Tamron 150-600 f5-6.3 First Outing

April 25th 2014

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I recently purchased the new Tamron 150-600 f5-6.3 Telephoto Zoom lens, and decided to give it a go at the Melbourne Zoo on ANZAC Day 2014 (April 26th).

What a day to have chosen! It was the most perfect of Autumn days, with clear blue skies, sunshine, and no wind. It was also one of the busiest days for the Zoo, but aside from a few moments of congestion it was pretty easy to get around the enclosures and position to shoot.

The primary camera body that I use is a Canon 5D Mark III, but I was mindful that I wasn't familiar with the distance to the animals form the viewing areas,  so I took my secondary body,  which is a Canon 7D. For those of you who are not photographers, one of the significant differences between these two cameras is the size of the sensor that captures the light and creates the image. I won't go into the boring details but the "crop factor" of the Canon 7D sensor effectively increases the zoom capability of the lens - this diagram might help you to understand what I am on about here.

The Canon 7D is represented in the diagram as the "Cropped Sensor"

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After a few shots with my 5D Mark III I realised that I didn't have the reach that I needed to get up close to my subjects in the enclosures. So I swapped over to my 7D and for the rest of the day it was exclusively what I used.

Another difference between the two camera bodies is how clear they can produce images in low light, the 5D Mark III being superior in this sense to the 7D. Had it been a dull and dark day (as it turned out to be the next day), I think I would have struggled with the 7D . Mind you I would have struggled too with the 5D Mark III as my subjects would not have been beautifully lit by sunlight as they were for me on the day.

I had the right gear, the right day, the right amount of patience!

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So what did I think of the lens?

It is brilliant. I paid A$1249 for it from Ted's Camera's here in Melbourne, and it is worth every cent. Seriously, in the DSLR world that's not a huge sum. I found the autofocus to be surprisingly responsive at the 600mm end of the focal length, and found the images to be sharp. There were lots and lots of "keepers" (yes including the Zoo Keepers and I say this for the benefit of my mentor Glynn Lavender who cannot resist a terrible pun!).

Some might find the weight and size of the lens a bit of a struggle (it extends significantly when zoomed to the full 600mm focal length) but I am accustomed to the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS II and I didn't notice much difference to that.

I strongly recommend though the use of a strap such as Blackrapid (http://www.blackrapid.com/products#straps) or a Joby (http://joby.com/camera-straps/pro-sling-strap/). They distribute the weight much better than the neck strap that comes with your camera. 

Final comment. I do edit my photos and I predominately use Adobe Lightroom to adjust exposure, contrast, white balance, etc. I learned from the laziest photographer in the world Glynn Lavender (his words not mine!) and I spend as little time as I can editing and as much time as I can shooting!

I hope you enjoy the slideshow below from my outing.



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Stephen Frost Photographer

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