September 24, 2014, 12:55:08 AM

Author Topic: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III  (Read 46218 times)

wickidwombat

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #255 on: February 24, 2014, 06:37:56 PM »
So I picked up this lens yesterday here in shanghai I think i got the only retail copy available until next month :P
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 :P 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.

« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 06:40:55 PM by wickidwombat »
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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #255 on: February 24, 2014, 06:37:56 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #256 on: February 24, 2014, 06:38:47 PM »
some more
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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #257 on: February 24, 2014, 07:12:18 PM »
So I picked up this lens yesterday here in shanghai I think i got the only retail copy available until next month :P
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 :P 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.

Those are good looking BIF shots wickidwombat  ;)

For $1000ish - this lens seems to get better and better - Esp. when it in the right hands of photographers :o
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 08:06:23 PM by Dylan777 »
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Albi86

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #258 on: February 25, 2014, 05:05:14 AM »
Wombat, I feel like my initial impressions are exactly the same as yours. Like you, also for me it's the first time having such a long lens and trying focusing on crazy moving targets.

I had decent results with Zone AF but I'm looking forward to test the automatic 61pt selection.

Rienzphotoz

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #259 on: February 25, 2014, 05:12:21 AM »
A colleague of mine, (a newbie in DSLR photography) needed some assistance to get the stuck filter on his EF-S 18-135 IS lens, so we went to the local Canon dealer (my office recently moved just 5 minutes walk from the Canon/Nikon/Tamron dealer ... me very happy) ... anyway, when we went to the store I was very surprised to find the Tamron 150-600 VC lens in display (apparently they've got 12 of them) ... usually in this country we receive new lenses a good 6 - 8 months after their release, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see this lens (also, this is an indication that this mighty Tammy is very popular even in this small country and that is the reason why the dealer here got them so quickly) ... anyway, the very  customer friendly salesman (he's the one in the suit in the below pic) allowed me to play with the lens with his 5D MK III (unfortunately I was not carrying my camera, as it was meant to be a short visit to get the stuck filter off the lens ... so I don't have any sample images to compare).
Having played with the lens for about 10 minutes, these are my first impressions of Tamron 150-600 VC lens:
1. The AF, accuracy & speed are very very good (just as good as the EF 100-400 L IS)

2. Build quality is very poor in comparison to Canon EF 100-400 L IS (I don't think it will survive a fall) ... but considering its very low price and superb performance, I don't see how anyone can improve the build quality at that price point.

Unfortunately, the Tamron 150-600 VC lens price here (as usual) is very high i.e. US$ 1863 ... obviously I would not want to spend that kind of money on Tamron (despite its superb image quality, bcoz I am afraid that it may not last long due to its poor build quality) ... but ordering from USA at around US$ 1220 (1069+customs+shipping) sounds reasonable ... I was really excited about it for the past month or so, but after having held it in my hands, now I am in two minds  :-\ ... my Sigma 150-500 OS has much better build quality then this Tammy and I know from my personal experience that lenses this big tend to get bumped into things very easily, so not sure if I want to spend US$ 1220 :-\ :-\ :-\

Anyway, here is an image made at the store with the Tamron 150-600 VC & Canon EF 100-400 L IS, next to each other ... compared to the Tammy the build quality of Canon is far superior.

PS. Image below is made with a mobile phone, hence the great quality ;D
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CarlTN

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #260 on: February 25, 2014, 06:03:20 AM »
some more

Nice job!  Quite a frame filling experience you had, and the composition looks fine to me, can't tell you lack experience with BIF (of course I'm no expert myself).  But I'm more interested in how they would look from say, I don't know...200 yards away?  You were obviously within 80 to 100 feet of these.  The more elusive wildlife, is not as tame as a seagull.

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #261 on: February 25, 2014, 10:08:21 AM »
Canon IS vs Tamron VC

It was easier to frame a target with the Canon at 600mm as the image jumps about less, which is the reaon why a queried the number of stops the IS by the Tamron VC gains.
I tested today the Tamron VC at 600mm vs the Canon 300/2.8mm II + 2XTC III on a target about 40 m away. At 1/640s my keeper without IS/VC was about 50%. With IS on, the keeper rate of the Canon was about 50% at 1/40s. With the Tamron, the 50% keeper rate was about at 1/80s. So, I think in practice the Tamron is about 3 stops, in my hands, and the Canon 4 stops.

Build quality
If you think that the Tamron won't survive a fall, don't drop it. (Mine is now at the end of a Black Rapid Strap plus additional safety strap). But, how strong is the 100-400 L? Well, mine was attached to my 7D when sitting in a passenger seat, with the 7D between my knees and the lens pointing down. The camera slipped and the lens hit the floor from a height of about 20 cm, flat on to the front of the hood. That small jolt was enough to break the USM motor. The 100-400 is reported to have cases of bearing failures.

I am not going to do the test of dropping the Canon 300mm 2.8 and comparing it with dropping the Tamron from the same height. Anybody volunteering for that?
5D III, 70D, Powershot SX50, 300/2.8 II, 1.4xTC III, 2xTC III, 70-200/4 IS, 24-105, 15-85, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 150-600.

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #261 on: February 25, 2014, 10:08:21 AM »

mackguyver

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #262 on: February 25, 2014, 10:30:41 AM »
I am not going to do the test of dropping the Canon 300mm 2.8 and comparing it with dropping the Tamron from the same height. Anybody volunteering for that?
Alan, if you send me your lenses, I'll be happy to be the one who drops them and compares the damage ;)

Thanks for your continued updates on this comparison.  I've been getting out with my 300 + MkIII extenders lately and also had a chance to run the set through the FoCal battery of tests.  Like your lens, my 300 + 2x is almost exactly the same sharpness at f/5.6 as it is at f/8, with just a slight bump at f/6.3.  The AF consistency is the best of any of my lenses, with the 70-200 2.8 IS II a close second. 

Also, I did some hand-holding with the 1.4x + EF12 + 2x and found the quality to be decent, but the light was really harsh and humidity high, so I'll have to give it another shot down the road...

Back to the Tamron, do you miss the other IS modes?  I find myself using mode 3 a lot on the Canon and mode 2 will be my go to mode when I shoot some sports and fighter jets in the coming months.
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I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

wickidwombat

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #263 on: February 25, 2014, 10:35:20 AM »
oh i need to add a couple of things trying to shoot sea gulls with this lens without using the focus limiter was basically impossible. static or slow moving subjects are fine though without the focus limiter on.

the other is I have previously tried the 70-200 with 2X TC to shoot birds in flight and failed misserably
not blaming the lens but to pick this thing up and be nailing it with reasonable consistency really says alot about how this thing performs.

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #264 on: February 25, 2014, 11:21:08 AM »
Strangely enough, this is me making sway towards the 300 f/2.8 II over the Tamron...
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mackguyver

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #265 on: February 25, 2014, 11:23:56 AM »
Strangely enough, this is me making sway towards the 300 f/2.8 II over the Tamron...
You won't be sorry ;D
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I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #266 on: February 25, 2014, 11:26:04 AM »
Strangely enough, this is me making sway towards the 300 f/2.8 II over the Tamron...

As a general rule, if you can afford the 300/2.8, you're probably not the target market for the Tamron.

Even if you need a zoom, I see the 100-400 & 300/2.8 + 2xTC as a better setup than the Tamron alone. Of course you don't get all of that stuff for 1069$.

mackguyver

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #267 on: February 25, 2014, 11:30:48 AM »
Strangely enough, this is me making sway towards the 300 f/2.8 II over the Tamron...

As a general rule, if you can afford the 300/2.8, you're probably not the target market for the Tamron.

Even if you need a zoom, I see the 100-400 & 300/2.8 + 2xTC as a better setup than the Tamron alone. Of course you don't get all of that stuff for 1069$.
My combo is the 70-200 2.8 IS II + 300 2.8 IS II + 1.4x III and 2x III - Total $10,296.  Hmm, the Tamron seems like a pretty good deal in comparison :)  It's also a wee bit lighter and more compact that this set.

If I didn't shoot wildlife for 80-90% of my personal work, I'd buy the Tamron without a second thought.
EOS 1D X, 5DIII, M + EF 24 f/1.4II, 50 f/1.2, 85 f/1.2II, 300 f/2.8 IS II || 16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8II, 70-200 f/2.8II || TS-E 17 f/4, 24 f/3.5II || M 22 f/2, M 11-22 f/4-5.6 IS | 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS || 1.4x III, 2x III
I only shoot at ISO 100 with perfect technique - should I get a Nikon?

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #267 on: February 25, 2014, 11:30:48 AM »

Rienzphotoz

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #268 on: February 25, 2014, 11:34:03 AM »
Build quality
If you think that the Tamron won't survive a fall, don't drop it. (Mine is now at the end of a Black Rapid Strap plus additional safety strap). But, how strong is the 100-400 L? Well, mine was attached to my 7D when sitting in a passenger seat, with the 7D between my knees and the lens pointing down. The camera slipped and the lens hit the floor from a height of about 20 cm, flat on to the front of the hood. That small jolt was enough to break the USM motor. The 100-400 is reported to have cases of bearing failures.

I am not going to do the test of dropping the Canon 300mm 2.8 and comparing it with dropping the Tamron from the same height. Anybody volunteering for that?
People don't drop their lenses intentionally (unless, one is like Kai Wong kind) ... from the few big lenses that I've owned, I've bumped and/or dropped them on several occasions ... my EF 100-400mm L IS & EF-S 17-85mm lens dropped form a height of at least 5 feet on to a rig floor (consisting of ridged metal floor), the EF-S 17-85mm had an instant death, but the EF 100-400 L IS survived with a few scratches on the body and a dent on the filter thread ... I sold the 100-400 L IS a year after that fall and still got the same price I had paid for it. A few months ago (November 2013) my EF 16-35 f/2.8 L II had a violent knock from a crane and and it got flung out 10 feet away from a height of approx 6 feet, but it still works perfectly, except it has ugly scratches on the filter thread (if you look closely, at the image below, you can see the scratches/chipped off filter thread part ... I painted it black with a permanent marker to mask the silver color, so it doesn't show the ugly chipped off/scratched part too much on the filter thread) ... most Canon L lenses can take a few falls and hits and still live to make awesome images ... same cannot be said for third party lenses that I own.

I am absolutely convinced of the Tamron 150-600's awesome image quality, it's worth more than its price tag in that front, but not so much on its poor build quality.
I'm pretty sure Kai Wong will be more than happy to volunteer for the drop test  ;D ... that guy is plain nuts when it comes to dropping lenses, setting cameras on fire etc
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 11:48:11 AM by Rienzphotoz »
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miah

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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #269 on: February 25, 2014, 01:58:10 PM »
Like resale value, we have to keep this "build-quality" issue in perspective. A lens that could take repeated falls off two-story buildings would be great, but not if it requires two sherpas to lug it around for you. For my purposes, traveling solo with minimum kit either on foot or motorbike, durability must be balanced against size and weight. After seeing the images posted on this thread, I'm convinced the Tammy's IQ is more than adequate for my needs. I think we can all agree that the price is an exceptional value. And now with wickidwombat's comparing the build-quality to that of the Canon 100L--a lens I own, love and have carried over hill and dale without a hitch--I'm convinced that the Tammy has the right IQ, AF, size, weight and build-quality to go ahead and place my order. I'll keep it tethered to me, as AlanF and I discussed in this thread, but expect it to last through many a trip.

Thanks to the early adopters who bought this lens and shared their experiences here!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2014, 03:02:17 PM by miah »
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Re: Shallow Review: Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 VC vs 300mm/2.8 II +2xTC III
« Reply #269 on: February 25, 2014, 01:58:10 PM »