte, die Ebene und teste einige Farben durch. Ich passe die Größe und Härte des Werkzeugs an und male vorsichtig über die grauen Töne. Bin ich unzufrieden, kann ich im Protokoll zurück oder nutze das Radieren-Werkzeug. Ist die Farbe zu kräftig, verändere ich die Deckkraft der Ebene.

Ein wenig Wissen über Licht und Farben ist von Vorteil. Farben beeinflussen sich gegenseitig, reflektieren. Besonders Hautfarben finde ich sehr schwierig. Haut ist nicht gleichmäßig, hier und da mal gelblich, mal rötlich. Gerade hier muss ich noch viel üben.

Anne Frank, Kolorierung: Katja Kemnitz

Oft musste ich auch einfach raten. Ob der Mantel im Original nun blau, rot oder braun war, weiß ich nicht und kann es auch nicht mehr herausfinden. Ich wähle also die Farbe intuitiv und schaue, wie sie mit dem Rest des Bildes harmoniert.

Einige Fotos funktionieren auch viel besser als andere. Eine gute Ausgangsqualität ist super, aber bei alten Bildern nicht immer gegeben. Rauschen macht die Bearbeitung zum Beispiel schnell schwierig und oft wirkt die Kolorierung darauf nicht mehr wie ein Foto, sondern eher wie ein Gemälde. Einige Versuche habe ich so aufgegeben, weil ich beim Bearbeiten merkte, dass es mit dem Bild für mich nicht funktioniert.

© Toni Frissell, Kolorierung: Katja Kemnitz

Vor allem benötigen Kolorierungen viel Geduld, die mir leider all zu oft fehlt. Ich bin niemand, der gern mehrere Stunden an der Bearbeitung eines Fotos sitzt. Lieber stürme ich hinaus und mache ein neues Bild. Dabei tut es sehr gut, sich einmal mehr Zeit zu nehmen und wenn ich mich darauf einlasse, ist es beinahe eine meditative Arbeit. Zumal ich kein Tablet besitze und jeden Schritt vorsichtig mit der Maus gehen muss.

Bis ich es so perfekt beherrsche, wie man es in den tollen Beispielen der Profis sieht, dauert es sicher noch, aber es macht Spaß und ich lerne mit jedem Bild wieder etwas.

Habt Ihr schon einmal koloriert? Welche Technik nutzt Ihr und habt Ihr noch Tipps für mich?

kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin | Fotocommunity

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Posted in Equipment


Italien in den 80ern

30 Apr

Unter Kennern und Könnern werden ältere Straßenfotografien besonders gern in Farbe gesehen. In den 1950ern und darauffolgenden Jahrzenten entstanden, entfalten sie heute einen ganz besonderen Reiz. So fallen Namen wie William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz oder Helen Levitt, die zu bekannteren Pionieren gehören. Heute möchte eine Serie zur Einsichtnahme geben, die das öffentliche Leben Italiens in den 80ern präsentiert.

Charles H. Traub selbst war und ist jedoch kein Einheimischer, sondern Amerikaner. Infolgedessen fotografierte er mit den Augen eines Touristen – was keineswegs negative Folgen hatte. Seine Aufnahmen sind gespickt mit Humor, italienischer Anmut und satten Farben.

Was jedoch ist das Besondere an derartigen Fotografien? Was bringt es uns, Bilder anzusehen, die vor dreißig Jahren entstanden sind? An dieser Stelle möchte ich Garry Badger zitieren:

Sie bringen Dich an Plätze, zu denen Du nicht gehen kannst, wie etwa die Oberfläche des Mondes und sie bilden auch Erinnerungen, sie bringen Dich an ein vor langer Zeit. Sie erlauben Dir, durch Zeit und Raum zu reisen.¹

Und das trifft – Kraft Virtuosität der Aufnahmen Traubs – auch in diesem Fall fraglos zu. Denn bei aller Farbenpracht und Originalität sind sie von einer Beiläufigkeit, die nicht zu übersehen ist. Wiederholt sind Füße abgeschnitten oder der Horizont sitzt schief. So gar nicht profihaft wirken die Kompositionen, nein, viel eher aus dem Alltag gegriffen, genuin und deshalb glaubwürdig.

Verona 82 © Charles Traub

Rome 82 © Charles Traub

Naples 82 © Charles Traub

Reggio Emlia © Charles Traub

© Charles Traub

© Charles Traub

Florence 81 © Charles Traub

Florence 82 © Charles Traub

Capri 82 © Charles Traub

Milan 81 © Charles Traub

Venice 81 © Charles Traub

Naples 81 © Charles Traub

Amalfi 82 © Charles Traub

Rome 81 © Charles Traub

Da ich selbst vor Kurzem Farbe dem Monochromen vorgezogen habe, bin ich umso glücklicher über jeden Fotografen, der „früher“ in Farbe dokumentierte. Charles Traub hat es geschafft, mich erneut dafür zu begeistern. Und scheint damit nicht nur mich erreicht zu haben:

Dolce Via wurde in der TIME Lightbox vorgestellt und ist eines der Bücher, die ARTnews unter dem Titel „11 edgy new photo books that will make you look (and think) twice“ publizierte. Beim ICP (International Center of Photography) gab es sogar eine Signierstunde. Und die hier gezeigte Serie „Dolce Via“ (Süßer Weg) ist seit März auch als Buch* erhältlich.

¹ Ten questions for Martin Parr and Gerry Badger | Phaidon

* Das ist ein Affiliate-Link zu Amazon. Wenn Ihr darüber etwas bestellt, erhält kwerfeldein eine kleine Provision, Ihr zahlt aber keinen Cent mehr.

kwerfeldein – Fotografie Magazin | Fotocommunity

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Posted in Equipment


DxO launches upgrade for Optics Pro, now supports Nokia Lumia 1020

30 Apr


DxO has launched an upgrade of its Optics Pro Raw conversion software. Version 9.1.5 now offers support for the Nokia Lumia 1020’s DNG Raw files. The Canon EOS 1200D (EOS Rebel T5), Olympus E-M10 and Stylus 1, and the Nikon Coolpix P340 are now supported as well. An upgraded version (2.1.5) is also available for ViewPoint, DxO’s software and plugin for geometric corrections. Learn more

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DIY Hyperlapse: Make Your Own Timelapse Motion Pictures

30 Apr

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Photography & Video. ]


You may have seen this amazing animation and thought it took an impossible amount of work to create, but there are multiple sites tools, and do-it-yourself tutorials that greatly simplify the process. This particular piece, which has been circulating the web, is a GIF from the music video below (scroll a few minutes in to see various examples).


Popular enough now to warrant its own definition and description, here is a summary of the trending phenomena: “Hyper-lapse photography [is] a technique combining time-lapse and sweeping camera movements typically focused on a point-of-interest.” Other names for this include: Walklapse, Spacelapse, Stop-Motion Time-lapse, Motion Timelapse and Moving Timelapse.

time lapse hyper speed

As for those wishing to follow suit and create something similar: the Google Street View Hyperlapse creator is by far the easiest online generator for these kinds of panoramic captures – you simply set start and end points as well as a point of focus then click a button. Be warned: experimentation with this tool may be habit-forming.

hyperlapse tool generator page

Per this tool’s creators, who have made their API-based work openly available on GitHub, “creating them [can] require precision and many hours stitching together photos taken from carefully mapped locations. We aimed at making the process simpler by using Google Street View as an aid, but quickly discovered that it could be used as the source material. It worked so well, we decided to design a very usable UI around our engine.”

For those who want to customize their work and take it to the next level, the video above walks creators through a more direct use of Google Maps, screen captures and more nuanced edits. While their approach presumes you have and know how to use a video editor (higher barrier to entry), they also go into more detail about how to pick the perfect shots. For instance, their video explains how to line them up and utilize motion blur effects in the foreground to enhance the visual experience – all techniques that can be applied in Photoshop or a similar program to GIFs as well as videos.

Finally, lest you think this is a brand-new fad, consider Devil’s Circuit from Takashi Ito, which took the same wraparound approach to buildings in 1988 – the big difference now is simply the accessibility and ease of tools with which anyone can make something of this kind.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Photography & Video. ]

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Posted in Creativity


40 Inspiring Save-the-Date Photography Examples to Amaze Your Friends

30 Apr

With so many adorable and romantic Save-the-Date announcement photos floating around Facebook and Pinterest these days, it could be a challenge to create something new. Save the date is the first correspondence with your guests, and it serves more functions than just letting them know about the date and location. It sets the tone of the whole wedding, giving the Continue Reading

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Fujifilm firmware brings swifter viewfinder and sundry features to X-E2

30 Apr


Fujifilm has released a firmware update for its X-E2 mirrorless camera, bringing its viewfinder performance up to the standard set by the X-T1. Firmware 2.0 also adds a choice over the color of focus peaking and the ability to apply Face Detection and EVF/LCD Setting to one of the customizable buttons. A ‘Suppressed Flash’ option has also been added. The viewfinder now operates at 200Hz, meaning a lag of just 0.005 seconds. The firmware is available for download from the company’s website.

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Fujifilm XF 56mm F1.2 R real-world samples gallery

30 Apr


We’ve been shooting with the Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R – the fast 85mm equivalent prime lens for Fujifilm’s X mount mirrorless cameras. Its F1.2 aperture means it gives similarly shallow depth-of-field to an 85mm F1.8 lens on a full frame body, making it an ideal portrait or low light lens. We also spent time using the X-E2 with an advance version of firmware v2.0 while putting this gallery together. See gallery and read about our experience with the update

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Call for entries: Dorthea Lange-Paul Taylor documentary prize

30 Apr


The Center for Documentary Studies is now accepting submissions for the 2014 Dorthea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize. For nearly twenty-five years this competition has provided money to ‘encourage collaboration between documentary writers and photographers in the tradition of acclaimed photographer Dorthea Lange and writer and social scientist Paul Taylor’. Learn more

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Some Samsung Galaxy S5 units shipped with defective camera

30 Apr


The S5’s camera module keeps causing trouble. First there were concerns about problems in the manufacturing process of the S5’s new 6-element lens, now Samsung has confirmed that an unspecified number of the flagship phones have shipped with defective cameras. Learn more

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