So I picked up this lens yesterday here in shanghai I think i got the only retail copy available until next month
and went out to the bund to test it out.
first I'm not a birding kind of guy so these shots are really beginner BIF stuff, I've tried with the 300 f4L and 2X TC before but wasnt very happy and had a low keeper rate so never got into it much
I also have to say until now i have been a card carrying life member of the Tamron Hate Club.
Some initial feelings on the lens
build is very solid It feels like a 100 f2.8L IS macro on steroids, lots of plastic but the good sort.
tolerances feel tight and precise
zoom ring is too tight for my taste and it has way too long of a throw (this could have been reduced by at least 50% IMO, hopefully it will loosen up over time. The nikonian direction is a minor annoyance but i've shot both nikon and canon so its far from a deal breaker for me. Perhaps they made the zoom too stiff to reduce potential for zoom creep, its very very stiff initially off the 150 mark going up and less stiff from 600 going down.
Balance on the 5D feels a little front heavy (I think a 1D body will have perfect balance with this lens), I wasn't shooting with any kind of strap just carried it loose either by the camera grip or by the tripod foot which i had turned up to the top so it didn't get in the way of trying to zoom.
The focus ring is great really smooth and fast.
first thing i had a problem with was it wouldn't focus at all, I thought oh great here we go
farrrkking tamron, but i went into my menus and turned on continue to focus when impossible setting (cant remeber the exact words and too lazy to check) which i had off and this seemed to clear that up.
unfortunately the day was really crappy lots of contrast leaching smog, light rain drizzle so i teste dout the the weather sealing combo of the 5Dmk3 and this lens a little as i had no protection for the camera or lens so they got a little wet. nothing major though I didn't feel the rain was heavy enough to need an umbrella.
the smoggy hazy sky made trying to get focus on white birds quite difficult especially when they were backlit but the lens tracked exceptionally well. I tried it in spot (epic fail) switched to zone and realised i need more practice before i try that again with fast moving birds
so put it in area and just left the AF in the hands of canon's AF engineers.
anyway here are some shots I got, I don't use burst still just single shot silent and all shots are timed, back button focus and Dof button for engaging servo.