Hands-On Review: Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Di VC USD for Canon

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Tamron’s brand-new 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Di VC USD has generated a lot of attention with its release. This is mainly because it offers Canon, Nikon, and Sony shooters access to the super-telephoto zoom. This lens replaces Tamron’s 200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD and provides photographers with just a little more reach for better accessibility to wildlife, sports, and other distant subjects. It’s compatible with both full-frame and APS-C camera systems, with the latter resulting in a focal-length equivalence of approximately 240-960mm on Canon and 225-900mm on Nikon and Sony cameras. Buyers can get an impressive, high-performance lens that really stands out in its class.


Handling

This is a large lens, although that can be a subjective observation. Anyone accustomed to shooting with similar super-telephoto zooms won’t notice much difference. At slightly more than 4 pounds, its weight is comparable to Sigma’s 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM and it's about a pound heavier than Canon’s popular EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM. Compacted, it’s a little more than 10” in length. Extended to the longest end of the zoom range, and with the hood attached, it measures more than 17”. An included removable tripod collar is quite useful for anyone who doesn’t have the desire or ability to shoot handheld. While it’s certainly possible to shoot this way, it’ll get tiresome quickly if you don’t have the strength and stamina—you’ll need to mount it on a tripod and prevent additional shake from fatigue. The large detachable hood works well to suppress flare, though Tamron’s eBAND and BBAR coatings do a great job of minimizing these issues even without it.

The filter thread is a considerable 95mm, which makes for a very large front element. The downside here is that 95mm filters can get expensive, and you might not be able to double their use for much else in your kit. The front cap is a center-pinch type piece that stays securely in place and doesn’t pop off with a slight bump or jostle, a benefit to those trekking out for nature photography. There’s a handy zoom-lock lever on the barrel, and it leaves little option about whether or not to engage it—without it, the lens does creep. The ribbed zoom and focus rings are large and easy to grip, which makes manual focus incredibly smooth. The lens seems to be relatively durable as well, and after shooting for three days straight in a sub-zero wind chill, never faltered. Overall, it feels comfortable and sturdy in the hand, delivering across the board as both ergonomically and visually pleasing.

Performance

The 150-600mm f/5-6.3 was tested with a Canon 5D Mark II, and definitely proved to be an impressive piece of glass. The speed of its AF system (an Ultrasonic Silent Drive motor) is easily comparable with those equipped with Canon and Nikon’s high-end glass, kicking into action in a snap. It’s incredibly smooth, silent, and fast every time.

ISO 1250 | 600mm | f/6.3 | 1/160 sec. | Handheld with VC on

The lens is very efficient at finding an established focal point, something that can be tricky with super telephoto, and doesn’t cause you to miss out on a shot due to hunting for focus. There’s also a focus limiter switch, which further expedites the process, if need be. The only issue was accuracy, which suffered just slightly with moving subjects. Even at fairly high shutter speeds, subjects in motion were more susceptible to blurriness. Stationary shots were consistent in their clarity, throughout. Overall, AF could use a few improvements, but remains pretty solid for a lens of this type.

ISO 500 | 600mm | f/6.3 | 1/250 sec. | Handheld with VC on

Image sharpness in general is notably stronger at the wider ends of the zoom range, primarily between 150-300mm. At 500-600mm, softness can occur. A tripod does help to minimize this. Handheld shooting at the long end of the zoom becomes a little harder to do, especially if you lack the aforementioned arm strength. Vibration Compensation is very useful here, and definitely makes a difference in the details when you have no other option but to handhold the lens. It also helps to stabilize what you see in the viewfinder, so you end up less shaky when trying to compose. As a note, Tamron’s Sony-compatible version of this lens does not include VC, and relies instead on in-camera image stabilization.  

ISO 250 | 600mm | f/7.1 | 1/320 sec. | Handheld with VC on

Background bokeh is beautiful. This lens houses a circular 9-bladed aperture, and it yields stunning, painterly elements of defocus when shooting at shallow depth of field. Of course, the 150-600mm tops off at speeds between f/5 and f/6.3, depending on where you are in the zoom range. Like a lot of lenses, its maximum aperture is not quite its sharpest.

ISO 500 | 600mm | f/6.3 | 1/400 sec. | Handheld with VC on

Around f/8-f/10, there’s a notable jump in clarity. Considering that it seems to need a lot of light, especially for action shots, this can be a bit of a handicap. To really capture crisp subject matter in motion, especially at the longer end of the zoom, a fast shutter speed is optimal—and necessary.

 

    ISO 125 | 600mm | f/10 | 1/100 sec. | Handheld with VC on                                                   ISO 125 | 150mm | f/10 | 1/100 sec. | Hand-held with VC on

Some slight chromatic aberration and fringing was evident from time to time, though it was very minimal and easy to overlook without close inspection. Pin-cushion distortion, a common issue in telephoto photography, was barely, if ever, noticed. When magnified on a computer monitor, image sharpness pleasantly and consistently retained its integrity from corner to corner of the frame. The colors remained true and rich, even when out shooting in a bleak winter environment, and would undoubtedly do well capturing bright foliage or birds.

ISO 125 | 600mm | f/10 | 1/320 sec. | Handheld with VC on

©Images by Amanda Bellucco Photography

Conclusion

While it’s not without flaws, the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Di VC USD’s amazing range is going to be pretty hard to beat. All things considered, it exceeds expectations. It looks solid, feels solid, and performs with a great deal of heart. For nature photography in particular, this lens is really going to make a name for itself. Given the chance, it just might surprise you. Looking for a reliable super telephoto zoom? In this case, Tamron’s got the answer.

Watch this hands-on review of the Tamron 150-600mm lens.

Format Compatibility 35mm Film / Full-Frame Digital Sensor
Camera Mounts Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sony A
Focal Length 150-600mm
APS-C Equivalent Focal Length Canon: 240-960mm
Nikon: 225-900mm
Sony: 225-900mm
Maximum Aperture f/5.0-6.3
Minimum Aperture f/32-40
Angle of View 16° 25' - 4° 8'
Minimum Focus Distance 8.86' (2.7 m)
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 1:05
Lens Construction 20 elements in 13 groups
Aperture Blades 9
Tripod Collar Yes, removable
Image Stabilization Canon, Nikon: Yes, Vibration Compensation
Sony: No
Autofocus Ultrasonic Silent Drive Motor
Filter Thread 95mm
Dimensions 4.2 x 10.2" (10.6 x 25.8 cm)
Weight 4.3 lb (1.95 kg)

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Hi,

Will this lens (Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD) work on my d5200 and will the auto focus work?  

.....Rob

Yes, this lens is fully compatible with the Nikon D5200 and all other Nikon DSLRs.  The "USD" UltraSonic Drive feature in the lens will allow it to autofocus with Nikon bodies which require a motor in the lens in order to autofocus.

Hi Rob! I have a Nikon D5200 also, and I was woundering if you bought the Tamron  SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD ? And if you did, how did it worked?

regards

Can you let me know when this lens will be available?

Unfortunately, I’m not seeing an estimated delivery date for the 150-600mm lens in our system from Tamron at this time, so I wouldn’t be able to say how long it might be before the lens is in stock.  We have been accepting pre-orders for the lens, which would be filled in the order they were placed.  And, that pre-order could be canceled at any time before the lens shipped, if it were taking longer to receive than you were able to wait.  Otherwise, if you haven't already, you could choose the Notify When in Stock option on the lens’s page on our website.  We would then send you an email when it came into stock.

I am just beginning my journey into photography and with more than a mild interest in birding and landscapes, this lens is becoming closer and closer to being in my camera bag. I feel I have some time yet as I shoot Nikon ( waiting for availability) and would like the lens to yet go through a bit more of the test of time. Very exciting future...

I am traveling to India on the 23rd of April and will be there for a month. I have a nikon D7000 and would give anything to have this lens in my collection. I plan on doing a lot of wildlife photography and this lens would give me great advantage as some of these animals are unable to be photographed at close range due to the danger of attack. Any advice to get this before I leave would be greatly appreciated. 

Your best bet for getting the lens before you leave would be to place an order for it as soon as possible. While I cannot guarantee that we would be able to fill an order before then, this would be your best chance for receiving the lens, as we are filling orders in the order they were placed.  You could cancel the order at any time before it shipped if it were taking longer to receive than you were able to wait.  Otherwise, if you haven't already, you could choose the Notify When in Stock option on the lens’s page on our website.  We would then send you an email when it came into stock.

Will this lens (Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD) work on my Canon EOS 500D DSLR (EOS Rebel T1i)?

Robert

Yes it will.  The Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD is fully compatible with all Canon EOS DSLR cameras as well as all of the EOS film SLR bodies.

Mine's on order, still have no idea when B&H can send me the lens. Anxious to try it, springtime on Lake Superior doesn't last long . . .

ned to have it as soon as its available on nikon mount

regards'

We are taking pre-orders for the Tamron 150-600mm lens for Nikon at this time, and would fill those in the order that they are placed.  And, you could cancel the order at any time before it shipped if it were taking longer to receive than you were able to wait.  Otherwise, if you haven't already, you could choose the Notify When in Stock option on the lens’s page on our website.  We would then send you an email when it came into stock.

Can i use this lens for my Canon600D

The Tamron 150-600mm lens for Canon is compatible with the Canon 600D, yes.  This lens can be used with any Canon DSLR.

Is this Lens compatible with the Nikon D3200 and when will it be available?

The Tamron 150-600mm lens for Nikon is fully compatible with the D3200.  Unfortunately, we do not have an ETA for the lens from Tamron at this time.  If you haven't already, you could choose the Notify When in Stock option on the lens’s page on our website.  We would then send you an email when it came into stock.

I've been watching and waiting for months for the Nikon mount for my D7100, yet I have seen no accessories mentioned. Will there be a stiff-walled padded case (no bags, please!) available? An assortment of filters?

Tamron does not ship the lens with any type of case unfortunately.  Currently the cases we have that would fit it are well padded protective bag types, but not "stiff-walled" as you have requested. 

Below is the product link for the lens in the Nikon mount on our website.  There we do list quite alot of optional accessories of various types (neoprene protection/camoflauge, filters, rain capes and other cleaning accessories) to browse over.  The lens uses any 95mm filter which our website does contain plenty of options in as well.

http://bhpho.to/Qfv9hP

Thanks for the reply.  I'm only interested in a crush/drop-resistant case. A flexible case just don't work for me - especially with a large, heavy lens like the 150 - 600mm.

If reviewers have added a single photo comparison with canon 100-400 mm , with canon @400 mm & Tamron @600 mm, then we could have seen a real time comparison.

My gut feeling is, canon with just 400mm will resolve almost as same as this one at 600mm.  My claim may look funny, but prove it otherwise.

thanks

Jay

Hi, I preordered a month ago.   Is there any updates for the Nikon mount availability?  I will be going to Alaska in Mid July.  What's your guess that it would be available by then?  Thank you.  

No unfortunately there has not been any update provided to us from Tamron.  I’d like to think that we should have it to supply to you by mid-July however it’s been on backorder for quite some time, and as such we have no way to guarantee it to you by any given date.  Once Tamron provides us with better information on its arrival, we will then post that information on the lens’ product links.

Hi,

I pre-ordered the Canon mount about 3 weeks ago and was wondering if any lenses are coming in at all (and I am moving up the queue).  Any hints on how long the queue for this lens actually is right now?

Thanks

We have received some small shipments of the lens in the Canon mount in the past, however our system does not publish details such as when they came in and how many etc.  Tamron has not indicated when our next shipment is due. Unfortunately due to the lack of information from Tamron, we are not able to guesstimate when you may receive yours.  I am sorry about that. Once Tamron provides us with better information on its arrival, we will then post that information on the lens’ product links.

hi if the aperture is 6.3 how will my camera autofocus if it only supports autofocus to aperture 5.6? thanks (canon 650d)

Hello,

At the longer end of the focal length zoom range, in bright contrastly light, you should have no issues with autofocusing @ f/6.3. You may find the camera hunting or struggling to find focus in lower light levels with less contrast. 

Hi there, nice review, i have the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM, im very happy with this lens, but you know this Tamron 150-600mm its better than Canon 400mm?, thanks a lot, greetings from Honduras.

The Tamron 150-600mm lens, being a zoom, can be more versatile.  And, it is more telephoto.  That being said, the Canon 400mm prime should have the better optical quality.  It’s difficult for a super telephoto zoom to compete with a telephoto prime optically.

thank you Christina....

I used the lense on my 5D Mk III, ISO 640, F9, 600MM, using the Central focus point. It was very satisfactory and proved to me to be a good addition to my equipment. 5D Mk III can focus with F8 lenses also. But I am not so sure about APS-C bodies. There was some focus hunting but nothing serious. Usually there is plenty of light in India most of the time. I posted some of the pictures to Flickr (Suri JV) which received good notice.

Hi,

Thanks very much for the review. In the review, you mention that the only issue was accuracy which suffered slightly with moving subjects. I do a lot of aircraft pictures at airports and this lens would have a great reach for me. However, for aircrafts taking off or taxiing and with the camera setting to AI Servo and panning, would that be an issue as you mentioned above with moving subjects?

Thanks in advance for your time
twum

Overall you should be ok with it. The author mentioned it as it was something  he noticed within his test but from other reviews and feedback on the lens that I have seen, I've not heard of any major complaints with regards to this. You may wish to consider doing a test run via renting it before purchase just to see if it performs to your specs.

Hi,

I have this lens now on order since 4months for the Nikon mount - Would you have any further update on the availability?

Thanks,

/Patrick

I am sorry that it is taking so long to fulfill.  Unfortunately Tamron's supply is less than the world-wide demand, which is currently huge for this lens.  We've received several small shipments of the lens, but they have not been sufficient to fulfill the pre-orders we have accepted.  I don't have the ability to comment on your particular order to give you any insight as to when it may be fulfilled.  You cold contact our Customer Service Dept, and they can possibly give you an update. You can email them at cs@bhphoto.com.

Can you use a teleconverter with the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 Di VC USD?

You can use a teleconverter with the Tamron 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3.  Though, autofocus will not be retained, so you would need to manually focus the lens.  http://bhpho.to/1jhBtnf

Which teleconverters are compatible ??

You could use Tamron, Kenko, Bower, or Vivtar teleconverters with the Tamron 150-600mm lens.  Though, do keep in mind that you will lose autofocus when using a teleconverter with this lens.  Click Here

hermos rendimiento ****** imagenes paracaptar 

Thanks for the video on the new Tamron 150-600. Great way to demonstrate a product. I particularly liked the frank discussion of the few downsides of the lens. I am a Canon camera/Tamron lens fan and a B&H customer. 

PS. Though the focal length is correctly shown in the write-up above, the specification listing above says 15-600. When I first looked at it I was amazed to see that range which on closer review  I realized was incorrect. Thanks

John,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have made the correction.

Dear Sir

I am interested to purchase Tamron 150-600 lens for Nikon mount.

Please acknowledge the price and availibility along with terms & conditions of shipping in Dallas (USA).  

Regards

Rishi Bajpai

The price of the lens can be found on the lens’s page on our site.  Shipping times would depend on the shipping method that you chose.  If you add the item to your cart, on the right hand side of the page there is a shipping calculator.  Once you enter in the zip code, the various shipping options, along with their respective costs and shipping times, will be revealed.

Unfortunately, I’m not seeing an estimated delivery date for the Nikon-mount 150-600mm lens in our system from Tamron at this time, so I wouldn’t be able to say when we might see it in stock.  If you haven't already, you could choose the Notify When in Stock option on the lens’s page on our website.  We would then send you an email when it came into stock.

Thanks for this informative article. I have ordered the lens for Nikon mount from B&H and look forward to receiving it. I understand it is in quite tight supply, so I will just have to be patient until it is my turn!

To use a computer industry term, this lens is vapourware. It was announced with great fanfare almost ONE YEAR AGO and is still unavailable, not to mention the Sony version, which has yet to be seen!

This sort of behaviour by a lens manufacturer ***** to be severely discouraged by the photo press and the distributors.

B&H, please feel free to cancel my preorder. I'll be buying the Sigma 500mm (a reputable manufacturer, who doesn't advertise what they don't have) and the purchase won't be from any vendor that continues to perpetuate this scam. ONE YEAR AGO! Absolutely unbelievable!

We share in your frustration and wish that Tamron would provide us with better information as to when overall fulfillment could be expected. The Sigma 150-500mm lens is definitely a fine alternative, and one that is readily available.  Unfortunately we are not able to cancel your existing order from here.  You would need to contact our Customer Service Dept directly, and they can cancel the order for you.  You can reach them via email at cs@bhphoto.com

I shared the frustration of others in wondering whether or not this lens was "real."  I waited several months to get mine. I can tell you now that I have one and am using it on my Nikon full frame D610, this is one of the best lenses I have ever owned--which includes Nikon's stellar 14-24 mm lens.  The sharpness and the speed of the autofocus function is absolutely remarkable.  I used the lens last weekend at the Wake Forest University-Boston College football game and the pictures I took from the stands are stunning. There simply cannot be a better value anywhere. This lens would be a value, however at 8-10 X the price. To say the least, I am thrilled with it.

To insure there is no confusion, I am describing my experience with the Tamron 150-600 mm lens.  I simply cannot believe the quality in a lens at a price that is incredibly low.

Hi,

Is this lens (Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD) is compatible with Nikon D7100 & D90 ? And if it works with certain limitations, what are they?  

Thanks. Prakash

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