Nikon v Tamron


TPF Noob!
Jan 8, 2012
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Hi guys need some advice.I'm looking at getting some new glass.want 70-200 how much better is the nikon version compared to the Tamron. Obviously the nikon is better because it costs do more just wondered if any one has used them both and could give me some advice.
I have the Nikon version and know nothing about the Tamron. Let's just say that not too many have traded their Nikon 70-200 for any one else's.

The decision to purchase a 3-rd party lens is for the most part an economic one. Only in a few instances do the 3-rd party offerings surpass the quality of the major brands.

Realistically, if someone here has owned both it is very likely that they migrated to the Nikon after having owned the Tamron. That person is not likely to come on here and tell you they made a horrible mistake. Of course they will extoll the qualities of the Nikon.

Both versions of the Nikon 70-200, VR1 and VR2, are exceptional lenses. If money is tight, when is it not these days, you could get the 80-200 new for about $1100 or second hand for a bit less. Even the older push-pull 80-200 f/2.8 is an optical gem.
When I lived in Cali, our local camera shop had a Tamron sponsored photo trip. Tamron supplied lenses and a discount if we bought that day. I took the 70-200 for a test drive. I found it to be slow and not as sharp. The price was appealing but I kept thinking of the voice in my head saying good glass lasts forever. I saved a little longer and got the Nikkor version.
The Nikon version is far better than the Tamron. The sharpness is better. The focus is much faster.
I have the tamron and while it's a great lens, there is most definitely a reason why it's only $799 when the Nikon is $2400.
The tamron is noticeably slow to focus. For portraits and weddings it's great. For sports it's OK, but you will feel the focus lag at times.
Another option is the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 and the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 OS (OS is Sigma's version of VR/IS, etc.)
The original version with no OS on it is also slower to focus, but it is faster than the tamron. It runs about the same as the Tamron or a little more.
The Sigma OS version is not a macro lens and has the HSM motor-very quick to focus. Very sharp lens. Plus it has the OS (VR.) It runs about $1400
I have the Sigma OS version. I shoot with a girl who has the non OS version. She does shoot some sports with it and she says once in a while she misses focus because of the slowness of it, but not too awful bad. Her images are beautiful.
I absolutely LOVE the OS version. Crisp, clean, clear and I have no problem with the speed of focus at all. It's quick and silent. LOVE it. I use it for probably 90% of everything.
When I was looking for a 70-200, I couldn't justify the price of the Nikon, so I compared these two. If you care about focus speed and build quality, The Sigma is a way better than the Tamron. I've played around with a Nikon 70-200 and I think the focus speed of the Sigma is close to it (not much slower as previously implied, mine's the non-os, it's still got the same HSM motor inside), though sometimes it hunts a little in tough contrast situations, but then, it's less than half the price. Not sure about the IQ difference, but I'm happy with my 70-200. Here's a couple shots I took with it yesterday.

"Almost..." by bhop, on Flickr

Face of a Meerkat by bhop, on Flickr
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There are some other options in that zoom focal length range, like the current 2-ring Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

and the older push-pull used versions of Nikon's 80-200 mm f/2.8 lenses. Nikon Autofocus 80-200 F2.8 D MACRO ED (77) WITH HOOD, CAPS, 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS -

Another option is the previous version of the 70-200 mm f/2.8 - Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

Those are definitely good options for quality, but the problem I had with the first two is the lack of internal focus motors. Sure most people might not need them, but if you want to shoot moving animals or sports (I shoot racing sometimes) then it makes it much easier. The old Nikon 70-200 is still $500+ more than the off-brands, even at used prices.
I had the sigma 70-200 non OS for 2 years. Just sold it, and doing so hurt, but I needed the money.

I can tell you that for the money, it's a GREAT lens. Go to Destin Danser Photography -- WNY Sports and Event Coverage -- and look through my sports photos. 95% of them were taken with it. The only ones that weren't are some of the basketball shots, and some of the motocross shots. All football, soccer, baseball, and swimming photos are from the sigma 70-200. The focus was quick and accurate most of the time. The AF hunts a bit in low light or low contrast situations, but not often, and it doesn't take long to catch focus when it does hunt.

If you can afford the Nikon one, then certainly go for it! But the sigma is a very good budget friendly alternative!
My screw drive auto focus camera bodies and AF lenses often focused faster than AF-S lenses that had a focus motor in them. I shot a lot of action sports over the years and for me it was never an issue either way.
Thanks for the feedback guys some really good points.

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