Nikon 18-200mm vs. Tamron 18-270mm

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by toms, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. I have decided to purchase a Nikon D90. I have also narrowed my lens choice to either the Tamron AF 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO or the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX.
    I understand the potential compromises involved in lenses with these types of focal ranges. However, I shoot mostly while traveling and don’t want to carry multiple lenses and don’t want to expose the sensor while changing them out. I shoot landscapes and print up to 13” x 19” on an Epson R2400. I do this mostly for my own enjoyment but occasionally do show and sell my work.
    Two review sites that people seem to respect have written the following:
    SLR Gear.com, comparing the 2 lenses writes: “The Tamron is noticeably sharper than the Nikon in the majority of focal length / aperture combinations, except at the telephoto end (200mm) where both lenses produce similarly average results.” While this is only one sentence of a more comprehensive review, this struck me a quite a remarkable statement. Can Tamron really claim to have outdone Nikon on this one?

    Dpreview.com writes “It [the Tamron] the stands up well in comparison to both the Nikon 18-200mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR and the Canon EF-S 18-200mm F3.5-5.6 IS; it's softer than the Nikon at wideangle and the Canon at telephoto, but beats both in that mid-range.”
    I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone that has an opinion on this subject.
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Personally I would not buy any AF lens that is slower than f5.6 in any part of its zoom range. Nikon's auto focus becomes unreliable when the lens is slower than f5.6.
    I have neither one of those lenses, but I have used the Nikon 18-200 briefly. While you certinaly don't expect great image quality from a 11x zoom, I think it is optically fine for a 11x zoom.
    Another issue with the Tamron is that it is almost just as expensive as the Canon and Nikon equivalents. However, the Tamron's value is unlikely to hold up in the used market as well as camera brand lenses. Typically one buys 3rd-party lenses mainly because they are much cheaper up front.
     
  3. Can Tamron really claim to have outdone Nikon on this one?​
    Why not? They make some excellent lenses.
    There's nothing magical about that Nikon (or Canon) superzoom you know. ;)
    Do you think you're going to need the extra 70mm? It's like 300mm vs 400mm difference.
    It's true that Nikon is more desirable in the used market but do you want to choose a lens based on that?
     
  4. Shun's observation about AF lenses slower than f5.6 not focusing reliably is a major point IMO. F6.3 is too slow.
    I always factor in how much a lens will be worth down the road because eventually I'll probably want to sell it.
     
  5. I have been using the Tamron 18-270 for about four months but on a D300 instead of a D90 and so far I have been pretty pleased with it. My only complaint with the lens is that when zooming from wide angle to tele it is stiff when crossing the mid-range. It bothered me some initially but now I've gotten used to it and seldom notice it. I have also noticed some CA at the 270 end but it seems to go away as you stop down past f8.
    As for 6.3 vs 5.6 and the ability of either to autofocus in dim light situations I guess I just haven't noticed the half f-stop making that much difference. For years I shot with a D100 using a Tamron 28-300 which was 6.3 on the tele end and the only times it had trouble seeking focus was in very dim near-dusk light. In those cases I switched to manual and focused the best I could manually. I've had the same problem with seeking in very low light situations with my Nikon 7-300 kit lens which is 5.6 at the tele end.
    For me the decision would be if I shot more wide and less tele then I might go for the Nikon and if I planned on selling the lens in the next couple years I would probably opt for the Nikon. I bought the Tamron because I shoot more at the long end and I wanted the 18 mm end for when I had to do family shots indoors. I think you will be happy with which ever one you choose.
     
  6. let's face it: neither will be a great low-light lens. for optimal IQ, you'll be stopping down to f/8-11 and trying not to shoot wide open if you can help it with either choice.
    my .02 is that there are advantages to both, depending on the application. i would put more stock in nikon's VR over tamron's VC, and on AF-S over tamron's BIM, and shun raises a good, if oft-repeated, point about Nikon AF not designed for lenses slower than 5.6 max aperture. but optically, i dont think the nikon has a clear advantage over the tamron. and, if the intended use is travel/casual photography, that 15x zoom could be the deal-breaker.
     
  7. I'd get the 16-85 before I bought either of those today.
    But here's some other options. A Nikon 18-70 and 70-300 VR combo would be a little more than the 18-200, but probably much better. I love my 18-200 for travel (I bought it for an Alaska trip, and was very satisfied with the results), but today I'd buy the 16-85 and crop the long end (or a used 17-55), or get the 18-70/70-300VR Combo.
    Don't buy a lens that's smalle than f5.6 though.
     
  8. The price is too close to the Nikon, I wouldn't do it for 70 extra mm's. I wonder how good or bad the Tamron 18-200mm zoom @ around $250.00 is? I have the Nikkor 18-20 and think it's a great all around lens.
     
  9. Tom,
    I have the D90, and my first upgrade lens when I had a D70 kit was the Nikon 18-200mm, for the same reasons you have mentioned - I wanted one good lens for traveling and didn't want to have to constantly be switching them out. Now that I actually do own a few more, however, I have found that I rarely take the 18-200mm off my camera unless I know that I am shooting something specific. It's a great walking around lens. Here is a pic I took recently in my backyard, wide open at 200mm, f/5.6, ISO 400. I also take a lot of photos of my kids, plus landscape shots when they present themselves. The only drawback to this lens is that mine creeps. I have read/heard others with similar situations and this year when I send it in for cleaning I'm going to ask them to fix this problem. Will see what happens!
    Hope this helps!
    Cynthia
    00Sza6-122685584.jpg
     
  10. Tom, I have the 18-200 and think it's a fantastic lens. However, I have never tried the Tamron 18-270.
    Obviously both lenses have some great benefits and some compromises. Yes, the Tamron is slower at the long end but as long as you accept the trade off of longer focal length for slower aperture -- which may mean difficult manual focus in some situations, if you can get a shot at all -- I don't see any problem here.
    If you are buying your camera at a local store, that would be a great opportunity to try out both lenses on your new body. I don't think anyone's anecdotal experiences here will be as helpful as your own personal experience with both lenses.
     
  11. A friend of mine recently bought the Tamron 18-200mm for his D40. It cost about half of the Nikon, and that is why he bought it. The Tamron has stabilization, just like the Nikon, and it has an integrated focus motor. He's happy and he saved money. I don't think getting an extra *half stop of light* at the 200mm end was worth $350 to him. To each is own I guess.
     
  12. I would go for sharpness, and go for the Tamron. D90 has good high iso performance and therefore you seldom have to take pictures wide open. Just set the aperture at say F8 and let auto iso and VC solve the rest.
     
  13. I've not tried the 18-270, but I have tried the 28-300 from tamron. I found the focus speed to be much slower than the 18-200 Nikkor.
    The Nikon lens is IMHO just about the perfect walk around lens for the DX format.
     
  14. Tom,
    I have the 18-200 and like it for what it is- a one lens solution for when I'm traveling. I used it in Europe last year and was very pleased with the 8x10 prints I made. I had the 18-70 and 70-300 as my travel lenses but sold them with the purchase of the 18-200. And yes I own pro glass (70-200, etc) too but when I'm traveling light or with the family I don't always like to take the big glass. I usually travel now with the Tokina 12-24, Nikon 50 1.8, and Nikon 18-200 as my travel kit. If I have to go minimal, then the 18-200 by itself covers most situations. As far as the Tamron lens (which I don't own), I have had hit or miss success with Tamron and Sigma quality control but 99% success with Nikon out of the box. With the Tamron I would be concerned about the max f/stop of 6.3 causing autofocus problems. Try them both and see what you like but I think you would be happy with the Nikon.
    Dave
     
  15. Updated to reflect March 2010 prices:
    I'm just getting into DSLR photography but I've already realized the problems of carrying two lenses and the loss of a good shot while switching lenses. So I am debating between these two lenses.
    I purchased the Tamron because of the value and the amazing range it offers. I've used it for about a month with my D90 and have been fairly happy with it. The AF motor is a bit "jerky" and the auto-focus doesn't seem as quick as the other Nikon lenses I've used in the past, but I've been happy because of the price. Despite all that, I'm still wondering if "the grass is greener on the other side (Nikon)"
    This thread is about a year old but the price difference between these two lenses has changed significantly. The Tamron 18-270mm can be purchased for $599 and then $80 rebate is available which brings the price down to $520. The Nikon 18-200mm is around $765.
    So given the new price points for these two lenses, does the Nikon still win out in value? Or does the $245 price difference make Tamron a better purchase?
    Look forward to everyone's responses!
     
  16. I have a Nikon D90 and a Tamron 18-270. I am going to replace this lens with a Nikon 18-200 because of a very annoying problem that is causing missed shots.
    Suddenly, even in full daylight and even without the Live View mode active, the lens autofocus freezes completely and no shot can be taken. The lens neither try to focus at all, when I press the shutter release button just nothing happens.
    To fix it, I have to switch the camera off, then on, and then (perhaps) it will work again. Sometimes the situation improves by removing and mounting the lens again or by cleaning the lens contacts, but after a few days it happens again.
    I have read out on the net many people having the same issue when this Tamron lens is used on a Nikon D90. So, I would stay away from Tamron, they probably have to work a lot with Nikon to have this bug fixed.
     
  17. I have had the older version of the Tamron 18-270 for about a year now and love it. Used it a lot on my Canon 400D and now on the 7D. I correct any distortion in DXO Optics Pro. I travelled in Europe with it and my Canon 10-22 but hardly used the latter. It was just a nuisance to change lenses. On the down side I am now noticing just a few dust particles on the inside. It apparently sucks in a small amount of dust when zooming but I guess that is almost inevitable with any zoom that extends the way this one does. Alas everything in photography is a compromise. Overall though it is a lens to be recommended on the basis of more than adequate image quality but particularly convenience.
     
  18. Hmmm...as of March 2011 a 18-270mm Tamron VC can be purchased for about $440, and a Nikon is still costing about $650-700. That's quite a difference percentage wise....
    I am debating against these 2 also....
     
  19. I have had the Tamron for about 6 months and really like it. I have used it on both a D90 and D300 with generally good results. It seems a bit soft for me more at the tele end, rather than the wide, and has predictable barrel distortion for this type of lens.
    I tested this lens at Calumet and also the Nikon 18-200 at the same time and actually found the Tamron focused slightly faster when using continuous focus on the D300. That, along with the lower price- really lower with the $150 rebate- made up my mind for me.
    The only cons are as was stated before, it is a little stiff when zooming out. It also has a fair amount of creep, which is generally taken car of by the 18mm lock, though a little annoying when shooting downward in mid-range. A great super-zoom for the money overall.
     

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