Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Field test
The Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 is a second-generation super-telephoto zoom lens for Canon, Nikon and Sony full-frame and APS-C DSLR cameras. Should you buy one? Read on to find out.
Build quality is excellent compared to the previous version. Considering the fact that this is a poor man’s lens, I personally feel the build is solid. The front barrel is now made of metal instead of plastic, which gives little more stability and a good feel on your hand. One may ask ‘Why the build Quality of the lens is important?‘. For me, the three main reasons are durability , weather-proofing and lens tolerance. A well constructed lens will last longer and deal with more rigorous usage.
The Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 features a lock button which can be used anywhere between 150mm to 600mm. It prevents the lens extending when it is pointed downwards. This is very helpful if you’re on a birding trip with the system hanging on your shoulder, I was happy with this introduction, a very much needed feature I must say.
I felt the focus ring is very narrow, it is little difficult to locate the ring while trying to shoot. I found it difficult when I was shooting a picture of the tiger cub between the grass to assist the camera gain focus. One thing that I felt missing was the DOF ring. Though they did give the distance scale and the scale runs from 2.2mm to infinity.
Focus Limit Switch:
The lens poses three settings – full (2.2mm to infinity), 10mm to infinity and 2.2mm to 10mm. It comes really handy when your subject relatively close.
This is a tricky one. In my case, I had the lens with me on my lap during my safari rides with all the moving around, the AF/MF switch kept changing easily and most of the time I found the switch on MF mode. I had to move it back manually to AF each time. The switch could have been a little tighter to avoid accidental touch.
VC (Vibration Compensation) (ON/OFF) switch:
Well placed for easy access. Turns the built-in Vibration Compensation on and off.
VC Mode Switch:
This is really interesting. There are three different modes in this. Mode 1 which balances between the viewfinder and the capture image, Mode 2 is exclusively used for panning, though i didn’t get any chance to test this. Mode 3 stabilises the captured image and not the viewfinder image. I mostly used mode 3 all through and pretty stable. I feel this lens will perform relatively better under low-light conditions.
The Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 features a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive). I should admit that the auto-focusing was super silent and pretty fast. Though it missed few shots for me when the subject and our vehicle was also moving (I can discount that once). But the D500 took care of bringing the lens back to focus. I could also instantly override to manual focus even when the focus mode switch was in AF position. Pretty cool. The focus is definitely faster than the first generation version.
The Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 overall now offers more features, silent and faster auto-focus, good image quality and effective image stabilisation than the previous version. The price though might feel like a deterrent for few, it’s a good selection if your going to buy one new for yourself and not upgrading from Version 1.
Despite the price increase from version 1, we don’t hesitate to recommend the new Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens to anyone who is looking to own a zoom lens in this league as it offers a lot more bang for your buck than its older version.
Note: The test was done on a Nikon D500 in a rocky terrain and bumpy gypsy in Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan. This is not an extensive review as we had the lens only for few days with us. Thanks to Tamron India for giving us the lens to play with. We would love to take the lens again for an extensive test.
Indian Scops Owl shot at ISO 1100, F/6.3 SS-1/60 secs handheld at 500mm
Unprocessed image of a Spotted owlet shot at ISO 280 f/6.3 SS 1/500 @ 550mm
Close crop of the same image