Tamron 150-500mm F5-6.7 VC VXD Image Gallery
May 29th, 2021
The Sony FE catalog of lenses is one of the most robust ever. Sony’s bet on developing a more open source platform and welcoming third party development has really paid off, as at most focal lengths photographers have a plethora of choice. The lone exception to this has been at longer telephoto lengths where both first party Sony options along with third party lenses have been rare. I found Sony’s development of the FE 200-600mm F5-6.3 G OSS lens in 2019 very welcome because it gave Sony shooters the first long lens with a somewhat affordable price point. I gave it very high marks in my review and eventually purchased one for myself. That lens has largely gone unchallenged since its release, with only the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DN OS coming to market as an affordable alternative, though that lens was limited by being incompatible with extenders and thus topping out at 400mm of reach. I found in my review that focus wasn’t quite up to Sony standards during tracking, either. But now we have a more direct competitor, and with the “Tamron on Sony” advantage of having direct access to focus algorithms due to Sony having a financial stake in Tamron. My experience has been that the Tamron lenses with RXD and VXD motors focus essentially as well on Sony as native Sony lenses. That makes the Tamron 150-500mm F5-6.7 Di III VC VXD an interesting proposition, particularly when you consider that its price point of $1399 USD positions it about $600 cheaper than the Sony 200-600G. The photos and tests that I share as a part of my review cycle of the A057 (Tamron’s code for this lens) have all been done with the new Sony Alpha 1 which will serve as my benchmark camera for the foreseeable future (my review here).
Tamron has taken a completely different approach to this design than what Sony did, electing to design as compactly as possible. That makes this lens a MUCH easier lens to store and/or travel with, as you can see above. They accomplished this by creating an externally zooming design and a smaller-than-typical maximum aperture on the long end of F6.7. It used to be that pretty much all lenses conformed to a maximum aperture standard of F5.6, as this was considered the limit of what the focus systems in many DSLRs could handle. Anything smaller and the focus system didn’t get enough light to effectively focus, and, in many cases, the focus system would just refuse to autofocus at all if a combination with a smaller maximum aperture was mounted on it (say an F5.6 lens along with a 1.4x TC, resulting in a maximum aperture of F8). Tamron and Sigma did have some lenses with a maximum aperture of F6.3, but they accomplished that through a bit of electronic trickery that told the camera the maximum aperture was actually F5.6. That limitation does not exist with many mirrorless cameras, though, and Canon has even produced a few RF telephotos lenses with a maximum aperture of F11. The 150-500mm VXD is less extreme, and the maximum aperture at 500mm of F6.7 is two-thirds stop smaller than F5.6 but only one-third stop slower than the maximum aperture of F6.3 found on the Sony 200-600G. The difference between the lenses is less pronounced when they are fully zoomed out as the Sony lens is internally zooming.
Like many recent Tamron lenses, the 150-500mm VXD has a very strong performance at minimum focus distance, with two different magnification levels at the wide and telephoto ends. At 150mm you can achieve nearly a 1:3 ratio of magnification (0.322x), which is extremely useful:
Tamron recognized that this focal range is just too long to rely solely on the in-body-image-stabilization of Sony bodies, so this is the first of their full frame lenses for Sony FE that has Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) optical stabilizing system. The A057 also has their high speed, high torque VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motor focus system. This is an impressive lens on paper, but what is the real life performance like? Is this a serious alternative to the admittedly large but also excellent 200-600G? That’s what I attempt to answer in either my text or video reviews. One thing is certain: you can get beautiful photos with the Tamron 150-500mm VXD. Enjoy the galleries below.
Thanks to Tamron USA for getting me an early loaner of the lens. As always, this is a completely independent review.
Images of the Tamron 150-500mm VXD
Photos taken with the Tamron 150-500mm VXD
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Keywords: Tamron 150-500, Tamron 150-500mm, Tamron 150-500 VXD, Tamron 150-500 Review, Tamron 150-500mm Review, Di III, VC, VXD, A057, Tamron 150-500 VC Review, Sony 200-600, Sony 200-600mm, Sigma 100-400mm, Sigma 100-400, Review, Telephoto, Action, Tracking, Hands On, Dustin Abbott, Real World, Comparison, Sharpness, Bokeh, Flare Resistance, Autofocus, Image Quality, Sample Images, Video, Photography, Sony a9, sony a7III, sony a7RIV, a9II, Sony Alpha 1, Sony A1
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