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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Essential Zoom

Venerable. Indispensable. Classic. Timeless. For a nature photographer, there just isn’t one word that expresses the true value of a fast, constant-aperture 70-200mm lens.

Labels: Gear
This Article Features Photo Zoom

7) 1⁄640 sec., ƒ/5, ISO 800, 113mm (effective 180mm), Tamron 70-200mm ƒ/2.8, Canon EOS 7D, 5:33 p.m.
Rock Creek Canyon, 10,000 feet, mid-September
In Rock Creek Canyon, the first color comes to the aspens above 10,000 feet in the Eastern Sierras in mid-September. The autumn change appears as the dominating green chlorophyll pigments degrade, leaving the always-present yellow and red pigments to show their colors. There's a specific beauty to this early turn, as some leaves opt for a change to red, while others turn a more traditional yellow, and others, still, retain their soft hues of green. The compression of a moderate zoom setting, here, 113mm, draws together the planes of focus from the foreground aspens to the background conifers, creating the effect of a flat canvas. The abundance of needle-and-leaf detail is artfully gathered by the SP (Super Performance) glass in this high-quality lens. Also important in these conditions of bright leaves and dark needles is an overcast sky that serves to soften the light and retain detail down to the tree trunks.

Your SUV: The Nature Photographer's La-Z-Boy®

The Giottos 6010 car window mount with built-in, three-way panhead and quick-release camera plate has a street price of only $53.95 and is perfectly mated with the 70-200mm. The lens collar centers the balance point on the window mount, and the quick release makes it easy to remove and reattach as you drive from point to point. Not knowing what the shatter threshold of safety glass might be, we felt better about removing the weight of the camera while pitching and rolling over uneven ground.

Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD

What you get:
1 Lens-collar mounting for balance
2 ƒ/2.8 maximum aperture
3 Tamron Advanced Vibration Compensation
4 Alone or with a 1.4X teleconverter, you have an effective range of 112-320mm at a constant ƒ/2.8 or 156-448mm at a constant ƒ/4
5 Estimated Street Price: $1,499


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