Above you can see a cropped image of a 300mm test shot I did take under bad weather conditions with my new 70-300mm Tamron lens. It was pretty cloudy, the ISO was bumped up to 1600, which is why the image is grainy even after using the noise reduction tool in Lightroom. Of course, the cropping makes the high ISO more apparent, but without editing it looked worse. Below I will show you the image without crop, and after that I will show you the image without crop and without changes in Lightroom.
As said, the image was shot at ISO 1600, aperture was F5.6 and shutter speed 1/60, that is what the camera decided in program mode. I didn’t set the camera manually because I was more eager to find out how much reach I have at 300mm and didn’t want to care about any camera settings. But I think there wouldn’t have been much room anyway to lower the ISO, because at 300mm the lens has the aperture of F5.6, and there would also not be much more room to lower the shutter speed handhold. Anyway, considering that I was in a park with lots of trees, and considering that I shot the photo during overcast, it’s not too bad. Before the purchase of the lens, I knew it’s a slow one, and that I would need to drop a lot more money to get a lens with better aperture.
Above you see the image before I applied cropping and before I applied other changes in Lightroom. The photo doesn’t look that good, it’s grainy due to the high ISO, and the image looks too pale for my taste, but as you saw in the first images, I often do make tone changes in post-processing anyway. About the lens speed again, it doesn’t bug me, because my kit lens is F5.6 too, at least at 105mm. With my kit lens the results would have been the same, except that I would be farther away due to the limited focal length. I hope I remember correctly, but taken at 300mm I was around 7 feet or 10 feet away from the common black bird, but I am not sure. The only thing I am sure about is that the bird was not afraid, and I had enough time to take the photo, and that is good.
My new lens is not a lens for bad weather, but then again, my kit lens isn’t either and I don’t expect wonders with a low-budget. At the end it’s more about the photographer anyway, and I still have to practice a lot. I am pretty interested to see the results when it gets brighter, especially how the lens performs on sunny days, I want to see the low ISO images, that is just not possible when it’s dark and cloudy. Anyway, I have seen a lot of dramatic forum posts about the Tamron 70-300mm lens where people said the lens would be useless under bad lighting conditions, that means I expected the worst, but now I feel a little bit reassured after my first field test. I think some people exaggerate, and of course you can seek pixels and errors, but technology has it’s limits, at least if you have a small budget, and it’ll cost more if you expect more. Finally it’s about photography, about the subjects we shoot, and I believe the 300mm will help me to get a little bit closer.