The cool highlands of Sri Lanka are famous for tea plantations, and on a recent visit to the country I had the opportunity to photograph tea workers and scenery in several tea estates in the Pelmadulla region. Almost without exception, the friendly locals were happy to be photographed and made great subjects.
Following my ‘first impressions’ post from about a week ago, I’ve since tested the Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 in a variety of field conditions shooting a number of different species of wildlife. As mentioned in the previous article, this is a very competent lens for bird & wildlife photographers.
Tamron 150-600mm – Best on Full Frame Sensors?
The Tamron 150-600mm is particularly well suited to full frame DSLRs with minimal high ISO noise such as the Canon 5DIII, Canon 6D & Nikon D800. Being able to use high ISO settings up to ISO 12800 enables you to maintain a shutter speed of 1/160 or faster in many situations. Sure, you’ll find reviews of this lens where the photographer was able to get a sharp image at 1/60 or even lower, but in the field I have found 1/160 to be my minimum shutter speed which results in a higher percentage of consistently sharp ‘keepers’.
I’d be interested to see how this lens performs for wildlife photographers in the field using a crop sensor such as on the Canon 70D or 7D. My guess is that it would be wonderful to shoot at a whopping 960mm (on Canon 1.6 x 600mm) in good lighting conditions, but the high ISO performance of the crop sensors would become the weakest link in less-than-ideal light. Please let me know if you find any reviews or tests relating to this.
600mm & “The Comfort Zone”
After shooting in several locations and dozens of species of bird, mammal & reptile throughout the week, one particular benefit of shooting wildlife with a 600mm lens which I would like to mention is the ‘comfort zone’ it allows. Using a lens of this focal length means you don’t have to approach too closely when compared with shorter lenses. Previously I have used a Canon 300mm f4 with a 1.4x converter (420mm on a full frame DSLR) and although it was a great combo in terms of image quality, I needed to position myself just that little bit closer to photograph birds and I spent more time trying to get in a good position rather than actually taking photos. With the 600mm lens, it seems to allow just enough distance so you don’t have to press into the ‘comfort zone’ of your subject in many situations. I’ve enjoyed standing that little bit further back and photographing birds feeding, preening and looking generally more relaxed than they would if I was pushing in closer with a shorter lens. Those using a crop sensor would benefit from this advantage even further.
Full size jpg’s can be viewed by clicking on each of the main photos below –