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I'm going to be purchasing a new lens this next week for a trip to the Smoky Mountains. I'm considering an 18-200mm lens.

My camera is the Nikon D5100 DSLR.

Could anyone give me their opinion of how the Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Zoom Lens with Built In Motor for Nikon Digital SLR (Model A14NII) compares with the Nikon 18-200mm AF-S VR II ?

I really want something to capture the sweeping vistas in the mountains. But I don't want to carry more than 2 lenses

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possible duplicate of Alternative/third-party superzoom for Nikon? –  mattdm Oct 2 '13 at 21:29
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One is $200USD, the other is $850USD. If you want higher quality, breaking this focal length range into two lenses will give you that. "No such thing as a free lunch" applies here, and buying one lenses that "does it all" has trade offs. If your budget is $200 and you must only carry one lens, buy the Tamron. If your budget is $850 and you must carry one lens, buy the Nikon. If your budget is higher or you can buy more lenses, buy two high quality f/2.8 lenses that cover this range or a prime lens or two. –  dpollitt Oct 2 '13 at 23:17
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the camera body is also irrelevant for the lens you put on it (as long as it fits of course). Of the two lenses, the Nikkor is the better one, though that is relative to both being not very good at all. As dpollit says, get several lenses. A 20mm or so wide angle, something in the 28-70mm range or thereabouts, and a tele lens in the 70-200mm range. –  jwenting Oct 3 '13 at 9:30
    
It is interesting to me that you say you don't want to carry more than two lenses but you are considering a superzoom -- typically considered an all-in-one solution. Presumably you already have an 18-55 (or similar) and could just get a compliment to that. Or, is your second lens something like a Sigma 150-500? –  Dan Wolfgang Oct 3 '13 at 13:38
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1 Answer

The Nikon 18-200mm AF-S VR II is a better lens than the Tamron AF 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di II, but that's a relative comparison between two lenses that have to make a lot of design compromises to cover such a wide focal length range. You would get much better image quality than you would using either super zoom by using your 18-55 kit lens and a telephoto lens such as the Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR. If you already have the kit lens then you'll spend less than the cost of the Tamron 18-200 and get quality better than the Nikon 18-200. Although this question discusses Canon lenses, the principal is the same.

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