Reviewed: Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP lens combines supertelephoto reach with reasonable price


posted Friday, January 22, 2016 at 5:42 PM EDT


Released in early 2014, the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD SP lens is the longest lens that Tamron offers. The lens is available in Canon EF-, Nikon F-, and Sony A-mounts. We have now published our review of this super-telephoto zoom lens and we found that it offers decent performance across its impressive focal length range.

Unsurprisingly, a lens like the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 is not physically small. At almost four and a half pounds, it is not a lightweight either. Considering its approximately $1,000 USD price tag, there are concessions made to the build quality of the lens. While the lens mount is metal, the filter threads (the lens accepts 95mm filters) are plastic. However, you do get some weather-sealing, a distance scale, and a removable tripod ring.

The lens has 20 elements in 13 groups, with 3 of them using low dispersion glass elements. This lens does not produce tack-sharp images at any focal length, but it does offer decent performance and is best at f/8 when using it on a crop sensor camera such as the Canon 7D. When using this lens on a full-frame camera, there is a lot more corner sharpness and optimal performance is found when stopping the lens down even a bit further. Don't stop down too much, though, because beyond f/22 diffraction rears its ugly head.

Canon 1Ds MkIII: 250mm, f/10, 1/160s, ISO 400. Image credit: Rob Murray

Away from the extreme ends of the lens, chromatic aberration is handled "fairly well" and when you do encounter aberration, it most often comes in the form of magenta-cyan fringing in the corners within high contrast areas.

Autofocus performance is quiet and the lens is capable of going from infinity to closest focus (just under 9 feet, or 2.7 meters) in less than one second. Capable of 0.2x magnification, the lens is an average macro performer.

Canon 1Ds MkIII: 600mm, f/20, 1/160s, ISO 400. Image credit: Rob Murray

Featuring Tamron's three-coil Vibration Control (VC) stabilization system, the Tamron 150-600mm lens offers a little more than three stops of image stabilization at 150mm and roughly two and a half stops at 600mm.

Ultimately, you have a lens that provides decent performance at a great price. If you want a faster telephoto zoom lens, you will have to shell out a lot more money. Taking its zooming power and price into account, wildlife photographers can find a lot of value with the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD SP lens, but they might not find fantastic performance. Read Andrew Alexander's full review for much more information on the lens and its lab test results.

To see more real-world full-resolution sample images captured by our senior lab technician Rob Murray using the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 lens, see our Flickr album.

Canon 1Ds MkIII: 173mm, f/22, 1/160s, ISO 400. Image credit: Rob Murray
Canon 1Ds MkIII: 309mm, f/20, 1/160s, ISO 400. Image credit: Rob Murray

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Review • Gallery

Tamron 150-600mm shoots the moon!