DxOMark tests the Tamron 150-600mm, claims it’s better than Canon’s 100-400mm

by Felix Esser

posted Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 2:46 PM EST

For a long time there was an unquestioned rule in the world of photography: third party lenses are never as good as those made by the original equipment manufacturers. It seems that this rule is no longer applicable. Recently, DxOMark got their hands on the new Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 super-telephoto zoom lens and put it through its paces at their testing facility. They pitted it against Sigma's 150-500mm f5-6.3 and Canon's 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L, and the result was pretty amazing: the Tamron was able to best both of these lenses.

Now we're not so much surprised that the Tamron performed better than the Sigma – after all, it hasn't (yet) been graced by the magic wand of a Global Vision redesign. But what really comes as a surprise is that, according to DxOMark, the Tamron out-performed the Canon lens – at least when mounted to the full-frame EOS 5D Mk III. On the EOS 7D with its APS-C sensor, the Canon had a slight advantage over the Tamron lens due to its higher center sharpness, but on full-frame the Tamron earned better marks thanks to less vignetting. Overall, the Tamron is sharper than the Canon around 150-300mm, while the Canon had a slight edge at 400mm.

So even though Tamron's super-telephoto doesn't outperform Canon's offering across the board, the outcome of DxOMark's test it still is quite an achievement for the company. And for potential buyers considering either of these lenses, there are two more reasons to go for the Tamron over the Canon: First, the Tamron has the longer focal length range, going all the way up to 600mm. And secondly, it is considerably cheaper than the Canon, coming in at a little under US$1,100, whereas the Canon will set you back a whopping US$1,700.

Way to go, Tamron! We're excited to see what they'll come up with next, and if they can keep up this kind of quality.