Sunday I took my two older kids and a friend of theirs to the zoo – you gotta keep your kids moving so they tire themselves out. And for that a zoo visit is perfect. Additionally, it gave me an excellent chance to play with my new 70-300mm Tamron lens. Also, I brought the Canon 50mm prime lens, wanting to do better in the nocturnal animal house than last time. Obviously along was the 18-135mm kit lens of my EOS 650D, the new one with the Stepper Motion Technology for better focus
In the end, to my utter surprise, the cheap Tamron lens beats the living hell out of the Canon kit lens! Wow! It is better at low light focus, it is the faster lens, too. And the image stabilizer is worth its weight in gold. Colour me very impressed – it cost the whopping sum of € 289.- only!
Here’s a spring hare (Pedestes capensis), one of the better photos I got with the Tamron. Compare to the pic below it, which is the best the Canon lens allowed.
What a difference!
It begin with not being able to use autofocus with the Canon, so I had to manually adjust the focus. Which sucks, because there is too little light for me to do it properly. Secondly, the suggested exposure was much too long, so I manually turned it down a bit. I tried ISO 12800, and it did help a bit (the photo above is ISO 6400), but that combined with the bad focus made the pics utter crap.
The Tamron, in comparison, focussed nicely, and despite the extreme ISO of 12800 the pic is not too grainy. Additionally, don’t forget that the Canon is at 18 mm, whereas the Tamron is a whopping 70 – with the Canon at 65 mm (I didn’t exactly hit 70mm, as I never planned this comparison) even at ISO 12800 it was impossible to get a tolerable exposure. 1/25 for the Tamron is cool
I proceeded to photograph the animals in the nocturnal animals house with the Tamron, here are some of the results.
A Kinkajou or Honey bear (Potos flavus). It was in constant motion, so photographing it was really difficult without flash.
Greater Slow loris (Nycticebus coucang) – cool critter! The facial expression and the way he stood up by putting his hands on the glass to look closely at my children reminded my very much of our baby boy
Common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), feeding. Bats are incredibly hard to photograph, because you can’t expect any one at any time to actually sit around in a circle of light.
There was a bunch more, but – well, it finally dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, I am a bigger idiot than I thought I was. I do have that 50mm prime lens, which is f 1:1.8. Hm…….. by this time the kids were getting itchy, they wanted out of the dark and to a bench to sit and munch cookies. OK; off we went, but not before I got a few shots with the prime lens.
and a Senegal bushbaby (Galago senegalensis).
More photos from this zoo visit later; the Tamron proved its excellence outdoors, too