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MARK’S REVIEW: Shooting with “Big Ron” Tamron 150-600mm

May 15, 2015

I’ve talked about “Big Ron” in the past so I thought I’d give an informal review of the Tamron 150-600mm lens. I’ve had this lens for a few months but have only been shooting with it 4-5 times so I’m very new to it but I’d thought I’d share my first impressions.  The lens has a solid build and weighs in at 4lbs, 11oz, so carrying it around gives your arm quite the workout.  The best way to carry this lens with the camera, is by using a should strap.  I use a strap from Blackrapid.  Using one of these straps is surprisingly comfortable.  It takes all the weight from around your neck and securely places it on your shoulder.

The Tamron 150-600mm is ideal for most outdoor photography.   It has a minium aperture range of F5 - 6.3 so I would not recommend using it indoors.  I use it mostly for wildlife, sports or any other outside event that requires that little extra reach.  

The lens has two rubbery plastic rings around the barrel for controlling zoom and focusing and it feels comfortable to hold.  It also has a Auto Focus and Manual Focus mode plus a SP switch for vibration reduction. When shooting at a larger zoom, (500-600mm), any movement, even the slightest, is amplified.  The vibration reduction helps reduce blurred images but is not always good enough.  

While you can shoot freehand with this lens, you need to be in a fairly well lit area.  There is a general rule of thumb for reducing blurred images, if your shutter speed is less then the zoom factor, then you risk high probability that you images will not be sharp.  A good monopod will help a great deal or definitely a tripod.

That being said, the image quality of the photos I have been getting is pretty good, especially hand held, even better when used on a monopod or tripod.  The lens focuses fairly quickly and is acceptably quiet.  It also produces a nice bokah at high zoom.  Getting good clean images does take some practice with this long lens.

Overall, I really like “Big Ron”.  For the price point, it gives that extra reach, good build quality, and clean images, making it a fantastic deal. The only thing that I have noticed is that at high zoom, the images seem a little soft but this can usually be corrected in post production.   I have no regret purchasing this lens and is a welcome addition to my camera bag.  If I have to rate this lens, I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars.