I’m nearing the time where I’m going to start writing up my official review of the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens. I’ve never used a lens with a reach over 200mm before, so 600mm is quite a stretch for me, in every sense of the word. It has been an interesting thing to test lens stabilization (what Tamron calls Vibration Compensation) all the way to 600mm. Certain challenges arise when shooting at very long focal lengths, like the previously mentioned vibration compensation, shutter speed, etc. One’s technique really comes into play.
Because the Tamron SP 150-600MM G2 is so long, hand holding it with a 1DX Mark II also becomes tiring. That led me to question, “would photographers ever consider shooting this lens on a mirrorless body?” My initial response was “no, mirrorless autofocus just can’t hold up, especially when being adapted.” I had to put that to the test though.
The 1DX Mark II is a $6,000 camera, and not many people have their hands on a kit like that. However, with the explosion of mirrorless cameras, bodies like the a6300 from Sony are a real option these days. However, there aren’t any native options that I’m currently aware of, without a teleconverter, that will reach past 300mm. With a 2x teleconverter, the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master on the Sony a6300 or a6500 will reach 600mm. That’s a ton of reach, but it is very expensive to get that reach.
Since I have Metabones EF/E Mark IV adapter for Canon to Sony E-Mount, I figured I’d give the Tamron SP 150-600MM G2 a try on my tiny Sony a6300. With its 1.5x crop factor, the Tamron SP 150-600MM G2 can now reach essentially 900mm without a teleconverter. However, I’m using an adapter, so would the autofocus perform well enough?
This isn’t in depth, or scientific in any way, but I felt like the combination of the Sony a6300 and the Tamron SP 150-600MM G2 performed decently. I’d say a 7/10. The biggest issue when shooting all the way extended to 600mm (or 900mm since it’s a crop body), is that acquiring focus at that focal length is tough. I found it much easier to acquire focus at around 350-400mm then zoom in while focusing. The Tamron SP 150-600MM G2 did a better job when focusing this way.
This test is as far from scientific as you could get, remember that. I was shooting auto ISO, since the light was going down rapidly. Don’t mind the grain. The following photos were shot in small bursts of 3-4 photos.
Overall, I do think that the a6300 or a6500 is a decent option with the Tamron SP 150-600MM G2 for sports, birding, or action photography. It handled well enough and focused even better on a moving subject in the sky. The test was done with my son running towards and away from the camera as fast as his little three year old legs could take him. Subjects moving directly towards the camera are always the best autofocus test, as it strains the AF system a great amount.
While it’s not as snappy as on the 1DX Mark II, I think that you can definitely use this lens and body combination for some kids sporting events, casual birding, etc. It also saves a ton of weight in your bag, since Sony bodies are so light.
400mm (600mm equivalent), f/6.3, 1/1000, ISO 10,000
500mm (750mm equivalent), f/6.3, 1/500, ISO 12,800
600mm (900mm equivalent), f/6.3, 1/1000, ISO 2,000
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