Reviews: Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC USD

  By Evelyn Drake

DUSTIN ABBOT’S Special Review Excerpt: 

Few lens announcements in recent history have caused quite the stir in the photography community as this new release from Tamron, the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD. The debate has been whether or not Tamron could produce a lens that lived up to its potential, particularly at such a low price point. There were skeptics and there were believers, but after shooting more than a thousand frames with this lens, you can most definitely count me among the believers. This lens defies all expectations!

This is an excellent telephoto zoom lens that reaches a focal length longer than what most people currently own at a price that they can probably afford. That makes it fairly unique. But what really sets this lens apart from previous budget offerings is that, other than price, there isn’t really anything “budget” about it.

First of all, it is a very well-constructed lens. It is not a small lens, about 26cm retracted, but no lens at this focal length is. It is dense without being unnecessarily heavy (1951g), has dust and moisture resistance, a metal bayonet mount, and a removable tripod collar. The barrel has a handsome texture, and the focus and zoom rings are made of nicely ribbed rubber. The barrel extends smoothly an additional 8cm during zoom, but there is absolutely no wobble or play. It is constructed of the typical modern mix of high-strength engineered plastics and metal and, frankly, it feels just like all the other quality lenses that I have purchased in recent years. There is no hint of “budget” in its construction.

I have used it in very difficult weather conditions (extreme cold, snow, and rain) without a hint of complaint from the lens. I should also point out that the lens has an excellent minimum focus distance of 2.7m, which gives it a greater maximum magnification factor (1:5) than almost all of its competition. It also includes Tamron’s industry best six year warranty.
PHOTONews Magazine.

Excerpt from Peter. K. Burian’s PHOTONews Review:  

The new 150-600mm zoom offers great versatility in focal lengths plus fast/silent Ultrasonic Silent Drive autofocus and the Vibration Compensation image stabilizer.

The 600mm potential is impressive with a DSLR that uses a huge 24x36mm sensor, like the EOS 6D that I used for testing… And if you own one of the numerous DSLRs with the smaller, more typical size sensor, you’ll get a full 900mm or 960mm effective equivalent with this tele zoom lens.

Lens Construction

Like all high-end Tamron products, the SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 VC USD is a rugged piece of equipment with a solid, moisture-resistant barrel and it’s beautifully finished in satin black with wide, knurled rubber focus and zoom rings. The rotating (removable) tripod mounting collar is very solid…

There’s a zoom lock (at 150mm) to prevent the internal barrel from extending while you’re carrying the lens pointing downward. Other amenities include a VC (stabilizer) On/Off switch, a distance scale under glass, an AF/MF switch, and a focus limiting feature. The latter allows for faster focus acquisition in situations where your subjects are always at a great distance (15 m or more) from the camera. Thanks to internal focusing the front element never rotates. The high-torque USD motor allows for manual focus override in AF mode, useful when you want to slightly tweak the point of focus…

With the EOS 6, autofocus was virtually silent and lighting fast, especially in the 150mm to 400mm range. Focus tracking of alpine skiers approaching the camera was very good, with a series of ten frames all sharply rendered. At longer focal lengths, the maximum aperture is a smaller f/6.3, allowing less light to reach the camera’s AF sensor.

Tamron SP 150-600MM f5-6.3 Di VC USD

(Canon, Nikon or Sony Mount Coming Soon)

Capture the power and beauty of wildlife, birds, travel destinations, and exciting sports action close-ups with this high-performance 150-600mm long-range zoom. VC (Vibration Compensation) and USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) enable you to shoot crisp images of fast-moving, distant subjects handheld, while proprietary Tamron optical technology, including eBAND Coating, works to suppress flare and ghosting for impressively clear, vibrant images.

Click here to learn more or to purchase.



Evelyn Drake has been in the camera business since 2004. She has been involved in every aspect of The Camera Store's operations with a focus on marketing and event-based initiatives. She also hosts our YouTube channel The Camera Store TV.