Lens Review: Tamron 150-500 mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD for Sony FF mirrorless
I recently got my hands on the Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD (Model A057) lens for Sony fullframe mirrorless camera. I was out for bird photography in the western ghats, a place that is rich in fauna and flora and some bird species that are endemic to this region. This lens is surprisingly very compact and light, ideal for people who love to walk around and do hand-held photography. It achieves a 500mm focal length while retaining a compact size, with a length of just 209.6mm (8.3 in) and a maximum diameter of 93mm, enabling comfortable handheld shooting. Coupled with the Sony A7RIV body, a whopping 61 megapixel camera. The 150-500mm F5-6.7 zoom is also equipped with a high-speed, high-precision linear motor focus mechanism VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) and VC (Vibration Compensation), ensuring that no photogenic moment is ever missed. It also has an Arca-Swiss compatible lens foot which comes in really handy while mounting the lens on a tripod or a monopod using an Arca-Swiss compatible ballhead or gimbal head. I didn't feel the need to mount it on a tripod since the weight and size is so good for handheld photography. Lens weighs in at 1,725g (60.8 oz) (without tripod mount included) /
tripod mount 155g (5.5 oz) The lens has a MOD (Minimum Object Distance) of 0.6m (23.6 in) at the 150mm end and remarkable overall usability. Scorpion Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @393mm - 1/125s - f/7.1 - ISO 1600 - WB 5600K
Key Features: 1. High-speed, high-precision AF means you’ll never miss a photo opportunity.
Super fast AF that is quick to latch on to the subject.
2. VC image stabilization facilitates shooting handheld at the 500mm ultra-telephoto position.
The excellent VC has got you covered while shooting at slower shutter speeds.
3. MOD of 0.6m (23.6 in) when shooting at the 150mm setting.
Get close enough to get macro like details in your shots.
4. Lens hood designed with rubberized front.
This is a nice little touch, reduces nicks and scratches to the front of the lens hood.
5. Fast, smooth zooming operation with minimal movement.
Very smooth throughout the zoom range. Move from 150 to 500mm effortlessly.
6. FLEX ZOOM LOCK mechanism.
You can quickly lock or unlock the zoom at any position simply by sliding the zoom ring.
7. New switch design for improved operability. New design makes it easy and intuitive to switch between settings.
8. Arca-Swiss compatible tripod mount with strap attachment holes included. There is no need for an additional Arca-Swiss quick release plate.
Optical Construction (25 elements in 16 groups)
Tripod mount strap attachment hole
The tripod mount strap attachment holes are a new feature introduced by Tamron, this improves the overall balance of the center of gravity and reduces the perceived sense of weight. The suspends very well from the camera strap make carrying it for hours in the field very easy without introducing fatigue. As a result, photographers can concentrate on stress-free shooting.
Jungle Owlet Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @500mm - 1/400s - f/8- ISO 1600 - WB 5600K
The build quality is great and up there when compared to any other brand. Weighing in at 1880g it feels rock solid and has a matte finish like all top of the line tamron lenses. It has a metal lens mount and a reversible bayonet style lens hood.
The zoom ring and focus rings are easily accessible, though I would have loved a broader focusing ring. It could feel little narrow for a person with large fingers. All the buttons like AF- ON/OFF, VC control, Focus limiter are placed on the left hand side and can be accessed with ease. The bayonet mount lens hood is easy to attach and detach from the lens . Just one twist enough to go from 150mm to 500mm, so zooming in and out can be done very quickly.
Along with its wide range in focal lengths, it has high resolving power with excellent image-rendering performance across the entire zoom range. It's a very versatile lens due to the focal range that it covers. Good fast aperture almost throughout it's focal range makes it a good lens to shoot with all day long. The colour contrast and rendition is very good, giving accurate colours and almost negligible chromatic aberrations thanks to it's hybrid aspherical lens elements. The autofocus is very silent and superfast.
Orange-Headed Thrush Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @393mm - 1/125s - f/7.1 - ISO 1600 - WB 5600K
Rusty-tailed Flycatcher Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @500mm - 1/400s - f/7.1 - ISO 1600 - WB 5600K
Malabar Trogon - Male Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @500mm - 1/160s - f/6.7 - ISO 4000 - WB 5600K
Blue-capped Rock Thrush Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @500mm - 1/80s - f/7.1 - ISO 1600 - WB 5600K
The VC (Vibration Compensation) is excellent, giving me the ability to shoot handheld in low light conditions at 1/80s!
Oriental Magpie Robin - male Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @500mm - 1/8000s - f/7.1 - ISO 1600 - WB 5600K
White-cheeked Barbet Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @500mm - 1/400s - f/7.1 - ISO 1600 - WB 5600K
Malabar Grey Hornbill - female Image EXIF: A7RIV - Tamron 150-500 - @500mm - 1/1600s - f/7.1 - ISO 1600 - WB 5600K
The Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD is versatile and extremely compact for a 500mm focal length lens. You can shoot handheld with ease, a good option for people who love shooting birds in flight. I did'nt have any problems moving around for hours looking for subjects due to it's little weight and compact size. The image quality and sharpness is excellent, coupled with the extremely useful VC that allows you to shoot at very slow shutter speeds resulting is tack sharp images. Going back to shooting with my 600mm f/4 lens seemed like a drag! If you are looking for a zoom telephoto lens on a budget for your Sony mirrorless camera this is the lens to go for.
Click here to read the review of Tamron SP 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC USD G2 (Model A022)