Today I want to show you the comparison of two standard zoom lenses for the Nikon system: The Nikkor 24-70 F2.8G ED and the Tamron SP 24-70 F2.8 VC USD. Is the Tamron as good as the original Nikkor glass or is it even better? Let’s find it out!
Sadly, I had not that much time to compare the lenses due to a heavy storm we had the weekend when I took the comparison shots. But the material I collected makes a conclusion possible. I compared the lenses in image quality, size and usability.
Specifications of the Lenses
|Nikkor 24-70 F2.8 G ED||Tamron SP 24-70 F2.8 VC USD|
|Aperture||F 2.8 – F22||F 2.8 – F22|
|Autofocus||Silent Wave Motor (SWM)||Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD)|
|Minimum focus distance||0,38 m||0,38 m|
|Weight||900 g||825 g|
|Size||83 mm x 133 mm||88.2 mm x 116.9 mm|
|Filter thread||77 mm||82 mm|
|Construction||15 Elements in 11 Groups||17 Elements in 12 Groups|
|Comes with lens bag||yes||no|
|Price||1.439 € / 1.796 $||829 € / 1.299 $|
As you can see from the specs, the Tamron is shorter but has a bigger diameter than the Nikkor lens. It also has bigger filters which makes it more expensive. The focus on each lens is set internally with ultrasonic motors (SWM, USD) and the front element doesn’t turn wherefore polarizers are not a problem. Both lenses have a sturdy build, feel rugged and nothing is shaking or rattling. The Nikkor with the all-metal construction is heavier, however, attached on the Nikon D750 it feels a bit better balanced. The Tamron offers a big zoom ring at the front and a narrow focus ring at the back section of the lens. The order on the Nikkor, which offers bigger rings, is reversed. On both lenses the rings are very grippy but on the Tamron they are stiffer to turn which makes it easier to control the focal length or to fine-tune the focus.
As you will see in the pictures below, the lenses are equally long when the focal length is set to 70 mm because the Tamron is fully extended, at 24 mm the Nikkor is fully extended and is therefore substantially longer. In regard of the lens hood, the Nikkor offers the far superior quality. It is big and chunky and has a lock, so it cannot be accidently turned when attached. The lens hood of the Tamron does its job as expected but you have to be more careful as it is not so big and the material seems not so sturdy.
Both lenses offer ultrasonic motors for focusing. The SWM of the Nikkor does a really outstanding job. It is fast, totally silent and very precise. The USD of the Tamron offers also a decent performance as it is silent and very precise but it is noticeable slower than the SWM of the Nikkor.
This is the big advantage of the Tamron. It offers a very good image stabilization system. I was able to take sharp shots at around 1/10 sec at 70mm handheld which is very impressive. With the Nikkor, I struggled to get sharp shots at shutter speeds lower than 1/80 to 1/60 sec at 70 mm. You have to raise your ISO settings with the Nikkor to get sharp shots in the same light conditions. (Example settings: Tamron @ ISO 200 with 1/8 sec vs. Nikkor @ ISO 1600 with 1/60 sec)
Page 1: Specifications, Build quality, Autofocus, Image stabilization
Page 2: Center sharpness – 100% crops
Page 3: Midframe sharpness – 100% crops
Page 4: Corner sharpness – 100% crops
Page 5: Colors, Flares/Ghosting, C/A, Field of view and vignetting, Bokeh, Conclusion