Nikon 18-35mm VS Tamron 17-35mm

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by eric_chiu|2, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. I am a new member to Nikon. I have a Nikon 18-35mm for my architectural assigment shooting and I found it just have too much distortion at the wide end and quite disapointed to the pictures. I understand that the Nikon 17-35mm F2.8 has a lot lower distortion but its $1700, man! Talking about I just invested in the D700, 24-70mm f2.8, 70-200 VR and a new sigma 50mm f1.4. To get another $1700 lens is killing me (even used one cost $1400-1500...).
    I thought about switch to a used 20-35mm f2.8 but its almost stupid to do that because I have already owned a 24-70mm f2.8 Its such small different between 20mm and 24mm. And also, I do need wider for my architectural shooting.
    Here I found the Tamron 17-35mm. It has pretty good reviews online. Its affortable. From some web site's reviews, look like it has less distortion than the Nikon 18-35mm (but not as good as the 17-35mm f2.8). I am wondering if anyone have experience on the Tamron. How is it compare to the Nikon 18-35mm? How is the build quality? How is focus speed?
  2. I don't know if you would like the Tamron 17-35mm if you're looking for low distortion. At 17mm it not only has vignetting issues, but noticeable distortion as well. I would venture to guess the Nikon 18-35mm will outperform it, the Tamron's only advantage is the faster f2.8 aperture at 17mm.
    Tamron 17-35mm at 17mm and f5.6 with Nikon D700
  3. I agree. I use the 18-35mm Nikkor. I used a friends Tamron for a comparison. I like both lenses, but having formerly worked with architectural photography myself, neither cuts it for straight lines. I'd personally buy a good rectilinear prime lens.
    Back when I was shooting architectural, I had a 15mm that was great (normally I shot with view cameras). I've heard from a friend that the 15mm works pretty well on the newer DSLRs, like the D700s (he complained about CA on his D200). Another option (but still probably $1200) is the new Zeiss 18mm. And architects b*tch about pricing all the time<g>.
  4. You know, we talk about distortion, but we have to bear in mind that at (FX) angles of 17mm all lenses will show distortion. Its the nature of the beast at that viewpoint. You have to bend all that angle of light, its impossible not to have distortion. To compare properly, you'd have to take the same picture, from the same angle/viewpoint, with the various lenses. The only disadvantage I see with Dave's example photo is the slight vignetting at the corners, the distortion, or bent verticals is what to expect from the specific focal length. A moving up or down of the camera's viewpoint would alter those lines dramatically. I have the Sigma 17-35mm and D700, and I'm pretty satisfied with it. Also it doesn't have that vignetting in the corners at 17mm even with a polariser on it.
  5. I see some distortion in you picture but still better than my Nikon 18-35mm. Look at this:
    I understand its better to have a prime lens, but zoom lens is a lot more flexible. Anyway, since the Tamron 17-35mm is so cheap, I am buy it and compare it with my Nikon. Than I will just keep the one I think is better than.
  6. What about correcting distortion in PP?
  7. From what I've seen of the Sigma 12-24, it seems to handle distortion pretty well.
    I had a Tamron but never shot anything with straight lines in. Besides the vignetting, the lens was very nice. Extremely sharp in the center.
    Good luck.
  8. Thanks Hiro, I always thought that the Sigma 12-24mm is a APS lens. Just did some research and found its actually a full frame lens with almost zero distortion. I think this is the lens I am going to get. Only draw back is that it can't use any filter, but i guess I could live with it. f4.5 is little slow, but with D700's ISO performance, that should be ok. I guess this is the lens I am looking for. Vignetting is so easy fix in lightroom or any other software (sometime I even think the vignetting make the picture looks better). However, distortion is harder to fix.
  9. I also now realise we are talking of different kinds of distortion. On a good wide angle, but of normal nature, straight verticals will converge, but stay straight. On Eric's sample photo, although taken from a level viewpoint and the verticals on a good wide angle should be straight, he seems to have a lot a 'barrel' effect, which of course is not good.

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