Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD £900, $1070
A relative newcomer, this is a significant upgrade from Tamron’s older 200-500mm f/5-6.3 lens
Tamron’s 200-500mm super-telephoto lens delivered decent image quality but had a very basic feature set, without any optical stabilisation or even a built-in autofocus motor. By contrast, the new 150-600mm boasts typically fast and whisper-quiet ringtype ultrasonic autofocus and Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) stabilisation.
Despite the extra 100mm in maximum focal length compared with the older 200-500mm lens, this one is not much bigger or heavier, at 106x258mm and 1.95kg. Indeed, it’s noticeably smaller and lighter than the competing, more expensive, Sigma 150- 600mm lens. Then again, the Tamron lacks a couple of the Sigma’s more advanced features and, while it does have a weather-sealed mount, other parts are not sealed.
Consistently sharp shots are comfortably achievable when shooting handheld, thanks to the sub-2kg weight and the optical stabiliser, which we found equal to about 3.5 stops. At least, this is true for static shots – VC proved slightly less effective when panning. Outright sharpness isn’t quite as good as from competing Sigma lenses, especially at the long end of the zoom range.