Tamron 150-600mm VC – First Impressions

By December 5, 2015 Reviews One Comment
Birds 63 - Indian Roller

Date: 15-June-2014

Recently a lot of members were suggested this lens in INW and with lot of positive feedback on Internet, I want to share my first impressions on this lens.

With some luck, unexpectedly acquired the Tamron 150-600mm VC Nikon mount lens yesterday (Saturday).
I spent around 3.5 hours till now (in field 2.5 hours) and here are my first few observations. I will start with negatives first.

Negatives:

  1. “VC” spoils the images with complete shake when shooting on tripod even with timer in low light
    which is very strange and I have never faced this with Nikon’s “VR”.
    Turning “off” “VC” and using timer in shooting low light on a tripod produces excellent images.
    I suggest to Turn off VC when shooting with a tripod.
    (Please confirm whether this is a problem only with my copy)
  2. Due to weight which includes the camera too and also when shooting at 600mm, tripod is a must for best results.
  3. Lens hood feels like made with cheap plastic, should be handled with care.
  4. It’s a f/8 lens where one can get very sharp results.
  5. No lens cover is supplied.
  6. Slightly tight zoom ring from around 300 to 600mm range.

Positives:

  1. Excellent Colors and Contrast.
  2. Captures superb details in low light too.
  3. Excellent focus speed even at 600mm and focus acquisition is very fast for moving subjects too.
  4. Sweet spot is between f/8 and f/11
  5. Zoom till 600mm is a great feature for versatile compositions.
  6. Can lock the lens at 400mm
  7. Very less CA in challenging light, otherwise not noticeable.
  8. Excellent cost for this 600mm range and image quality.
  9. No micro adjustment was required for focus for my D800E, focus is spot on throughout the zoom range.
  10. Balances well on tripod even when zoomed in full length.
  11. Can shoot static and BIFs too handheld, but a tripod is always preferred.
  12. Software bundled too (not in CD but includes product keys).
  13. Lens build quality is good. Zoom creep is very less.
  14. Manual focus/focus override is smooth and fast.

My first shot, surprised with the colors and contrast in low light at ISO 3200 (Out of the camera without PP).

Other than the kite shots, all the below images (original ones, not the re-sized below posted ones) are large crops of around 2 to 3 MP from 15 MP.
Except two shots (2nd and 3rd) below, all other were shot in worst lighting conditions. Please also note that even wind was heavy, can check the waves in the water in below pics. Bushes were moving around 30-50 degrees. Also please note that all the below images are “quickly processed” and other than the Prinia ones all were exposed +2 to +3 stops in PP due to low light shooting.

So this gives the idea on how this lens performs and final processed images look in very challenging/adverse/bad lighting conditions with distant subjects.

Non-Static Subjects (due to wind) :)

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

Image 6

Image 7

Image 8

Image 9

Flight shots to check focus speed (better light would definitely help):

Flight Shot 1

Flight Shot 2

Flight Shot 3

Flight Shot 4

Flight Shot 5

Flight Shot 6

Flight Shot 7

Flight Shot 8

Flight Shot 9

Last but not the least, can shoot Swallows in flight too!

Personal recommendation: Very good lens in budget, but too early to judge the longevity :)

Thanks,
Sravan

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