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Tamron 50-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III VC VXD (Model A067)

To start with, this lens is simply amazing.
At the 50mm wide end, the ability to get so close to a subject that the front of the lens almost hits the subject is something I don’t think any other telephoto lens can do.

Many recent zoos are designed so that the animals on display can live in a more relaxed environment. That makes the 50-400mm focus length range very handy when shooting in a zoo. And since the lens is 50mm at the wide end, in addition to zooming in to capture the animals during lively moments, you can even take memorable family snaps at the zoo using the wide angle with this single lens. Given these abilities, I tried photographing a range of animals at the zoo with a sense of excitement building at what kinds of shots I might be able to get.

I started with some young cheetahs. Despite their young age they ran about with surprising speed, but the AF system in the 50-400mm F4.5-6.3, which equipped with an ultra high-speed linear motor, tracked their movements with agile ease, enabling me to capture some cool moments. Next, I photographed a parakeet with circular bokeh accenting the background. Its feathered coat is rendered in fine detail, and the circular bokeh appears beautiful without distorting into an onion shape, even at the four corners of the image.

What surprised me most of all was the excellent close-range shooting performance that I described at the beginning. As this lens can focus so closely that the end of the lens is touching the subject, in the squirrel exhibit I was able to photograph the creatures almost up to this focusing limit. This ultra-telephoto lens is capable of close-focusing to the extent that only the ear on the head of a 20cm (7.9 in)-long squirrel is visible. This is amazing performance. I was also able to take photos with a composition like a “fox against a blue sky” at the Kitakitsune Farm in Hokkaido, Japan, where the animals are free to relax in vast grounds and you can photograph them without worrying about fences or cages. Of course, this also lets you use the telephoto range to get close-up shots of the foxes’ enchanted expressions!

When I go on shooting trips, I like to travel as light as possible, and since the 50-400mm F4.5-6.3 is so compact, it fits easily into my camera bag. Another feature is that this lens uses the same 67mm diameter lens filter as the TAMRON 28-75mm F2.8 G2 and 70-180mm F2.8 lenses. This means you don’t have to get ND or PL filters just for this lens. This not only saves you money, but is also convenient since you don’t need to carry around multiple filters with different diameters in your bag.

Great when zoomed in
Great when zoomed out

With this one lens, I am sure you can capture some great memories. I encourage you to enjoy shooting with it at your nearest zoo.