I have been looking at the Tamron 150-600 mm lens for quite some time. I was not sure if I really needed it until I started photographing birds, then reality struck me. You cannot get very close to small birds unless they are fed. I like to leave nature with nature and limit the human interraction with wild animals. So if you want to catch wild birds the regular 300 mm is not enough. Sure you can get some birds at 300 mm but you have to crop so much most of the time that you lose a certain degree of quality .
So, I made the jump and purchase the lens. It’s not a fast lens, the maximum aperture opening you can get is f/5 at 150 mm and f/6.7 at 600 mm. So if you need a fast speed shutter and low ISO on cloudy day it could become a problem especially if you are under the tree canopy. Under sunny conditions, there is no problem. The other options for a fast lens were just way too expensive for my wallet. Look at the price of f/4 or f/2.8 lens with a focal length of 300 mm or more. It will knock off your feet or you will need a cardiac defibrillator to restart your hearth after you’ve seen the price.
The image stabilisation of the Tamrom works very well. I took some hand held photos at speed as slow as 1/350 s at 600 mm which is not recommended, the rule of thumb calls for a speed number the same as your focal length (1/600 s at 600 mm) and the sharpness of the image is still there.
I had never used a big lens like this one. It is heavier than a 300 mm or 200 mm zoom lens, the monopod is not an option any more, it’s a must. Sure you can hold in your hands but if you are planning for a long session, the monopod is a must.
If you love bird photography the Tamrom 150-600 mm is a very good lens at the fraction of the cost of all the 300 mm and more prime lens. You get a very good product and will make your approach with birds much easier.
Nikon D5100 Tamron 150-600 mm @ 600 mm, f/6.7, 1/350 s, 320 ISO (no cropping)
Nikon D5100 Tamron 150-600 mm @ 320 mm, f/11, 1/350 s, 320 ISO (no cropping)