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Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lab Test Review

June 2014 | By Andy Westlake

The Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD is one of a select group of supertelephoto zooms for full frame SLRs that reaches or exceeds 400mm focal length, while still being reasonably portable. This type of lens is the tool of choice for small or distant subjects when large heavy primes are impractical, ranging from birds and wildlife, through sports, to aircraft and the like. The Tamron's trump card over its closest competition (the Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM and the various 400mm telezooms from the camera makers) lies in its longer focal length - at 600mm full zoom, it'll let you get your subjects that bit larger in the frame.

Tamron announced the lens at the end of 2013, which means it's the most modern in its class, and therefore, in principle, has the most up-to-date optics. It includes several features that are more-or-less essential to this type of lens - optical image stabilization (which Tamron calls Vibration Compensation, or VC for short) and an UltraSonic Drive motor for fast, silent autofocus (hence USD). It also comes with a collar for attachment to a tripod or monopod; at almost 2kg (4.3lb) in weight, you're probably not going to want to shoot it hand-held for long.

One point worth noting is that the lens has a decidedly slow maximum aperture, starting at F5 and dropping to F6.3 at full telephoto. This is the price you pay for getting such a long zoom range at all; Sigma's 150-500mm offers the same aperture range, and the camera manufacturers' closest equivalents tend to max out at 400mm F5.6. However with the high-ISO capability of modern sensors, this is no longer so limiting as it might have been just a few years ago.

The Tamron isn't just for full frame cameras: it can also be used on APS-C SLRs, on which if offers a huge 225-900mm equivalent range. If you're thinking of going on safari, or even just to your nearest airshow, this makes it a hugely tempting prospect. Of course this long zoom comes at a price - at around £950 / $1070, it's notably more expensive than the older Sigma. However it starts to look like a bargain when you realize how much Canon, Nikon or Sony are asking for their 400mm telezooms.

Headline features

  • 150-600mm focal length (225-900mm equivalent on APS-C)
  • F5-6.3 maximum aperture
  • 'Vibration Correction' optical image stabilization
  • 'UltraSonic Drive' autofocus motor
  • Available in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sony Alpha mounts

The competition

The Tamron's 600mm focal length is the longest in its class, so if it's absolute reach you're after, it has a clear advantage over other lenses currently on the market. The Sigma comes closest, with the camera manufacturers all offering 400mm instead. Canon's 100-400mm is now looking distinctly long-in-the-tooth, while Nikon and Sony have both recently updated their contenders. Click the links for full details on each lens.

All of these lenses offer ultrasonic focus motors, and the Canon, Nikon and Sigma also have optical stabilization. Sony's excellent 70-400mm doesn't, as the company's Alpha mount SLRs use in-body sensor-shift image stabilization instead.

Click here for a detailed specification comparison between these lenses

Lens test data (APS-C)

We think the Tamron is just as likely to be used on higher-end APS-C cameras like the Canon EOS 70D, Nikon D7100 and Sony SLT-A77 II as it is on full frame, so in this report we'll be looking at how it performs in lab testing on both formats. It doesn't do too badly on APS-C, but is somewhat weak at the long end, with relatively low sharpness and quite high levels of lateral chromatic aberration.

Sharpness Sharpness is highest at 150mm, and progressively decreases as you zoom in; by 600mm the lens isn't especially sharp at all. In general you'll get the best results on stopping down to F8, light permitting. In context though, the Tamron's performance isn't too different to the other lenses of this type aside from the Sony 70-400mm, which is unusually good at the telephoto end.
Chromatic Aberration Chromatic aberration is distinctly high at 600mm, with strong red-cyan fringing at the edges and corners of the frame. It's not so bad at shorter focal lengths, and is very low indeed at 300mm. Note that while most Nikon SLRs will compensate for this in their JPEG processing, Canon and Sony cameras won't.
Vignetting Vignetting is very low, as usual for a full frame lens used on APS-C.
Distortion Distortion is low, which again is normal for a full frame lens on APS-C. There's a little pincushion distortion at all focal lengths, but it's unlikely ever to be a problem.

While the Tamron may not be at its best at 600mm, none of the other lenses we're looking at reach that long at all. So to make a fair comparison, we have to look at how they match up across their shared focal length range. For example, in these tests the Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM is no sharper at 500mm than the Tamron is at 600mm. Meanwhile Canon's ageing EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM simply can't keep pace with the Tamron's far more modern optics; it's simply not as sharp when compared like-for-like on the EOS 7D.

Compared to the recently-announced Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, the Tamron manages to keep pace optically across the shared zoom range - there are some small differences in measured sharpness here and there, and the Tamron has slightly higher CA at 400mm, but overall the lenses are more similar than different. The only lens that comes out noticeably ahead in any way, in fact, is the Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II, which offers spectacular sharpness wide-open at 400mm.


This lens review uses DxOMark data thanks to a partnership between dpreview.com and DxO Labs (read more about DxOMark and our partnership with DxO Labs). DxOMark is the trusted industry standard for independent image quality measurements and ratings. DxOMark has established this reputation with its rigorous hardware testing, industry-grade laboratory tools, and database of thousands of camera, lens and mobile test results. Full test results for this lens can be found at www.dxomark.com.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2014 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 189
ecube
By ecube (3 days ago)

Nice to have but I am not in that type of photography. I like scenic, portrait, table top, hence my lenses are (for Nikon FX): 24~85mm, 24~120mm, 135mm all at f/2.0 max aperture and (for NIkon DX): 18~55mm and 55~300mm. I converted my prime lenses for my Nikon F and used those much more than the 55~300mm. I hardly use the 55~300mm. Where I like super long reach, my Video camera with it's 70X zoom take better picture of the moon than any of my Nikkor lenses. The craters are more detailed than the 55~300mm lens.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Finepics
By Finepics (1 week ago)

Mine's on order but likely to be Xmas before I actually get it, and I live in camera world - Hong Kong!!I guess that just shows how well it's selling, so Tamron seem to have the formula just right - can't wait!!

0 upvotes
Douglas69
By Douglas69 (1 week ago)

I have one of these lenses. They've been in very short supply in Australia but I managed to get one by acting quickly when I heard a shipment was due a few weeks ago.

I've got both D7000 and D610 Nikon cameras. After using it to capture my favorite kookaburras high in a tree (using the 610) and later attempting to use it in an equally useful way in the D7000 I've formed the opinion this lens is best suited to a FX (full frame) sensor camera.

SO far the inability to auto focus from close to distant without help is the only issue I've discovered. There's a switch on the barrel to limit the distance... A sort of workaround for the problem. I haven't had results as good with the D7000 as I got on the FX body. Maybe that will change as I become more familiar with it. So far I'm liking it very much. Something I didn't expect from a Tamron lens.

0 upvotes
photogirl7
By photogirl7 (3 weeks ago)

Here's an interesting thread about the tamron being used for aviation.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/53930113

0 upvotes
Kim Letkeman
By Kim Letkeman (1 week ago)

Sadly, those samples are at the short end, where all zooms are competitive ...

0 upvotes
NTLBDuck
By NTLBDuck (3 weeks ago)

I have had the Tamron 150-600 for 3 months and taken over 3000 photos with it. I initially had some softness issues but changing to a Canon 70D and using the AF micro-adjustment to adjust for both the wide and long range ends of the lens, essentially eliminated the softness issue.

I know put most of my focus issues down to operator error and are extremely happy with the images I get.

3 upvotes
NTLBDuck
By NTLBDuck (3 weeks ago)

You can see some photos taken with it at LBDphotos (Elizabeth & Graeme) - just check the metadata to see which lens was used

0 upvotes
Ramius
By Ramius (3 weeks ago)

If only Tamron would make this for the FE mount instead. That would be awesome.

5 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (3 weeks ago)

A bit of exploring DxO's results shows it outperforming (slightly) Canon's old 100-400mm L, and being outperformed (slightly) by Nikon's new (and horribly expensive) 80-400mm. Seems like a very good deal to me.

I am a bit puzzled that the sharpness seems to decline so much between 400mm and 600mm on DX but hardly at all on FX. I guess it has to do with the pixel density of the DX camera used (presumably something with a 24MP Sony sensor in it).

1 upvote
BarnET
By BarnET (1 week ago)

FX users have been reporting drops in sharpness from 500 to 600mm. Tony northrup was very clear about this minor issue too.
Let's be honest just use it at 500mm it's a bargain for it's performance there.

DX sensors are more dense and require sharper lenses. That means this will fall slightly short. Still the only real better alternative is a 400mm and up prime lens or an 200-400mm zoom. and those are very very expensive indeed.

1 upvote
Frank_BR
By Frank_BR (3 weeks ago)

This is an extremely complex lens with 20 optical elements and almost 2kg weight. You can imagine that half the weight comes from the expensive optical glasses used in the lens construction. When a company produces and sells for only $1000 a lens of this caliber, we can only applaud. Bravo, Tamron!

17 upvotes
NISSIM COHEN NESSE
By NISSIM COHEN NESSE (3 weeks ago)

i have this lens on my canon 1dx, and on my sony 7r,
and it is truly remarkable
i got amazing pic ,and the more i used it ,the more i love it.

2 upvotes
ajamils1
By ajamils1 (3 weeks ago)

How do you use it on A7R without any stabilization? Do you just use a monopod or tripod?

0 upvotes
Sidath Senanayake
By Sidath Senanayake (3 weeks ago)

I guess he uses the Canon version of the lens via something like a Metabones. Slower autofocus but you get IS unlike the A-mount version that may or may not be available yet.

0 upvotes
BigBen08
By BigBen08 (3 weeks ago)

Do you have image samples or a gallery to share?

0 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (1 week ago)

It's also available in Sony A-mount.
With the proper adapter.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1008166-REG/sony_laea4_a_mount_to_e_mount_lens.html
you will get full phase detect autofocus and stabilisation.

0 upvotes
stratplaya
By stratplaya (3 weeks ago)

I would have liked to have seem some data at 500mm. I'm thinking that's where this lens would be used most.

2 upvotes
Yochi23
By Yochi23 (4 weeks ago)

Hi ,
I am posting again my question.
I am using now the Sigma 150-500 with my Nikon D7000 mainly for birds photography
Am using it without tripod. The focus is very slow but otherwise it's OK up to 400 mm
I want to upgrade to the new Tamron. Lab results are OK but I would very muck like to hear someone who actually tried both lenses specially before going on a safari.
Is the focus much faster? Are the result on 500-600 OK

Many thanks
Yochi

0 upvotes
stinelise
By stinelise (4 weeks ago)

Hi, Check out these two link to a Mr Sumeet Moghe, I find images and review quite pleasing....
https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciphertux/sets/72157640716188384/
and on his blog:
http://www.sumeetmoghe.com/2014/02/field-testing-bigron-aka-tamron-150.html

3 upvotes
Yochi23
By Yochi23 (4 weeks ago)

Thanks Stinelse. Am Checking it now
Yochi

0 upvotes
Douglas69
By Douglas69 (3 weeks ago)

I think you might be a tad disappointed with this lens if you intend to use it on a small sensor camera. I've got both 610 and 7100 Nikons and I only get excellent results on the 610. From what I'm told by other people who've tried one expecting to get 900mm virtual lens length, its the same story.

You might like to wait and see if Tamron intend to introduce APS-c specific lenses in the near future. BTW, this is not the only full frame lens I've used on a clip size sensor that doesn't produce the same quality image as it does on a full frame one. Just my opinion. Others may have different opinions. You could always hire one and see for yourself if it suits your needs. I still prefer the 120 - 300 Sigma with a 2x extender on it for really crisp results but the cost is a lot more.

2 upvotes
stinelise
By stinelise (3 weeks ago)

Thanks for info douglas69 - My personal experience is from Canon C100 usage so this do not apply to the DSLR world. I will actually rent the 120-300mm 2.8 and a 2x adapter to test. Thanks for reminding me of that lens :)

0 upvotes
EcoPix
By EcoPix (3 weeks ago)

Yes, likewise I use the 120-300 2.8 and 1.4 and 2x Siggies on DX (D7100, 1 V2). Can't speak for the Tamron but the Siggy kit is good gear. My big primes only come out these days when I really need the light.

1 upvote
Lassoni
By Lassoni (3 weeks ago)

I've been told by a store guy (when testing tamron 150-600) that sigmas 50-500 has better auto focus tracking than tamron. It might also be so slightly sharper than 150-500, but it could be worth testing if you can test it at some store.

I tested the tamron on a nikon FF, but I dunno whether the store guy was referring to reports from canon users where there seems to be some complaints on the autofocus of tamron. Didn't get to shoot any birds so cannot say anything for myself.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Douglas69
By Douglas69 (1 week ago)

You'll probably find the Tamron has considerably better engineering in it than the Sigma. Having said that, I'll go on the say my short experience with the Tamron makes me feel it is best suited to a full frame camera. I'm not getting as good results with my D7000 as I get from the D610. You might also find the pixel density of the D7000 is why.

0 upvotes
EcoPix
By EcoPix (1 week ago)

It's all a bit of a trade-off. It will probably perform better at 550mm than 600, and better still at 500. So if you need 600 to fill the FX frame, you might only need 500 to better that reach on DX, at which it might be sharp enough. Swings and roundabouts, and only some careful testing in the field would sort it out to your satisfaction.
The Siggy 120-300 + 2x is only 550, incidentally (but a true f5.6), and sharpest at 500 (backed off a tad) but excellent at that on DX. So might be the Tammy, but slow.
Engineeringly, yes, possibly, although the 120-300 is an upmarket Sigma. Mine needed two trips back to the factory before it performed, but it is now close enough to optically perfect. A Sigma issue is individual variation - I had to buy two 1.4x's to get a sharp one. Tamron has done consistency better in the past.
This lens is in their newfound cheap but good category, like their 70-300 SP VC. I have an excellent copy of that one, which outperforms my Nikkor, but reports vary.

0 upvotes
phlyfisher
By phlyfisher (4 weeks ago)

I've used the Tamron 150-600 on a D5000, D7000 and full frame Df. FWIW, my most detailed moon shot came from the D5000, in my experience the greater pixel density of of the D7000 isn't of any great benefit at 600mm (900mm equivalent) where resolution drops off. The Df is my preferred body with this lens because of the low noise characteristics of the sensor at high iso, but the lens is exceptionally fun to use on any of these bodies. VC is very effective and hand held shots at 1/60 sec. at full zoom are generally acceptably sharp but typically shots (daylight) are taken around 1/500, iso 800, f/8 with faster shutter speeds for subjects in motion. A tripod definitely increases keeper rate. Focus speed is good and accurate. Bokeh is generally good, often excellent. I have lenses that are sharper with more contrast, maybe focus faster, but for long reach and very good all around function this lens is truly remarkable and worth a try.

1 upvote
tabloid
By tabloid (4 weeks ago)

f5-f6.3
LOL
Make sure you only use it on a sunny day.

You would think that in this day and age of technology they could do a 150-600 @ f2.8

Wheres my Brownie 127

2 upvotes
TTMartin
By TTMartin (4 weeks ago)

Do you have any idea how big that lens would be?
Sigma has a 200-500mm f/2.8 and the thing is huge.
http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/gizmodo/2009/04/009475l_01.jpg

10 upvotes
eyeswideshut
By eyeswideshut (4 weeks ago)

Fool.

13 upvotes
Hasa
By Hasa (4 weeks ago)

Good point tabloid! Your wait is over: go for the Sigma 200-500mm F2.8. @ $25,999.00. Roughly 16Kg. Good example of the law of diminishing returns (price vs. F-stop).

11 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (3 weeks ago)

I would like to see a Sigma 300-600mm OS f/4 or f/5.6 (depending on how the size, weight, price balance out).

Obviously, an f/2.8 is not only completely unrealistic without tens of thousands of dollars -- but I think a shorter zoom range (a simple 2x optical design) and f/5.6 optimized for f/5.6 is possible. I wouldn't want an f/4 that was too expensive.

4 upvotes
tabloid
By tabloid (3 weeks ago)

Time for a lens revolution.

1 upvote
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (3 weeks ago)

You cant have a lens revolution in terms of size, you can only gather so many photos at a specific front element. I suppose material science could find some alternative to glass that weighs less, but the plastic used for lower lenses is not the solution and anyway the lenses need to be the same size. Unfortunately, light can not be sucked into the lens like a vacuum picks up dust, so there is no way around this. That is why the focus is on sensor technology, not lens technology. The most you can do with lens technology is improve clarity and reduce scattering. Anyway f stops are in principle a kind of ratio or specific amount of light depending how you think of it, so its not like f/2.8 will mean anything else except that ratio for that much light gathering.

0 upvotes
Lassoni
By Lassoni (3 weeks ago)

It would be nice to see how the sigma's new 300-600 is going to be priced, probably way higher than I think.. if so, what if some of these companies produced something like sigma's 100-300 f4.. which is said to be sharper than sigma's 120-300 f2.8, and lighter? Anything under 2kg (between 1.3-1.6kg) with a maximum aperture of 4 or 5.6 AND with OS would be a very very good candidate. Heck, even the tamron's 200-500 with some image sharpness boost + VC would be a true killer.

0 upvotes
WildBill in MN
By WildBill in MN (1 week ago)

150-600 /2.8? That would be doable. You wouldn't need a tripod, either. The turret on the back of a Humvee would do nicely.

0 upvotes
Daniel Clune
By Daniel Clune (4 weeks ago)

I keep seeing the sigma 150-500 compared to the Tamron. The Sigma 50-500-OS is the better lens. Sigmas 150-500 has ALWAYS been a stinker. I tested 3 of them they were ALL sub par even compared against my first gen 50-500 non OS let alone the newest 50-500 OS. BUT it does cost more so maybe thats why but still.

3 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (3 weeks ago)

Which is really WEIRD isn't it? Why does Sigma -- who is undergoing significant efforts to increase their brand, allow this to stand?

I hope they come out with a simple 2x optical design 300-600/f5.6 that is optically superior to the Tamron and sharp as hell at f/5.6 to replace the 150-500. A 200-600/f5.6 is also acceptable, but honestly, we have so many lenses that go beyond 200mm now that its just not necessary and just adds weight, cost.

2 upvotes
Lassoni
By Lassoni (3 weeks ago)

Sigma is working on a 300-600, but it's probably going to be priced high

0 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (5 days ago)

I feel doubtful, because I personally started that rumor 3 years ago or so on NikonRumors. But I guess anything is possible in that time. I really want them to make it.

0 upvotes
Yochi23
By Yochi23 (4 weeks ago)

Has anyone compared the new Tamron to the Sigma 150-500 for Nikon crop camera

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 weeks ago)

Suggestion: We hear mostly that these lenses perform better on FF sensors than crop sensors, but how about a direct comparison? A 24mp DX like the Nikon D7200 versus a 24mp D610. Same shot, same subject, same distance. Then, crop and upsize the D610 shot and see how it matches up.

1 upvote
misolo
By misolo (4 weeks ago)

I don't think that comparison would make much sense: if you know you're going to crop you should be using a crop sensor for the higher resolution, which will of course do better. You'd want to look at the D610 at 600mm f/8 vs. the D7200 at 400mm f/5.6, with the D610 set at one ISO stop higher. Then you'd be getting otherwise more or less equivalent photos (in field of view, depth of field, shutter speed, total light/shot noise, etc.), and you could have an more fair comparison of optical characteristics (resolution, chromatic aberration, etc.)

3 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (3 weeks ago)

What Misolo saided. The D7100 in full mode will have more resolution than a D800 in crop mode.

So for "sunny" pictures (where the highest ISOs are not needed), and at apertures like f/8, there is really no one who is saying that Fullframe is better. You'll get more out of a cropped camera, if that's what you're looking for (indeed, this is THE key strength of APS-C other than weight and size). The 600mm end will be a true 900mm, whereas the D800 will be throwing away pixels do get that digital zoom.

By contrast, Fullframe is better at wide angle (in general) and getting a narrow depth of field and at low-light.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
misolo
By misolo (3 weeks ago)

GlobalGuyUSA: in addition to those issues (depth of field, low light, etc.), I think the original question was regarding the optical quality of the lens. Using the full image circle is less demanding of the lens' resolution and less impacted by lateral chromatic aberration (because, for the same total number of pixels, each pixel is larger). However, a crop sensor, while more demanding of resolution, uses the "sweet spot" in the center of the lens where resolution is highest. Which works better overall depends on the lens. Lenses with very soft corners work best in aps-c. Lenses that have good corners (and/or not very high center resolution) work best in full frame.

Comment edited 48 seconds after posting
1 upvote
westerner
By westerner (3 weeks ago)

Your "sweet spot" argument doesn't really hold up well...I see many, many lens tests where DX tests out much worse than full frame on lenses designed primarily for full frame cameras. The data for this lens is no exception. Look at 600mm f6.3 and even f8...the DX is far worse. My 24-70 f2.8 lens is the same. Sharp wide open at pretty much every focal length on my D700, noticeably softer unless stopped down on D7000 or D7100. AF fine tuned on both bodies.

0 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (3 weeks ago)

Hi Misolo,

That's a good point, but I think you have it correct (edges), and the OP had it backwards. Of course, it all depends how important edges are to you. The middle and even far middle is generally pretty good throughout Fullframe lenses these days, even if edges tend to get rotten. And yet, when you're doing tele work, often the center is the important part, and often you want a smaller f/stop (f/16) when you can get it. So FF helps with diffraction for the reasons you mentioned, and you still get the whole sweet spot within Fullframe as well. I guess it pretty much comes down to whether one needs sharp edges for ones work.

But if you look at the APS-C vs. Fullframe tests (on this page), you can see what Westerner is pointing out -- some Fullframe lenses just seem to work better on Fullframe cameras (and I have no idea why). In this case, there is a significant level of difference between FF and APS-C sharpness, in FF's favor. Again, I'm not sure why this is.

0 upvotes
TTMartin
By TTMartin (4 weeks ago)

Very informative.

Just like the Tamron the Sigma 150-500 OS performs much better on a full frame sensor.

Guess it is time to give it a try on my 6D.

0 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (3 weeks ago)

I'm not sure that one can compare Fullframe and Cropped bodies directly like that in DxO measurements -- they use different standards, and it varies by body as well.

I think you can more directly compare with other lenses on the same body and to a lesser degree in the same format. But to cross bodies and formats is pushing it.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
wt66
By wt66 (4 weeks ago)

so how does the sony cropped from 400 to 600 compare to the tamron at 600? is there any reason to upgrade?

0 upvotes
ViRuS X
By ViRuS X (4 weeks ago)

Let's say that the Tamron would get better IQ, you will lose the fast SSM AF.
If there is any difference in IQ it wouldn't be worth the upgrade, that is IF , I didn't test the Tamron

0 upvotes
Dave Oddie
By Dave Oddie (3 weeks ago)

It is always easier in my opinion to work with the native focal length than to crop but you ask an interesting question of the Sony 400 cropped to 600 v the Tamron @ 600.

One thing is for sure is the Sony is an outstanding lens @ 400mm. It is it sharper than the Tamron but it is slightly faster as the T stop is f6.3 for the Sony whereas it is f7 for the Tamron.

I don't think you would lose the SSM because the Tamron is not a screw drive lens on the Sony. It uses the same electronic focusing mechanism as the Canikon variants.

It may or may not be as good as SSM but it certainly won't be a noisy screw drive.

If I already owned the Sony this review would not having me upgrading. I would know I would be getting a lens less sharp @400mm for the sake of the range 400-600.

As it is I don't own the Sony and great lens though it is, I can't justify paying that much when the Tamron sells for approx £500 less than the Sony. or will do when they get around to releasing it ion Sony mount!

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
tbcass
By tbcass (4 weeks ago)

Lassoni, after looking at your posts you obviously don't know what you are talking about. Apparently this lens is better than what you have but believe me, all your negative posts won't change that.

7 upvotes
Lassoni
By Lassoni (4 weeks ago)

I'm soon to have my sigma 400 5.6, which is 500-600g lighter, and probably sharper than the tammy @ 600 (with a TC). Only downside is sigma won't have OS, but I can live with that since I wouldn't like to handhold the tamron personally (tried at store twice on different occasions, didn't like it).

These things are subjective, like how some ppl perceive its weight. How soft it is however is something that is evident in both the reviews of the lens and now even here in dpreview.

Is it better than my current lenses? It certainly provides more reach than any of my current lens (400 5.6 yet to arrive). BUT! At 600, it's just as soft / performs equally soft as my 70-300 does, which is not very nice thing for something that imo weights a little bit too much. Canon folks can just get their canon 400 5.6 over this..

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

Stop down ever so slightly at 600 and it sharpens right up. Also note that a 600mm on Canon, one still has full AF, unlike using the 400/5.6L with TCs, where one has no AF on many bodies and slow AF on 1-series and the 5D III. A sharp lens is meaningless if the subject is not in focus.

And how does your 400mm lens look at 300mm? 200mm? Can you swap your 70-300 in as fast as the Tamron can be zoomed out?

I think you may be compensating for something; I hope it's just stupidity.

1 upvote
Lassoni
By Lassoni (4 weeks ago)

What's up with the personal attacks? Woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Have you actually tested the 150-600?

I'm just trying to say that the tamron is at best comparable to that of sigma 50-500 with some extra reach, and probably worse AF. Not really the most spectacular piece of glass.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
GNM1
By GNM1 (3 weeks ago)

Hi - I took the Nikon version out in April on my D3s with a friend shooting a Canon 500 F4 IS on a 7D. Looking at the results - birds I would say the Prime and £5k+ of lens has it- 'feathers'. Walking like a hunchback, the Canon has it. Been able to shoot into the air longer - less hand weight, the Tamron has it. The noise from the 7D makes me feel a little better as it delivered nothing like the D3s on ISO. There's so many 'if's' about this lens because of price. I traded my old 80-400 in for a Tamron (I liked my old 80-400) so expected at least as good. Tamron F6.3 - well need some depth of field and F7.1 up looks ok, but I'm not selling pictures to an art gallery. Some samples here: http://www.digital.ac/tamron150-600/
The Kite is edited - bad day, bad light. The auto focus on a D3s - easy on a Kite, easy at Kart racing. Not a spectacular piece of glass, but the person pushing the buttons contributes. Dislikes - the zoom creep. Likes - picture quality, zoom lock and 5 year warranty.

2 upvotes
Wilight
By Wilight (4 weeks ago)

Good job, Tamron! Almost as sharp as the Canon 200-400mm at 560mm (extender engaged) for less then 1/10th of the price!

2 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

Note that sharpness by far isn't everything- the 200-400L is going to have better rendering and better contrast and far better AF in all circumstances. It delivers for those that need it, for occasions and locations that the Tamron will never go.

2 upvotes
Lassoni
By Lassoni (4 weeks ago)

Soft. No better than 50-500 sigma (supposedly has better AF than tamron)

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
John Ellis
By John Ellis (4 weeks ago)

Fuzzy at the telephoto end? Why else would I want a telephoto? Can't they make them sharp at the far end and horrible at the near end where I could care less?

2 upvotes
dialstatic
By dialstatic (4 weeks ago)

The quick answer is 'no'.

3 upvotes
JakeJones
By JakeJones (4 weeks ago)

The answer in the review "yes" it can be done...for the "unusual" Sony 70-400. Why only the Sony? That is the more difficult question.

0 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (4 weeks ago)

JakeJones, with all due respect: there is NO relation between a 400mm and a 600mm!!!

0 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

One wouldn't call Sigma's 120-300/2.8 OS (Sport or original) 'fuzzy' anywhere, but it is definitely better at 300mm than 120mm, getting better while zooming in. At 300/2.8, it gives comparable primes a run for their money in many aspects including sharpness.

1 upvote
TTMartin
By TTMartin (4 weeks ago)

The Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 even with a 2X TC on a 7D at f/8 can still hold up to a fair amount of cropping.

Wish DPR had also posted test results of the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 with TCs attached.

1 upvote
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

Which is what I was saying above, if you infer that the Sigma at 300/2.8 is almost as good as 300/2.8 primes, then the Sigma with their 2x will be almost as good as a Canikon 300/2.8 with a first-party 2x as well.

Just note that you're losing the ability to zoom out with the 120-300/2.8 + 2x while spending over three times as much and carrying around a significantly larger and heavier lens.

Though I have no doubt that the Sigma would be worth the effort :).

0 upvotes
CreeDo
By CreeDo (3 weeks ago)

I think the reason they don't bother with that is, if the near end is lousy, they might as well have made a prime 600 and gotten absolute top quality at the far end. Or they could make a very short zoom length like 400-600 rather than 150-600.

Or it's just that it's really embarrassing if you shoot something ten feet away and it looks awful. Makes your lens look bad even if the 600mm shots are amazing.

1 upvote
danny006
By danny006 (4 weeks ago)

Check out the nikkor 600/f4, the tamron at f8 is not that far behind.

0 upvotes
alberto_b
By alberto_b (4 weeks ago)

600 mm f6.3
f = 586,5 mm T value = 7,5
So you buy it like a 95,2 mm aperture lens - with a 95 mm filter thread! - and you get a 80 mm (approx value) aperture lens. Maybe it's an accepted standard for any camera/lens manufacturer, but in astro optics this simply don't exist.

0 upvotes
technic
By technic (4 weeks ago)

I guess most lenses in astro optics have a much smaller number of elements ...

3 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

Or much higher quality elements and coatings that don't eat at the transmission so much- OR have a wider physical aperture to get the measured T-stop close to what the lens is being marketed as.

Though if you're shooting astro, one would think that you've gotten a sky-tracking rig set up so that exposure times matter very little, and thus a particular lens' T-stop also matters very little.

But hey, that'd be doing it right!

0 upvotes
BonnieSueM
By BonnieSueM (4 weeks ago)

"Canon's EF 100-400...simply not as sharp when compared like-for-like?"

Buy L glass they said, you'll never regret it they said. Sigh.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
10 upvotes
Timbukto
By Timbukto (4 weeks ago)

The Canon 100-400L is 15 years older and I doubt anyone who bought it 15, 10, or even 3 years ago would regret what they used out of it (considering resale will always be decent). It also is 570g lighter and a bit smaller. Also if you dig into the sharpness comparisons its not even that significant...not even close to say the difference between a Sigma 50mm 1.4 A compared to Canon 50mm 1.4.

4 upvotes
Lassoni
By Lassoni (4 weeks ago)

100-400 is sharp enough imo. 400 5.6 , otoh, kills tamron.

1 upvote
tbcass
By tbcass (4 weeks ago)

What are you smokin' brother?

5 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (4 weeks ago)

I really wanted to like this lens and buy it, but I tried it and found the rendition pretty awful on the D800e compared to just about any Nikon lens.

1 upvote
white shadow
By white shadow (4 weeks ago)

If one is not willing to pay much for a 600mm lens, this is about the best one can get.

4 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (4 weeks ago)

THE ONLY actually White Shadow! At least less expensive then his camera!!! Besides is a bit crazy to expect ANY 600mm lens to deliver 36MP at normal distance use!!!

0 upvotes
TTMartin
By TTMartin (4 weeks ago)

It doesn't appear to perform as well on higher pixel density sensors.

0 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

Most Nikon and Sony lenses don't perform as well on higher density sensors either- and let's not forget about poor Pentax with a world-beating crop camera in the K-3 and no lenses to go with it!

One would almost be better off pairing this lens to a D700 where the lower resolution would mask the lens' faults while the D700's strengths would make the most of the zoom's reach and flexibility.

2 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (4 weeks ago)

TT Martin, apart from VERY FEW EXCEPCIONAL optics like the Zeizz 55mm Otus, Sigma Art, Canon 200-400 etc almost none of the others do as well on higher pixel density sensors!
There are other reasons for it for sure, but since canon reached 20+Megas MANY years ago, and way ahead of all the others, they were also the first to experience the lack of lenses able to REALLY DELIVER ALL THOSE megapixels!!! It comes not as a chock that in last years they produced some of their truly record breaking definition lenses instead of bringuind the oh so awaited 42-56megapixel sensor that ALMOST NONE of the lenses would be able to use!!! (not to mention the photographer's tecnique! ;)
Besides, since usually 600mm lenses are used from a rather long distance, air conditions and proper tripod and or techinc will be WAY more importante then the pure optical definition! ... (continuation below)

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (4 weeks ago)

... (CONT) Besides the f6.3 aperture will force most people to increase the ISO, wich will most likely in real life turn the amazing sensor of 36megas to the 24 or maybe even 12megas equivalente! Just like sony proved with their lates Full Frame sensor of only 12megas!

Hope this helps, if not i will look for the best review of the lens that i found, were they explain all those issues very well! :)

Good weekend! :D

0 upvotes
beavertown
By beavertown (4 weeks ago)

The Nikon similar range costs 10 times more expensive.

Glad Tamron release a great lens to tell people what crap Canikon has been doing.

2 upvotes
Lassoni
By Lassoni (4 weeks ago)

Sigma 100-300 f/4 probably best for nikon users

0 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (4 weeks ago)

Not available anymore. Everyone says it is indeed special lens! But no IS, NO availability and no lens from 300mm to 600mm put it in a diferente league! ;)
(that being said, if Sigma made it with IS i would sell 70-200 telezoom to buy it!!! :D

2 upvotes
TTMartin
By TTMartin (4 weeks ago)

The Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 OS does have image stabilization, and can also be used with a 2X TC to reach 600mm.

1 upvote
Lassoni
By Lassoni (4 weeks ago)

@Higuel for lenses like 100-300 there's eBay

0 upvotes
Ramjager
By Ramjager (4 weeks ago)

So where is the test of the AF performance like tracking etc.
There is more to a lens test than lines per millimetre.
Take a browse around the forums to see the more important part of the review DXO completely omit.
Its not pretty.
When oh when will DXO start testing properly and include AF performance which is far more important than an extra 5lines per mm of sharpness.
Try tracking a bird with this lens..good luck.

2 upvotes
Alphoid
By Alphoid (4 weeks ago)

DxO is not a camera review site. They make software for correcting issues with lenses and camera sensors. They collect data to help allow that. They generously share some of the data with the public.

If you'd like to see a culprit, it's dpreview.

2 upvotes
technic
By technic (4 weeks ago)

the review says:
"What these laboratory optical tests can never tell you, though, is now well the lens's autofocus and image stabilization systems work for real-world shooting of these kinds of subjects. You can get a feel for this, though, by reading... "

Tracking performance depends strongly on the camera body that is used (and the type of subject, experience of the user etc.).

2 upvotes
Kris in CT
By Kris in CT (4 weeks ago)

I think it tracks very well. http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3676468 These are some tracking tests I did when I first got it. The first series is normal daylight conditions with a D7100, the second 2 are on a rainy foggy day with a D600

5 upvotes
GNM1
By GNM1 (3 weeks ago)

As I said above:
http://www.digital.ac/tamron150-600/
The Kite is edited - bad day, bad light, a little high (Cropped). The auto focus on a D3s - easy on a Kite, easy at Kart racing. Just dropped the D3s down from 51 points or use with 3d tracking, stick D3s on manual with auto ISO and there you go. Quite tricky on smaller birds though because they are in and out of the viewfinder so quickly. Ok for me but opinions will vary - I am not a bird shooter in general - just wanted to see what it did. Shot of a swift here:
http://www.digital.ac/tamron150-600/

0 upvotes
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (4 weeks ago)

@RichRMA and others worried about the tele-side: check here for another comparison of this lens at 150mm and 500mm wide-open:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=929&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=0&API=0&LensComp=929&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=4&APIComp=0

You'll see that if anything, their sample of the lens was sharper at 500mm...

This illustrates the big problem with lens testing sites: sample variation is very real, and basing nice numbers on just one copy is very much flawed! I've read somewhere that Roger Cicela from LensRentals acquired a new testing unit or so - here's hoping that he'll use it to systematically test at least ten copies of every type of lens he has and share the results with us. Because as it stands, lens review sites are pretty much useless to assess what one can expect from a lens sharpness-wise.

6 upvotes
technic
By technic (4 weeks ago)

Roger has already tested many copies of most lenses with their previous equipment; this shows that copy variation is a fact, but usually the differences are so small that you would hardly notice in practice (check the older articles on the website). However, some copies can be outside the 'normal' performance range and in that case exchanging them would be the best option; problem is, a normal user can't compare to other copies so it is difficult to know if there is something wrong with the lens, or if there is another problem (e.g. AF adjustment woes, other camera problems, user error etc.).

1 upvote
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (4 weeks ago)

Well, I'm a scientist, and if people present me with a number my instinct is to ask "how reproducible is that number?". It happens often that lens A is tested sharper than lens B on one website, while the inverse is true on another website. So either one of the people doing the testing did it wrong (which I choose not to believe in case of the better known review sites), or lens variation does play a role. Roger Cicala indeed has done some comparitive testing in the past on sample variation, but usually he also just gives a single number "because that's what people want": http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/09/why-arent-the-damn-numbers-the-same (check the first graph btw and tell me the variation on the average isn't interesting to know about...) DxO Marks is particularly good (read: poor) at presenting their results as absolute values...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
technic
By technic (4 weeks ago)

@Greg VdB:
"So either one of the people doing the testing did it wrong (which I choose not to believe in case of the better known review sites), or lens variation does play a role. "

Probably they are just both using different testing / evaluation methods, not necessarily 'wrong'. Depending on test conditions and test methods the results could differ strongly. Lens testing is not 'objective' at all, and the result will depend strongly on the exact testing procedure (focus distance, lighting, focusing, camera body used for testing, etc. etc.). Which isn't a problem as long as you understand how they get the data and what you can use it for. Sometimes unfortunately - like with DXO - it isn't clear at all what the testing results represent, so DXO rankings are of little value to me.

I'm a scientist too, but I prefer actual images to the average lens test because most tests as performed by review websites tell me very little about real life performance.

0 upvotes
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (4 weeks ago)

I think we agree within error :-)

0 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (4 weeks ago)

UNLESS... your name is Roger Cicala and you are actually more interested in the quality of what you writte instead of how easy and or fast you can writte it!!! :)
If Dpreview has a shop they sure could test several exemples of a certain lens IF they wanted!!! :/

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
rwbaron
By rwbaron (4 weeks ago)

I agree with Greg VdB as I've been testing and comparing Canon lenses for years and yes, significant variation is real even with L glass. Just ask Klaus at Photozone who routinely tests several samples of a lens and posts the best results. He also comments on centering defects which are quite common especially with image stabilized lenses. The other issue is method and technique for testing a 600mm lens especially on APS C. Some sites comment on the issue of getting valid results just due to the lens to target distance.

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 weeks ago)

They have million $ machines generating the (easy) spherical curves on the lenses used in those cheap teles. They should be as uniform in production as can be. Unless mechanical tolerances are very sloppy (to facilitate rapid production) I can't see there being much difference between copies.

0 upvotes
technic
By technic (4 weeks ago)

@RichRMA:
it isn't easy at all to make a 'perfect' lens, if it was there would be many factories churning out high quality, low cost lenses ... Seems to me you have no idea of the difficulties of lens design and production.

0 upvotes
lynmay
By lynmay (3 weeks ago)

Greg, I agree. There are huge variations at times in lens models and DSLR models. I had three different Canon 7Ds before I found one that did not have focus issues. I've had Canon 5Ds, 5DIIs, 40Ds and 60Ds, but the Canon 7D was the only one that had severe front and back focus issues with different L lenses. Later found out this was a common issue for the 7D that Canon had never made public or recalled.
I also tried two Canon 70-300 L lenses before getting a sharp copy. Even on DPR if you look at the Canon 7D test shot you'll see that the camera is back focusing. The playing card in the back of the image is tack sharp, but the Bailey's bottle image with the tree and pasture with fence are less sharp than other comparable DSLRs.
If the lenses and DSLRs are not calibrated before a test the results are not really usable.

0 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (4 weeks ago)

My copy of this lens perform superbly at 600mm wide open ... please see example here : http://www.newphotoland.com/showphoto.php?photo=22716&cat=689

8 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 weeks ago)

Very nice image. Was it cropped or downsized to 1.2M?

1 upvote
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (4 weeks ago)

slightly cropped and reduced to the required size of this particular website Rich ...thanks !

0 upvotes
Portlandian
By Portlandian (4 weeks ago)

Spectacular shot, Mr. Veltchev. I'm sold; when the lens is available in the U.S. I'll buy one. Thanks for sharing.

1 upvote
freddyville7
By freddyville7 (1 week ago)

How far away were you from the bird?
Thanks

0 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (1 week ago)

+/-5m

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (4 weeks ago)

Matches the 100-400L at 400mm and gives you another 50% more zoom range. Well worth the price.

8 upvotes
Kris in CT
By Kris in CT (4 weeks ago)

I have had mine for about a month now. I don't see the CA they are talking about and I shoot raw. I have a set here, mostly on a D7100 and some with a D600. Maybe I missed it, but all their data is from Canon's 7D and 5Dm3. I think the lens performs very well on the D7100 and in general I have seen better samples from Nikon cameras then Canon on flickr. On the D7100 it tracks BIF very well. If you want to look at a few of my faves at various FL and Apertures all the exif is there

https://www.flickr.com/photos/coastalconn/sets/72157645413231013/

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 55 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
George Veltchev
By George Veltchev (4 weeks ago)

you may eat your words Kris ... please see my sample gallery at 500px.( http://500px.com/model_99 ) some of the images there are taken with this Tamron on a FF Canon 6D ... please, I wanna hear your comments !

1 upvote
technic
By technic (4 weeks ago)

no CA visible for you, and better images on Nikon because Nikon bodies automatically correct the CA?

0 upvotes
Kris in CT
By Kris in CT (4 weeks ago)

@George, Fantastic work! Best I have seen on a Canon body. Looks like you have some pretty good PS knowledge too. Would love to see a 100% crop from the 6d..
@Technic, only if you shoot jpeg, I think..

2 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (4 weeks ago)

Nikon bodies do not correct for third party lenses in jpeg processing.

0 upvotes
gregbartgis
By gregbartgis (4 weeks ago)

I think the best question is Rich's. Why on Earth would a lens with such great reach not be optimized for the longest FL? This makes no sense, since anyone buying it is generally buying the 600mm lens with the capability of having shorter FL's if needed. If they at least optimized it at, say, 400mm, then overall performance would be at least acceptable.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (4 weeks ago)

I think it's just very hard to optimize for long focal lengths when covering a very large focal length range. The vast majority of telephoto zooms don't do that well at their longest focal lengths, or are at least weaker there than at shorter focal lengths. The ones that do turn in a convincing performance at their longest focal length tend to be really expensive zooms covering short zoom ratios (i.e., the constant f/2.8 ones)

4 upvotes
steelhead3
By steelhead3 (4 weeks ago)

Did you read the comments about the 70/400?

1 upvote
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (4 weeks ago)

The Sony 70-400, Nikon 80-400, and other similarly expensive long/slow zooms are better than the Tamron here while covering a wide focal length range.
But those lenses have a lower max focal length, and cost about twice as much. For a more aggressive long zoom that sells at half the price, it's hard to fault the Tamron.

That being said, I wouldn't buy any of those lenses. Using f/5.6 at long focal lengths is an absolute nightmare with low light/fast action. Even a 300/2.8 (I have a Nikon 300/2.8 AF-I for about $2000) has enough trouble, requiring ISO 6400 more often than not.

1 upvote
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

I don't think that it's so much optimized for shorter focal lengths as much as it is optimal between 200mm and 500mm; 150mm and 600mm are less optimal and require stopping down. This is typical 'budget' zoom behavior, and nothing to fault Tamron for here.

1 upvote
Ruy Penalva
By Ruy Penalva (4 weeks ago)

Resuming: A good trash.

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 weeks ago)

Why do they optimize these lenses for use in the lower focal lengths? Does anyone really go around shooting at 150-200mm with such a lens? It would be far better to just make a 400-600mm f/5.6 and avoid the medium telephoto region completely.

10 upvotes
Jack Simpson
By Jack Simpson (4 weeks ago)

I'm guessing, so people can use their 18-200 > 250>270 lenses in conjunction with their 150-500>600 lenses :D

1 upvote
LV Moose
By LV Moose (4 weeks ago)

Other reviews I've seen indicate that this lens is at it's sharpest between 300-400 (and still decent at 500), decreasing toward the long and short ends. After MFA'd my copy is pretty impressive up to 550. Very nice Bang for the buck!

5 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (4 weeks ago)

Because the longer the FL, the more difficult to keep image circle from expanding and the resolution from degrading.

3 upvotes
Lan
By Lan (4 weeks ago)

A useful review; thank you!

As a matter of interest; are you going to publish your views on the AF and effectiveness of VC when you've had more time to test it?

Please :)

1 upvote
racketman
By racketman (4 weeks ago)

is this lens actually still for sale anywhere?

1 upvote
KentG
By KentG (4 weeks ago)

This lens is brand new not to be confused with anything made previously. It was only announced late in 2013.

1 upvote
thx1138
By thx1138 (4 weeks ago)

This lens has been suffering from focus issues on a wide range fo Canon cameras in servo mode. Many people have the returned the lens and reported the fault to Tamron. Tamron has denied any problem, yet apparently new firmware is being uploaded/released to address issues they deny exist.

I know people that have been waiting 4 months for lens to ship. It appears it been almost impossible to obtain the lens for a few months now. Tamron are handling the whole fiasco very badly.

1 upvote
steelhead3
By steelhead3 (4 weeks ago)

Only if your locked into the Canon system.

1 upvote
Jack Simpson
By Jack Simpson (4 weeks ago)

Hi R_M,

Our shop, Vancouver, BC, has had it on order since Mid-March :o

0 upvotes
LV Moose
By LV Moose (4 weeks ago)

Piggy-backing on comments by thx1138, yes Tamron will update the firmware if you send the lens in, and from user reports, it improves AF across the board. What irks me with Tamron, they can't/won't tell you which serial numbers came with the old firmware and at what point they were produced with newer firmware. I got this confirmed directly from Tamron via email after I asked the question. It's hard to believe that in this day and age, a corporation like Tamron doesn't have this info in a data base.

2 upvotes
Duncan Glendinning
By Duncan Glendinning (4 weeks ago)

Tempe Camera had one last Saturday - I don't know if the guy looking at it bought it... (www.tempecamera.com)

0 upvotes
Rocky Mtn Old Boy
By Rocky Mtn Old Boy (4 weeks ago)

I bought mine online from Vistek (Toronto) in mid-January and was delivered Jan 31.

Very happy with it other than it has sporadic mis-communication with my Metabones smart adapter III. I also have a "King" smart adapter and it works flawlessly (and the King was half the price of the 'Bones).

1 upvote
Jack Simpson
By Jack Simpson (4 weeks ago)

Congrats R_M_O_B, whilst talking to the Amplis rep a few days ago, they been receiving stock but not enough to keep up with the orders :o ……. :)

0 upvotes
gregbartgis
By gregbartgis (4 weeks ago)

I really do wish you'd also include shooting results with 4/3 sensors. They're becoming ubiquitous and there are quite a few of us who would love to have such a lens for use on our Oly's and Panny's. If there are compatibility problems, please explain. If the lens is just too unsharp to be used on anything smaller than APS-C, please inform. I love the idea of having a zoom with the reach of one the equivalent of 300 - 1200mm on FF. There are presently no supertelephoto lenses of very appreciable focal length being made for small sensor cameras. This one would be a treat.

0 upvotes
AngryCorgi
By AngryCorgi (4 weeks ago)

This lens is not offered in MFT mount. They couldn't test it there without using an adapter of some sort, which could skew the performance and be unfair to the product.

9 upvotes
gregbartgis
By gregbartgis (4 weeks ago)

Sounds like an excuse to me...... :P
( so make an adapter that works with it!)

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 weeks ago)

The Metabones adapter works but AF is mediocre that its practically useless. Neither m43 or Canon/Nikon will ever make an adapter like Metabones.

2 upvotes
AngryCorgi
By AngryCorgi (4 weeks ago)

Yeah, Brendon is right. Why would the parent companies make an adapter that allows you to purchase OTHER PEOPLE's LENSES??

2 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

If you're shooting M43, you are not this lens' target market. A lens with equivalent aperture and field of view could be made far smaller, or if kept the same size could be made far faster by incorporating a 'speed booster' design, a la Sigma's 18-35/1.8 that's essentially a massaged 24-70/2.8 boosted from FF to APS-C.

1 upvote
gregbartgis
By gregbartgis (4 weeks ago)

I agree with the statement about the Metabones. I have the MFT to Nikon G mt. I hadn't thought about the sharpening effect and wonder how much effective sharpening you get used with this lens at the worst performing FL's. I could just make this lens a truly practical one with only a little loss of FL. It would, in effect, become a 106.5 - 426 (or thereabout) which would still translate to 213 - 852mm. Quite an impressive zoom range - and quite possibly a much sharper than average one in this range. To me, the adapter elevates this lens to something well worth considering. Otherwise, I'd rather just use primes.

0 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

But are those focal lengths useful without AF? I have to ask; it'd obviously be fine for stationary stuff, but what about stuff that moves, even a little?

0 upvotes
MainOlyGuy
By MainOlyGuy (3 weeks ago)

Olympus has a full line of extremely bright lenses F/2.0 150 (300mm equivalent - Stunning!) and F/2.8 90=150 and 300mm (180-500 and 600mm) telephotos. Pricey but some of the best glass out there for the 4/3rd sensors.... actually for any camera for that matter.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (3 weeks ago)

I scrolled down your list for available lenses from Olympus; since they currently sell nothing like what you mention, not even close, I'm assuming that you mean discontinued 4/3rd DSLR lenses.

It's okay to be an Olympus fanboy, but it's not okay to compare current and future lens releases for a current system with lenses from a dead system for any reason other than posterity.

0 upvotes
jaykumarr
By jaykumarr (4 weeks ago)

Dpreview, There should be a measure at 500mm. After 400mm jumping 200 mm to 600 does not cut it.

My opinion is, for the price this lens is very good. But 600mm is mere feel good, since at 600mm it just provides 10%-15% more resolution than a 400mm prime. (even comparing with this lens itself, it will bring about 20-25% more detail only zooming from 400 -> 600)

The canon 200-400mm resolves 15% more throughout the range, but too pricey.

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

Actually, zooming from 400mm to 600mm, you crop to 2/3 of the frame and get about 3/4 of the resolution "wide open" (measured not exactly in the center). So instead of about 67% detail you will get just by cropping, you get about 75%. About 12% gain compared to cropping from 400mm.

So this is a 400mm lens, essentially?

0 upvotes
whyamihere
By whyamihere (4 weeks ago)

So, your complaint is it's not as good as a 400mm prime that would cost about as much - if not significantly more - than this lens? And, at 600mm, it's just not as good if you took a crop from said expensive 400mm lens? A $10,000 zoom lens out resolves a $1,000 lens?

Absolutely shocking. Do tell us more.

8 upvotes
Just another Canon shooter

My complaint is that it is almost as good as ITSELF at 400mm.

0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (4 weeks ago)

@jaykumarr: Many flaws in your analysis. Firstly, no, you won't get the same resolution from cropping 400mm image, a difference is rather significant. Secondly, by cropping you are loosing more than a stop in light and DOF. Thirdly, if you compare 400/5.6 cropped to an equivalent 600/8, the crop is nowhere near in resolution.

2 upvotes
jaykumarr
By jaykumarr (4 weeks ago)

From the replies here, I can see how people can be so cheap and mean.
What I wrote is perfectly right. If you want, simply disprove what I mentioned.
But don't try to put words of your imagination into my mouth, and ask me to explain it.
Cheapos,
1) I clearly mentioned canon 200-400mm is TOO pricy.
2) I clearly mentioned for the price, lens is very good.
3) My measurements about resolution is perfect. Don't try to teach me math. By your answers, I see you lack ability to calculate and infer.

this is for fool forpetessake, who relates cropping and DOF:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fmMG5jgDwk&t=255

You all go and have group 8ex and stop wasting my time please.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
John C Tharp
By John C Tharp (4 weeks ago)

Every single one of you missed the point. This lens has been shown to be just as good wide open at it's 500mm setting as at it's 400mm setting, unlike the 600mm setting that requires some stopping down, and should have been tested at 500mm. This one is on both DxO and DPR, they pulled a stupid.

1 upvote
forpetessake
By forpetessake (4 weeks ago)

What a moron that jaykumar is, doesn't even understand the basics of cropping, still feels the need to speak on every topic.

1 upvote
Kevin Sutton
By Kevin Sutton (4 weeks ago)

How can it be sharp at 600mm on FF but less sharp on APS-C?

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (4 weeks ago)

read the DXO test they touch that topic.

2 upvotes
Lawrencew
By Lawrencew (4 weeks ago)

Where? I couldn't see any explanation.

0 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (4 weeks ago)

Contrary to popular belief, most lenses do better on larger sensors. If you have 24 MP full frame vs 24 MP APS-C, the full frame will almost certainly resolve more since the pixels are much larger and don't require as sharp of lenses. Even in the corners the full frame will do as well or better with most lenses. The APS-C sweet spot is a bit of a myth. Sure, the corners on full frame have lower lens MTF on full frame, but higher sensor MTF, so it balances out. In this case the Tamron at 600mm f/8 on full frame does better than 400mm f/5.6 on APS-C.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
12 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (4 weeks ago)

not this test... the test on DXO´s own website.

2 upvotes
jaykumarr
By jaykumarr (4 weeks ago)

Lawrecew, the APS-C takes detail from smaller portion of the lens.. how horrible it is? that is why it is ALWAYS less detailed..

Comment edited 19 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (4 weeks ago)

Pixels are much less dense on 5D3 compared to 7D, so the same sharpness as measured in lp/mm means higher sharpness as measured in lines per picture height.

0 upvotes
Lawrencew
By Lawrencew (4 weeks ago)

I read the DXO review. I could see no explanation as to why it is worse. I am aware of the general reason as per viking79. But I just couldn't see any specific reasons given by DXO. Yes DXO state where it is worse, but not why.
It was just that the question why was asked by the OP, and Henry said see the DXO review.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Rmano
By Rmano (4 weeks ago)

I think that Imatest really tests the pair lens+camera. So if you test with a camera with larger photosites, the lens seems sharper. There are very interesting articles on LensRental.com about that (they have acquired an "absolute" lens tester... I hope Roger Cicala will soon or later post something comparing the same lens on different cameras and on the tester).

2 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (4 weeks ago)

If a lens resolves x lp/mm, the resolution per picture height will be x * ph. And the picture height on FF is 50% larger than DX, thus, everything else equal, the resolution per picture height will be 50% larger on FF than on DX.
(All things aren't equal since the sensor resolution in pixel per millimetre will generally be higher on DX cameras which helps the resolution somewhat.)

1 upvote
Kevin Sutton
By Kevin Sutton (4 weeks ago)

Hi All

Thanks for all the replies. I had always assumed that the APS-C would be better because it sampled the "sweet spot" of the lens. Looks like things are much more complex than that - I stand corrected and educated...
Cheers Kevin

2 upvotes
noirdesir
By noirdesir (4 weeks ago)

The performance exactly in the centre will suffer from that extra 1.5x magnification. The performance in the image corners can be much better. Though usually, the fact that the DX corners sample a better performing area of the lens than the FX corners roughly evens out with the extra strain the increased magnification brings. But this can naturally vary from lens to lens, some lenses do have noticeably better corners when used on DX if the performance drop towards the corners is non-linear (ie, a sharp drop close to the FX corners). What happens between the exact centre and the DX corner will naturally be somewhere between the unavoidable performance drop in the centre and the possible improvement in the DX corners.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
steelhead3
By steelhead3 (4 weeks ago)

Good job and commentary Andy.

1 upvote
vesa1tahti
By vesa1tahti (4 weeks ago)

But this lens seems to be impossible to get from anywhere? Several months of waiting (at least in Finland).

0 upvotes
white shadow
By white shadow (4 weeks ago)

Due to its low price, this lens has been very popular among first time bird/wildlife photographers. Thus, supply couldn't keep up with demand in many markets.

Finland is too remote. Try Singapore, Malaysia or Hong Kong. Its available in limited numbers. Maybe you should take a short trip to these places for a holiday-cum- photography excursion. Its duty free too.

Nice lense for those who need it.

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
EricoftheNorth
By EricoftheNorth (4 weeks ago)

I have 2 at my store in AK

0 upvotes
PetriPuu
By PetriPuu (4 weeks ago)

Bought mine on early april on local shop in Finland.
I already had 100-400 but sold it after testing Tamron and Canon side-by-side. So over two months of use I had only once ERR on 5DMk3. Excellent quality/price! Im already waiting new 100-400 II for landscape-photography that will come out later this year...

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
gonzalu
By gonzalu (4 weeks ago)

Full Frame Widget not showing for me :(

0 upvotes
Sonylover1
By Sonylover1 (4 weeks ago)

Tammy looks VERY nice on a 5D III with f8 on 600 mm.
Compare it with Canon 200-400 with 1,4 extender at 560 mm f8.
It is not a 10x times difference as of price...

DP must have a crappy 100-400 copy.
The 100-400 at infinity or long range is superior in comparasion to many other zooms/ cheap fixed lenses.

2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (4 weeks ago)

well my EF 100-400 and that of a friend (who also bought the tamron) was exactly as the on at the-digital-picture.

and as you can see it IS much better than the sigma and the older tamrons.

but it´s not really great at 400mm.

1 upvote
Timbukto
By Timbukto (4 weeks ago)

It is *very* unlikely that DxOMark tests at infinity or long range. Probably only LensRentals seems to have the best test bed and capabilities here in both dealing with sample variation and lens testing. Speaking of which I wish in another place and time that DPreview just associate their lens testing data with LensRentals...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
4 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (4 weeks ago)

My 100-400L is sharp wide open @ all FL, yes even 400mm. It's only a tad behind my 400 f/5.6L wide open. 100-400L is still optically great lens, but let down by ancient IS, slowish AF especially for action work, where the 400 f/5.6L leaves it for dead.
Strong rumours of 100-400L mk II coming in net few months and currently testing.

I hope Sigma step in and do something like a 125-500 f/4-5.6 OSS Sport or 150/200-600 f/4.5-5.6 OSS Sport to counter the Tamron. It needs to be a big step above the current crop of Sigma 500mm zooms and a true f/5.6. I'd pay $5K for a high quality 500mm/600mm zoom. Still a lot less than a Canon 200-400.

1 upvote
Sonylover1
By Sonylover1 (4 weeks ago)

Indeed.
Sigma had a 100-300/4 which a used until I bought Canon 100-400. They could scale it up to a 300-600/5.6 and I will buy it for 6-7 K.
The Sigma 120-300/2.8 I have is very sharp but as soon as you put an extender on it you must give up F-steps, 420mm at 5.6 and 600mm at 9.0. Therefore a short FL 300-600/5.6 would be a Killer.

0 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (4 weeks ago)

Sorry Sonylover, but what do you mean by «you must give up F-steps... and 600mm at 9.0?

Thanks! :)

PS: how good is it's sharpness with 1.4x and 2xconverters???

0 upvotes
Sonylover1
By Sonylover1 (3 weeks ago)

Hi Higuel.
The 120-300 is a very competent lens.
With 1.4x you get splendid sharpness at 5.6 - on par or better than Canon 100-400 at 400mm/5.6. But if you try it wide open at 4.0 it will be soft.
The 2.0x extender is more difficult. You can get good sharpness at 7.1 but to be sure you have to use 9.0 or 11.0.
It has something to do with the MicroAF you need with the Sigmalens.
I have been conducting extensive testing on all focals with and without extenders at range 20m, 100m and "infinity".
Sharpest on all ranges is it bare at 5.6 MA=0, 1.4x at 5.6 with MA=-5 and 2.0x at 9.0 with MA=+ 5.

1 upvote
Sonylover1
By Sonylover1 (3 weeks ago)

You can get shoots sharp at all focals with changes on the Microadjustment but in the "heat" you dont start to change it.
An example without Extender:
F 2.8
20 meter: MA -3, 100 meter: MA -5. Infinty: MA -5
F 4.0
20 meter: MA +2, 100 meter: MA 0, Infinity: MA -3
F 5.6
20 meter: MA 0, and the same for the other ranges.

In between you have F 3.2 and 4.5 and they also need some different MA.
So I have decided for fixed MA depending on or without Extenders, Canon 7D has good memory...and just keep in mind witch F to use for best result

1 upvote
Higuel
By Higuel (3 weeks ago)

THANK YOU A LOT Sonylover! :D

It was a most complete answer and way beyond anything i expected!!! :D

So i really don't want to sound rude but... I would like to ask you another question:
Does this tamron seem better at 600@f8 then your 300+2X teleconverter@f8-11?

THANKS once again!!! :D

Henrique

PS: It is a pity that focusing sens so hard(there is some update on its software by sigma! This very week! Maybe it could solve it?! :D), i still cannot afford the lens but it is VERY MUCH a plan for as soon as i have the Money: NOTHING in the other brands can compete with it in sheer versatility, and 50% of their price: a true dream lens!!! :D

0 upvotes
Sonylover1
By Sonylover1 (3 weeks ago)

I have "stalked" everything written and published about the Tamron 150-600. I am impressed of what I see and I think you could do nothing wrong with this lens. If you have some newer camera then its no issue with "struggling AF" either.

Look at
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/01/tamron-150-600-telezoom-shootout#more-17144
and
http://www.lenstip.com/403.4-Lens_review-Tamron_SP_150-600_mm_f_5-6.3_Di_VC_USD_Image_resolution.html

You see that Tamron is as good as 400 mm wide open stopped down to F 8,0 at 600mm. Therefore Lensrentals graph is a bit misleading because they only show 600 mm wide open.
It is absolutely a Bargain.

And yes, I think its better than my Sigma 120-300 with 2.0x TC but I can add that I have made some tremendous sharpening in Lightroom on pics taken with that combo. Could I choose today I would buy the Tamron however.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Higuel
By Higuel (3 weeks ago)

Thanks again for the VERY nice&helpfull answer Sonylover!!!
I can't help but to feel happy and sad at the same time with your comments about the IQ at 600mm!
Let me explain: the fact that this Tamron is better at 600mm and costs way less then the Sigma its EXTREMELY important and good news for me!
On the other hand, and i believe you will also understand me on this one just as well: the idea of having an 300mm f2.8...of being able to get a TRULY NICELY BLURRED background all the way from 120to300!!! (i guess the blur must be bigger then from a 70-200f2.8 at the same settings since the glass is so much bigger!! No??). The fact that it would be a 420 f4.0 it's also VERY attractive! But on the other hand having quality at 600 only if closing so much and costing twice as much as the Tamron... well, i am being really silly: if the Tamron is better and costs less i have no choice really!!! :)
THANK YOU SO MUCH ONCE AGAIN!!! :D

Henrique

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (4 weeks ago)

i have tested this lens against other 400+mm lenses... and there is simply no alternative in this price range.

no other tamron or sigma 400+ mm lens around 1000 euro can compete with the tamron 150-600mm at the long end. the closest is the EF 100-400mm from canon.

sure my 400mm f2.8 is better.. suprise suprise.
but there is no other 400+mm lens for ~1000 euro that can keep up with the tamron.

the EF 100-400mm canon is worse at 400mm than the tamron.
the tamron is at 450-500mm as good as my EF 100-400 copy was at 400mm.
my tamron is really really sharp at 200-300mm.
that´s why i sold my EF 100-400mm and kept the tamron.

i see this lens as direct competition to canons EF 100-400mm and it´s a great competition!!

for testchart shoots visit www.the-digital-picture.com.
compare the tamron to the canon EF 100-400mm.

the EF 100-400mm and especially the EF 300mm f4 from canon show WAY MORE CA´s then the tamron.
so i can not agree to the findings of this test concerning CA´s.

Comment edited 8 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
13 upvotes
Dr_Jon
By Dr_Jon (4 weeks ago)

The Canon 400/5.6 is I think better and in the ballpark price-wise.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/ISO-12233-Sample-Crops.aspx?Lens=929&Camera=453&Sample=0&FLI=3&API=2&LensComp=278&CameraComp=453&SampleComp=0&FLIComp=0&APIComp=0

The Canon is also better 560mm vs. 600mm if you add an extender. It doesn't zoom so quickly though (what with all the adding and removing of extenders).

BTW the 100-400 is an antique and a maybe to get replaced real soon (Canon have patented a newer version, so there's a reasonable chance). The Canon 400/5.6 also has no IS, but for wildlife you need the shutter speed anyway.

Oh and no, I don't have either of those lenses, I get to 400+ with a 300/2.8 IS and extenders (or 70-200 II with 2x extender, etc.). Neither of which is close enough in price to mention any more (the 100-300 on m43 is, as it is a 2x crop, but it's more okay than great).

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (4 weeks ago)

the quality of the 400mm f5.6 is a bit better.
but it has no IS... and is no zoom.

and a long lens with no IS... :-(

believe me your keeper rate will be better with the tamron.

i would only choose the 400mm f5.6 over the tamron when i ALWAYS use a tripod and don´t need the flexibility of a zoom.
so imho not a real alternative.

i have a EF 400mm f2.8 II too.... personally i choose the tamron for it´s flexibility.
there are times when i don´t want to carry the 400mm f2.8.

the EF 100-400mm with an 1.4 extender.. is f8.
not good for most people as they will lose AF with many canon cameras.

as for the EF 100-400mm II.. i waited for it nearly 18 month.
i was never really happy with the push/pull design of the EF 100-400mm.
but canon took to long.... and i guess the new version will be around 2500+ euro.

Comment edited 6 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
8 upvotes
Ben Ramsey
By Ben Ramsey (4 weeks ago)

I agree with Dr_Jon. The Canon 400 f/5.6 is a real alternative for it's intended purpose. I don't see how it can be so easily dismissed. It is lacking IS and zoom, but those things aren't really necessary to every shooter. It's 700g lighter than the Tamron so it's easier to hand-hold for long periods of time. And doesn't absolutely demand a tripod for wildlife or sports.

It's surely much faster to achieve focus which is important to many, or even most considering such a lens unless one is shooting still or slow moving subjects. In that case I'd also consider an old mf super tele Nikkor.

According to the youtube review by Tony Northrup, http://youtu.be/1fmMG5jgDwk, the Canon 400 is significantly sharper as well. Enough, in fact that simply cropping to a 600mm equivalent will still produce the better result. It isn't even required to use a teleconverter.

The Tamron is surely a fine lens and a significant achievement, but saying it's not a viable alternative may be true for you, but some may find it the better option for a similar cost. Each person will need to weigh the importance of the trade-offs of each lens to determine what's best for them.

0 upvotes
bugbait
By bugbait (4 weeks ago)

Henry,

Hummers and dragonflies on the go are my main subjects, shooting HSS in manual.

I am saving for a 70D on Black Friday or the unlikely preorder of a 7D II at that time. Limited to EOS-M, 55-250 STM & 430ex II, for now. I am building up a PVC shoulder rig now to ease shooting up high and decrease arm fatigue. That is for my light equipment and the heavier gear for the next year.

Since I am shooting HSS do you think the 400L non IS would out perform the Tamron 150-600? I realize loosing the close range will make finding my subject in the VF a bear of a task stuck at 400. I am getting good at predicting the path of my subjects and likely hovering spots.

Also, do you have an opinion about, Tony Northrup's conclusions about the 150-600 vs the 400L, the 400L being better focused at 400 as well as when cropped in to match the Tamron on the long end. I believe the shoot out was all hand held.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fmMG5jgDwk

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
John Ellis
By John Ellis (3 weeks ago)

Sigma's 500/5.6 is an OK lens. I had one but it was not the sharpest either. But since this Tamron is not particularly sharp at the tele end, I wish they would try to better Sigma's efforts on a long prime. A 500/4 APS should be comparable in price to a FF 500/5.6 FF. Would also weigh much less. APS is where we need good tele lenses.

1 upvote
tom trinko
By tom trinko (3 days ago)

Has anyone compared this lens to the Sigma 50-500? I've got that lens and I'd like to know if it would be worth buying this lens.

I use a Canon 7D camera.

thanks for any info

0 upvotes
Total comments: 189