Tamron 18-270 Canon fit lens review

This is the lens I bought about 2 months ago now. I bought it because I was sick of carrying 2 lenses around when travelling, and I always seemed to have the wrong lens on whenever I wanted to take a shot.

When I bought my camera (Canon EOS 500D) I got it as a kit, body, 18 - 50 and 50 - 210 lenses. As the lenses were Canon they performed very well and I was happy with them, just not the constant swapping and the  larger bag required to transport them.

So I bought myself the above. I've been using it for some months now and thought I'd write a small review to let you know what I thought.

Here's an 'official' review of the lens follow this link to see Digital Photography's review of the lens.

Pros - It does exactly what I wanted it to do; I have only one lens that covers most shots I want to take. It fits into a small-ish shoulder bag with room for a few filters and a spare battery. It feels well constructed and weighty, on a horizontal plane it focus relatively quickly in good light. The shots it takes are clear and  have little distortion around the edges...even at the extreme end. This is a strange looks like a decent lens...the Canon lenses didn't, they looked like everybody else's lenses and had this narrow end 52mm diameter or something. This is a chunky beast with a 72mm filter diameter, it looks the business....this shouldn't matter...but it does...a bit. A feauture I like is the lens 'lock' you can see it on the picture above, this stops the lens from moving at all (i.e. the zoom sliding)

Cons - first thing you notice...compared to the Canon lenses that came as part of the's heavy...there are a lot of lenses in this monster, to do what it does takes a lot of technology and a lot of glass, a few hours of carrying this about on your shoulder and you feel it.
The double 'trombone' mechanism that makes this lens almost double in length at the extreme 270 end, is somewhat sticky in the middle, the transition point (around 120) is not smooth and feels awkward, almost like it doesn't want to go, you have to force it a bit.
Because of it's weight, it suffers badly from 'creep' i.e, if you're not holding the barrel and the 'lock' isn't slides under it's own weight; whether it's point upwards or downwards.
Like I said above...on the horizontal it performs fine, but if you tilt this lens up or down doesn't perform as well, maybe due to that lens creep I was talking about. If you switch to manual focus...then fine...but you've bought a AF expect it to AF! It really struggles getting a lock on things when away from the horizontal, especially the further you move away from the 18 end of the zoom.
The 72mm filter size....looks cool...costs a bomb to buy filters. I bought a polariser for it in KL, and even a cheap one was $80.

Overall...I'm very happy with it, this is an excellent lens that performs well under most conditions and for this really can't be beaten...there is no other lens on the market that has this zoom range!!. There are certainly better lenses, but not at this price range, and not with this zoom range. So if you're a traveller like me, and want one lens that does most jobs...this is it!


Wedding Madness

Well...we continued walking....we had been told about a nice place to get a drink and something to eat by the sea, so we set off to find it. Little did we know what we would find when we got there...

 We got there to find the beach....full...and I mean FULL of people in wedding gear having their photos taken, by professional photographers, with lighting and props and make-up artists etc.

It was such a bizarre sight. One of those cultural things that just makes you smile and scratch your head.

Yeas that's a faux grand piano in the background,
dining table and arbour in the foreground

 How they managed to take pics without other couples getting in the pic I'm not sure.

The bicycle was a very common prop for the ladies.


Qi Ao Island

So we went for a day out, to an island just of the coast of Zhuhai, connected by a rather large bridge. And came across a few surprises. Firstly the bridge itself is a bit odd... huge suspension bridge connecting a relatively small place to the mainland...why?
Well the owner of one of the local bars informed us that... at one stage there was a plan to build a road bridge across to HK, and this large 6 lane suspension bridge to the island was the starting point. They didn't get any further or they scrapped the plans or they ran out of money...who knows.
So anyway, we caught a bus over the bridge, no real idea where we were going or what to expect, we just stayed on the bus until it stopped (it actually just did a 3 - point turn) and all the locals got off, then we walked.
Well.. what we found was a quiet and quite traditional village, small single story houses with walled courtyards attached. Locals just going about their daily lives and wondering (no doubt) what the hell we were doing there and why we were taking pictures of bizarre stuff (doors, numbers, piles of bricks :))

Here's a smattering from the village.

Old door in the village

These 'shrines' peppered the village, all had incense burning at them

This lot followed us for a while thinking we were hilarious

old derelict building

back alley

great hat

and another great hat

Boys and their toys

They were brilliant with their yo-yos

like the hat

New Page

I've added a new page (Finally!) dedicated to pictures of piles, I realise this is rather a bizarre obsession, so have moved it to a separate place. Still....check it out by clicking on the 'Piles' tab at the top.
I expect now I've realised I can do that....more will follow.


Chinese characters

Jinding is also famous (locally) for Mr. Pizza...."The best pizza in Zhuhai", which does do very good pizzas btw, but that's not why I'm posting. Adorning the walls are Chinese characters and an English translation / interpretation of each. Here are three that caught my eye.

arrange as you will

Another visitor in the bathroom

This fella came to say hello last night. Look closely...he's lost a leg somehow.

5 legged cricket? / grasshopper?

Jinding street barbecue

So ten minutes down the road from BNU is a small town called Jinding. Every night, stalls are set up along the main road selling food; barbecued meat, fish and veg, hotpot is also available (not the Northern England style hotpot, but the Chinese version: a large pan of stock into which are dropped your ingredients of choice for a short time and then taken out and eaten with noodles or rice, quite often with a bit of the liquor from the pan)
The smells can be inviting or a bit full on, depending on the products being sold, some of the mainly meat based stalls are a bit overpowering and are accompanied by a slightly rank rotting smell....not good.
Each stick (you'll see them below) costs between 0.5 and 5 Yuan which is the equivalent of 5p to 50p (UK))
so you can choose 3 or 4 veg, a bit of meat and some noodles and it'll come to about a $1.50 (US) (my keyboard has no pound symbol...sorry). A plate of dumplings, usually made from minced pork, cost about 40 cents ....with a little dip made from vinegar, chilli paste and some coriander...they are awesome.
Anyway it's a spectacle, here're a few pics. These ones are DSLR, hopefully you can see the difference from the last lot.
Hand making noodles

Assorted ingredients waiting to go in the hot pot, take your pick on a stick.

The hot pot in action, complete with smiley faces

Or you can have them deep fried

Largely unidentifiable ingredients

My favourite; freshly steamed dumplings

Duck, very commonly seen like this


A few more pics from Guanzhou

So...Guangzhou...was preparing for the Asian Games 2010....slightly better organised than Delhi for the Commonwealth, they had pulled out all the stops and the place was obviously ready well in advance, no pot holes, building sites or stinking mosquito ridden cess pools. Well done....India...take note! For those of you that don't know this used to be called Canton...and obviously where the language and food Cantonese originate.
Anyway enough of that waffle.... here's a small selection of shots from the place.

Baskets down a back alley, near the Chen Family Academy

Dried fruits and nuts

Bamboo mat sellers

Outside the Opera House and Art Gallery seemed to be a popular place to have
pics taken before the wedding

Children on a trip to the art gallery (which was excellent btw and well worth a visit)
A common sight all over, young and old alike playing a local version of hacky-sac


5 Montages from GuangZhou

On a recent trip to Guangzhou in Guangdong province, China. We saw lots of stuff, too many to post pics of all of it, so here's a snapshot of some highlights via montages.

 At the crossings.
 A selection of some of the folk pottery from an exhibition at the Chen Family Academy.

Also at the Chen Family Academy, a selection of embroidery work, which was quite mind-blowing.
 Crammed onto the heavily used metro system, all a bit much sometimes.
An exhibition called Chromatic Interference at the Art Gallery.