Reviews

Special Review – Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens

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About the Author:
Dustin is a full time pastor/part time photographer from Pembroke, Ontario who shoots professionally but primarily for capturing beauty and sharing it with others. www.dustinabbott.net


Few lens announcements in recent history have caused quite the stir in the photography community as this new release from Tamron, the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD. The debate has been whether or not Tamron could produce a lens that lived up to its potential, particularly at such a low price point. There were skeptics and there were believers, but after shooting more than a thousand frames with this lens, you can most definitely count me among the believers. This lens defies all expectations!

This is an excellent telephoto zoom lens that reaches a focal length longer than what most people currently own at a price that they can probably afford. That makes it fairly unique. But what really sets this lens apart from previous budget offerings is that, other than price, there isn’t really anything “budget” about it.

First of all, it is a very well-constructed lens. It is not a small lens, about 26cm retracted, but no lens at this focal length is. It is dense without being unnecessarily heavy (1951g), has dust and moisture resistance, a metal bayonet mount, and a removable tripod collar. The barrel has a handsome texture, and the focus and zoom rings are made of nicely ribbed rubber. The barrel extends smoothly an additional 8cm during zoom, but there is absolutely no wobble or play. It is constructed of the typical modern mix of high-strength engineered plastics and metal and, frankly, it feels just like all the other quality lenses that I have purchased in recent years. There is no hint of “budget” in its construction.

I have used it in very difficult weather conditions (extreme cold, snow, and rain) without a hint of complaint from the lens. I should also point out that the lens has an excellent minimum focus distance of 2.7m, which gives it a greater maximum magnification factor (1:5) than almost all of its competition. It also includes Tamron’s industry best six year warranty.

The lens has Tamron’s Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) focus motor, and it is extremely quiet in operation, along with being both fast and accurate. Some photographers were concerned about its focus speed, but it has exceeded my expectations in that regard. The inclusion of a focus limiter switch will further help in certain situations.

Another incredibly important inclusion is Tamron’s Vibration Compensation (VC) system for combating camera shake. Tamron’s VC system has received nothing but praise since its introduction, and this lens represents (by far) it’s most necessary application. Without VC, handholding 600mm is virtually impossible, but because of an excellent application of VC, I have been able to shoot the lens almost exclusively handheld. Every shot shared in this review I took using the lens handheld, and that is, I believe, the best testimonial for the excellent VC.

All of these things pale in comparison to the most important question: “Is the image quality any good?” Prepare to be impressed, because this lens delivers an image quality far above its price point. It ticks all the right boxes. Sharpness? Check! The lens is incredibly sharp throughout almost all the focal lengths. It is slightly less sharp at 600mm wide open, but stopping down even a half stop to f/8 restores excellent sharpness. Color rendition is excellent. Even the bokeh (out of focus area) in both the highlights and transition zone is very good. Flare resistance is also very strong. This lens is capable of taking beautiful photos, period.

Game-changer? Absolutely! If you are in the market for a long range lens but have a short range budget, you simply have no better option than the brand-new Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens.

>> View the Tamron SP 150-600mmf/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens

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  • Shelly Seward

    Hi, have you taken any pictures of the moon with it? How much will it be? It looks like an amazing lens!!

    • Guest

      it list for $1069. I too cant wait to take moon pics with it on a crop camera it will be like a telescope especially with extenders

      • Brian

        $1300 plus tax from Vistek. Mine arrived today, but I got home too late from work to pick it up from Canada Post :-(

  • Charlie Lukes

    Thanks for the review. I have mine pre ordered an it will replace my Tamron 70-300 mm which rivals the Canon 100-400 , especially comparing the $350 price to $1700.

  • Rob Bye

    I’m told Nikon users have to wait before seeing this lens in our mount. None the less, I have one pre-ordered through Henry’s. Every review I’ve read suggests this lens is a winner.

  • Ahmed Yahya

    thanks for sharing this great review
    have you seen any focus breathing at the 600mm end ? is it true 600mm at all focus distances ?

  • rholmans

    How does it rate compared to Canon’s lo 600mm?

  • SmarterEnu

    It is the person behind the lens, not the lens. Photography is art, light, composition not pixels. Modern lens technology blow away all the old ones.
    Sheesh. I have Nikon 2.8 pro glass and some of my best shots have come from the convenience of having a pocket camera with me.
    Bravo Tamron. Got mine ordered.

  • HB Eugene

    The reviews which I read from the Canon version of this lens convinced me to be one of the first in my area (North Vancouver, British Columbia) to order the Nikon version. After a 3 month wait, I finally got the lens (May 20/2014) and i’ve been blown away by its performance. It is sharp, responsive and extremely manageable handheld. The output is definitely as expected. This is the first non-Nikon lens which i’ve bought, (and I have all very hi-end lenses) and with this, I can lay my Nikon 200-400mm F4 to rest for a while. Quite frankly, you will not go wrong with this purchase.