Lens Review: Tamron SP 150-600mm F5 Di VC USD Key Features

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 SP 150-600mm F5 Di VC USD
Tamron SP 150-600mm F5 Di VC USD

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.

Tamron SP 150-600mm F5 Key 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

Tamron SP 150-600mm F5 Images Quality

Sharpness

Sharpness is maximum at 150mm, and gradually reduces as you zoom capability in; by 600mm the lens isn’t especially distinct at all. Normally you’ll get the best outcomes on avoiding down to F8, mild allowing. In perspective though, the Tamron’s efficiency isn’t too different to the other contacts of this kind aside from the Sony models 70-400mm, which is uncommonly excellent at the telephoto end.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration is remarkably great at 600mm, with powerful red-cyan fringing at the sides and sides of the structure. It’s not so bad at smaller central measures, and is very low indeed at 300mm. Remember that while most Nikon SLRs will complete this in their JPEG handling, Cannon and Sony models cameras won’t.

Vignetting

Vignetting is very low, as conventional a complete structure lens used on APS-C.

Distortion

Distortion is low, which again is usual for a complete structure lens on APS-C. There’s a little pincushion distortions at all central measures, but it’s unlikely ever to be an issue.

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Tamron SP 150-600mm F5 Specifications

Principal specifications
Lens type Zoom lens
Max Format size 35mm FF
Focal length 150–600 mm
Image stabilization Yes (VC – Vibration Compensation)
Lens mount Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sony/Minolta Alpha
Aperture
Maximum aperture F5–6.3
Minimum aperture F32–40
Aperture ring No
Number of diaphragm blades 9
Optics
Elements 20
Groups 13
Special elements / coatings eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular Dependency) Coating
Focus
Minimum focus 2.70 m (106.3)
Maximum magnification 0.2×
Autofocus Yes
Motor type Ultrasonic
Full time manual Yes
Distance scale Yes
DoF scale No
Physical
Weight 1951 g (4.30 lb)
Diameter 106 mm (4.16)
Length 258 mm (10.15)
Filter thread 95.0 mm
Hood supplied Yes
Tripod collar Yes