I’m a Sony shooter and I’ve struggled to find the best super-telephoto for wildlife, landscape, and sports photography. I’ve come to the conclusion that super-telephoto lenses are best for sports and wildlife and standard telephoto lenses (70-200mm) are best for close-up sports and travel photography.
In other words, I’m only bringing that 200-600mm lens with me if I have a tripod, monopod, or only walking a short distance. For everything else, I’m packing the new lighter 70-200mm gm ii with a 2x extender. Read why here.
Reasons to buy Tamron
In Dustin Abbott’s review he lists the following reasons why you might choose one lens over another.
- 40% shorter in length
- More portable
- Better constructed switches
- Common front filter thread (82mm)
- Slightly lighter
- Arca Swiss compatible tripod foot
- Removable collar
- Closer minimum focus distance
- $600 cheaper
Click here to read Dustin’s full review on the Tamron 150-500.
Reasons to buy Sony
- Better Autofocus
- Slightly sharper
- Works with Sony teleconverters (840-1200mm)
- Internally zooming
- Better weather sealing
- Shorter zoom reach
- Higher zoom range
- Higher burst rate (fps) with Sony A1
Durability and Build
The Tamron 150-200 is much shorter than the Sony 200-600, but it’s actually similar in weight to the Sony 200-600.
The Tamron is 14 ounces (215 grams) lighter than the Sony at 60.8 ounces vs 74.4.
The Tamron is about 4 inches (40%) shorter than the Sony making the most portable of the two lenses.
- Sony 200-600 12.52 inches
- Tamron 150-500 8.3 inches
The Tamron 150-500 has great IBIS for photography and is better than many other Tamron lenses. However, for handheld video, it has some issues with panning and doesn’t pan as well as the Sony lens.
Sony doesn’t just have an extra 100mm of reach, but it offers the ability to add extenders. For an extra $500 Sony teleconverters add 1.4x or 2x to your zoom. Even if you don’t use extenders, it’s a nice option to have if you change your mind later.
In general, the Sony 200-600 is slightly sharper than the Tamron 150-500, but it’s only noticeable if you’re really zooming in to notice those fine details.
Autofocus with the A1 vs A9ii
How well does the Sony A1 compare to the A9ii for autofocus?
In general, the A1 has slightly faster and better autofocus than the A9ii.
In his video Jan Wegener shares his review using both the tamron 150-500 and Sony 200-600 using the A1 and A9ii. In short, he explains that both lenses perform exceptionally well, but the Sony 200-600 actually performed a little better.
It’s interesting to note that the A1 actually had better autofocus with the Tamron 150-500 when the same lenses was used with the A9ii.
If you want the best image quality, autofocus, durability, and most reach in a lens, go for the Sony 200-600. But also expect to pay a little more, and plan for the added bulk and weight to your camera bag.
If you’re on a budget or just prefer a smaller lens, go for the Tamron. It will give you images close in sharpness, reach, and extra space in your bag.
The choice here is not clear, because both lenses are not perfect. With the Sony you’ll sacrifice price and bulk. With the Tamron you’ll sacrifice reach and sightly worse image quality.
If you carry gear a lot, or don’t like being in public with a large lens, stick with the Tamron. But if you don’t mind standing out in public, and need the best performance possible, go with the Sony.
Which lens will I get?
Personally, I prefer the sony. It’s a great lens, and if I’m going to carry something large I’d rather pay a little more for the best lens. The Sony 200-600 is a superb lens, and when I don’t need 600mm, I’ll take my 70-200 with a teleconverter.
Read my review on the comparison between the new Sony 70-200 GM ii vs 100-400 GM. It may tempt you to get a teleconverter.