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Why Tamron’s zoom is always on call

Posted on Jul 21, 2023

We discover why Nathan Whittaker, aka Manc Wanderer, reckons Tamron zooms are the life and soul of the party

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Photographer Nathan Whittaker – better known to social media followers as Manc Wanderer for his shots of Manchester streets and the musical icons performing in the city – has just arrived at Glastonbury with his camera bag when we speak.

Shooting mirrorless on the Sony A7 IV, Tamron is Whittaker’s regular lens manufacturer of choice, with the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD the model he employs for the majority of his work. For those who don’t know, this optic is notable for being the world’s first all-in-one full-frame mirrorless travel zoom lens. Available in Sony E-mount, it’s a versatile zoom built specifically with mirrorless cameras in mind, known for its breathtaking image quality and beautifully soft bokeh.

“The reach of this lens is great for live music,” Whittaker adds. “I can get a wide shot of the band and close-up of the lead singer or guitarist. I use it for everything. That same flexibility can be applied to a street scene, I can get a whole square in Manchester in frame and then zoom in on a skateboarder – the range is great.”

Where other lenses can’t reach

While the photographer tells us he also has his eye on getting the best-selling Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2, further creative components in Whittaker’s arsenal for both music and street photography include the Tamron 20-40mm f/2.8 Di III VXD and 70-180mm f/2.8 Di III VXD.

The ultra-wide 20-40mm has the added distinction of being a 2023 TIPA World Awards winner. That’s partly down to being compact and lightweight, yet still able to deliver awesome image quality, shattering the stereotype of a fast-aperture zoom. Put simply, it redefines what to expect from a standard zoom and is equally adept whether shooting stills or video.

“This is the one lens I wanted to bring with me to Glastonbury – it gives you a nice, non-distorted view and is just wide enough and close enough,” the Manc Wanderer enthuses. “It’s a very compact size – the smallest lens I’ve got. It’s superb for atmospheric shots and I will be using it for photographs of friends performing on some of the festival’s smaller stages. With the Sony, it gives me a lot of flexibility in being able to crop shots later and maintain plenty of detail.”

Meanwhile, the 70-180mm zoom boasts all the creative freedom of a telephoto lens while being generally lighter, smaller and faster – thus it has proved perfect for Whittaker when photographing bands from the front-of-stage pit. When your subject is fast moving, it helps that this compact optic also boasts the highest levels of autofocus speed and precision in Tamron’s 70-year history – with outstanding image quality to (muddy) boot. 

“This was the first Tamron lens I got. It’s really sharp and allows me to get more dramatic-looking shots. When photographing live gigs, I can have two Sony bodies and two or three Tamron lenses on me – and they will all fit in one small backpack,” he marvels. “The portability and creative flexibility of Tamron lenses has allowed me to get images other photographers shooting alongside me in the pit can’t – and that’s priceless.”

Originally published in Issue 109 of Photography News.

juggling act Image made using Nathan Whittaker’s Tamron lenses of choice
juggling act Image made using Nathan Whittaker’s Tamron lenses of choice

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