Lens review

Tamron SP 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD

Tamron SP 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD
16 May 2014
Arkadiusz Olech

1. Introduction

There are a lot of amateur lenses on the market with focal length starting from 50-100 mm and ending at 300 mm. Most of them are physically light, relatively small constructions. Unfortunately the 300 mm focal length remains usually their weakest point and, apart from that, such a focal value is too low to be comfortably used for wildlife, bird or planes photography.

At the other end of the spectrum you find professional, fast, prime lenses with focal lengths ranging from 300 to 600 mm. These are excellent constructions, more often than not providing a sensational image quality (even with a teleconverter attached) but their biggest flaw is the fact that they are outside financial reach of most of amateur photographers.

The market gap, created between those two groups, can be filled by models which focal lengths start near 100 mm and end with 400- 500 mm. You can mention here the very popular (despite its advanced age) Canon 100-400L, many Sigma devices such as the 50-500 mm, the 120-400 mm and the 150-500 mm; there is also the Tokina 80-400 mm and the Sony 70-400 mm. Both versions of the Nikkor 80-400 mm and the Tamron 200-500 mm have been less popular somehow. The Tamron is an elderly construction, devoid of any stabilization system which, with such a focal range, is practically indispensable. The price of the older Nikkor 80-400 mm was affordable but its autofocus performance was definitely not up to scratch. The new version’s autofocus is much better but the price of the lens makes it hardly accessible for the wide group of amateur photographers.

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The age of the Canon and Tamron constructions, the performances of the Sigmas and the Tokina, full of inconvenient compromises, and the high price tag of the new Nikon made a room for something new in this class and the market was expecting new launches. Tamron decided to make a very interesting move, presenting the SP 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD model. Officially everything looks great - you get an image stabilization system and an ultrasonic autofocus motor. What’s more, the lens ends at 600 mm, not at 400-500 mm like its rivals. The price, a very important factor, doesn’t exceed 5,000 PLN so the device can be a juicy morsel for many amateur photographers.

For obvious reasons it became also a juicy morsel for us as the testers. Courtesy of the Foto-Technika company we were able to test that optical instrument and the results are presented in the following chapters – happy reading!

You are also invited to get acquainted with our test procedure, described in the article "How do we test lenses?" If you feel it’s still not enough, please go to our FAQ section where you can find some further explanation.

Tamron SP 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD - Introduction

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