Let’s be honest, it would’ve been a very stupid move for Nikon to block this. Lucky for Nikonians, Tamron’s best birding lens is coming to the Nikon Z mount! That’s right, the Tamron 150-500mm Di III VC VXD is coming to the Nikon Z9, Z8, and other cameras that Nikon has in their stable. This is a lens that we originally reviewed for Sony E mount and then updated to include our thoughts on using it for the Fujifilm X mount. But now that it’s coming to the Nikon Z mount, Nikon is going to have access to some absolutely incredible glass for sports, birding, wildlife and more. Combine this with the Z9’s latest firmware updates, and you’re in for a great time!
What You Need to Know
In case you’re not familiar with this lens, we’re going to fill you in on why this is such a great product. If you’ve been a photographer since the DSLR days, you probably know that Tamron wasn’t always the best brand to buy — but they’ve made major improvements in the past decade or so. Today, buying a Tamron lens is all about reliability. They’re lightweight, feel great, weather resistant, reliable, and can be updated quickly via a USB port in the side of the lens. Further, the autofocus in most cases is very fast and accurate. This is especially the case with Sony cameras since Sony owns part of Tamron.
Nikon has licensed Tamron lenses to make under their own banner in the past. But Nikon also allows Tamron to make lenses for their mount, too. If it’s one of Tamron’s higher end lenses like the 35-150mm f2-2.8, then it will work pretty flawlessly. The Tamron 150-500 is one of those higher end lenses. So we’re expecting it to focus quickly, accurately, and to help a Nikon user get the shots they want at a more affordable price point.
If you’re looking for perfect technical excellence, then Nikon’s own lenses might be a better option for you. But if you know that you like a bit of character, then reach for Tamron’s.
Here are the tech specs on the new lens as provided to us by Tamron.
|Angle of View (diagonal)
|16° 25′-4° 57′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
|25 elements in 16 groups
|Minimum Object Distance
|0.6m /23.6in (WIDE), 1.8m /70.9in (TELE)
|Maximum Magnification Ratio
|1:3.1 (WIDE) / 1:3.7 (TELE)
|1,720g (60.7oz) (without tripod mount) / Tripod mount 155g (5.5oz)
|7 (circular diaphragm)
|Round-shaped hood, Lens caps, Tripod mount
|Nikon Z mount
* Length is the distance from the front end of the lens to the lens mount face.
** The circular diaphragm stays almost perfectly circular up to two stops down from maximum aperture.
Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc., are subject to change without prior notice.
Tamron or Nikon? What’s Better?
Nikon’s closest offering is the 180-600mm lens. We haven’t done a full review of that lens yet, but it’s coming. I know from personal usage with the Nikon z9 that 600mm combined with the DX crop mode can be very nice for birding if your subjects are pretty far away from you. And in some cases, 500mm just won’t cut it. So for something like that, Tamron probably won’t have enough reach for you. But if you’re closer to your subjects like for sporting events, then 150-500mm might be more than enough.
We’re working on updating our review, and you’ll see soon what our final thoughts are.