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

reviewer#12110 date: Jan-25-2015
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
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:70-400G2 (based on research and price)
price paid:1160 (new)
positive:Build quality - feels hefty and well built
Lightweight for a telephoto zoom lens of its reach
negative:F6.3 at 600mm - cant be helped for a lens at this price point and reach! Almost a positive.
comment:I have thought long and hard about this lens from the time when I was using the Canon 1D3 and 1D4, till when I managed to get an a77ii for a good price. The 70-400G2 was very tempting since its an OEM lens so you can be sure of its quality (colour, AF speed and accuracy, sharpness blahblah).

However at $500 or so more costly than the Tamron 150-600, the 70-400G2 was really hard to stomach so I decided to give the former a go.

Having used it at the aviary and in the wild about 4-5 times so far, I must say I am very impressed by the quality I am getting at 600mm. No, it does not make my heart flutter a little like when I was looking at images from my 70-300L but it more than does the job. I have no real complaints. Again, for photography gear, where most people have something bad to say about everything, no real complaints is an actual positive quality.

Okay f6.3 can be a little slow in places where there is not much light. Think about it though, would you rather pay 10x the price for a f4 lens? I cant but even if I could, I do not shoot enough currently to justify such a massive outlay. F6.3 is good enough for me. What's more important is I can get to 600mm (900mm on the a77ii)!!! Less need to crop and I can get more details than using a 300mm lens.

I really find it hard to see the difference between 600mm at f6.3 and f8, the latter which many users have said will produce the best image quality at 600mm. It may very well be that I am a really easily contented guy - as long as I can nail the images I want, it looks big in the frame and the colours are like what I remembered of the subject, it will do.

I must say I am still working on using this lens to track BIF. Havent had much time outside of work and family during the past month so this is something I cannot comment on. Especially when I am still learning how to harness the a77ii's capabilities for BIF. Hopefully I can provide my feedback on this soon.

BIF tracking aside, this lens has been really good to me. I am happy with the images I am getting, happy with the reach for the price I am paying, happy with the weight of the lens for the reach I am getting, happy with the colour of the lens (white is too attention grabbing) and happy that there is no real issue that requires me to send it in for servicing.

There are other competitors such as the 70-400G2 and older third party 50/150-500 telephoto zooms but I am happy enough with the Tamron 150-600 that I havent saw the need to even think about the rest. If you want/need 600mm, there is no better lens.

I have a Tamron 70-300 for occasions where I need a lighter lens and dont need so much reach, such as the zoo, outdoor events and sports.

Yes it is a bit of a crapshoot when it comes to third party lenses so this Tamron 150-600 is my first ever third party lens and I chose to buy it brand new just in case something happens. If you prefer to have a peace of mind, then do consider the OEM options such as the 70-400G2.

It is going to be very very hard to find a better lens that gives you so much value and reach for money.

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
Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania