Nikon 70-300 VR vs Tamron 70-300 VC - Which one?

Started May 14, 2011 | Discussions
jumpingjack
Regular MemberPosts: 444
Like?
Nikon 70-300 VR vs Tamron 70-300 VC - Which one?
May 14, 2011

Here is the last post from another thread which can be found here.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1030&message=38411199

I have now tested both the replacement Nikon 70-300 VR and the Tamron 70-300 VC side by side.

One thing clear to me is that the new Nikon is a vast improvement on the one I returned and I have not changed my technique or attended any courses in the last 2 days!

The two lenses seem very good and being perfectly honest I'd probably be happy with either but they do seem to have their differences. I would say the VC within the Tamron is more advanced than the the VR in the Nikon and the output from the Tamron is more consistent. When looking through the VF the VR seems to do its job in a nice quiet subtle way and you can see the image gently stabilising. With the Tamron there is a definitive "click" when the VC kicks in and through the VF the framed image just goes from a wobble to perfectly still.

If I take 10 pictures using the Tamron at around 240-300mm on either single frame or burst then I get 10 consistently good images.

If I do the same thing with the Nikon then I get roughly 6 with motion blur, 3 that are good and 1 that is really good. The 1 that is really good is to my eye, at 100% crop, better/sharper than the 10 consistent images from the Tamron.

So that for me is the trade off. The 1 image shows that this lens is capable of producing what I want and it is a new lens to me with a new focal length so I presume with practice and patience I would improve this ratio. Again if I am honest and it is just a personal opinion I slightly prefer the colouring from the Tamron but this is nit picking and once I do get involved with PP will become less relevant. Both lenses are extremely good.

This thread is becoming a bit on the long side so for anyone interested I will create a new one with some of my samples. From those more expert than me I would appreciate opinions on the comparisons I will post between the two lenses. I will be keeping one of them and I'd be happy with either it would just be good to read the opinions of others after viewing the samples.

The settings on my dog were a little different and they were taken around 15 minutes apart when it had become more overcast than it already was previously.

Which photo has been taken with which lens can be seen in the file name of each photo "Tam" or Nik"

Mako2011
Forum ProPosts: 16,035
Like?
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Tamron 70-300 VC - Which one?
In reply to jumpingjack, May 14, 2011

jumpingjack wrote:

The two lenses seem very good and being perfectly honest I'd probably be happy with either but they do seem to have their differences. I would say the VC within the Tamron is more advanced than the the VR in the Nikon and the output from the Tamron is more consistent. When looking through the VF the VR seems to do its job in a nice quiet subtle way and you can see the image gently stabilising. With the Tamron there is a definitive "click" when the VC kicks in and through the VF the framed image just goes from a wobble to perfectly still.

Remember, the "stabilizing" effect you see in the view finder (at least with the Nikon) has nothing to do with how VR affects the final image (two different modes) Good luck in choosing.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
A. Westreich
Senior MemberPosts: 1,195Gear list
Like?
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Tamron 70-300 VC - Which one?
In reply to jumpingjack, May 14, 2011

See the navel, do you?
(For those of you new to this thread, this refers to an earlier post to the OP).

I'm really not being facetious. I believe that you believe that you see real differences in these lenses. And I think that you should select whichever lens you like the best - both have good reputations. But if you think that casual shooting in variable light means anything in terms of a comparison, then . . . well, there's that navel.

 A. Westreich's gear list:A. Westreich's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm F2.8 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
stevegep
Regular MemberPosts: 109
Like?
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Tamron 70-300 VC - Which one?
In reply to jumpingjack, May 14, 2011

I was in the same boat. I looked at roughly 2000 pictures on flickr, researched 100's of reviews (professional and user reviews), and also opinions on several forums.

I would recommend you search this site for "70-300 VC". That seems to be the best way to research opinions on this issue.

The two lenses are very close in quality, but different. There is definitely sample variation in both lenses, based on my research. This would account for the differences in professional reviews--some like the Nikon more; others prefer the Tamron.

Personally, I liked the 70-300 VR best, because it had a little more pleasing color. Other differences are close, and depend on personal taste. Remember the sample variations--that's why you need to see lots of sample pictures.

To me, the differences were not enough to justify the almost $200 price gap.

You can buy the Nikon used for just under $400, but I was able to buy the Tamron from a local store, brand new, with a 30-day return policy and a six year warranty, for $400 after the rebate. A brand-new Nikon was $589 three weeks ago.

In the end, I bought the Tamron 70-300 VC, and used the money I saved to buy the Nikon 35mm f1.8. (open box at Best Buy for $190).

I am very pleased with my Tamron. No underexposure, as some have reported, and it's very sharp.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Brev00
Senior MemberPosts: 5,885Gear list
Like?
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Tamron 70-300 VC - Which one?
In reply to jumpingjack, May 14, 2011

If only this Nikon performed like your last, the choice would be much easier. It is amazing how much better the dog shot is here than in your other thread. Now that you know you are in good hands with either lens, you can make your choice and start to shoot thinking about subject, composition, and light and not about the lens itself. By the way, i read another comparison of the two lenses which came to the same conclusion: the vr gets better quality shots but sporadically while the vc is more consistent in getting good shots. My impression was that this was a conclusion about the nature of the two stabilization systems and not something that would necessarily get better with user practice.
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brev00

 Brev00's gear list:Brev00's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 DX II Tamron AF 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jumpingjack
Regular MemberPosts: 444
Like?
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Tamron 70-300 VC - Which one?
In reply to Brev00, May 14, 2011

Brev00 wrote:

If only this Nikon performed like your last, the choice would be much easier. It is amazing how much better the dog shot is here than in your other thread. Now that you know you are in good hands with either lens, you can make your choice and start to shoot thinking about subject, composition, and light and not about the lens itself. By the way, i read another comparison of the two lenses which came to the same conclusion: the vr gets better quality shots but sporadically while the vc is more consistent in getting good shots. My impression was that this was a conclusion about the nature of the two stabilization systems and not something that would necessarily get better with user practice.
--

Thank you. Finally someone on my wave length. The difference is so minimal and we are talking about an image shot at 300m and then cropped to 100%. I knew it wasn't my technique. Yes technique can improve, of course it can and I'm sure it will with practice. Just like my composition skills and pp skills will as I become more involved but not being able to get one single sharp image out of the first Nikon lens no matter what the exposure settings was not down to my technique. I'm leaning towards the Tamron.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Eshwar Andhavarapu
Junior MemberPosts: 44
Like?
Re: Nikon 70-300 VR vs Tamron 70-300 VC - Which one?
In reply to jumpingjack, May 14, 2011

Glad you took the pics with the Nikon D5100. Looking at getting one, but came across the thread when looking for lens suggestions. So from waht i see, awesome!!

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Petruska
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,766
Like?
Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to jumpingjack, May 14, 2011

especially the BA text photo, the Nik has slightly better contrast and saturation.

Like you say it's a toss-up, which one feels better to you....

You really should test both lenses with LiveView, in tripod mode, on a tripod, remote release.

Then compare identical photos.

Bob P.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mako2011
Forum ProPosts: 16,035
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to Petruska, May 14, 2011

Petruska wrote:

You really should test both lenses with LiveView, in tripod mode, on a tripod, remote release.

Then compare identical photos.

Bob P.

+1 Always good to test in the best way possible before laying down the green. That would take more of the operator out of the equation and leave the lens to fend for themselves.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jumpingjack
Regular MemberPosts: 444
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to Mako2011, May 14, 2011

That would be just one aspect of the test. I wanted to test the sharpness together with vc and vr handheld as that will emulate more how I will be shooting. If I wanted to use a tripod I would be buying a different lens at a different price point.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mako2011
Forum ProPosts: 16,035
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to jumpingjack, May 14, 2011

jumpingjack wrote:

That would be just one aspect of the test. I wanted to test the sharpness together with vc and vr handheld as that will emulate more how I will be shooting. If I wanted to use a tripod I would be buying a different lens at a different price point.

Your test is testing how well VC/VR stabilizes the viewfinder. To test how well VR/VC does with the image, set shutter to 1/15 and shoot a static subject with VR/VC on. To test the lens sharpness set the thing on a solid surface and use LV at different focal lengths and apertures. Pay attention to corner sharpness also. A brick wall makes the best subject for this kind of test. What is the point of VR/VC if the lens is soft as VR/VC will not improve that. Good Luck

Hand held

And this with it sitting on a solid surface.

Then try it with the other lens.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jumpingjack
Regular MemberPosts: 444
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to Mako2011, May 14, 2011

Good points thanks I hadn't really considered trying very slow shutter speeds but I will.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Mako2011
Forum ProPosts: 16,035
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to jumpingjack, May 14, 2011

jumpingjack wrote:

Good points thanks I hadn't really considered trying very slow shutter speeds but I will.

Yes very good. In your examples, the lowest you tried was 1/200s. Someone with very good hand held techniques (not average) could do well there without VR or VC at those focal lengths, IMO. Try again on an unmoving subject at 1/60s at those same long focal lengths. I would also suggest getting a base to compare sharpness by setting the camera on a solid object VR/VC off and timer at the same apertures you plan to use hand held with both lens. It is not every day one has the opportunity to put two lens through their paces and give us a good comparison. Please don't rob us of that opportunity Good luck to you.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jumpingjack
Regular MemberPosts: 444
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to Mako2011, May 14, 2011

I will do and will post the results. I don't have a shutter release cable so I will use the timer when vc/vr are off.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
astwood1285
Senior MemberPosts: 1,115
Like?
Note on VC versus VR
In reply to jumpingjack, May 15, 2011

I was able to test a Tamron 70 - 300VC against a Nikon 70 - 300VR at a vintage sports car shoot. I noticed that the Tamron VC was distinctly noisy on activation and deactivation. Additionally when panning the Tamron would do nothing then shift the image in the viewfinder quite some way a second or so after the pan began. The shift would be in the direction of the pan. I didn't notice that one form of VC or VR was better than an other both seemed very capable.

The noise and the big shift of the image would point me to the Nikon which is just as well as the Nikon I used was already mine and I was testing the Tamron for a colleague. If you don't do a lot of panning then this might not be an issue for you.

Optically I found both lenses to be very similar at the focal lengths used. My preference would be to go for the Nikon but issues pointed out earlier aside I can't see any reason not to buy the Tamron either.

With the Tamron at 1/60th

-- hide signature --

albion

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Petruska
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,766
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to jumpingjack, May 15, 2011

jumpingjack wrote:

That would be just one aspect of the test. I wanted to test the sharpness together with vc and vr handheld as that will emulate more how I will be shooting. If I wanted to use a tripod I would be buying a different lens at a different price point.

Agree with what you say above, but if you evaluated both lenses for the best possible sharpness first using LiveView, and one lens was sharper than the other, you will spend more time with the sharper lens evaluating the VR/VC and your shooting techniques to make that lens works for you before you purchase.

I own the Nikon 70-300 VR along with 16 other Nikon lenses, including the 70-200 VR2, 24-70, 16-35 VR and the 300 F4 and that 70-300 VR lens is very good when you get a good copy.

Bob P.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jumpingjack
Regular MemberPosts: 444
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to Petruska, May 15, 2011

Apart from it's lowlight capability how do you find the IQ of the 70-200 compared to the 70-300?

Is the 70-200 a pure tripod only lens due to it's size and weight?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dwa1
Senior MemberPosts: 2,479
Like?
Consider service on the lens too.
In reply to jumpingjack, May 15, 2011

If you feel that the two lenses are about equal and the $$ is not a major issue, then it may come down to where you plan to get the lens serviced - calibration, etc. If you are shooting with Nikon bodies, then you may want to deal with just one vendor. For Nikon gear, I prefer APS in Chicago - they used to be part of Nikon service. Nikon sends some of their overflow there. Nikon Mellville, NY is also very good. It's just much easier for me to deal directly with the manager (David) at APS.

I also have one Tamron lens - 90mm Macro. I've had good results from their NY-based service dept.

I am currently in the midst of my first Sigma lens service, so I have no first hand knowledge yet. I went with the Sigma 150 2.8 Macro mainly because Nikon doesn't make a 150 Macro and the Sgma 150 was highly rated by many on dpreview and other forums.

I have the Nikon 70-300 VR-II. It's my favorite and most-used lens. IMHO, it's one of Nikon's best values in a wide range zoom with VR-II.

Tripod? - For me (so far) it's only been used for testing lenses for front focusing / back focusing issues. Just in case you're interested, here's a link to Tim Jackson's test chart site...
http://focustestchart.com/chart.html

I hope that you are confident and content with your decision. Good shooting.

Wayne

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
lanef
Forum ProPosts: 10,317
Like?
Re: Nikon sharper to me...
In reply to Petruska, May 15, 2011

Here are so many examples of the ability of the Nikon 70-300

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=Photos+from+Nikon+70-300VR&m=text

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
shigzeo
Senior MemberPosts: 1,347Gear list
Like?
Re: Consider service on the lens too.
In reply to dwa1, May 15, 2011

I owned the 70-300 VR and have used the 70-300 VC. The former I sold, the latter I'd never bother with. Both are fine and each has usable IS, but the Tamron is hard to use next to the Nikon and ginds when zoomed out much more. There are savings to be had with it, but in my opinion, they aren't worth it.

I didn't like the speed of the 70-300 VR and eventually sold it to fund a prime that I used all the time, the 50 1,2. If you really really really need a zoom of that length, neither are bad purchases, but you'll probably always look over your shoulder wondering what is better.
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shigzeo/
Advice/criticism/appreciation appreciated!

 shigzeo's gear list:shigzeo's gear list
Nikon D200 Fujifilm X-Pro1 Nikon D800 Sony Alpha 7R Fujifilm X-T1 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads