Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens for Canon

It's finally October and I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a rental lens before heading out to photograph birds and animals along the southern border with Mexico. I chose a Tamron 150-600mm f5-6.3 lens to try on my Canon 7D because I had heard good things about the lens and I don't have anything in my camera bag that comes even close to this focal length.
Nan and I will be heading to Whitewater Draw Conservation Area which is east of Bisbee Arizona and is the wintering home for thousands of Sandhill Cranes. We're taking a big chance as the earliest we have seen Sandhills at Whitewater is October 8th but we will be arriving later in the week and hopefully there will be plenty of activity by then. Cochise County where Whitewater is located has had substantial rain this monsoon season which should make for some interesting birding even if the Sandhills have not arrived. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
I have been away from wildlife photography for about a year now so I'm a little rusty but this actually adds to the excitement and Nan and I have made a few trips out to places like Madera Canyon, Sabino Canyon and the Santa Catalinas so I can practice. In my travels I was able to see and photograph a Starthroat Hummingbird as well a few more not so common hummers and although I saw quite a few deer I wasn't able to get any usable photos but it was nice to see a couple of Couse White-tailed bucks and later a doe and fawn.
The lens has arrived and we headed over to Sweetwater Wetlands on Saturday and then I followed up with a visit to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum on Sunday so that I could get a feel for the lens and it's capabilities on the Canon 7D. My comments are only about how the lens performs on the APS-C sensor which has a 1.6x crop factor. The lens extended to 600mm on the 7D will be 973mm. Here are a couple examples of the results from Sweetwater.

Bull Frog an Invasive Species

                                                                        Coopers Hawk

The lens is very heavy compared to what I'm used to but so far that is my one criticism. All these photos are hand held including the batch from the Desert Museum below.

Grey Fox

                                                                        Barn Owl

I am impressed with the performance of the lens shooting handheld and I look forward to seeing the results on a tripod. I have photographed the Sandhill Cranes several times and I can't wait to do so again with this lens. Auto focus is very responsive which you can see if you look at an enlarged version of the barn owl's eye. I am also impressed with the price of the lens which can be bought for just over $1000.

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