Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Problem

coastalconn

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Reading through the thread, My first instinct is the AF system in the T6 just isn't up to task at 600mm and F6.3. The 150-600 G1 generally reports F5.6 I believe, but is still optically a F6.3 and that might just be a touch too much for the camera itself. When I had the G1 I mostly shot it with the D7100 and had no problem keeping up with birds. Tamron 150-600 G1 Samples you will notice I also had very good light in many of these shots that helps to pick up the bird.

I have also speculated for awhile that Tamron does not play as nicely with Canon as it does with Nikon. The OP may also just need more practice to get the most out of the combo. See how it does tracking gulls around a blue sky to start. AI servo is a must and a minimum of 1/1600th shutter speed. I shoot much faster most of the time.
 
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K9Kirk

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Ok, I see what you are on about now. As Braineack pointed out your shutter speed is way too slow, the thing is that long focal lengths really ampilfy any motion blur. Second thing you'll need to realise is that with any bird in flight photograhy you're going to have a lot of misses. Of you can get a 1% keeper rate you'll be doing ok.

I'm happier at 1/500th at 600mm with VR on, really I'm looking to get 1600th or ideally 2000th/sec when I'm at 600mm with VR off though I would shoot stationary animals at 1/250th if I'm forced to.

Our lens isn't the sharpest, but you can't expect it to perform like a 600mm f4 prime, mine is definately acceptably sharp though heavy cropping can take a toll.

Thankfully there's an easy way to tell, just stick it on a tripod and find a stationary subject (like not even moving in a slight breeze) and see if you can hit focus on it. I used a dandilion sticking out of our patio when I did mine (it was fine). After that I got a large level with a measurement gauge on it and propped it up at an angle at took a shot at 600mm on a tripod, mine was pretty spot on so I had to concede it was my technique.

So, what I do is hit the focus button when the bird is in the central focal point then try and track with it with the extended ones. Bear in mind that even at 600mm if the bird is small the camera may miss focus anyway. Try stopping down to f8 as well. But I suspect you are having more of a techniqe issue.

What Braineack and I both noticed is that the lens is focusing in front of objects (foreground). I did some research and found out that most people don't know to calibrate their new lens. I think you were eluding to doing that with your method of focusing on a stationary object, etc. I never calibrated mine so what I'm going to do is try what you suggested to check the focus, then if need be I'll check the settings recommended previously as part of my process of elimination and if nothing helps I'm going to get a calibration tool and check my calibration.
 
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K9Kirk

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Reading through the thread, My first instinct is the AF system in the T6 just isn't up to task at 600mm and F6.3. The 150-600 G1 generally reports F5.6 I believe, but is still optically a F6.3 and that might just be a touch too much for the camera itself. When I had the G1 I mostly shot it with the D7100 and had no problem keeping up with birds. Tamron 150-600 G1 Samples you will notice I also had very good light in many of these shots that helps to pick up the bird.

I have also speculated for awhile that Tamron does not play as nicely with Canon as it does with Nikon. The OP may also just need more practice to get the most out of the combo. See how it does tracking gulls around a blue sky to start. AI servo is a must and a minimum of 1/1600th shutter speed. I shoot much faster most of the time.

I think you're right. More than once in good light I've pointed at a bird in flight and it wouldn't even try to focus, nothing at all. Some of the pictures I took were with the camera in AI Servo and it focused on something in the foreground that was close to the subject or even ten or so meters in front at 600mm or less. The times that it wouldn't focus at all is when the bird was either coming almost straight at me so I strongly suspect the AI Servo couldn't detect any movement or it blended with it's surroundings and didn't know what to focus on. One shot auto focus probably would've worked better for those scenarios. I'll mess around with it some more and see what happens. Thanks for your input!
 
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K9Kirk

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Ok, I see what you are on about now. As Braineack pointed out your shutter speed is way too slow, the thing is that long focal lengths really ampilfy any motion blur. Second thing you'll need to realise is that with any bird in flight photograhy you're going to have a lot of misses. Of you can get a 1% keeper rate you'll be doing ok.

I'm happier at 1/500th at 600mm with VR on, really I'm looking to get 1600th or ideally 2000th/sec when I'm at 600mm with VR off though I would shoot stationary animals at 1/250th if I'm forced to.

Our lens isn't the sharpest, but you can't expect it to perform like a 600mm f4 prime, mine is definately acceptably sharp though heavy cropping can take a toll.

Thankfully there's an easy way to tell, just stick it on a tripod and find a stationary subject (like not even moving in a slight breeze) and see if you can hit focus on it. I used a dandilion sticking out of our patio when I did mine (it was fine). After that I got a large level with a measurement gauge on it and propped it up at an angle at took a shot at 600mm on a tripod, mine was pretty spot on so I had to concede it was my technique.

So, what I do is hit the focus button when the bird is in the central focal point then try and track with it with the extended ones. Bear in mind that even at 600mm if the bird is small the camera may miss focus anyway. Try stopping down to f8 as well. But I suspect you are having more of a techniqe issue.

I just did a quick test to check the focus and everything seems ok. I focused on the rope in the middle of the pic and it looked sharp in the view finder and just as sharp in the processed picture. Coastalconn and some others think the problem may be with my camera not being up to the task of focusing well at long zooms and I think they're absolutely right because that's just how it acts although it has zoomed ok in certain situations where I think the camera could actually detect movement and focus on the main subject. From what I read just a little while ago if your subject is about the same tone/color of it's surrounding and there is little to no contrast between them the camera will be confused as to what to focus on. Anyway, here's that test pic I took. F8, 1/2000, Auto ISO (@ ISO 6400).
IMG_5935.JPG
 
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K9Kirk

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I was trying to type that from my phone. That should have read, 1200-2000. You get the idea. As @zulu42 pointed out, it depends on the bird and situation. They say you should have the shutter 2 times the focal length of the lens. So I'm usually somewhere in there for BIF. Lower for stationary birds. It's been said that the VC should be off when over 1000. Forget sometimes and it doesn't seem to make a difference. But, I'm also hand holding it. Everything I've read says it's more of an issue when stabilizing it. Like on a tripod or monopod. Play around with it.

I also have this lens and have been shooting with it almost daily for the last 4 months. Here's what I've learned. No, it's not a 600mm f4 prime. Lol. But.....with practice, you can get some damn nice photos.

ISO: A well known member suggested auto. So that's where I set it. Let the camera figure that out. At least, at first. Once you figure out the other stuff, then change it. I can now.

Metering: That same member suggested "spot metering". That's where it stays.

Aperture: Wide open it's not very sharp. f10 seems to be the sweet spot at 600mm. At least for me. You can try higher, but it really depends on the light.

AF Points: I've had no luck with multiple auto focus points. The camera will choose what it wants. When shooting a great blue heron, (a long bird) it may choose the legs. The face will surely be out of focus. Single point auto focus puts you in control. But, it comes with a price. You have to put that point on the bird. Before or after it, that's on you, not the lens or camera.

Practice...practice...practice.

I use a monopod and I may've had my VC turned on for some pics but I remember thinking about that at some point and turned it off. I'm going to try the single point AF, I've always used it in the past and had better luck with it, even with moving subjects. Probably because I follow them well enough it focuses quick and that's all I need for a second or two. Thanks for your input!
 
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K9Kirk

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Question now is, do I get a new camera and if so which would be the next step up in models that would tame this crazy lens?
 

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In response to the question of buying a new camera...YES!! Nothing beats new toys!

But, more seriously, if you well and truly feel held back by your equipment, that is the time to upgrade.
 
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In response to the question of buying a new camera...YES!! Nothing beats new toys!

But, more seriously, if you well and truly feel held back by your equipment, that is the time to upgrade.

Agreed and what's disappointing is my new equipment was suppose to make things better. With my truck and motorcycle in my "amazon garage", when shopping for parts amazon will tell me if something fits or works with either. I wish it did that with cameras and lenses and told you more than whether it fits. If it said it may work a little wonky with my camera I might not've bought it.
 

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That's a tough one. There are just so many possible combinations of third-party lenses and different camera bodies.

And on top of all that the firmware in the particular camera or lens may change throughout the lifetime of either. Minor firmware changes can cause huge problems. So what used to work may not with a later edition or the opposite could also happen.

I recently bought a Tamron 300 f/2.8 and a 2x tele-converter and I'll be honest and say that I didn't really give any thought to weather the combination would work well or not with my cameras. Fortunately it all seems fine.

But perhaps yours is a lesson we all could learn from? I know hindsight is 20-20 but I suspect doing some searching on the web about compatibility issues with that camera body/lens combo may have turned up something.
 
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K9Kirk

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Hmm, maybe your T6 aint't keeping up with the lens ?
This is @coastalconn with a different camera ... video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3Zdpzze_fk

After reading a number of the posts in that video I get the impression that the lens works better with Nikon cameras than Canon. I'm seriously considering just returning it and use the money towards a good Canon 100-400. If I buy a new Canon camera it may act the same way, still. UGH! :boggled:
 

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Or you could buy the D3 that I want to sell.....
 

coastalconn

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Question now is, do I get a new camera and if so which would be the next step up in models that would tame this crazy lens?
Conventional wisdom always says lens first, however if you want to get serious about wildlife the 150-600 G1 is perfectly capable to learn and grow with. The T6 will seriously hold you back with FPS and AF system. If you are on a super tight budget, consider the original 7D. They can be had for peanuts and by the time you are really ready to upgrade there may be another, better model than the 7dm2. The year I shot Canon did not go well for me and the only camera that I really liked was the 1D4. It was in-between full frame and crop frame, very fast with a good buffer and I preferred the AF over the 7dm2. But they are all getting long in the tooth at this point. But I really can't say how important the camera actually is in BIF photography.
 
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Question now is, do I get a new camera and if so which would be the next step up in models that would tame this crazy lens?
Conventional wisdom always says lens first, however if you want to get serious about wildlife the 150-600 G1 is perfectly capable to learn and grow with. The T6 will seriously hold you back with FPS and AF system. If you are on a super tight budget, consider the original 7D. They can be had for peanuts and by the time you are really ready to upgrade there may be another, better model than the 7dm2. The year I shot Canon did not go well for me and the only camera that I really liked was the 1D4. It was in-between full frame and crop frame, very fast with a good buffer and I preferred the AF over the 7dm2. But they are all getting long in the tooth at this point. But I really can't say how important the camera actually is in BIF photography.

Agreed! I just got finished with some reading about how none of the cameras in the Canon Rebel line (mine) have AF micro adjustment and that their AF detection system is not designed for such large zooms. It's no wonder my camera has the trouble it does focusing. Well, it's not totally bad, it has and does take some decent pictures and not all cameras take the best pics every time so with that in mind I'll probably keep using it until either the price on the D7 Mark II comes down some or I get fed up with too many out of focus shots and say to hell with it, whichever comes first, ha! Thanks for your input, much appreciated!
 

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Yeah, K9, you're posting some great shots with that combo. If you learn and practice to get the best possible out of what you have now, that knowledge will only help when you do upgrade.
I shoot the 150-600G2 on a D800 and struggle to get it sharp. Some days I can fill my card with sharp images, and the next day no luck. I spent an hour up on a boom lift last week shooting baby hawks in their nest. Came home with a couple hundred blurry images. No keepers. Not even sure why. But the thrill is in the hunt, too.
 

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