Tamron SP 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di USD A-mount lens review by robberly12

reviewer#12098 date: Jan-21-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Sony Reflex 500 F8
Sony 70-400G SSM
Tamron SP 70-300 USD
price paid:1069 USD
positive:Relatively sharp
Light (hand-holdable)
Good zoom & focus rings
negative:No focus hold
Back-focus on A580
AF/MF and limiter switches are small/slippery
comment:I bought this lens to supplement my growing stable of telephoto lenses. While I love my 70-400G, there are times, particularly for birding, where a 400mm focal length is just not enough. Although not perfect, it's about the only game in town for an affordable long zoom for A-mount.

The build of the lens is very good. The zoom ring turns very easily, especially in comparison to the 70-400G, which makes it very responsive. The focus ring is also very smooth. It does lack a focus hold button, which I often use on the 70-400G. The focus limiter (15m to infinity) seemed slightly less useful to me than the 70-400G's 3m to infinity's range. Both the AF/MF and limiter switches are rather small and slippery. It almost feels like I have to dig my fingernail into them in order to get a grip. The lens does include a useful zoom lock (at 150mm).

AF is truly silent and reasonably fast. It was quieter and seemed more responsive than the Tamron 70-300 USD. AF was accurate on my A77, but I noticed a tendency to back-focus on my A580. Central-zone focus, which is not available on the A580, works especially well. It will also autofocus when used with a Kenko Teleplus 1.4x DGX teleconverter, turning it into a 210-840mm zoom, when used with good light. You must use wide AF area setting for it to accurately focus with the Kenko, though, and image quality does suffer somewhat.

The 150-600 USD can be hand held with good results. It is well-balanced but requires good technique. It worked particularly well with the A77; I wouldn't recommend using it with a small, light camera body, though.

Image quality is good. While I didn't do an in-depth comparison, IQ at 400mm compared favorably with the 70-400G at 400mm, especially if stopped down slightly. Image quality above 500mm became slightly soft, but was superior to cropping the 70-400G.

Overall I am happy with the 150-600 USD. Its excellent price-performance ratio and 6-year USA warranty make it almost a no-brainer for bird/nature photography for A-mount users.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 15
  • sharpness: 4.67
  • color: 4.73
  • build: 4.87
  • distortion: 4.87
  • flare control: 4.60
  • overall: 4.75
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