I just got my Tamron SP 150-600mm F5/-6.3 Di VC USD and have been able to test it out on some local crows and ravens. I’m using it with a Canon 5D MK III. First off, these guys can be a challenge to photograph. Expose for the bird and most everything else is overexposed. Underexpose and you miss out on the great iridescent quality that these corvids have.
Each shot was handheld at 600mm. The 600mm is the reason for getting the lens, so I figure that’s what I should test.
Quoth the crow
This shot was challenging because of the low light. I’m finding that when you boost up the ISO the grain becomes prevalent. It’s especially noticeable when comparing it to the Canon L lenses that I own. That said, I’m still quite happy with how this photograph turned out. Without 600mm I wouldn’t have even bothered to try.
Needs a bath
I think I’m most impressed with the quality of this shot so far. I was able to get a nice fast shutter, reasonable ISO and still close down the aperture to 8. There wasn’t too much grain to clean up and I’m happy with the amount of detail in the feathers and even the eye. You can even see that its back is covered in something red, probably ketchup.
Here’s where I realized that I’m keeping this lens. As long as I’m able to make images of flying birds like this I’m sure it will get a lot of use. Yes, I’ll have to have the sun cooperating, but remember, it’s not a $12K lens. I was happy with how the focus tracked and I know that I should get better the more I practice. I did find that I often “lost” the birds and had to look away from the lens to reacquire them – 600mm gets a lot closer than I’m used to.
This lens is not perfect but it does a really great job for the price. I’m curious about the new Sigma 150-600mm. It will cost $1,000 more than the Tamron. I’ll be interested to see what I can get out of the Tamron with a tripod. I think that it’ll work really well when a person can get set up and photograph basically stationary animals. I think I might need to go look for some moose.