Welcome to my review of the Tamron 150-600mm G2.
I’ve been thinking about doing a review for a while now – I may have mentioned that once or twice in previous blog posts.
So why have I been so keen to review this lens? Excellent question!
The Sony E mount system is still lacking a native super-telephoto lens to challenge the Tamron and Sigma offerings (can’t say I’m expecting one either) and it’s been 6 months since I purchased my lens – I’m glad I didn’t wait and see whether Sony would release one!
I’m not going to compare the Tamron G2 to its predecessor or the Sigma offerings as I’ve never used them so that would be fairly pointless – I’m just going to show some pics I’ve taken with my lens and talk about the pro’s and con’s.
All the pics have been taken with the Tamron 150-600mm G2 mounted to a Sony a7II using a Sony LA-EA3 adapter. For web viewing I’ve edited and exported the images using Lightroom at 2500 x 1667 pixels (down from 6000 x 4000) – I’ll include some 100% crops for the pixel peepers.
In fact that first image is already a crop – I felt it needed to be a little tighter as the ball is a little hard to spot otherwise.
Off the bat (yup, cricket pun) I love this lens. I was reticent to make such a hefty purchase of a fairly specialist lens but the avenues of photography it’s opened up have already justified the purchase – the fact that I’m so pleased with the quality of the images makes it a real favourite lens.
So first up lets take a look at it as a sports lens. This was one of my main motivations for purchasing the lens – the ability to go out and have a go at photographing some cricket. Now I know cricket isn’t the most demanding sport to photograph (at least it wasn’t when I remembered my mono-pod) but I thoroughly enjoyed spending the Summer photographing Weston-super-Mare CC’s championship winning season. I don’t think I can claim all the credit and suggest it was the presence of a photographer that saw them to promotion but I’m going to try and claim some!
So, for me, there’s plenty of detail where you want it – I’m not going to explore the corners as I personally couldn’t care less about how sharp the corners are.
Performance wise these photos didn’t trouble the image stabilization provided by the a7II (the Sony mount version of the lens doesn’t have stabilization) as the shutter speed exceeds the focal length comfortably and I’d pre-focused on the slip cordon in both images so no work for the auto-focus to do either!
This one was taken hand held at 1/400th of a second at 600mm so breaks the rule of thumb. At first glance this may seem a little softer but it was hot that day so I suspect the lower resolution is more to do with heat haze than image stabilization but I’ve included it for you to see – still plenty of detail!
Again this isn’t a scientific look at the strengths and weaknesses of the lens/adapter/camera combo – just some samples for those who want to see how the combo performs.
So this photo just about breaks the shutter speed rule of thumb but was taken whilst on a mono-pod to ruin the comparison – also taken at iso 640 so a tiny bit noisier. I tend to shoot at slightly higher iso’s so that I can go to f8 which gives me a little more depth of field – it really is very thin at 600mm f6.3!
It feels quite odd seeing the 100% crops as this is the first time I’ve looked so closely at my photos. In fact I’ll upload a full size version of the last photo to emphasise just how odd it is to view photos at 100% – click here to see it.
So cricket didn’t really challenge the image stabilization or focusing capabilities of the combo and I haven’t gotten around to photographing any football yet so let’s try an air show.
This was obviously cropped – there’s no way I was getting that framing in real time!
So auto-focus? Well it worked here.
I have felt that the auto-focus isn’t particularly snappy but then no lens on the a7II I’ve used has felt snappy – I only have the Sony 55mm and batis 85mm to compare it to though.
I have a Nikon D600 rotting in a corner somewhere (even if you could see through the oil covered sensor the stupid thing won’t work at all anymore) and the 50mm f1.8 felt quicker but then that’s to be expected – I assume the lenses I have would focus faster on a body with better auto-focus. One thing I always consider with cameras and lenses is the comparison to ‘old’ (5-10 years in DSLR terms) top-of-the-line professional combos and I feel the auto-focus of my system must be similar to these older DSRL’s – if they could get stunning photos with their gear then I can with mine, just at a slightly lower hit rate through comparative lack of talent!
Did I mention this wouldn’t be a scientific review?
The auto focus is fine. Not amazing but then the lens costs 1/10th of a lens that would focus amazingly and this one zooms!
Not the most exciting photo but hand held at 1/100th of a second to try and get some prop blur. If the auto focus speed of the combo isn’t that exciting the image stabilization certainly is!
As is the detail!
So for sports and air shows the combo works nicely but what about wildlife?
I tried birds in flight. I was so pants at it that I don’t have anything worth looking at unless very blurry photos of seagulls that are barely in frame are of use to you as I have lots of those. Assuming they’re not, here are some of deer in Richmond Park.
You may be able to tell from the photos that it was cold. The pond was frozen, you can see the stags breath and there is frost everywhere. It was so bloody cold that frost formed on my bag and on the lens hood of the Tamron! I haven’t used the lens in the rain but no part of the camera/lens/adapter combo showed any signs of struggling in the freezing temperatures – I however had to go and get a cup of tea and a bacon sarnie to warm up.
I think the take home message from my ramblings is that lenses such as the Tamron 150-600mm open up opportunities that would otherwise be inaccessible. In the 6 months I’ve owned my lens I’ve shot 8 cricket matches, a 2 day air show and deer in Richmond Park. It isn’t a lens that will always be attached to your camera. It’s a lens that’s an event every time you use it and I’m finding I have cravings to look for opportunities to go out and play with it – it’s been a month since Richmond Park and if I don’t go out with it soon I’m going to sit with it in the garden and try to photograph some sodding birds in flight.
If you are interested in purchasing the Tamron 150-600mm G2 I’ve set up some affiliate links with amazon (my first ever affiliate links!) to the Sony, Canon and Nikon versions and the Sony LA-EA3 adapter that I use.
Got a question? Pop it in the comment section below!
Links for Sony A mount Tamron 150-600mm and LA-EA3 adapter for mounting the lens to the Sony a7 II
Links for the Canon and Nikon mount versions of the lens