Tamron 150-600mm lens review


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.

Gadwall - from camera

Northern Shoveler female – orig

Gadwall- cropped and edited

Northern Shoveler female – cropped and edited

Female Northern Shoveler.  Exposure 1/3200 sec. @ f6.3.  Distance about 70 feet, zoomed to 600mm.  Hand-held.

Killdeer - from camera

Killdeer – orig

Killdeer - cropped and edited

Killdeer – cropped and edited

Killdeer.  Exposure:  1/2500 sec. @ f9.  Distance about 45 feet.  Zoomed to 550mm.  Hand-held.

Northern Shoveler - from camera

Northern Shoveler – orig

Northern Shoveler - cropped and edited

Northern Shoveler – cropped and edited

Male Northern Shoveler.  Exposure:  1/2500 sec. @ f7.1.  Distance about 70 feet.  Zoomed to 600mm.  Hand-held.

Osprey - from camera

Osprey – orig

Osprey - cropped and edited

Osprey – cropped and edited

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 - orig

Great Blue Heron – orig

Great Blue Heron - cropped and edited

Great Blue Heron – cropped and edited

Great Blue Heron was across the river near the bank, estimated distance 400 feet.  Exposure:  1/2500 sec. @ f9.  Zoomed to 480mm.  Hand-held.

Eastern Bluebird - orig

Eastern Bluebird – orig

Eastern Bluebird - cropped and edited

Eastern Bluebird – cropped and edited

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 - original

Yellow-rumped Warbler – original

Yellow-rumped Warbler - cropped and edited

Yellow-rumped Warbler – cropped and edited

Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Distance to subject was about 70 feet.  Exposure:  1/2500 sec. @ f9.  Zoomed to 425mm.  Hand-held.

American Robin - original

American Robin – original

American Robin - cropped and edited.

American Robin – cropped and edited.

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

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32 thoughts on “Tamron 150-600mm lens review

  1. Boy you make it look so good, been wanting to take the plunge here but how does it compare to the Canon f4 prime lens?

    • Well let me tell you this. I put my 500mm f4 Prime in the closet while I tested the Tamron. Now I just recently sold the prime as I discovered that the performance of the Tamron is it’s equal, and much more mobile. Much lighter of course, possible to hand-hold. Sharp right out to the 600mm end. You better order one soon, as there is a waiting list. 🙂

      Thanks for writing, Terry.

    • I agree, that is usally the case. So far, I haven’t noticed any, but maybe after a few days of experimenting with I may notice some softness or dropoff.. I’ll post if I see any negative results.

  2. My whole life, I never saw a shoveler. They are indeed beautiful birds, and we’re seeing them every weekend now, Glad they came out for you as tested your new secret weapon! Gonna have to get me one…

  3. Thank you for sharing this info, Bob. The only thing I don’t like is that it would be manual focus on most of the Canon prosumer lenses once it got past f/5.6. What is the minimum focusing distance on it?

    • Jim, I don’t understand what you are saying. What would other lenses have to do with it. Minimum focus distance is 8 feet 8 inches.
      Incidentally, I have been doing more tests. I find that it is sharper, or as sharp as my 500mm f4 Canon. That is at the extreme 600mm zoom.

        • Of course, reading further into your replies, that is awesome that it does auto-focus all the way to 600mm. I will have to look into that lens vice some of the other alternatives out there.

    • I was wondering about that too. Most DSLR’s cannot autofocus with an f-stop greater than 5.6. I guess it’s not a problem. 😛 Bob, thanks for taking the time to post a review.

      • No problem there. It auto-focuses at all apertures, at all zoom distances. And fast. One more thing, at the farthest zoom, 600mm. there is no loss of clarity. Truly amazing.

  4. looks good ..especially impressive is your Osprey..back light is great, but the detail of the feathers in the shadow area are fabulous. I think you are going to enjoy this lens from what I see now..

  5. Wow, Bob, very nice! I must admit I’m tempted. Although I think I need to wait a month or two. My first zoom lens was a Tamron 75-300mm I think, so I am somewhat familiar with their construction and feel.

      • The sheer thought of being able to shoot from that far away and not have to hire somebody to carry it around for me … not to mention the price … makes it inevitable. I may have to pick this up before I get to the Edwards Plateau. 🙂

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