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Travels with the Tamron 150-500mm Di II VC VXD

Well, it's been a while. It's been great to see so many of you visiting to use the woodland hide since the restrictions began to be lifted and we've got so much going on here that I'll touch on later in this post.

As many of you will know I'm a great believer in third-party lens manufacturers and have for the last few years been loving my Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. Recently however I got the chance to test out the newly released 150-500mm lens on a trip to northern Greece to see my grandparents - a location we try to visit every year but has been challenging with Covid!

This post probably isn't for everyone as those of you familiar with the lens will know it is specifically for Sony E / FE mount camera bodies. Those who know me will know I made the jump from Canon to Sony about six years ago now and have slowly been moving my lens collection to Sony mount options. My ultra-telephoto of choice has been, up till now, the Tamron 150-600mm G2 in Canon fit with an adaptor to Sony bodies. This has brought its' own challenges with compatibility at times but optically the lens was great so I persevered - though now there is, in my opinion, a better option out there!

The new 150-500mm does indeed have a slightly smaller range than the lens I will be comparing it to but with this range reduction also come savings in weight (around 15% lighter) and size (around 20% shorter), and that's without including the adaptor, making it ideal for travel. Below are two shots of how it fits into a Peak Design Messenger and also a Lowepro ProTactic - my 150-600mm has to be detached from the body to fit in either of these bags;

As you can see I was using the lens with my A6100 for the trip as a small, portable combination and it was honestly a joy to use. The focusing felt snappy, the lens itself was light (a little too light at first and I kept overcompensating when tracking) and smooth to use.

I've put a selection of shots below but will also publish small galleries on Facebook and Instagram over the coming weeks.

Perhaps my highlight of this lens was something I wasn't expecting.... the close focusing capability. With a minimum object distance of 0.6m (at the wide end) and 1.8m (at the tele end) I was able to rapidly switch from photographing birdlife to insects in the blink of an eye, a godsend on a lens like this and when exploring new areas. This really came into its own when on the day we were leaving, with all the bags packed, I spotted a Phileaus chrysops, a bucket list species for me, in my grandparents' garden! I was quickly able to grab the camera out (with the lens already attached) and snap away - a blessing as I hadn't actually packed my macro lens for this trip!

Overall this lens was a real gem to travel with and was versatile enough to photograph everything I threw at it. The size and weight made it a joy to use and if anyone is looking for a Canon fit 150-600mm G2 give me a shout..... It'll help with funding my order!

ProHides General Update

And just a few quick notes about what we've got going on here currently;

  • The woodland hide is open for bookings. When you book the hide is yours for the day and you can share it if you wish with family/household members but nobody else will be able to book alongside you. Lots of woodpecker activity at the moment.

  • Little Owl hide from previous years will not be happening this year BUT we have discovered another family on the farm which we are developing currently - Volunteers please watch your emails in the next week or so!

  • Raptor hide - This will most likely be dormant until 2022 given current activity and plans to create a woodland pool in the area likely to cause a disturbance.

  • Tuition and Safaris - Open for booking, please get in touch

  • Workshops and Courses - No indoor courses for now, possibly restart late in 2021, most likely early 2022. I will once again be running some workshops at Lacock Photography this year though - portrait, macro, flash and night.

  • Other - We have been getting a lot of activity from Kingfisher and Tawny Owls - watch this space....

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