Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 review: Affordable tele-zoom

Tamron introduced the second generation (G2) of its popular 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC lens in September 2016, bringing a new look to match that of more recent SP optics, along with improved weather sealing. Inside, Tamron updated the construction of the lens with 21 elements arranged in 13 groups, and there are 3 low-dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberration. In addition, the front element of the G2 optic has a fluorine coating to help repel dirt.Thanks to the new construction, the G2 lens’s minimum focusing distance is 2.2m (86.6 in), improved from 2.7m (106.3 in) with the original lens. However, at 260.2 x 108.4 mm (10.24 x 4.27 in) and 2.01 kg (70.9 oz), it’s a little bigger and heavier than the G1 optic, which measures 105.6 x 257.8 (4.16 x 10.15 in) and weighs 1.95 kg (68.78 oz).

Key Specifications:

  • Full-frame format
  • Available in Canon, Nikon, and Sony (A) mounts
  • Maximum aperture: f/5 – f/6.3
  • 2.2m minimum focus distance
  • 21 elements in 13 groups
  • 3 low-dispersion elements
  • 9-blade circular diaphragm
  • 95mm filter thread
  • Weight: 1.95 kg (68.78 oz)

High-quality fast and long telephoto lenses are expensive to develop and manufacture, so they command a high price. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR, for example, retails for over $12,000, while the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM costs in excess of $11,000. So naturally there have to be a few compromises to make a long lens more affordable. With a launch price of $1,400, the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 represents good value, delivering good sharpness across the frame, plus distortion and vignetting that are well-controlled for its intended use — photographing wildlife and sport.

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