Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50

Started Dec 27, 2011 | Discussions
rskoncepts01
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Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
Dec 27, 2011

Trying to decide which to get for my d5100. Any opinions welcome.

Nikon D5100
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Alpha99
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 28, 2011

i have never had the 16-85 but recently got the 17-50 tamron for my 5100 after a lot of research and am v v impressed with it. I also have the new Nikon 24-120 f4 but was finding the 24 not wide enough especially for indoor shots with the 5100 so went for the 17-50 as i wanted a 2.8 lens. All my other lenses are Nikon (inc 70-200 and a few others) and can highly recommend the tammy 17-50 on the 5100. i got the vc version and am happy with it.

Hope that helps.

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rskoncepts01
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to Alpha99, Dec 28, 2011

Thanks for your experience. I'm pondering between the vc and non-vc version. Reviews seem to like the non-vc. Any issues you experienced with yours?

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flashpixx
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 28, 2011

I've had the 16-85 and loved it. The 85mm end is very useful, images are sharp and colours quite good. Where it is let down however, and the reason I don't have it and longer, is that it is slow. Constant f2.8 should never be underestimated, even though the Nikon has VR.
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D3s, AF-S VR Nikkor 500 f/4G ED, AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR1, AF-S Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 G IF- ED, TC-14EII, SB 700

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rskoncepts01
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to flashpixx, Dec 28, 2011

So true about the constant 2.8. Same reason I want to get the 35 1.8 also. Thanks for your input.

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Mannypr
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 28, 2011

There are lens which have been compared in some quarters favorable with the big boys . The Tamron 17-50 is one of them .Thom Hogan of Nikon fame said that the Tamron 17-50mm is comparable in optical quality to the Nikon 17-55mm and that my friends is saying alot .

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Alpha99
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 28, 2011

Vc version is working great for me. No complaints at all.

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David A. Hamments
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 28, 2011

I have both lenses, except my Tammy is the non VC version. I, like you, did heaps of research and bought the Tammy for its maximum 2.8 aperture and great reviews. I have not been disappointed. Where the Tamron betters the 16-85 is in the area of flare resistance. My Nikon flares very easily (which annoys me to no end). Of course the speed of the Tamron is excellent by comparison, but in overlapping focal lengths and apertures, the Nikon performs very well. I also like the extended range of the Nikon, as I often shoot between 50-85mm and of course, don't forget about the VR, which works extremely well. Therefore, I'm keeping both for their varying strengths. You won't be disappointed with either, but the Tammy is excellent value at less than half the price of the Nikon (here in Australia).

Cheers,
D. Hamments

http://www.picturesocial.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?screenName=0x0m7ojexcz1v

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matt_nnn
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to Mannypr, Dec 28, 2011

I think Thom recommends the Sigma 17-50 OS lens as well. I got it recently and I am very content with it. The optical stabilisation works very well.

I think it mainly depends on what you shot and what other lenses you use.

portraits & indoors -> 2.8 lens
landscape -> 16-85

I shoot landscapes and architecture as well but use the Tokina 12-24 for that purpose. Or a tele lens.

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Best regards,
Matt

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hoof
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 28, 2011

I have both the Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 VC and the Nikon 16-85mm.

When light is good, I use the Nikon. When light is not-so-good, I use the Tamron.

For me, stabilization is crucial, as most of my shots are of stuff that doesn't move, and the slow shutter speeds that VC yields far outweigh any IQ difference with the non-VC version.

My 17-50 is one of my sharpest lenses, and my collection includes several primes (35mm F/1.8G, Tamron 60mm F/2, Samyang 85mm F/1.4), and the Nikon 70-200 VRII. The two main issues are at 24mm the edges are a bit soft at longer shooting distances, and the VC takes a bit to kick in, meaning you have to half-depress the shutter, hold for a half-second or so, then shoot. If you jam the shutter button, the VC will actually degrade the image. It's a quirk of the earlier Tamron VC's, but it's easy to work around. As a photojournal-type lens, the Tamron is optimized for nearer shooting distances, at 24mm and 10ft, my copy is sharp to the edge, it's at infinity that the lens isn't as hot.

But when the light is good, and for distance shooting (e.g. Landscape), the Nikon is my choice, as it's more uniform across the frame (even if it's less sharp in the middle vs the Tamron), and it has a wider range.

If I were to suggest just one lens, I'd get the Nikon, despite the fact I feel the Tammy VC is superior when shooting indoors. That extra range is very important (to me), and the consistency and ability to shoot landscapes w/o fear of the edges being unsharp at infinite focus. For interior shooting, keep it at 24mm or wider, and the F/ ratio will be within a stop of the Tammy. I'd get the Tamron (or the Sigma 17-50 F/2.8 OS which performs nearly identically) only if landscape wasn't a priority and you shoot indoors/lowlight a lot, and are prepared to not jam the shutter button when shooting.

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rskoncepts01
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to hoof, Dec 28, 2011

Thanks to all for your insight and suggestions. I was looking at the 16-85 to get wider than the 18-55 but the reviews for the 17-50 were intrigueing. I average around the 30mm but liked the possibilty of the longer end with the 85. Hoof makes good argments for both...unfortunately.

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GlennW
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 28, 2011

rskoncepts01 wrote:

Thanks to all for your insight and suggestions. I was looking at the 16-85 to get wider than the 18-55 but the reviews for the 17-50 were intrigueing. I average around the 30mm but liked the possibilty of the longer end with the 85. Hoof makes good argments for both...unfortunately.

I just made this upgrade. What you get is a better build quality with metal mount. Shares the same 67mm filter as 70-300 VR. Front lens does not rotate with zoom. In the box you get a nice petal hood & lens bag & the usual lens caps. Shares the same 3.5-5.6 range. Give up .38m vs .28m close focus.

The lens was imported from Thailand so you may find it in short supply till Nikon can make more.

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zumbalak
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 29, 2011

Either of the Tamron versions, vc or non vc will provide better image quality than the Nikon, but of course you lose a bit of reach.

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Sir SnapaLot
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 30, 2011

Since you are comparing two good lenses, it might help to consider how this purchase will fit into a larger lens collection down the line.

If you go with the 16-85, you can then get the 70-300 VR which is a good lens for the price, and have that entire range (16 to 300) covered.

If you go with the 17-50, what would you get for a long reach lens (assuming that you will want one)?

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CriticalI
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 30, 2011

Tamron has quite bad field curvature at 17mm which means you are better off shooting at hyperfocal distance when shooting far of scenes, rather than infinity, as the corners will end up very soft. Otherwise a very good lens.

However, take a close look at the Sigma 17-70 OS as well. Its really very good and a good compromise between the two. Better range and VR than the Tammy but a stop faster than the Nikkor.

rskoncepts01 wrote:

Trying to decide which to get for my d5100. Any opinions welcome.

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Regards,
Steve

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hoof
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to CriticalI, Dec 30, 2011

CriticalI wrote:

Tamron has quite bad field curvature at 17mm which means you are better off shooting at hyperfocal distance when shooting far of scenes, rather than infinity, as the corners will end up very soft. Otherwise a very good lens.

Interesting. My Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 VC does not have this issue. If it exists (on my lens), it's minor.

Where are you getting your information, btw? And are you referring to the non-VC version or the VC version? If you're referring to the non-VC version, maybe this is one of the ways Tamron improved the 17-50 when they added VC?

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Wellington100
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Dec 30, 2011

I have never used the Tamron but I have the Nikon, its the perfect 1 lens solution for general use. My latest outing with it was last week:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1020&message=40174154

rskoncepts01 wrote:

Trying to decide which to get for my d5100. Any opinions welcome.

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S100, S6500, S5, F300, F200, F70, F11, F31 (deceased), Z5, V10, D40, EX1

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CriticalI
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to hoof, Dec 30, 2011

hoof wrote:

CriticalI wrote:

Tamron has quite bad field curvature at 17mm which means you are better off shooting at hyperfocal distance when shooting far of scenes, rather than infinity, as the corners will end up very soft. Otherwise a very good lens.

Interesting. My Tamron 17-50 F/2.8 VC does not have this issue. If it exists (on my lens), it's minor.

Where are you getting your information, btw? And are you referring to the non-VC version or the VC version? If you're referring to the non-VC version, maybe this is one of the ways Tamron improved the 17-50 when they added VC?

You may be right, I have not tried the VC version.
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Regards,
Steve

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jonikon
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to rskoncepts01, Jan 4, 2012

rskoncepts01 wrote:

Trying to decide which to get for my d5100. Any opinions welcome.

I do not own the Nikon 16-85, but it tests well and gets excellent reviews from owners. From what I have seen, the Nikon 16-85 is sharper at the wide end than the Tamron. I do own the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (non VC version), and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it is quite sharp at f2.8 and 50mm from center to the edges, but it is soft at the extreme edges at 17mm unless stopped down and never gets really sharp there. Here are some of my misgivings about the Tamron lens.

  • Soft edges at the wide end.

  • Bokeh is not very good, and this is one of the very reasons to have a fast zoom lens.

  • Micro-contrast is lacking.

  • Colors are not a vibrant as with my Tokina lenses. Possibly a color cast.

  • No HSM motor. Uses a micro motor instead.

If you shoot landscapes, I think the Nikon 16-85 would be a better choice.

As an aside, I also have a Tokina 16-50 f2.8 and although not as sharp wide open as the Tamron, I much prefer the bokeh and micro-contrast to the Tamron, not to mention the extra 1mm at the wide end. For these reasons, the Tokina has replaced the Tamron as my most often used lens.

Best regards,
Jon

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tyyreaun
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Re: Nikon 16-85 or Tamron 17-50
In reply to jonikon, Jan 5, 2012

As someone mentioned, the Tamron will be better for portraits, and the Nikon for landscapes. I agree with that.

I bought the Sigma 17-50 OS thinking the same thing most buyers are - that a fast stabilized wide-normal lens would be great indoors.

A few weeks in I ended up hating it. The problem was that while the center of the lens was damn sharp, the edges were much worse, even stopped down. I did some more research and found out that's a common problem with this lens class (17-50 fast zooms) due to the underlying optical geometry causing focal plane curvature that can't quite be corrected. I ended up renting the Tamron 17-50 VC and the Nikon 17-55 from a local camera shop, and they all had the same problem to various extents.

It's fine for portraits, when all you care about is center sharpness and bokeh. However, I found I hated the lens for anything where I needed sharpness even halfway to the edges. That includes not just landscapes but even where I had my subject off center (rule of thirds?).

Ended up renting the 16-85 to compare and it was much better. Wide open, the corners on the 16-85 were sharper than the Sigma stopped down to the same aperture. The center may have been a tad weaker (wide open 16-85 vs. stopped down 17-50) but the edge sharpness made all the difference. Ended up selling the Sigma and bough the 16-85 instead.

Of course, that's my take based on my preferences, and I may have had a bad copy of the Sigma to boot. If you want to take indoor shots of your friends or kids, the 17-50s should work. For a general walkaround lens, though, I'd strongly recommend the 16-85.

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