I have a Nikon D5100 with the Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6G VR and Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55–300mm f/4.5–5.6G ED VR lenses. I find the sharpness of the 55–300mm lens is significantly better, so use that whenever possible.

I am considering purchasing a Tamron 16–300mm lens. Can I expect the image quality in the Tamron at the 55–300 range to be at least as good as my current 55–300 lens? And can I expect the image quality of the Tamron in the 18–55 range to be better than my current 18–55 lens?

  • \$\begingroup\$ My 18-55 lens is a Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G. The 55-300 is a Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm 1:4.5-5.6 GED. Both have vibration reduction (VR) And yes, I guess there would be 2 questions there as you mentioned. How does the Tamron compare to my kit lens in the 18-55 range and how does it compare to my 55-300 in the 55-300 range. Thanks for your help! \$\endgroup\$
    – Jols
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 21:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not a Nikon shooter so I'm not going to do your legwork for you, but I'd bet money the results are similar to this comparison between the Canon EF-S 55-250, EF-S 18-200, and Sigma 18-250 \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: Is there any reason to choose the Canon 18-55 over the 18-135? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not asking anybody to do my leg work. I have done the leg work and have read the reviews and comparisons of the lenses I am considering. Looking for someone who has experience with the lenses and can give me a point of reference against a lens I am familiar with since image quality is difficult to quantify. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jols
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 2:17

1 Answer 1


After reading various reviews, you've probably noticed that the general consensus is:

  • Super-zoom lenses compromise on image quality for increased Zoom Range. They typically have reduced Max Aperture, Sharpness, and Contrast. They typically have increased Chromatic Aberration and Lens Distortion.

  • OEM lenses provide better image quality than third party lenses.

Based on this, the Tamron 16-300mm is at a disadvantage because it is a third-party lens with a greater zoom range. Although each lens should be considered for its own merits, reviews of super zooms are all the same.

The _____ has good center sharpness for the class. However, the impressive zoom range comes at the cost of some noticeable softening and chromatic aberration, especially in the corners and at the long telephoto range. For this type of lens, distortion is mild at the wide and telephoto ends... (Not a real review. For illustration only.)

So it's helpful to visually compare test shots to decide for yourself whether a lens is good enough for you:

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1. Though I feel like there's gotta be a pros/cons of a superzoom question around here with which all other q's like this can be closed as a dupe (and where your answer may fit as well) \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 22:42

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