TAMRON 150-500mm F5-6.7 (Model A057) for Sony E-mount x wildlife by Shannon Wild
Cheetah are fast, but being cats also means they like to spend a lot of time resting. Especially to pass time during the heat of the day in South Africa, where I’m on a photoshoot tracking seven individuals. A mother and her very rambunctious 20 month old female cub and a family of five, a mother and her four offspring (three males and one female) who’ve reached the age where they are starting to find their own way in life and test their independence.
As a wildlife photographer I’m constantly on the move, whether between continents or simply shifting position for just the right angle. This means having the lightweight Model A057 zoom lens is essential for me! Paired with the mirrorless Sony makes for an incredibly versatile combination that is ideal for wildlife, travel and general shooting when a mix of focus lengths is needed at the twist of a barrel.
The versatility I need in a lens fulfills not only a technical need for me, but a creative one as well. I want the flexibility of capturing as many compositions of a scene as possible and working with wildlife, and especially cheetah, means these encounters can be fleeting. I need equipment that can work with my dynamic style of shooting while quickly adapting to the action unfolding in front of me like a tight detail shot of a facial expression zoomed out to 500mm and back to a more environmental scene as storm clouds roll in where I can pull back out to 150mm.
The 20 month old female was full of energy and playfulness but also rarely far from her mother. I cherish every moment I got to spend with these two beauties and being able to witness their bond is one of the many privileges I get to experience in this line of work.
Another consideration for me when it comes to equipment is portability. The weight of my lens is an incredibly important factor, especially because of significant nerve damage I have in my dominant shooting arm, caused by a cheetah no less, many years ago. Thankfully, this sturdy, well built lens is lightweight and handheld shooting, my preference, was not an issue.
It’s sharp, clear and the auto-focus is fantastic and thanks to the VC (Vibration Compensation) I enjoyed the freedom of handheld shooting even as the sun disappeared and I continued to capture these beautiful cats in all their glory.
Without it I certainly would not have been able to capture the stunning scene of the cheetah in front of a rainbow as the light around us faded under the cover of rain clouds.
A fleeting moment captured thanks to this lens’ versatility, quality and vibration stabilization capabilities.
Shannon is an Australian now based in South Africa and working wherever the wildlife calls. She is a passionate wildlife lover and conservationist. Since 2004, she has worked as a wildlife photographer and cinematographer for clients such as National Geographic, NatGeo Wild, WildAid, United Nations as well as various wildlife NGO's and non-profits. Shannon is most active on Instagram (@Shannon__Wild), where she posts daily and includes photo tips, camera settings and behind the scenes.
Lens Featured in this Impression
150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD a057(Model )
The 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD (Model A057) is compact enough to be handheld while maintaining a focal length of 500mm on the telephoto end. It allows users to easily enjoy the world of the 500mm ultra-telephoto lens while maintaining its high image quality. The high-speed, high-precision AF with excellent tracking performance and the VC mechanism support handheld shooting in the ultra-telephoto range.