Photography / Hands-on Review

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

         

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)

Discussion 106

Add new comment

Add comment Cancel

WILL THE TAMRON 150 TO 600 mm Tele work on a Canon 80D ?

The Tamron 150-600mm lens for Canon will be compatible with the Canon 80D, yes.  Any compatibility issues should have been resolved by now.  If you do encounter issues,  you could send the lens into Tamron to get the firmware updated.

I just purchased the Tamron 150-600mm lens for my 5dMKIII. Is a Canon 2X teleconverter compatible with the Tamron lens?

Thank you

Unfortunately, none of the Canon extenders would be compatible with the Tamron 150-600mm lens.  The Canon extenders are only compatible with a select number of Canon’s pro-level telephoto lenses.  They are not compatible with lenses from other manufacturers.  While there are other brand teleconverters on the market that could work with the 150-600mm lens, autofocus would not be retained.

I have a Nikon D810 and am planning on adding the Tamron 150-600mm to my lens collection very soon.  I am trying to find if there is a teleconverter, either 1.4x or 2.0x that works well with this lens? 

Thanks,

Dan

While there are teleconverters you could use with the Tamron 150-600mm lens, autofocus would not be retained.  The lens isn’t overly bright to begin with, and you lose roughly 1-stop with the 1.4X teleconverter and 2-stops with the 2X teleconverter.  This wouldn’t be enough light for the camera’s AF system to function. 

Hi. A friend of mine has bought the Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 lens. It works perfectly on his Nikon D80 but only manually on his Nikon D5300. Any ideas on how to get it to work on the D5300?

The Tamron 150-600mm lens for Nikon should be able to autofocus on the D5300.  I would suggest having your friend contact us directly through an email.  We could then begin to trouble shoot what might be going on.  In the email he might mention if the lens tries to focus at all, if he has been having this issue with other lenses on his camera, and if he is shooting in the same conditions with both the 80D and D5300.  AskPhoto@bhphoto.com

Hi! I am looking to buy this for use with the Nikon D3100. Will it work for wildlife and bird shots?

Secondly, in the near future I intend upgrading to the Canon 7D II. Will the lens that I buy for the Nikon D3100 be compatible with the Canon 7D II or will I have to change the lens again?

You could use the Tamron 150-600mm lens for Nikon on the D3100, and the lens would be a great option for wildlife and birding.  Though, if you upgraded to the 7D II in the future, you would need to purchase the Tamron 150-600mm lens for Canon.  You wouldn’t be able to use the same lens on both cameras as they have different mounts.

Is this compatible with Nikon D750

The Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens for Nikon is compatible with the Nikon D750, yes.

is this lense can be used with canon 70D to shoot wildlife photography and sports?

Hi -

The Tamron 150-600mm lens for Canon would be fully compatible with the 70D.  Great wildlife and sports photography will be yours with this lens.  A good tripod/monopod is strongly recommended as well.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I currently use a 7D but I am cotemplating a switch. Is the Tamron 150-600 good on the 7d for birds in flight or is it a case of upgrading the body to get sharp results.

The Tamron 150-600mm lens for Canon would be fully compatible with the 7D.  It would be more than possible to get good bird shots with the 150-600mm lens and 7D.  Though, if you are looking to upgrade, you could look at the newer version of the 7D: 7D II.  It has a completely redesigned autofocus system, and is noticeably faster. 

Curious, will the Nikon version work on the Nikon F6 film SLR?

The Tamron 150-600mm lens for Nikon should be compatible with the Nikon F5, as the F5 can control a lens’s aperture through the camera and supports image stabilization.

Not so sure about the compatibility of the Tamron with the F5.  I have a Tamron SP 24-70 Di VC USD with a Nikon mount.  It works great on my Nikon D750 but not on my F5.  It mounts just fine, but the AutoFocus does not work.  It sounds like it tries to focus but no movement, and no focus.  I know the Camera works fine because it works with my other Nikkor lenses; and I know my Tamron lens works because I use it on the D750.  Now I know the question was referencing the Tamron 150-600mm, but it's hard for me to believe that the Nikon compatibility is different between those two lenses.

Hi Bill (and Patrick),

On your F5 and the Tamron lens, what you hear, Bill, is the auto focus motor on the F5 trying to engage the motor on the Tamron lens. For several generations, Nikon lenses did not have their own auto focus motors—the camera had a pin that engaged a screw on the lens' mount and the camera drove the helicoid inside the lens to achieve auto focus. Most of today's auto focus lenses have their own motors, so all that is needed is the right electrical connection in order to auto focus—not a mechanical connection.

The F5 likely does not have the electronic connections needed to signal a lens auto focus motor to operate. Therefore, the camera tries to auto focus by turning its drive blade. As there is no screw to be turned on the Tamron, nothing happens. The same thing will happen with the F6, based on my research.

Thanks for writing in!

I have a cannon SC I will this lens work with it? 

I’m not familiar with the Canon SC I.  But, if it is a Canon DSLR, the Tamron 150-600mm lens should be compatible with it. 

I just got mine with canon mount. I also have an old teleconverter made by Promaster (Promaster Spectrum 7 1.7X)  I bought it with Canon EOS Rebel S 36mm Film) about 25 yrs ago. Two question.  1. Is there any circuit compatibility issue, that I shouldn't use it with this lens, and  2. How much of visibility loss to expect.

I am using it with Canon EOS 7D (APS-C).  So, how much magnification will occur at longest end?  600 x 1.6 x 1.7 1632 ?  Is that correct?

When using a teleconverter, the aperture value will also be multiplied by the same value as the lens.  With a 1.7x factor your aperture range will be around f8-f-11 (this is an approximation, when you mount the combination on your camera you’ll then be able to see what the camera actually reads it as).  Your autofocus will likely not work at this rate but it will retain the auto-meter feature. The circuitry on the Promaster won’t be an issue as it was originally made for the EOS system which is still the same. 

You’re math on the magnification of the lens when coupled and mounted on the 7D is correct.  At a focal length like that, plan on working with a tripod and/or high shutterspeeds. 

Hi,

Is this lens compatible with the Nikon D90? Thanks for a speedy response.

Regards,

Frans

The particular lens discussed in this article is the Canon version, however Tamron does offer the lens for Nikon as well, and the Nikon version is fully compatible with the Nikon D90.  See details at the following link:  http://bhpho.to/Jp24xl

How does this lens compare with the Sigma 150-600 Sports lens? Also, how does it do with panned moving targets such as airshows car races or things like that? I shoot a lot of sports, and usually shoot a slow shutter speed, 1/160 or less, always at long range. My 70-300 lens doesn't really cut it. 

For the price this is an excellent lens option compared to the Sigma Sports model.  I've seen great images taken with the Tamron from various sporting events and airshows and feel it does a good job.  I feel the Sigma Sports version of the lens is more designed with these types of applications in mind first, and would likely handle the subjects panning at less than 160th/sec better, it may not be enough to justify the broad price range difference.

Dear sir, I have a canon d7mk2 and plan to buy a Tamron150-600 for bird photography. My concern is fast auto focus and will I have enough light at  f6.3

The 7D Mk II will work very well with this lens.  There has been plenty of feedback from users using this combination, and all were pleased with the performance and image quality. 

I've been told my body (Canon 5dmkii) is too slow for this lens, would this be correct information?

Its not quite accurate to say the 5D MK II is too slow for this lens.  In fact the article above we tested the lens using a 5D MK II.  The one thing to consider is that the 5D MK II requires an aperture opening of f5.6 in order for autofocus to work properly.  This lens' widest aperture when shooting at 600mm is f6.3 which is slightly darker than the f5.6 requirement.  This darker aperture in poorly lit situations can cause the lens to delay in focus, hunt, and in some cases not come into focus at all requiring one to manually focus.  In brightly lit conditions you shouldnt have a problem focusing at 600mm however. 

dear sir 

my camera nikon D90. So i need 1500-600 lensces .but can i use 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Di VC USD’ lens for my nikon D90 Camera.

Thanks 

Sumith 

from Sri Lanka

0773056843

The version of the lens discussed in this article is for the Canon mount.  Tamron does offer it with a Nikon mount and it is fully compatible with the D90 camera.  See the following link for details regarding the Nikon version of this lens:

http://bhpho.to/Jp24xl

Dear Sir, I own the Nikon D7100 and Im very interested in purchasing the TAMRON SP 150- 600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens,I have read several reviews on useing it with the D7100 ,However most seem to be very conflicting. Is there any issues that may arise using the above Lens? If so I would appreciate your comments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Many thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.                                                                                                                 Regards, Malcolm.

There are no issues using this lens with the D7100 camera.  The Tamron SP 150- 600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD for Nikon is compatible with all Nikon DSLRs including the D7100 camera.  The D7100 camera is an APS-C (aka DX format) camera.  It is compatible with any lens made for the Nikon AF system, both DX and FX format types without any limitations.  ANY lens you mount on the D7100 will be multiplied by 1.5x due to the DX format (this also goes for DX format lenses, which are designed/optimized for use on DX cameras, but however are enumerated based on the FX standard, so even they would be multiplied by the 1.5x factor). 

Hi,

I'm using a Nikon D5100 DSLR (which is not having body motors), Will Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 will perfectly work for Birding and other Wild-Life photography ? I need quick focusing and picture sharpness.

….Sumit

Yes; as the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens for Nikon has a Ultrasonic Silent Drive Autofocus Motor built into the lens, it is fully compatible and would autofocus when used on the Nikon D5100 DSLR camera.

What aperture settings can I use at 600mm with the Tamron SP 150-600 zoom and still use auto focus?

Thanks.

Any of them.  Autofocus lenses work as such:  If you set your lens to F22 for example,during the autofocusing and metering moments,  the camera electronically keeps the lens' aperture open to the its widest aperture, until the point when the actual exposure is beign made at which point it stops down to F22 or whatever the designated aperture is.  It works like this at every aperture.  The reason is so that the camera can emit its AF beams through the widest possible opening to gain AF distance information and to meter. It is then quickly adjusted right prior to the shutter opening.
 

Will this lens work on a Nikon DX D 40?

The Tamron 150-600mm lens for Nikon will be compatible with the Nikon D40.

I was wondering, in comparison to the Sigma 50-500mm lens, does this lens surpass that particular lens? I currently own the Sigma lens and I notice significant loss of focus at the 500mm range and wondered if the Tamaron lens is going to be the better lens. 

As far as XX-500mm super zoom lenses go, the Sigma 50-500mm is the one I recommend least.  Optically it is behind this lens as well as the other Sigma 150-500mm lens.  Further Sigma has recently introduced two new 150-600mm lenses which without seeing any real world examples I would presume to be better than their 50-500mm lens.  These other lenses are all faster focusing and sharper with better optical designs.

Hi,

Can you please let me know whether this lens is suitable for Canon Rebel T4i ?

Yes, this lens is fully compatible with and suitable for use on the Canon EOS Rebel T4i camera.

iI bought mine thru Aden Camera in Toronto .I made a phone call they said its in stock and sent it to me i had it in a week .And let me tell you this lens is a beast im never with out it ,I hope you people waiting will get yours soon you wont believe it.

I'm an amatuer wildlife photographer and do a large amount of bird shots, a high %age of these being birds in flight.

I obtained my Tamron 150-600mm mid June after having it on pre-order for some time, as I live in South Africa I didn't get it via Bhp. I use a Canon 70D

I have experienced absolutely no problems capturing birds in flight both coming towards me and flying across the field of view. I've captured large slow moving birds such as pelicans, flamingos and raptors and small fast flying birds such as martins and swallows.

Most of my photos have been taken at 600mm, handheld & I have no problem with sharpness or contrast even at f/6.3 although I admit that f/8 is better. There appears to be no benefit in reducing the apeture any further. (Granted for birds in flight I shoot from 1/1250 up to 1/2000 and faster. For stationary birds I can shoot 600mm handheld at 1/320 f/6.3 to f/8 with VC on and obtain usable, sharp images)

I did however find that it took me a little practise to start using it effectively.

For the price it is an absolutely fantastic lens that compares very favorably with much more expensive lenses. (Of course a lens costing 100 times as much performs somewhat better but then you don't have to sell your car or house to get the Tamron)

Upshot is that I'm extremely glad I had the patience to wait for the lens instead of buying something with a smaller reach.

We are on the same page here, as you said i'm also a newbie in WLP and concentrating more in birds photography. Its an excellent lens, I had mine just 2 weeks ago and I dont have any issues and so much happy with results with my EOS-40D combo. I have a question here for you if you tried and will be for B&H as well, what or how will be the performance result in terms of speed, focus or other downside if we add a canon extender 1.4x mkII or with 2x mk.III?

Thanks in advanced

Cheers!

JJ

The Tamron 150-600mm lens will not be compatible with the Canon Extender 1.4X or 2X.  The Canon teleconverters are only compatible with a select number of Canon lenses: they cannot be used with third party lenses.  You could use a third party teleconverter, such as one from Kenko, but autofocus will not be retained as the 150-600mm isn’t an overly bright lens to begin with, and will lose about 1-stop of light with a 1.4X teleconverter and 2-stops with a 2X teleconverter. 

Well noted, thank you for the quick response.

Show older comments

Close

Close

Close