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Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC RXD (Model A057)

I recently took a road trip to Goshen’s Falconry Excursions in upstate New York. It’s an amazing place with all kinds of birds of prey—owls, eagles, hawks, falcons, and vultures, among others. The owner has set up one of the largest privately owned and operated raptor breeding programs in the country. On my camera for this birding adventure was the new TAMRON 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD (Model A057), an ultra-telephoto zoom that’s TAMRON’s first model for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras and is equipped with VC (Vibration Compensation) technology. It can also be used with APS-C cameras for that extra crop factor.

The 150-500mm F5-6.7 allowed me to shoot these magnificent birds at rest and in flight, in a controlled situation. That focal-length range is where you want to be for wildlife in general and birding in particular, especially with that reach at 500mm. The lens also has an MOD (Minimum Object Distance) of 0.6m (23.6 inches) at the 150mm end, so you can get great telephoto macro shots of your subjects when you’re at close-up distances. The focusing at 150mm—or even at 500mm, which features an MOD of 1.8m (70.9 inches)—allowed me to get very close to my subjects, especially for some of the static shots of the owls. I could walk right up and take nice, tight headshots without cropping.

By shooting at F6.3 or F6.7, I was able to achieve that nice, soft bokeh you see in many of these images. Meanwhile, the sharpness of the 150-500mm F5-6.7 lens is simply phenomenal. In several of the close-up images shown here, you can see all of the details in the layers of feathers in the owls, and the sharpness of the eyes. For one of the birds in flight, you can actually see the tiny bits of snow in the air that it flicked off its talons as it was flying toward its handler.

The VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme-torque Drive) linear motor focus mechanism of the 150-500mm F5-6.7 offers extreme high-speed and high-precision movement, which translates to remarkably responsive performance when photographing birds in flight. The focusing speed of the lens, in combination with the speed of my Sony mirrorless camera, made it incredibly easy to capture these images.