Trying gear – Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD

Recently I was given an opportunity to try the Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD lens for Fujifilm. It has been great seeing them bring out more lenses for the X series cameras that Fujifilm makes. 

I’m not going to get into the specs about it, you can read them here Tamron Australia.

I have only had the lens for a few days and have to give it back in a couple of days, so I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to get out with it. I did take it to the zoo and managed to get a couple of hours of taking photos before the rain started.

We have been getting so much rain that it has been making it very hard to get out and take photos. Plus there are floods everywhere so venturing out of the city just isn’t worth it. You just don’t know what you will run water over the road. October was the wettest on record for Victoria. We have had it fairly easy too when compared to NSW and Queensland. Some people there have had their homes flooded numerous times this year.

Unpacking the 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD

My first thought when it arrived was that it seemed compact. Though that could be because I was comparing it with the 150-600mm that I have used with my Nikon camera. This one isn’t as long, though it is wide.

I was surprised at how heavy it was. Since I converted to Fujifilm I’ve gotten used to lenses that are a lot lighter so this was a bit of a shock for me. There was a time when I could hold up a lens like this and take photos, but I knew straight away I would need a monopod for it.

Thankfully my tripod, Bucky, from 3 Legged Thing can be converted to a monopod very easily. I took off one leg and the ball head and put them in my bag to use with the lens.

One thing I thought that was great was the stand/handle that is on the lens will already fit most tripod heads that use the arca swiss system. It is so good that you don’t have to find a plate for it. There is a screw hole in it as well if you don’t use that type of plate for your tripods.

Out and About with the lens

As I said the only place I have been with it was the Melbourne Zoo.

Now before anyone gets cranky about the zoo, here in Melbourne the zoo is all about supporting animals in the wild. Many of the animals are there because they can’t live in the wild so they are offered a home in the zoo where they can help educate people who visit the zoo on the struggles that their species face in the wild. Plus, the zoo gives millions of dollars to help animals in the wild as well.

I decided that I would put the lens on my Fujifilm X-T3.

One of the first things I did was take a photo at 150mm.

Then I zoomed in to 500mm.

 

It gives you a good range. I suspect anyone who has a Fujifilm camera and loves wildlife photography would really enjoy this lens.

It is very fast and I found focusing really good. The only time I had any trouble was when I was too close. We have got so used to being able to focus on subjects while they are close to us, but with the Tamron 150-500mm I did have to step back a few steps in some places. It isn’t as bad as it was with my 80-200mm Nikon lens where you would have to take a step back, then another and another and another. I think you had to be about 3 metres from your subject. However, with this one, it is between a metre and maybe 2. It wasn’t that bad.

In the details

How sharp is it? That is a good question.

I have found this question a bit hard to answer. It was the only time I have used it and I think with more time I wouldn’t have any trouble with it, but I did find myself wobbling a bit with the monopod. I haven’t used a lens this way for a few years now. I do think if it is something you do all the time you wouldn’t have any problems.

I have zoomed in on the computer with a couple of them so you could see it better.

Overall

It is a great lens to add to the ones you can get for Fujifilm cameras from Tamron. There are now three of them. I have been using the 18-300mm for a year now and I have no regrets about my purchase. It has been a great lens for walking around. Happy to see that some of my friends have also purchased it after seeing how much I love it.

I am hoping to get out at least one more time before the lens has to go back to Tamron Australia.  I would love to go down to the local wetlands, but with all the rain it might be too hard. Plus if it gets too warm there might be too many snakes out and about. We will have to see.

Who would this lens suit?

I think anyone who loves shooting wildlife will love this lens. It might take some practice with it, but you will get some amazing photos. I suspect people who like to shoot sports action will love it as well.

The lens sells in Australia for the RRP of $2499. Not a cheap lens, but nothing of quality ever is.

It is not a lens I would buy. Not because I don’t think it is good enough, but more because I don’t do enough wildlife to justify it. I’m working on Dave, my husband, to let me get a macro for the Fujifilm, so if I get a new lens, that will be it. I really want Tamron to bring out the macro lens for Fujifilm. I tried theirs for the Nikon and it was fantastic.

Thank you to Blonde Robot and Tamron Australia for giving me an opportunity to try out the lens. I enjoyed it.

I do have more photos that I took with it at the Zoo, but will show you those another day.

Do you think you would like a lens like this? What would you use it for?

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70 Comments

  1. Holy moly! These photos are fantastic. I’m not a photographer, but my dad was and had several cameras (one being a Cannon and one being a Nikon. He might have had more, but we are not sure yet. We are still going through all of his things). I used to work at the San Diego Zoo in California, and I really applaud your disclaimer about the Melbourne Zoo. The San Diego Zoo’s mission is to rehabilitate and release if they are able to. If they are not, then they have a home at the zoo. I used to present about endangered animals and conservation to guests at the zoo. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos 😊 I can’t wait to see more!

    1. Thank you, the zoo is a great place for photography. If you dad had both of those brands, I’m sure you will find more. I think a lot of people don’t understand how some zoos around the world are doing a lot to help wildlife. I always think of the animals in the zoos as taking one for the team. They are helping to educate people for their own kind. I’ve heard San Diego Zoo is really good as well. Nice to see.

    2. You’re very welcome 😊 we know he has at least one or two old film cameras and a couple of point-and-shoot digital cameras. I agree with you on that! It’s important for people to see and learn about endangered species and different animals around the world.

    3. Well good luck going through his stuff, I hope it isn’t too heart breaking. I totally agree, it is so important. Sometimes I think humans forget they aren’t the only species that have to survive on this planet. We just continue to rape and pillage it, for what? Money. To help cause the extinction of millions of other species.

    4. It’s been…a journey to say the least with going through my dad’s things. He passed recently, so it’s been a roller coaster of sorts to go through his things and clean up the house.

      I completely agree with you! Humans are the reason why the world is dying. It’s very tragic

  2. The photos are beautiful, but I’d love to see your set up with the camera/lens on the monopod just to get an idea of what it’s like photographing with this lens. (And, yes, I’m still saving up for your favorite Tamron lens for my X-T20! :))

    1. Thank you Jen, yeah not sure how I could get a photo of it as I have to hold the camera. I could try later and see what I get. But really is is just the monopod with the lens attached to it and the camera behind.
      Oh yes, I still love that lens, I hope you can get soon Jen.

    2. The *lens* is attached to the monopod? It sounds quite heavy. That’s the opposite of why I decided on a mirrorless camera. LOL

    3. That lens is heavy Jen, it is one of the unfortunate things about lenses like that, they tend to be heavy. Thankfully most of the other lenses for mirrorless aren’t. Like my Tamron 18-300mm is not that heavy at all. I love using it.

  3. Such great results. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with the lens. Very helpful post. 😊👍🏽

  4. What is your advice for using a 500mm lens. I have one that I rarely use because it’s a fixed 500mm f8 lens and has a very narrow field of focus. I have a canon 5Ds, and this lens uses a T-mount.

    1. I think that is just what you get with those sorts of lenses. Great for zooming right in or getting close, but not good for much else. They certainly have a particular use. Maybe it is time to sell it and try something like this lens. Might give you more options. I find fixed lenses can be a problem in that respect. I think the only fixed one I ever really like is the macro lens. I don’t know that I have helped Kelly.

  5. I think it might be a bit too heavy for me at my age. That’s why I don’t do much wildlife photography. I do use my Nikon 7100 and a F/4 300 mm lens. That’s the main reason for me to keep the Nikon. I’ve chosen to concentrate on Macro and have the Fuji 80 mm macro lens. I think you did a wonderful job with the Tamron. Great images.

    1. Yeah, I can understand that Anne, I imagine there would be more people that would find it too heavy too. Yeah, I have a 300mm that I use for it as well. It isn’t great, but it is enough. I am much similar, I’ve been planting heaps of flowers for macro. I think I might get that lens for Christmas. I’ve tried it a couple of times and was really impressed. Thank you Anne.

  6. Great to see more third party lens for mirrorless cameras, especially the long ones. I’ve been watching the market since we shoot Canon. They have stopped playing well with the lens manufacturers. We use gear from several vendors and will now be doing a complete change some day. Tried a full Sony kit, expensive test, but glad we did and know it’s not for us. Thanks for the information, it helps us going forward.

    1. I feel the same Ted, it has been disappointing in the past, but nice to see that more are coming out. I didn’t know that about Canon, I was with Nikon, but I wasn’t happy with their customer service. Sony lenses are really expensive. I’ve been thinking about doing a blog post on why I changed to Fujifilm, would you be interested in that Ted. You’re welcome and thank you.

    2. I would like that. A few years ago I thought Fuji too small, but have not looked recently. I would like to see real world OM (Olympus) too. The 4/3 sensor is much better now and the number of quality lens available is amazing.

    3. I’ve been really impressed with the sensor. I also like how much better the cameras do in low light. I think my images look great, though I haven’t printed many, but don’t think they would be an issue either. I like how much lighter they are and my back and arms always thank me after we have been out together. lol

  7. I found with the Canon version, you need to feed it a lot of light; though I only had it for a few hours at a “camera demo days” event at our zoo. Like you, I realized the massive minimum focus distance was a bit of a turn off. Since then, I’ve picked up the Canon 100-400mm lens (4.5-5.6L)… and frankly, the extra distance can be “had” by a good crop… In my unofficial, unqualified, unintelligent opinion.

    1. Yeah, that could be true, I suppose I did have to up my ISO quite a bit. The Canon lens would be expensive too. If it is what you want and it does what you need, then it is a good lens for you Matt. Thank you.

    2. That’s true about all gear, and I bought mine used in excellent condition from Japan. The push/pull configuration didn’t take as long to get used to as I thought it might. Coupled with the 5DS R’s 50mp sensor, I get good high-res photos even when cropped (the only reason to chase high-MP camera stats I can see).

      It’s always good to get a smarter, more knowledgeable opinion and perspective though.

    3. I think the whole higher sensor etc would be if you want to enlarge your images to really big prints. Since most of us don’t do that, I don’t always see the point. There is now software to help with resolution if you really want to do that. I had an image taken with a Nikon D300s, back in 2012 that was blown up to be 2 metres wide and just over a metre high. A woman used special software to work on the pixels so it could be blown up that large. I just don’t know anymore if it is worth all the hype. Most of my photos will only be seen on the internet.
      I don’t know that I am smarter or more knowledgeable about these things. The technical aspects of photography are not something I’ve ever been into, I’m more into can this camera and lens help me create the image I want to create.

    4. You’re right about the sensor size, for sure. I think for the most part, all we really need in most cases is about 12mp — that’ll give us large enough prints as long as we’re factoring viewing distance. But that doesn’t help camera companies sell new kit.

      In the long run, the only question that must be answered is exactly that: will this camera and lens help me create the image I want to create? I have to keep talking myself off the ledge about stuff I want — or I think I want — for exactly this: I can make most of what I want to make with what I have.

    5. Yeah, I agree Matt. Yeah, I guess camera companies need to do something. I think for me what gets me to want a new camera is noise. If I can use a camera at a higher ISO and have little noise I’m a happy girl.

      Yeah, I agree with that second part too. It isn’t always good to keep wanting stuff, though I do really want a macro lens for my Fujifilm camera.

    6. I don’t know all the ins and outs of sensor noise, but I do find it weird they haven’t managed to tame that. Do you often shoot at higher ISO settings; or, is it, you want to be able to without introducing all the noise.

      I’ve just accepted that as part of digital photography, but honestly haven’t questioned why it is that way… you’d think there’d be a way to add that to the processing routines.

    7. It is getting better, especially compared to my first digital cameras. I find with some photography I have to up the ISO and that introduces noise, like doing macro, you have to close the aperture down quite a bit and you don’t want any sun, so you have to get the ISO up to be able to take photos, especially because I like to do it freehand.

      There is a way of reducing the noise in post-processing. Most software has a tool to help out with it. It can’t always help, I mean I did some photos in Central Australia of the Field of Lights and I had to up my ISO to 25000 so they are very very very noisy. I couldn’t use a tripod so I had no choice. I don’t think I ever used those photos though.

  8. I have had similar thoughts on using that lens on my Nikon camera. I do enjoy the Lens and it has worked well for me out in nature. I really enjoyed using it on waterfalls. The photos you posted are beautiful and very clear to me. thank you for sharing your story.

  9. This was a good review, Leanne. I was thinking of getting a longer lens for my Nikon. However, the extra weight deterred me–I don’t want to have to drag a tripod around with me. Also, as you said, I don’t go ‘wildlife’ hunting so there is no need for me to really have this lens. It was just a ‘want’ more than a ‘need.’ But the price is too prohibitive, so I will stay with what I have. Thanks, again, for this review. It helped settle some things in my mind.

    1. Thank you Lois. Yeah, it is a hefty one. I am sure you could get used to it. I think if I was into wildlife I would persevere with it, but for what I do now I don’t think it is worth it. I am glad I helped.

  10. Thanks for this review. I very much like the stand/handle with the arca swiss system, I had to buy an extra plate for my Sigma 150-600mm.
    The results of your tests look very satisfying, so did the sharpnes. Unfortunately no lens for me because I have a Nikon camera.
    May I wish you a lovely weekend and looking forward for your next testing results.

    1. You’re welcome, glad to help. I love that arca swiss built-in plate as well. It is great.
      Thank you, Tamron do a 150-600mm for Nikon, I’ve used it in the past and was really happy with it.
      Thank you, not sure what I will get to try next.

  11. For reasons that make sense to me I use one lens. The Tamron 90 mm 272E. I find it the perfect companion to my Sony Alpha a68. Been using it for years and haven’t reached it’s limits yet.

    1. Thank you Mama, they can be difficult, thankfully they were in a very large aviary so it was a lot easier. It is a great lens.

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