Tamron’s SP150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD is amongst the longest zoom lenses available for ‘full-frame’ and APS-C format DIGITAL SLR cameras. As a Di zoom lens, it can be utilized on both of the ‘full frame’ and cropped sensor systems. Its focal length range is equivalent to 225 to 900mm with DX sensor DSLR’s from Nikon and Sony and 240 to 960mm on Canon EOS DSLR’s.
The optical design of this zoom lens is necessarily complicated, using twenty elements in thirteen groups. The leading group contains 3 LD (Low Dispersion) glass elements (2 within the 1st group, 1 within the 3rd) for enhanced optical correction effectiveness, making it possible for the zoom lens to compensate for on-axis aberrations at the telephoto end.
Tamron’s eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency) coating and conventional BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) have been used to suppress internal reflections as well as minimise flare and ghosting. The nine-bladed iris diaphragm closes to a rounded aperture for appealing bokeh.
Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) system uses 3 voice coils for lenses with Canon and Nikon mounts. The driving coils trigger the shake-compensating VC zoom lens group electromagnetically through 3 ceramic ball bearings, which in turn support these with very little friction.
Stabilisation is not incorporated into Sony mount models because it is included in their DIGITAL SLR bodies.
The USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) AF drive within the zoom lens promises to deliver high torque, extremely fast reaction times, and extremely low noise. Full-time manual over-ride is possible in AF mode.
The most obvious targets for this zoom lens are sporting and wildlife photographers, especially birders, that are hunting for a long telephoto zoom lens at a reasonable cost. There are not many 600mm lenses for DIGITAL SLR cameras which belong to this category – or close to it.
Build and Ergonomics
Being a comparatively large and hefty zoom lens, the SP150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD is much better suitable for pro as well as pro-sumer digital camera bodies compared to entry level DSLRs. It felt nicely balanced on an EOS 5D camera, owing to its strategically-positioned tripod mount. Although not quite as comfortable or simple to manage on an EOS 70D.
You can easily sit the bigger digital camera with the zoom lens attached on a steady support and be certain it’s going to stay in place and secure enough to capture with, which is convenient when you need to take a quick photo and do not have a tripod close at hand. However, the dimensions and weight of the zoom lens make it most suitable for tripod mounting – and you will need a durable and stable tripod with a quality head.
There is absolutely nothing to make a complaint in regards to the build quality of the zoom lens. As stated by Tamron, it’s moisture-resistant and you will easily feel the rubber sealing gasket should you run a fingertip across the zoom lens mount.
Even though the barrel is manufactured primarily from polycarbonate plastic material, it is actually high-quality and there aren’t any gaps to be noticed wherever components join. The overall finish is actually first-rate and all of the necessary components are of a suitable quality and properly designed to augment the lens.
Without the hood affixed, the barrel measures just under 260 millimeters long. Installing the hood contributes an additional 102 millimeters. The overall weight with the hood and tripod collar installed is just below 2 kgs.
The inner barrel at the front end of the lens is threaded for 95 millimeter filters, whilst the outer barrel features a bayonet mounting for the lens hood. The barrel flares gently outward starting about twenty five millimeters back from the hood mount.
Lateral chromatic aberration was very well managed for this kind of high-magnification zoom lens and we uncovered no noticeable coloured fringing within test shots.
We detected a small drop in image sharpness towards the 600mm focal length setting in photos taken with both cameras. Nevertheless, focal lengths up to around 300mm supplied impressive sharpness and an abundance of contrast.
Autofocusing was actually rapidly as well as precise with the evaluation zoom lens, provided light levels were sufficient and there was adequate contrast in the subject matter for the lens to lock on to. In inadequate illumination as well as with low contrast subjects, hunting was common and it may take a second or so for the zoom lens to lock on – and even then you’ll probably need to make use of AF area selection and choose the area carefully when the primary subject is off-centre.
Tracking motion was not quite as simple as we expected and we found it challenging to maintain the subject within the frame – and sharp – whenever recording bursts of images following moving birds.
The photographing technique to accomplish a high percentage of razor-sharp images calls for plenty of practice. Unfortunately we haven’t had enough practice for this type of shooting.
Setting the focus limiter enhances your chances whenever photographing in indifferent lighting circumstances along with when subject contrast is low, especially using longer focal length settings. However even when there seemed to be an abundance of light, we discovered minor hesitation when the zoom lens was required to change focus rapidly between close and distant subjects.
With smaller – and more normal – adjustments to focusing distance, the zoom lens reacted rapidly enough to satisfy the majority of prospective buyers, though minor hesitation often happened with the longer focal lengths. With stationary subjects, the zoom lens can capture an abundance of detail.
Stabilisation was extremely effective, permitting the lens to be handheld at shutter speeds as slow as 1/160 second and obtain over fifty percent of the photographs crisp. The stabilisation of the viewfinder image makes it much simpler to compose shots, especially when the subject is not moving.
Depth of field is actually exceptionally shallow with longer focal lengths and, should you shoot with the zoom lens wide open, the plane of sharpness is extremely narrow. This brings about smooth bokeh this is certainly extremely attractive and offers exceptional separation of the subject from the background.
Both the rectilinear distortion and vignetting were relatively low – but clearly apparent. Distortion was within the shape of pincushion distortion. It was present through the entire focal length range, although you most likely would not notice it inside photos unless they included straight line running parallel to the image frame.
Vignetting was most obvious at the extremes of the zoom range, with edges as well as corners being a little bit over a stop darker as compared to middle. The darkening disappear around a stop down from maximum aperture. Both problems are very easily remedied, either with in-camera processing or during post-capture editing.
Backlit subjects were managed exceptionally well, with thanks to the generous lens hood. We were not able to force the zoom lens to flare, even if a bright source of light was on the edge of the frame. A smallish region around the bright spot displayed minimal loss of contrast; the remainder of the frame maintained the entire dynamic range anticipated from the subject.
The Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD would definitely rate a recommendation based on its price alone, all the other factors being equal. Its nearest rival is Sigma’s 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM, that features a comparable AF drive mechanism and optical stabilisation. Nevertheless it covers a reduced range and its coatings are not up to the specifications of Tamron’s eBAND coatings.
Sigma additionally makes a considerably much longer zoom lens, their 300-800mm f /5.6 EX zoom, that is in excess of 1 / 2 a metre long – without lens hood – and weighs in at 5.88 kgs. Its price places it beyond the reach of all but the most committed (as well as cashed-up) specialists.
Canon as well as Nikon each make telephoto zoom lenses however both have maximum focal lengths of 400mm, though with maximum apertures which ranges from f/4-5.6. Both Canon’s EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM and Nikon’s AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Nikkor lens sells significantly more than the Tamron.
Tamron additionally makes a 200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) zoom lens, that is an older design which is lacking Vibration Compensation, USD silent focusing as well as eBAND anti-reflective coating.
This makes the Tamron zoom lens something of a bargain.
This new zoom lens is approximately thirty millimeters longer and 715 grms weightier versus the earlier model as well as its close focusing distance is actually twenty cm longer. Given the longer range and less expensive price tag, that is quite a remarkable accomplishment.