This past month in my travels through the western states of Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California, I had the opportunity to finally shoot with the very lens I bought for wildlife photography – the Tamron 150-600mm Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC UDS G2 lens (shown in the photo below). I am sharing a few photos I captured at Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks and also my overall experience with the lens.
Let me first say that the Tamron SP 150-600 is available for both Canon and Nikon cameras, and it is very important that you pick up the lens that is compatible with the camera you shoot with. Since I shoot with Canon cameras, the one I use is the model specifically designed for Canon EF cameras. The camera I used with this lens is my Canon 1DX Mark II body.
While I was in the Mojave desert, I primarily shot wildlife photos of the beautiful Ravens who inhabit the parks. This image above was captured at Death Valley National Park in California. I shot this photo at 1/160, f/5.6, ISO 400, using the Tamron lens and I was extremely pleased with the results.
I have shot with big lenses before, primarily the Canon 600mm f/4, which was my go to lens I used to achieve the 600mm focal length that I desired for good wildlife photography. Now the Canon 600…this is an absolutely incredible lens! I love it and while shooting wildlife, it is absolutely my number one preference.. The only problem with the Canon lens…is it’s size. It is ginormous! (that is a word, right?) And traveling with this lens on airplanes is a real challenge, sometimes impossible. But I do love it and I did not get the Tamron because I didn’t love the Canon 600. The Canon 600 is the absolute best!
I purchased the Tamron lens primarily because of it’s size and its weight. The Canon lens is extremely large and heavy, and it is also very, VERY expensive. In my opinion, you need at least 500mm to capture good wildlife photography and with the range of focal length the Tamron lens delivers (150-600) along with the cost (only around $1200), it seemed like the obvious choice to get one for my travels.
I was very happy I did!
Now the Tamron 150-600 is smaller, but it does look like a pretty long lens while mounted on my camera. But most of that is due to the fact that it has a big lens hood. When it is in my camera bag, it is about the size of my 70-200 lens. The lens weighs less than 5lbs and using it all day attached to Canon 1DX was never an issue at all. But as always, especially when shooting at 600mm, a tripod or a monopod for stability is essential.
I loved this lens and I loved the images it produced, even catching birds in flight such as the image above. Here are the things I loved about the Tamron lens the most:
- It is nice and sharp. I was very pleasantly surprised at the sharpness this lens produced, even with flying birds and moving subjects.
- It has great flexibility and I found that I was able to get to 600mm very quickly and with relative ease.
- The focus was super fast and I found that I was able to lock in on some of the ravens in the park, even from a great distance away.
- It is not very heavy. By no stretch is this lens light, but it is definitely not very heavy either. I still think that just like the Canon 600mm, shooting on a monopod or a tripod is necessary to achieve the maximum stability.
- The price, especially compared to the $13,000 price tag of the Canon 600mm f/4, is crazy good.
Overall, this lens worked great and I was very pleased with the results.
I could not find many downsides with using this lens. I suppose the only thing I noticed (and this is probably me, not the lens), on more than one occasion I picked it up and noticed that it was not focusing. Why was it not focusing? Because somehow, a few times, the auto focus was inadvertently switched to manual focus in error. I am not quite sure how this happened but obviously it was something I did to make it happen. Maybe it was the way I carried my camera from my shoulder strap, and I accidentally flipped the switch to manual? I am not sure. But this was not a very big deal to me. I just could not figure out why it seemed so easy to bump the switch to manual focus. I’ll have to be careful with it.
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