A DNG WIC for Win7, 64 bit

Adobe has been dragging their feet for more than 18 months on this one – they can’t seem to ship a working DNG Windows Imaging Component compatible codec for a 64 bit based Windows system. Along comes the FastPictureViewer WIC RAW Codec Pack – which fully supports DNG on 64 bit Win7 machine. From my initial testing and reading other reviews, it makes DNGs (and other RAW file formats that would require other codecs) just work.

It also works on Windows 32 and 64-bit Vista and Windows 7 (and XP SP3).

It’s donationware (meaning you should donate to the author if you want to continue to use it after a trial period).

I use DNGs exclusively – and was frustrated by the lack of explorer thumbnails when browsing folders (as was my wife when she’s looking through our photo folders stored on our Windows Home Server).

Tamron 18-270mm Lens Review (for Nikon and Canon DSLRs)

imageI recently purchased a Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical IF Macro Lens (for my Nikon D300). My wife and I had planned a 4 day trip to Paris, France, so I knew I’d be giving it a thorough work-out. I’ve uploaded some sample shots from the lens at a variety of f/stops and focal lengths so you can see how it handles various situations.

My previous go-everywhere lens was a Tamron 18-250mm lens. I’ve owned that lens since I bought my D300. To set expectations regarding my photography skills and tools, you might want to head to my photography page on my web site which lists most of my current equipment. I’d definitely describe myself as an amateur with a very forgiving wife (married, with expensive hobby, … get it? :) ). I was very happy with the 18-250mm. I’ve taken a bunch of photos that I’m really happy with and it’s more than met my expectations. The only downside was that it didn’t have vibration reduction. There have been too many events and outings recently that I really wish I had a bit more freedom to take photos without a tripod.

I knew Paris would be a great test as we’d be indoors in museums and such just as much as we’d be outdoors, and it was predicted to be gloomy and rainy all the days we were scheduled to be there. Although it thankfully rained almost entirely during the early morning hours (while sleeping), it was gloomy nearly every day.

Overall, I really think the lens rocked. The only problems I occasionally would mumble about was having difficultly locking focus. It wasn’t frequent, and usually was related to some unusual shot I was trying to take. Either it would eventually lock, or I’d change the focal length slightly and it would lock immediately. A few times, I focused manually. I took about 800 photographs while in Paris –- and only a small number of shots overall were delayed by this issue. I can’t honestly say that my older Tamron had the problem – not very often. However, I’m not sure that I would have expected the end shot to be as nice in many of the situations given the likely blurred shots that would have resulted from me handholding in such low light situations. image

I could also tell that the lens weighed more than my old lens. After long days carrying around the camera, my SmugMug :) neck strap wasn’t sufficient.

I’ve seen some complaints of lens creep — (where the lens will slowly open when tilted downward on its own if the lock is not set). I’ve had lenses that do this – and it’s pretty common actually given how these super zoom lenses need to work. You can lock it completely at the widest setting to prevent it with a small lock on the side of the lens. I haven’t had the problem with this lens (yet). When the creeps start to happen, it’s annoying, but I’ve gotten over it in the past.

The Tamron lenses are not for full-frame sensor cameras like the D700.

Most importantly, and to understand my feelings on this – this is not a professional lens. I did not pay a professional lens price. I do not expect professional lens quality. Far too many reviewers of lenses seem to expect that even though they paid 1/10 the cost of a lens (or camera body, or etc.), it should have the characteristics and quality of the more expensive items. I don’t believe that for a second. You often get what you paid for. Lenses are no different.

Given that and the few problems I had, I’d definitely recommend this lens for around $600. Of course, buy from somewhere reputable, and check into return policies if you’re not sure. The lens has a 6-year warranty from the manufacturer. 

I’ve uploaded the full size images (converted from RAW) for you to look at on SmugMug here.

More information:



Manufacturer’s Page