Help with Tamron 150-600- focus, lens aberration- operator error?

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Alison Powell
Alison Powell's picture
Help with Tamron 150-600- focus, lens aberration- operator error?

I have a Tamron 150-600mm I'm having some frustrations with. I'm getting shots that aren't sharp and tend to have a weird aberration around objects - almost like a halo. I CAN get a clear image when things are close and if I'm avoiding the upper range.

I'm going to attach an image here for an example- hoping what I am seeing shows up in the JPEG format. I don't see any area in this photo that is sharp. I haven't made any edits other than RAW to jpeg.

I shot this on a tripod. There was no wind to speak of and I was about 15 feet or so from the bird. ISO 640, 1/800sec, 552mm, f/6.3.

Am I expecting too much? Is there something I'm missing? I do not see these same issues with my Canon 100-400mm.

Thanks for any thoughts!


Bill Shaw
Bill Shaw's picture

Hi Alison - I have the first version of this lens. Seth has the 2nd version. I borrowed his a couple years ago to compare with my version. I didn't notice any difference in images from either one. I tested version 1 against version 2 using a test target on the wall and tripod. ( You can click on the image to get a full-sized printable target.

I originally used it for bird photography in the field (hand held) which is a challenge. On tripod you should disable vibration stabilization (VC on Mark 1). Was it new or used? I agree your image does not look sharp but it's also limited by screen resolution.

I feel your Canon lens might be sharper lens but I don't have so can't be sure.

Alison Powell
Alison Powell's picture

Thanks Bill! I'll try the test target.

Did you ever use the tap-in console for calibration? I did buy the lens new (from B&H) and the console was included. I don't feel qualified to use it so haven't touched it.

I have done a little hand held with this lens but it's just too heavy for me. I've tried with the VC off but I primarily leave it on- this is a really good point and I'll give it more of a go with that adjustment. I find no difference with the Canon so I have become a little lazy and don't tend to touch it.

Aaron Mills
Aaron Mills's picture

Hi, Alison,
I don't have this lens, although I have been looking at it wondering if I need it for birds and other wildlife. I have a question about how you are shooting. Do you use autofocus or do you focus manually? Bill's comment about turning off the vibration stabilization is important, and so is testing it with a target, both using autofocus and manual focus. Because the lens is sharp at some focal lengths, testing and microcalibration may help a lot. Testing needs to be done at both ends of the focal length range, and then you may need to do a calibration with your camera to get the autofocus to behave properly. If you can get it sharp with manual focus, the calibration may give you much better performance. There's a good set of instructions at and if you don't want to make the target (I did and it works well), there are lots of good calibration targets available online from B&H, Adorama, etc. that will do the job nicely.

Alison Powell
Alison Powell's picture

Thanks Aaron and Bill- I took a few shots today without the stabilisation on and it absolutely made a difference. I kick myself for not thinking of this before- lesson learned. Just because it doesn't affect one lens it obviously does affect this one- and maybe it affects my Canon more than I realise.

It is still not as sharp as I would like, however, so I will walk through testing. The links you both sent seem to be good walkthroughs (which I definitely need!).

Thank you, thank you!

Craig Cooper
Craig Cooper's picture

Hi Alison,
I have the new version of the same Tamron lens and get excellent results with a Nikon. If you're a Nikon user there is an excellent web site for technical and other information about cameras, lenses and everything photographic:, It's free although you can join for a nominal fee and get unlimited access. Much of the information available would also apply to Canon. You can post a question to various forums and get very quick responses. It's an excellent resource.

Alison Powell
Alison Powell's picture

Thanks Craig! I’ll check the site out. I am a Canon user but I suspect you are right about a lot of the material being applicable no matter what camera I have.