The Tamron 70-300 VC has been out for a couple of years now (announced August 2010). In fact, when it first came out, I chuckled at Tamron because Nikon had just released their budget-friendly 55-300 VR. Why would anyone want a 70-300 lens from a third party when they could have a first-party lens with a wider range at the same or lower cost?
Fast forward to 2012. The space shuttle landed in Los Angeles, and none of my lenses were long enough to capture this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Image above was from my Sigma 50-150 on the Nikon D90, cropped. At the same time, our son was getting to an age where he would be involved in more sports, so I thought about getting a longer lens, but one that was not so bulky. I had just sold my 70-200 VR I because it was too bulky to use on a day-to-day basis, and this time I wanted a lens that I would not hesitate to bring with me for everyday shots.
I checked out the Nikon 70-300 VR, a lens used by one of my favorite photographers, Bob Krist. If it was good enough for National Geographic, it has to be good enough for anything. I nearly purchased the 70-300 VR because there's a sizable rebate for it when you buy it with the Nikon D600.
But then as I researched the 70-300 VR, I read about comparisons to the Tamron 70-300 VC. In the side-to-side comparisons I saw, the Tamron 70-300 VC was noticeably better. I found a refurbished one with a good warranty and decided to get it instead of the Nikon 70-300 VR.
When I took my first shots with this lens, I was astonished. The images appeared so striking in their sharpness.
|One of my first shots with the Tamron 70-300 VC|
The shot above had zero clarity and no additional sharpening but it looks like I bumped up the clarity setting in Lightroom. That's what I mean by the Tamron 70-300 VC's high acutance. Here are more shots I've taken with this lens, all of them SOOC except adjusted for white balance and in some cases exposure. No additional sharpening or clarity.
How good is this lens, exactly? You probably have heard about Nikon's new 70-200 f/4 VR lens. In this post, Nasim Mansurov showed that it has better edge-to-edge sharpness than a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR II, so the new lens is very good. Nonetheless, professional photographer John G. Moore has both the 70-200 f/4 VR and the Tamron 70-300 VC and in his opinion, the 70-300 VC is better (just as sharp, with less chromatic aberration).
Nikon D600 Resource Page (see under "Lenses Tested")