“We Tried It – The NEW Tamron 150-600mm!”

Tamron 150-600mm Lens

It took a little prodding (and begging) but we finally got our hands on the new Tamron 150-600mm VC lens to put it to the test. Here’s a quick rundown of our experience with this new super-telephoto zoom lens.

Upon un-boxing the lens you got the feeling that you were handling a solidly built… nicely finished piece of equipment. The first function I checked was the smoothness of the zoom, long tele zooms are known to “hang up” slightly as the groups of lens elements move internally. This lens is surprisingly smooth which is very helpful when trying to frame your subject accurately. Now it was time for a couple days of “in-the-field” testing.

This 4.3 pound lens mounted on a Canon 5D Mark III body made for a moderately hefty package… but definitely manageable. You can remove the detachable lens mount to knock off a few ounces if you think that will make a difference for you. “Then how do I mount this set-up on my tripod?”… you ask. Well, this lens has Tamron’s excellent Vibration Compensation (VC) built in and is begging to be hand-held, and that’s the way we used it.

We weren’t going for award winning shots, our objective was to check sharpness at different apertures, focus speed and hand holdability. We ended up shooting exclusively at the 600mm focal length. Our feeling is that anyone that buys this lens will likely be shooting at 600mm 95% of the time because it will primarily be used for wildlife photography… and with wildlife, the closer the better.

Sharpness? Honestly, we were amazed at how sharp this lens is, but not overly surprised considering Tamron’s reputation for high-quality optics. Even at f6.7 the lens produced superb results, very usable, and gets even better stopping down a couple stops.

Focusing speed? Another “excellent” rating from us. Fast, quiet and accurate – again, better than what was expected, and the minimum focus distance of less than 9 feet really helps when shooting birds out of the window at close range.

Tamron’s Vibration Compensation? This is the icing on the cake. Imagine being able to take this lens and trek where no tripod has ever gone before… and get the shot – and get it sharp. It’s hard to believe, but using the VC we were able to shoot at shutter speeds down to 1/100 of a second with the aperture wide open and still get great results. That’s what makes this a “must have” lens for the serious bird photographer/trail wanderer. Check out the slideshow below to see what we did with this great lens the past few days, and remember, all shots were hand-held with the VC switched on.

Our thoughts? We were expecting Tamron to price this lens in the $1400-$1600 range… maybe even higher. At the actual selling price of $1069.00 this lens is a no-brainer for the serious wildlife photographer. If you don’t have that much change in your piggy bank right now… keep saving your pennies and make this your next lens purchase.

Availability? EOS mount versions have just begun shipping… with Nikon estimated for mid-March and Sony models TBA.

Tamron 150-600mm Lens

(Tamron 150-600mm Slideshow)

(Visit Tamron’s 150-600mm Page)