I ordered this new lens by Tamron back on January 15. Because of a backlog I finally got it yesterday, Feb 12. Since it arrived early in the morning, I had time to get it out of the box and head out to try it out. Basically, I was mostly curious about how it would act at the extreme 600mm. Most zooms seem to lack quality when racked out at the long end.
I was extremely satisfied with the lens. First of all, it is only about half the weight of my Canon 500mm prime lens, and I feel that the sharpness compares to that lens. Not bad since it is about 6,000.00 cheaper. Also, compared to my 100-400mm zoom, it about the same weight, although I have not weighed it. With the lens hood, it is about 3 inches longer than the 100-400mm.
The following photo were all hand-held. As I stated, I was shooting mostly at the extreme 600mm length.
Female Northern Shoveler. Exposure 1/3200 sec. @ f6.3. Distance about 70 feet, zoomed to 600mm. Hand-held.
Killdeer. Exposure: 1/2500 sec. @ f9. Distance about 45 feet. Zoomed to 550mm. Hand-held.
Male Northern Shoveler. Exposure: 1/2500 sec. @ f7.1. Distance about 70 feet. Zoomed to 600mm. Hand-held.
This Osprey was across the river and high in a tree. I estimated the distance to be about 500 feet. Exposure: 1/2500 sec. @ f6.3. Zoomed to 600mm. Hand-held.
Great Blue Heron was across the river near the bank, estimated distance 400 feet. Exposure: 1/2500 sec. @ f9. Zoomed to 480mm. Hand-held.
The Eastern Bluebird was in a tree about 70 feet away. Exposure was 1/2500 sec. @ f10. Zoomed to 425mm. Hand-held.
Yellow-rumped Warbler. Distance to subject was about 70 feet. Exposure: 1/2500 sec. @ f9. Zoomed to 425mm. Hand-held.
The Robin was only about 50 feet away I think. Exposure was 1/2500 sec. @ f6.3. Zoomed to 550mm. Hand -held.
Not all photos were zoomed to the 600mm length, as I sometimes think more about the composition when I look through the view-finder, so I really forgot to check the zoom length.
My own conclusion is that I intend to use this lens instead of my Canon 500mm f4 lens. It was easy to hand-hold it and the auto-focus is as fast. The VC (vibration control) is as efficient as the IS (image stablization) in the Canon lens. As far as the sharpness in the images, I can see no noticeable differences in it and my more expensive L series lenses. I love the lighter weight, too.
Big Year update:
#94 Brown Creeper
#95 Clay-colored Sparrow
#96 American Robin