Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR VS Tamron AF 70-300mm?

Rocky89

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I am going on a trip to Australia, and I want to upgrade newer 300mm lens. At some point I'll upgrade to a 500mm lens, but money is tight right now, so I'll go with a 300mm lens. My two options are the Nikon AF-S 300mm, or the Tamron AF USD 300mm. I've read review after review, and I'd like to know what y'all think would be the better choice.

Thank you.


Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR: Amazon.ca: Electronics

Tamron AFA005NII-700 AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 SP Di VC USD XLD for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras: Amazon.ca: Electronics
 

goodguy

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Only few weeks ago I was in your shoes, I was wondering which lens to go for, the good people here recommended to go for the Nikon and I did that and I couldn't be happier.
The Nikon 70-300mm VR is one heck of a sharp lens.
I read the Tamron is also a good lens but the price difference was too small for me to justify buying the Tamron.
I bought mine used for 280$ in near mint condition.

Absolutely awesome lens!!!
 

CaptainNapalm

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According to your links, the Nikon is the same price as the Tamron, in which case get the Nikon. I have that lens and it's a good lens and the price for which you can get it for is decent.
 

Ogrefcf

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I was looking at the same lens a few weeks ago. I went with the Tamrom, but got it for $200 less than the Nikon. I agree with the others. If the Nikon is in the same price range get it. I've really enjoyed the Tamron though.
 

bart2

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Tamron is great for the money,silent motor and great IQ,cant beat the VC
 

clarnibass

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A while ago I was trying to make the same decision. I compared both lenses (I mean I was shooting with both, not just reading reviews, etc.), two Nikons and one Tamron. I bought the Tamron.

Here is my general comparison.

  • Sharpness is more or less the same up to 200mm, with maybe a fraction advantage to the Tamron.
  • From 200mm to 300mm both gradually reduce in sharpness.
  • From 200mm and especially at 300mm f/5.6 the Tamron is noticably sharper.
  • RAW from camera with no editing, the Nikon is slightly more vivid and contrasty, mostly up to 200mm. IMO they can be matched in PP with no problems at all.
  • Hard to be sure without disassembling the lenses or making real tests (e.g. dropping them, etc.) but the Nikon felt just very slightly better made (I'd say the difference was insignificant in practice and with a better test it could be the opposite).
  • The zoom and focus rings on both feel pretty good, much better than e.g. 28mm 1.8G (which costs more). The Tamron focus ring feels particularly good.
  • The Nikon AF is a little faster. Not by that much but it's noticable.
  • With the Nikon lens it felt more obvious the VR was working, while it was working. It felt a little weird at first but after a few minutes I got used to it (it didn't feel the same with the 24-85mm VR for example, though it might have to do with how I hold a longer lens).
  • The Tamron VC is louder when it is starting and stopping. There is louder more mechanical sound.
  • Both VR and VC take a short moment to start (from when you press to focus), about the same, or the VC might be a fraction slower.
  • The VC felt much better to me. I could simply take photos at significantly lower shutter speed at 300mm than I could with the Nikon. The VC really holds the frame in place vs. the VR which "floats" more solidly than without a stabiliser. You can see more shaking with the VR and the VC will tend to "jump" a bit more in the viewfinder when you change the frame.
  • The Nikon has more purple fringing, especially at 300mm.
  • The Nikon is about $100 more than the Tamron (local difference).
  • The Nikon has three years warranty, the Tamron has 1 year (local difference).
  • Bonus difference: The Nikon has a better front cap, the Tamron a better rear cap :)

Overall I chose the Tamron because of its better VC and sharpness, particularly at the long end where I'd use it most of the time. The slightly faster AF of the Nikon and the longer warrenty were the only things that made me consider it, but in the end they were far less significant to me. I'd buy the Tamron even if they cost the same, but the lower price was a bonus. Neither was available for a decent price used, but if it was it could influence my decision.
 

clarnibass

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One other thing. Some people tend to post the TDP comparison of the lenses to show how the Nikon is actually sharper than the Tamron at 300mm f/5.6. I don't how TDP got the Tamron to be so poor at 300mm f/5.6 but something is clearly wrong. Could be a bad copy or something wrong with their test (focus, etc.).

Here is a comparison of TDP and my lens. The top is from TDP, left is 200mm, right is 300mm. The bottom is my lens, left is 200mm, right is 300mm. All are at f/5.6. See the huge difference in TDP comparison, while there is only a small difference in my comparison. All examples are 100% crops. TDP shows the Tamron at 300mm f/5.6 is pretty soft. Mine, although a little softer than 200mm, is still sharp.

8712448397_641854bea5_o.jpg
 
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Rocky89

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One other thing. Some people tend to post the TDP comparison of the lenses to show how the Nikon is actually sharper than the Tamron at 300mm f/5.6. I don't how TDP got the Tamron to be so poor at 300mm f/5.6 but something is clearly wrong. Could be a bad copy or something wrong with their test (focus, etc.).

Here is a comparison of TDP and my lens. The top is from TDP, left is 200mm, right is 300mm. The bottom is my lens, left is 200mm, right is 300mm. All are at f/5.6. See the huge difference in TDP comparison, while there is only a small difference in my comparison. All examples are 100% crops. TDP shows the Tamron at 300mm f/5.6 is pretty soft. Mine, although a little softer than 200mm, is still sharp.

Thanks for the photos, but which side had which lens? :)
 
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clarnibass

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Thanks for the photos, but which side had which lens? :)
Sorry, I'll clarify.

This comparison is seperate from my comparison of the Nikon and Tamron lenses.
It shows only the Tamron and how this comparison (and others) that show it's not good (especially at 300mm) has some sort of problem, since it's significantly better than that.

All four samples are from the Tamron 70-300mm. The top samples are from TDP and the bottom samples are from my lens. 200mm on the left and 300mm on the right (all at f/5.6). It is impossible to make a lens better than what it is (editing aside), but there are several ways that a lens might seem worse in a test (focus problem, bad copy, etc.).
 

B52

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Here is a review on the nikon Nikon 70-300mm VR Review I quite enjoyed reading. I bought this lens only yesterday, and its premature to impart any meaningful review to you.
 

PaulWog

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I know I'm about 20 days out from this thread starting, but I'd have to say go for the Nikon. I spent at least 20 hours reading opinions between the two... and up until about the 18th hour of research (over the period of three or so weeks), I was convinced that the Tamron was the way to go. However, I finally compiled all the opinions, factual information, etc, and decided the Nikon was the way to go.

All the information is readily available with a quick google search.

The Nikon 70-300 VR is extremely sharp throughout 70-240mm approximately, and in the 240-300mm range it's still very sharp (not much of a difference). I've seen some reviews showing the Nikon being a lot softer on the 300mm end to the Tamron... at least my version is not soft in the least, and I'd say it's as sharp as any of the well-reviewed Tamrons at that 300mm focal length.

I'm very picky with things I get (I am on edge about my 16-85mm Nikon lens I just got), but the 70-300mm I'm extremely happy with... it does amazingly well. I was iffy about getting the lens (given the aperture limitation between f4.5 and f5.6), but it ends up doing the job especially well.
 

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