Shooting the Supermoon with a Superzoom and Teleconverters – SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2

Tamron Canada recently released an updated version of my favourite Superzoom – the SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2. The G2 is sharper at the long end, which is where I use it the most. I’ve been a big fan of Tamron’s superzoom lenses for a while and appreciate the combination of performance, price and usability.Tamron A022

Exclusive to the new G2 are two new teleconverters from Tamron: a 1.4x and a 2x. The focal range changes to 210-850mm (aperture range of f/8-9) with the 1.4x and 300-1200mm (aperture range of f/11-13) with the 2x converter.

The November Supermoon event was the closest and brightest the moon would appear in decades. It was the perfect opportunity to test the teleconverters – I’ll take all the light I can get!

I shot my D810 in both FX and DX crop modes to compare the field of view of the G2 without and with both teleconverters. I could autofocus with the 1.4x converter, but the 2x converter (due to the f/13 maximum aperture) is manual focus only.

FX
FX
DX
DX
FX 1.4x
FX 1.4x
DX 1.4x
DX 1.4x

FX 2x
FX 2x

DX 2x
DX 2x

Manual focus turned out to be a breeze on my full frame camera with the large, bright viewfinder when I had Vibration Compensation turned on. Normally, when I use a tripod, I’ll turn VC off. But with a 1200mm (1800mm in DX crop mode!!!) focal length, there’s a lot of bounce. The new VC system in the G2 allows up to 4.5 stops of “help” and worked brilliantly to help me focus. I switched the body to Manual focus, pressed the rear AF button and watched the VC lock on. I could then easily focus manually on the moon.

On a variable aperture lens like the G2, I liked having the extra reach of the 1.4x teleconverter. I didn’t notice any lack of AF speed or accuracy; the images are just as sharp. It essentially gave me an equivalent field of view of a crop sensor camera.

FX 2x

FX 2x

FX 1.4x

FX 1.4x

FX 2x
FX 2x
FX 2x
FX 2x

 

The 2x teleconverter certainly filled the frame more, but was a little more difficult to handle with the manual focus and susceptibility to vibrations. I was able to get some great shots, but with 36MP, I could have just as easily cropped in post to get the same image. I think the 2x teleconverter would shine on a 2.8 lens, such as a 70-200; I hope Tamron updates their SP lenses to work with these new teleconverters!

You can’t beat a crop sensor camera for that extra “reach” while maintaining resolution. Most high-end crop bodies are now 20-24MP, while full frame bodies in crop mode are 12-16MP. However, a teleconverter is a far more affordable option if you only have a full frame camera. That extra optical “reach” is nice to have.

Click Here for more information on the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD and teleconverters.


About the Author – Will Prentice (www.capturaphoto.ca) is a professional photographer based out of Whitby, Ontario and Brand Specialist – Lighting for Amplis.

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