Test driving the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3

I got a nice deal on the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens so I took it out for a test drive this morning. This is my first experience with a super zoom and here are my initial thoughts.

First off, this lens needs light light light. I took some test shots at the beginning of the morning golden hour with the sun not quite hitting the subjects. The required Auto ISO setting was just too high to be acceptable. My D750 also had problems autofocusing. Once a little more sun came through things improved. Exposure was tough, but that had more to do with photographing white birds than the lens.

Boy, this thing is a beast and I’m glad I didn’t go for one of the heavier super zooms as my first. I don’t have a good tripod yet, so all of my shots were hand-held. That said, it seems to me that it would be difficult photographing moving subjects, like birds, so perhaps a monopod would be something I should look into for this lens.

Some reviewers criticiized the amount of twisting you have to do to zoom. This didn’t bother me since I shot mostly on the long end. It was comfortable holding it by the tripod mount, but I wish the focus ring was a little farther out. When you hold it this way, you can’t reach the ring unless you move your hand in a bit. I didn’t really trust the autofocus so I did a lot of manual focusing. Not a big deal though.

It was fun playing with this lens, but it obviously exposed my lack of advanced photography skills. Learning to keep the camera still is going to take practice.

The shots below were taken hand-held with my Nikon D750. I was still pretty far from the birds so these are highly cropped. I didn’t think the focus was tack-sharp, but acceptable…I blame the photographer.

I should also mention that it “fits” vertically in my Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+. Now, although it is longer than the height of the bag, since the Kiboko has a foldover flap, it works.

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