For many people when the Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens was announced it was considered a ‘game changer’. After all, in the fall of 2013 how many other zoom lenses were available on the market that gave a photographer 600mm reach on a full frame camera for less than $1,100 US? The answer was…none. (NOTE: click on images to enlarge them)
Sure there were other lenses in this general zoom range that buyers could consider like the Nikkor 80-400 VR (approx. $2,700 US), or one of the two 500mm Sigma zoom offerings: the 50-500mm (approx. $1,500 US) and 150-500mm (approx. $870 US). There was some debate about the relative merits of these other telephoto zooms, or even comparisons to the Nikkor 300mm f/4 (approx. $1,370 US) when used with a tele-converter. Some people were inclined to make image quality comparisons to high end Nikkor telephoto glass costing thousands of dollars more and claim that the Tamron SP 150-600 VC was vastly inferior.
None of that really mattered. The truth was that the Tamron SP 150-600 VC held a unique place in the market as the only telephoto zoom available at that time that could provide 600mm reach at f/6.3 on a full frame camera (or an equivalent field-of-view of 900mm at f/6.3 on a Nikon DX body). And, it did that while still being affordable for most people. In that regard, the Tamron SP 150-600 VC opened up a new world of bird and nature photography for many people…amateurs and enthusiasts alike.
In late 2014 during the Photokina event Sigma announced two new 150-600mm f/5-6.3 full frame lenses. The Sport version, which was targeted at the professional market and the Contemporary model, focused as direct competition on the Tamron 150-600 VC.
At the time of writing this updated review of the Tamron 150-600 VC the Sigma 160-600 Sport version has been launched at nearly double the price of the Tamron. The Contemporary model hasn’t yet been launched. How the Tamron 150-600 will fair against these two new Sigma competitors is yet to be seen.
– 4x ultra-telephoto zoom lens with a focal length range of 150mm to 600mm
– World class image quality, employing 20 elements in 13 groups and boasting an advanced optical design
– Achieves a 600mm focal length in a compact easy-to-handle package
– Beautiful background blur effects thanks to a 9 blade circular diaphragm
– VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism creates greater opportunities for sharper handheld photography
– Comfortable autofocus featuring a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) motor
– New elegant, high-class external finish
– Easy-to-use tripod mount
1) Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet (also available for Canon and Sony mounts)
2) Focal Length Range: 150-600mm
3) Maximum Aperture: f/5-6.3
4) Minimum Aperture: f/32-40
5) Angle of View (DX-format): 10°38’ – 2°40’
6) Angle of View (FX-format): 16°25’ – 4°8’
7) Lens (Elements): 20
8) Lens (Groups): 13
10) Compatible Format(s): FX, DX, FX in DX Crop Mode, 35mm Film
11) Diaphragm Blades: 9
12) LD Glass (Elements): 3
13) Autofocus: Yes
14) USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive): Yes
15) Minimum Focus Distance: 106.3 in (2.7m)
16) Focus Mode: AF/MF
17) Filter Size: 95mm
18) Accepts Filter Type: Screw-on
19) Length: 10.1 in (257.8mm)
20) Weight (Approx.): 68.8 oz (1,951 g)
21) Lens Hood: Flower-shaped HA007 lens hood