I'm looking to pick up one of these two for travel on my D7000's - I don't have much telephoto-wise other than my trusty Tokina 50-135 2.8 which satisfies my high-end portrait and event needs. Owned the Nikon once, but sold it to a friend. Very good at 70-200, OK beyond that - I have read that the Tamron is better at the long end; VR is about equal. My favorite tele uses are trains, larger BIFs, and the occasional scenic extraction per George Lepp. Any input is welcome. Thanks, Ron
I've owned them both, but not at the same time so never could do a side-by-side comparison. I currently have the Tamron.
As far as I am concerned there is little or no difference between the two, at least in terms of performance or IQ.
If it makes any difference to you:
The Nikon takes 67mm filters and the Tamron 62mm.
The Tamron is about 25% lower in price than the Nikon, new or used.
The Nikon is recognized by recent Nikon camera's Auto Distortion Correct and the same feature built into Nikon post processing software. Although neither lens, in my opinion, has much of a problem with distortion.
I owned the 70-300 VR for a while, but I have never used the Tamron version.
Looking at the analysis numbers on photozone.de seems to back up what the general forum opinion is on the two -- the Tamron is a hair sharper in general, but overall the two lenses are practically identical.
I have the nikon and traded it with a friend for the tamron for a few weeks. I would say if you didn't like the nikon, you are not going to like the tamron. I think they are both great lens for the $. That's assuming you had the nikon VR version. I have never used the none vr, but if I remember right its completely different and inferior lens. I would say the nikon 300 f4 is the best budget lens at 300, but still about double the price. IQ wise neither of the other lens will come close to the 300 f4
I had both at one point, don't really have any comparison photos to share. From a handling perspective, the Tamron had fewer switches to handle, and could internally switch to Active/Normal without user intervention. To me that was great, because most of us have lost a good photo at some point to switchology errors. Optically they are close enough.
I certainly can make a comparison as I recently owned the Tamron 70-300mm VC and only sold it two weeks ago after the V1 FT-1 firmware update it would no longer work. I bought the Nikon 70-300 VR (again, I've already had 3!).
I have to say that I found that the Tamron focused quicker, but IQ was equal to the Nikon. It's a very, very good lens and would certainly recommend it.