Cameracraft magazine – Taking your practical photography further
Author: David Kilpatrick
Professional photographer and journalist, founder and editor of magazines PHOTOpro, Photon, Freelance Photographer, f2 and Cameracraft. For 25 years director of the Minolta Club. Fellow of the BIPP and Hon. Fellow of the MPA.
The other unusual statement about the lens is that the zoom and focus design minimises breathing (desirable) and axial shift – well, I’ve not seen a zoom with axial shift, image wandering off centre when you zoom or focus, since the days of pioneering 1970s consumer glassware. Especially not a non-stabilised zoom, like this. Stabilisation has been the main reason any lens shifts off axis.
The lens weighs 488g which is great, takes 72mm filters which is not great but matches some other Sony lenses, and the size as you can see from the images here is convenient though not a single PR image sent to me shows it with a lens hood which could have some impact on bag/pocket ability. One thing’s for sure, if the dual linear motor focusing is as good as claimed, f/4 will not be a big loss over f/2.8 and carrying one lens in place of two will make this a winner for travel, landscape and urban shooting. It’s due to be in UK stores from March 3rd.
Charles Brooker writes about his experience with theTamron 150-500 vs Fujifilm 100-400 (with 1.4x Teleconverter)
My photographic journey hasn’t seen much need for me to compare lenses especially with the Fujifilm ecosystem being pretty lacking in competition. I had lusted after the Fujifilm 100-400 for a long while and eventually took the plunge about a year ago. Since then I have probably put it to use in over 50,000 images across wildlife, sport and occasionally cityscapes. When I got it I adored it. It was the single most expensive purchase I ever made and within a week I had bought the 1.4 extender which for the purpose of the review shall be included as a package. The two packages come out fairly similarly with the Tamron obviously being 150-500 f/5-6.7 and the Fuji being 150-560 f/6.7-8.
Build Quality and Features
At 1725g the Tamron is 400 grams heavier than the Fuji and this extra weight is obvious in the hand but also in terms of significantly reassuring build quality, it is built like a tank and those 400 grams take into account more image stabilisation options and 3 focus limiting options, 0-10m, 10-infinity and all. This compares to the all and 5m-infinity that Fujifilm offer. The switches on the Tamron are all very firm and you know they have been clicked. Unfortunately Tamron have not built this lens for use with the 1.4x tele or any other converter. This would have made for a very interesting test.
The 100-400 build quality has always been a major weakness in my eyes, it feels plasticky and the tripod mount screws have a habit of loosening (as do the screws holding the lens mount which is enormously off-putting). This screw issue is something that has always perturbed me when it comes to considering the level of weather resistance promised with the lens. I didn’t realise how low the standard of the 100-400 was until I acquired Fujifilm 50-140 and 16-55 f/2.8 lenses which are of supreme quality.
I would be inclined to say that the 100-400 feels a little more reassuring in focusing. I would expect that to be the case with a native lens. The focus seems to lock slightly more accurately. However, because the 100-400 only has one focus limiting option I often have a real issue when trying to focus on small birds close up. The focus will miss and hunt. Luckily experience tells me to half hold the shutter and initiate the AF+MF focus option to roughly manually focus then the AF will find it. If a rare bird was to perch for a couple of seconds, I would be more confident of getting a passable shot with the Tamron but more likely to get something very sharp with the Fujifilm. Action photography was a different story. Unfortunately I felt that the Tamron lens was not anywhere near as accurate to the point where I did not feel I could trust it in the same situations I trust the 100-400. Fujifilm have had seven years to tweak autofocus with firmware updates and Tamron will no doubt work on a fix for this.
The zoom rings on both lenses I would say are missing the sweet spot – the Fuji feels a touch light, turning is easy but always feels slightly lacking in reassurance, the Tamron is slightly too firm, it would be difficult to zoom accurately as you follow the action. I think the Fujifilm is slightly better on this. Both have zoom locks to stop the lens extending with gravity. The Tamron has a friction lock which is ideal for holding at a set focal length, however if you are using it in a high octane environment it is very easy to accidentally apply it. This is a nice feature and adds to the premium feel of the lens but I used it much less than I thought I would and much of the time I did use it was by mistake! The weight is also a big factor here. I have photographed many sports matches with the 100-400 without any fatigue issues, the Tamron was not a problem for me but I am in my mid-30s and pretty strong. If photographers are concerned about weight on the 100-400 the Tamron offering will be too heavy.
A pet peeve of mine is that neither the 100-400 or 50-140 have an Arca-Swiss plate on their tripod mount. This lack of attention is downright sloppy and luckily has been rectified with the 150-600. It means putting a third party one on. But given these lenses are almost exclusively used with a battery grip, this then means the camera will not sit flat on a table with the tripod plate added. This also adds a tiny bit more rock into the setup when moving the camera to find a subject and another thing that could come loose in part of the setup. The 100-400 with a 1.4x tele has a bit off rock in the mount and it never feels rock solid. This added to the fact that the tripod mount locking screws have a habit of coming loose is another issue while using the lens on a tripod.
The Fuji system is tripod, Arca-Swiss Plate, lens mount, lens, 1.4 tele, camera so there are five elements of potential play.
The Tamron on the other hand feels a lot more like it is the native lens when using on the tripod. When locked into my Peak Design tripod, it feels like one solid unit The Arca-Swiss mount sits snugly and the lens even feels tighter in the X-Mount system. The tripod mount is rock solid but it is clumsy and has a habit of getting in the way of the switches which significantly reduces the ability to react quickly to surprising action. Manual focus is also very tricky to get at when looking through the EVF.
My standard workflow with the images is to put them through Lightroom and Topaz Denoise when high ISO is required by Scottish Winter. Given it was December and miserable, the lenses were having to work hard at about 1/250 and ISO of 1600-3200. Generally speaking I would say the images from the Fujifilm were a bit sharper, but the images from the Tamron had more pleasing colour and contrast. This is unsurprising as I feel my Fuji 50-140 f/2.8 is definitely better with colour than the 100-400. Personally I feel the thing that makes photographs of birds special is the detail in the feathers and the increased contrast can be added in post.
I am lucky to have a very active bird feeding station in my garden with an army of finches trying to eat into my camera budget by emptying feeders in moments. I have a tripod set up in by the French doors and snap away infinitely (electronic shutter is very handy for this as no rolling shutter issues are really noticeable and without this I would be looking at a number of new shutter motors). I have been able to photograph the same bird on the same feeder within seconds using both lenses and settings and really image quality is so close to interchangeable. Looking back at the vast array of finished images I took over the month it would be very difficult to judge which lens took them.
I have photographed a number of rugby matches with the 100-400 and am aware of where it hits the limitations. I know in good light I can use the 1.4x tele and when it isn’t I can’t. I used the Tamron for the first half and had to change in order to get more light in. Scottish Rugby in January is a real test for a lens and I think the Tamron met its match here, and looking though the hundreds of images I was disappointed by the focus accuracy compared to what I would have expected of the 100-400, but what was more odd was that focus was not locking and tracking, so I would maybe get 4 sharp images in a batch of 10. This cost me the crucial try scoring frame on one occasion.
I am not saying the native glass would have got all 10 but I am confident that when focus locks it will stay on track when using that lens. I also discovered that the friction zoom lock became a total pain when using the lens for action photography, the number of times I had unsuspectingly initiated it and then couldn’t work out why the lens wasn’t turning was frustrating when concentrating on following the ball with the subject rapidly increasing in size.
It is rude to have a telephoto lens and not have a few goes at photographing the moon. I had the lens for quite a while before December in Scotland gave me a clear(ish) night. The lens performed very well but the location of the manual focus ring is very uncomfortable to use when the camera is on a tripod and trying to use the EVF focus peaking system Fujifilm offer.
If this was a buying guide I would immediately say to go out and buy the Fujifilm 100-400 from WEX second hand. At time of writing you can pick up an ‘excellent’ condition version of the lens for £850 and the teleconverter for £250 which gives you a year of warranty and peace of mind. If you were not willing to buy used paying £1450 for the 100-400 plus £360 for the tele would be negligent. You would be better getting the Tamron for £1400 or the new 150-600 Fuji lens for £1800. Internet forums and Facebook will tell you that there are good copies of the 100-400 and bad but I suspect there are good users and bad!
Picking your priority is the most important thing here. The 100-400 offers you flexibility – when light is tricky you can sacrifice some reach for more light, vital in keeping the fastest shutter possible. It also seemed to have significantly better AF when shooting action and feels slightly better in the hand even if build quality is somewhat lacking.
The Tamron lens is beautifully made but that comes at a weight cost. Initially I loved the handling but with more use, I found the idiosyncrasies of button location, the bulky tripod mount and zoom lock all left me rather frustrated, I never quite got the muscle memory I thought I would. I would like to think any AF issues have been fixed with the recent firmware update (which came as I returned the lens). In order to make a case for buying a third party lens over a native one, I think I need a compelling reason to do so and I don’t think Tamron have given me one.
Charles Brooker is a freelance photographer and also specialises in picture framing and bespoke leatherwork, including handmade camera and equipment bags. He is based in the village of Kirk Yetholm at the northern extreme of the Pennine Way – see https://www.charlesbrooker.com
The world can look very different through the lens… in our January/February 2023 edition, we took a keyphrase ‘Distorted View’ and it runs through the issue in different ways. Michael Colin Campbell remains an early pioneer of digital imaging, with Adobe from the start, after his entry into photography plunged him into the most high-end darkroom work ever with dye transfer printing. William Mortensen proved a fascinating historic photographer to research, with his strangely distorted occult images and nudes hitting the eyes of the photographic world a century ago but still looking contemporary. The third photographer on our cover, Peter Karry, has pursued reflections and altered views in strong colour for many years and won awards for his travel and creative work.
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Every picture tells a story, and we ask our photographers to tell the stories connected with their images. Faye Yerbury explains how someone copied her work by shooting over the shoulder, Paul Hands reveals his best-selling ever jigsaw – a perfect Christmas scene in Olde England! We visit the Beamish Living Museum of the North and a night time shoot with a World War II bomber, see how the Sony A7IV shapes up with major firmware updates, try Tamron’s lovely little 20-40mm f/2.8 zoom, and make prints for D-I-Y photo books and greetings cards using doubled sided inkjet papers
Our good friend and epic photographer Frank Doorhof alerted his Facebook followers today to Walmart selling imaginary 30TB tiny SSD drives for almost nothing. This saga just continues – Amazon has certainly been duped by vendors, Facebook may or may not finally have stopped the fraudulent adverts.
Back in March/April edition of Cameracraft we lifted the lid on one of these fake SSDs. I don’t know if any other UK photo magazines have bothered to do the same. We just try to give readers information they need!
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The latest issue, September/October 2022, takes us to the end of summer with a preview of The Photography Show (Sept 17-21) and tech tests of the £5,000 Leica Q2, Tamron’s £239 24mm f/2.8, the 7Artisans 50mm f/0.95 and the Rogue Round Flash kit which makes ordinary old camera-top flash work like circular reflector systems. It goes lives at 1.00am on September 1st, after our copies go out in the August 30th mail.
We kick off with Danny and Ted’s amazing adventure – our rock photographer’s encounter with heavy metal’s Ted Nugent. Kevin Wilson takes Sigma’s 105mm f/1.4 to Sicily for his daughter’s long-delayed wedding – Iain Poole shoots cars and bikes on the sands of the Yorkshire coast. Kenny Martin pushes the value of learning and training, while in Boston USA we meet Jaypix Belmer and her Hiphop and street culture projects.
Ian Knaggs perseveres despite creating images which he doesn’t like. Mark McNeill’s new book on Amazon, Britain by Night, gets four pages with a following feature on dark sky astro photography from Kate Hughes. Tim Goldsmith wonders which of today’s cameras will ever be as legendary as the Nikon F – and we show the results of our second Assignment, plus a Rearview Gallery devoted to black and white.
Cameracraft is received exclusively by subscribers and members of The Guild of Photographers. It’s easy to get single copies or subscriptions from this site, and in addition to the printed magazine digital delivery is an eco-friendly low cost alternative which fully supports our unique magazine.
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Luminar Neo has gained a new tool – Portrait Background Removal, enabling the background behind a subject to be made transparent in one click. Careful hair-by-hair selections are done by trained neural networks.
Portrait Background Removal tool can be found in the Luminar Neo Layer masking options.
Remove Background without Layering. Just open Luminar Neo, load an image, and select Portrait Background Removal.
Get clean assets for composing. Any portrait you edit can be exported as a PNG with a transparent background, a great base for seamless photo composing.
Create realistic portraits with AI that’s precisely trained on people. AI scans the image to find and select human figures as accurately as possible. Luminar Neo has an option to edit several images in a click with custom saved Presets, so editing event portraits becomes faster.
Achieve precise selections without extreme effort. The portrait and the background are highlighted in different colours. A Transition Brush refines the edges by removing unnecessary elements where the portrait and background touch. The Object Brush revives portrait details that may have been eliminated by the neural network, while the Background Brush helps to additionally remove parts that aren’t detected by the AI.
Luminar Neo is available as a one-time purchase or as a subscription. The new architecture is flexible, so it can be easily updated in the future. Luminar Neo is available in both the Microsoft Store and the macOS App Store. Luminar Neo works as a plugin, so you can keep your images in your preferred photo editor while still benefiting from its powerful AI tools.
Additionally, the brand-new Luminar Share mobile app allows you to quickly and seamlessly transfer images from your phone to your computer. Take a photo, edit it, and post it to social media without third-party programs that reduce quality. Luminar Share is available on the Google Play Store and the macOS App Store.
ExpoImaging, Inc., creators of the Rogue FlashBender speedlight modifiers, today announced new Rogue Round Flash Magnetic Modifiers for popular round flashes and rectangular speedlight flashes including Godox V1, Godox R100, Godox HR200 head for AD200, Geekoto GT 250, Geekoto GTR, and Westcott FJ80. Compatibility with Profoto A1, Profoto A1x, and Profoto A10 flashes requires the Rogue PF Adapter. Photographers want their speedlight modifiers to be easy-to-use, lightweight, and durable, and the new Rogue Round Flash Modifiers are all those things. Each modifier component is made from impact-resistant materials to withstand drops and conveniently stack together, whilst the white silicone dome collapses to save space in your gear bag. Rogue Round Flash Modifiers stay put because each magnetic component incorporates six custom-designed neodymium magnets, which provide a strong attachment force to the flash. The custom design safely and securely keeps the magnets within the modifier ring.
Rogue Flash Adapter has a stretchy silicone mount that enables a quick attachment to speedlight flashes using a metal ring mount to attach other magnetic modifier components.
Small adapter is compatible with Godox TT350, Canon 430, Nikon (SB600, SB800), Nissin (i40, i60A), Sony F32, and other similar sizes. The larger standard adapter is compatible with Canon 580, Godox 685, Nikon SB900, Nissin Di700A, Sony F60, and other similar sizes
Rogue Flash Gel Lens Enables users to attach colour gels to circular flashguns by placing gels between the magnetic Gel Lens. Unlike other magnetic modifiers, the unique design safely captures the neodymium magnets and keeps them in place.
Compatible with Godox (V1, R100, and HR200 head for AD200), Geekoto (GT 250, GTR) and Westcott FJ80Requires the Rogue PF Adapter (sold separately) to be compatible with Profoto flashes (A1, A1x, and A10)Can be used with rectangular speedlight flashes when combined with the Rogue Flash Adapter (Standard or Small)
Rogue Flash Grid 45 The Rogue Flash Grid 45 provides a popular grid angle for spotlighting control when shooting classic portrait or commercial product photography. Use alone to create a circle of light with a 45-degree spread or stack together to create smaller light circles.
Compatible with Godox (V1, R100, and HR200 head for AD200), Geekoto (GT 250, GTR) and Westcott FJ80Requires the Rogue PF Adapter (sold separately) to be compatible with Profoto flashes (A1, A1x, and A10)Use with rectangular speedlight flashes when combined with the Rogue Flash Adapter
Rogue Flash Diffuser Dome Great for wedding, event, and portrait photography, the Rogue Flash Diffuser Dome snaps securely to the flash and softly diffuses the light from shoe mount flashes.
Attaches directly to the flash with the Rogue Flash Gel Lens included in its baseCompatible with Godox (V1, R100, and HR200 head for AD200), (GT 250, GTR) and Westcott FJ80Requires the Rogue PF Adapter to be compatible with Profoto flashes (A1, A1x, and A10)
Rogue Round Flash Gels Place Rogue Round Flash gels between any two magnetic modifier components to add a colour correction or vibrant colours for your portrait photography. Available in two sets including the Ultimate Portrait Collection and the Colour Correction Collection.
Enhance your portrait photography with multiple shades of flash gelsGel diameter of 71.5mm fits other round flash modifier systemsCompatible with Godox (V1, R100, and HR200 head for AD200), Geekoto (GT 250, GTR) and Westcott FJ80
Bundle Kits for Round Flashes and Rectangular Speedlight Flashes The new Rogue Round Flash Modifiers are also available in kits with the most popular modifiers bundled for round flashes or rectangular speedlight flashes. For photographers exclusively using round flashes, the Rogue Round Flash Kit comprises the essential light modifiers, including the Rogue Flash Grid 45, Rogue Flash Gel Lens, Rogue Flash Diffuser Dome, 3-Gel Sample Set, and a storage pouch. This kit allows for the modification of two round flashes simultaneously using the grid or diffuser dome with the included sample gels. For photographers using round flashes and rectangular speedlight flashes, the Rogue Round Flash Kit + Rogue Flash Adapter bundle includes the Rogue Flash Grid 45, Rogue Flash Gel Lens, Rogue Flash Diffuser Dome, 3-Gel Sample Set, storage pouch, and a Rogue Flash Adapter (standard or small). This bundle allows for the modification of 2 flashes simultaneously (round flash or rectangular speedlight flash) using the grid or diffuser dome with the included sample gels.
Rogue Round Flash Magnetic Modifiers Compatible with Rogue FlashBenders v3 The Rogue FlashBenders v3 design is compatible with the new Rogue Flash Magnetic Modifiers. Previous versions of the Rogue FlashBenders are not compatible with the new magnetic modifiers.