Lifestyles Portraits with Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD

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Clyde Thomas Senior Member • Posts: 1,644
Lifestyles Portraits with Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD

There is no need to reply with quote and replicate this long thread. Please consider commenting without duplicating all these photos again. Makes it easier to discuss and reply without all the photos.

Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD

First the bad...

The zoom lock flip button operates opposite from the 70-180/2.8. Drives my muscle memory crazy and it's redundantly needless since the zoom clutch lock operates great at all zoom settings. The hood doesn't snap lock as tightly as expected compared to 70-180/2.8. Mine has already fallen to the ground just by dangling from my shoulder rubbing against my leg. Now I tape it down. The tripod collar requires too much unscrewing to get it turning smoothly and doesn't provide click stops at the markers. I wish it were low profile built in like the Sony's. Manual focus ring is not linear, similar to the other Tamron zooms. The distance required for 500mm full length body shots make my wireless flash transmitter (Bowens XMT500) unreliable.

The perplexing frustrating crazy...

This Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD reads f6.7 only at the final push to 500mm zoom setting. But just turning the zoom ring in the slightest degree will make aperture read f6.3. It suspiciously feels like it has been artificially engineered to read f6.7 at 500mm. See photo below.

Yep, just turn the zoom ring a little (still well within the 500mm marker), and the camera f-stop magically changes from f6.7 to f6.3. The exif data reads f6.3 at around 478mm, but the viewfinder hardly changes the crop. It's weird and frustrating because I typically set variable aperture zoom lenses at the maximum telephoto f-stop and proceed to shoot as if it is a constant aperture zoom... because that makes it easier shoot all manual... and much easier for strobist flashworks.

But here's the problem with that... if camera is set for 1/3 stop EV increments, then manual aperture cannot be set for f6.7 at anything other than 500mm. It either goes to ff6.3 or f7.1. So it's very easy to accidentally get set for f7.1 for everything. Must be in 1/2 stop EV increments to manually set for f6.7 at shorter zoom settings. But that causes other problems because it shifts from f5.6 to f6.7 just past 400mm. So at 1/2 stop EV increments, we loose nearly 80mm on the tele end that could have been f6.3 if set for 1/3 stop increments.

I wish Tamron would fw update option to lock f6.3 even for the 500mm length when camera set for 1/3 stop EV increments... But I'd doubt Sony will allow them to do so... hint hint.


Ok now the good and great. This lens is really great sharp and contrasty at the tele end wide open. I've owned many ultra tele primes and zooms and this Tammy is as good or better than its peers. Well done bravo Tamron!

I'm impressed with the off center sharpness on faces for full length body shots. Severe vignetting at telephoto end full frame. Close focus sharpness is superb at 500mm.

Fits in my bag... Yes! The build and finish are excellent cut above and I feel equal to GM and better than G. Buttons are really nice... and not too heavy for me because I shoot these style lenses with monopod... always. Zoom ring is smooth and feels about the same tension as the 28-75/2.8... a bit stiffer than the 70-180. I feel best with OIS #3 for now, for the type of shots below from monopod. Focus is fast for stills and action keeper rate is respectable with a7s3 set for High/High+ (80% critical) and a6600 for High/High+ (60% critical) both wide area with face detection on, fast AF drive, responsive +5.

Refer to exif data for zoom and aperture settings. Some at 500/6.7. Some at 500/7.1. Some at 478/6.3. It's a real gray mushy area... The ones that show f6.3 478(ish)mm are realistically nearly 500mm zoom as shown above. Please enjoy and sorry about the copyrights watermark. But not sorry for shooting these on a7s3 12mp... I'm using them exclusively for full frame now and I'm happily running my business with the lower mp. Final shot is a6600 24mp for comparison.

RAW file originals converted to JPG quality 8 at full resolution. No lens corrections (none available). WB set for daylight and most stills shots with strobe. No changes to color. One shot has highlights adjusted. Two shots have brightness slightly adjusted. These are mostly and nearly straight out of camera RAW to JPG converts. No retouching. No finishing treatments applied.


I've always enjoyed photographing lifestyles with ultra-telephoto lenses. This Tamron is well received, even with its flaws.

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