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Comparing the Nikon 18-300 to the Tamron 18-270

mklass

Tacoma, US
7421 posts

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mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Fri 31-Aug-12 11:08 AM | edited Sat 01-Sep-12 02:43 PM by mklass

I recently had to send my Tamron 18-270 VC PZD in for service, so while it was gone I rented the Nikon 18-300. I always have liked superzooms for a light, walkaround lens, and am looking for the optimal combination of IQ, focal length range and weight. Since I've decided on a DX format for my walkaround kit, there are many options. For years I relied on the Nikon 18-200, but longer focal length is important to me.

When the Tamron came back (fixed under warranty and seeming much better) I had a chance to take some comparison shots before sending the Nikon back.

Nikon 18-300 50mm @ f/8

Click on image to view larger version


Tamron 18-270 50mm @ f/8
Click on image to view larger version


The images were shot with a D7000 with the following parameters:
JPG small, fine
ISO 200
Aperture Priority
Matrix Metering,
Single AF
Center Focus Point
Standard Picture Control
Delayed Shutter Release
Tripod Mounted
VR Off
Remote Cable Release

The images were shot at specific focal lengths (18, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135, 200, 250, 270, and for the Nikon 300mm. For each FL, I shot at the maximum aperture, then at each whole f-stop up to f/22. The main purpose was to get some idea of sharpness. You will notice some change in lighting between the 2 lenses, which may be due to changing cloud cover as much as actual differences in the len's color rendition.( I shot all of the Nikon's shots, then all of the Tamron's.)

2 other caveats:
1- after getting home and loading the images, I realized the I shot with the D7000's auto distortion control on. Since this recognizes the Nikon lens but not the Tamron, you will notice a difference in the shots, especially at the edges. If you enlarge to the center, you won't see much difference.
2 - Due to the zoom control, I could not get the Tamron to zoom exactly to 24mm or 135mm. It would do 22 or 26 and 130 or 140, respectively. So I shot at 26 and 140. Similarly, the Nikon would not report 85 mm, but rather 82 or 86. I used 86. The files, however, are named 24 and 85 so as to make selecting the closest comparison shots easier. Look at the exif data if you want.

You can find the test images here: https://images.nikonians.org/galleries/showgallery.php?cat=22914 Feel free to download them if you want to play with them on your computer. None of them count as art!

A few other points. The Nikon is a much bigger, heavier lens. Is it worth the extra weight for 30mm, 1/3 of a stop maximum aperture and for an extra $350? I haven't decided yet.
Click on image to view larger version


Both of these lenses lose their fast apertures pretty quick. The Nikon is at f/4 by 25mm, f/4.5 by 34mm, f/5 at 40mm and f/5.6 at 68mm. The Tamron is not much different: f/4 at 25mm, f/4.5 at 35mm, f/5 at 50mm, f/5.6 at 70mm and f/6.3 at 170mm

I have drawn some conclusions about the relative sharpness of these lenses, but before I reveal those, I'd love to get your opinions

For those of you considering a DX superzoom, I hope you find this useful.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
Visit my nikonians gallery

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