Tamron 400/4 vs Nikkor 400/3.5

Discussion in 'Nature' started by max_salganik, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. I tried searching for this topic but didnt find any direct comparisons. Has
    anyone used both of these lenses? Im faced with the choice of getting the Nikkor
    (and possibly a 1.4tc) or being able to by the Tamron with a 1.4tc and probably
    having money left for a carbon fiber tripod and a bogen gimbal. If the nikkor is
    that much better in terms of IQ, Ill go for it but I want to hear people's
    experiences first... in particular Im interested in performance wide open... id
    be shooting a wide variety of subjects (on a 1.5x body) and I will be hiking
    (one of the reasons I had to part with my 400/2.8 a while back. If anyone has
    any direct comparison photos that would be even better. Thanks for your help!
  2. The Nikon 400mm f3.5 EDIF is a classic lens and one of the sharpest teles ever made. I had one for many many years and loved it -- it was the LAST lens I sold when moving to AF -- even the 600mm f4 went before it did.

    The Tamron is so-so -- not as good as the Nikkor in terms of contrast and resolution -- I would not use it wide open with teleconverters.
  3. I know several people who kept their 400 f/3.5 lenses to this day because there really was
    no replacement offered for it an AF.
  4. OK....i was just looking around and found some reports of CA with the 400mm f3.5 on digital... is this really a bad problem...how bad... any experiences? Thanks!
  5. George Lepp tested then about 20 years ago in his Natural Image newsletter.

    I don't have it to hand right now, but I do remember that the 400/3.5 was the better lens.

    CA isn't a function of the recording medium. Film or digital makes no difference. All lenses will show some CA and some digital sensors can show effects similar to CA.

    I don't think there's any doubt that the Nikon 400/3.5 is a very good lens indeed.
  6. Here is a shot using an Oly e300, Tamron 400 and Olympus 1.4x converter, using only the very central part of the coverage of the Tamron. It's crunched down to maximum for downloading purposes but it's full size, no sharpening added. It's grainy bec it the nature of the DZ beast.

  7. I have the following in my hands now
    Tamron 400mm/4.0
    Nikkor 400mm/3.5
    Nikkor 500mm/4.0

    I bought them all to try out...
    I plan on using them on a Canon 5D
  8. Hi Greg: Since I use tamron, interested to know how your tests worked out?
  9. I've used a 400mm f/3.5 on a digital camera with some success. Here's a cropped picture.
  10. Nothing to complain in the image, is there? A baby wren, is it? Lovely! How did you attach the lens - the fully mechanical adapter or the dearer one with focus-confirm electrical contact?
  11. Correct, it's a young Wren.
    I used it with a mechanical adapter (Fotodiox) on a Canon 20D body. Note that D70 doesn't meter with AI-S lenses, but the Canon does! It's much easier to focus manually with the Canon 1D MkII I have now, because the vewifinder is so much larger and brighter, but unfortunately I've sold the lens to my father! I can highly recommend it and while the Tamron seems sharp, the Nikon is probably even shaper and all the way from f/3.5, and so much better built.
  12. I have the following in my hands now Tamron 400mm/4.0 Nikkor 400mm/3.5 Nikkor 500mm/4.0
    I bought them all to try out... I plan on using them on a Canon 5D
    -- Greg Peters

    What was the result of your tests?
    I didn't realize the 400mm/3.5 was such a great lens. And, it beat out a Tamron 400mm/4 in tests.
    I have a Tamron 400mm/4, using it with a Nikon TC301 wide open..for a 800mm/f8 combo. I'm thinking of selling it, & getting a Nikon 400mm/2.8 (used with TC301 2x) or Nikon 400mm/3.5 (used with TC301 2x).
    There are some 400mm/2.8 available used for ~$1400 (heavily used)..suppose I stopped it down to f3.5, would it be as good as 400mm/3.5? Thinking of springing for a 400mm/2.8, instead of a used 400mm/3.5 ($1000 - $1600 used).
    My application requires 800mm focal length, so the above solution is 400mm + 2x doubler. Another approach, is a 600mm/4 + 1.4x (840mm FL). However, the 600mm/4 is big & heavy, as is the 400mm/2.8 (15 lbs?). If the 400mm/3.5 is such a superior performer optically, then it also has the benefit of being lighter.
  13. The 400mm 3.5 is a phenomenal lens even in todays standards. I use it happily on a D700, together with the tc-301. To see samples visit this blog: http://panorama.yaalherman.com/en/?page_id=354
    this lens is at it's best at f8, as you can see from here:

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