Announced in April 2021, the Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD lens ($1399) has been highly anticipated by wildlife and nature photographers who use Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras. Our colleagues at Digital Photo‘s sister site, Imaging Resource, recently got their hands on this Tamron telephoto zoom for E-mount cameras and paired it with a Sony A7R IV to produce an early hands-on review of the lens.
“The lens works well for many situations, provided you have enough light for the somewhat slow maximum aperture,” Imaging Resource Reviews Editor Jeremy Gray wrote in the review. “I primarily used the lens for wildlife photography, although it can also work well for landscapes. I didn’t have the opportunity to test the lens for sports photography, but given its autofocus performance, I think it’d work well there, too, at least during the daytime.”
We’ve included three of Gray’s Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD lens test shots of wildlife with this review. Click on the images to see full resolution versions of the test photos on Imaging Resource’s website.
The Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD (A057) lens is relatively compact for its extensive zoom range at just 8.3 inches long and 60.8 ounces in weight. The lens features several special lens elements including 5 LD elements. Its focusing system is powered by an VXD AF motor designed for fast, accurate and relatively quiet autofocus. And, as its name suggests, the Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD features Tarmon’s tried-and-true Vibration Compensation (VC) image stabilizer.
“Starting with the build quality, Tamron’s ultra-telephoto zoom lens is reasonably compact and lightweight,” Gray writes. “While it’s not a small lens, at 209.6mm (8.3”) long and 1.88kg (4.14 lbs.) heavy, the 150-500mm is easy to carry around for extended periods. Plus, with vibration compensation (VC), the lens works well handheld. The lens also includes weather resistance, which is excellent for a lens at this price ($1,400) and makes the lens a great choice for wildlife photography.”
The Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD is also a solid macro lens, with the ability to focus as close as 23.6 inches. As you can see from the extensive test photo gallery on Imaging Resource for the lens, Gray shot a variety of zoomed in shots from distance and close-up macros.
“The lens’s impressive autofocus performance showed when photographing moving animals in low light” Gray writes. “The Tamron 150-500mm lens can focus surprisingly closely. At 150mm, the lens can focus to 0.6m (23.6″), which results in a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:3.1. It’s not a macro lens, but it can work well for close-ups, like photographing flowers. The lens also works with Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF, Eye AF and Direct Manual Focus (DMF).”
As you can tell from the conclusion to his Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD hands-on review, Gray liked the lens quite a bit. His list of Pros, which includes “Good build quality,” “Reasonably lightweight,” “Impressive sharpness,” and “Affordable,” among other attributes is quite a bit longer than his Cons, which include just two: “Somewhat slow aperture” and “Corner performance isn’t great.”
“Tamron has done a great job balancing performance, price and size with its new telephoto zoom for Sony mirrorless cameras,” Gray concludes. “If you want a telephoto zoom and don’t need the fast aperture of the Sony GM lens or an exotic prime, it’s hard to go wrong with Tamron’s new lens. It’s an excellent lens that is truly enjoyable to use.”