I am new to photography. I got a chance to test both the lenses (Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD and Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300 mm 1:4,5-5,6G ED VR).

The Nikon lens has VR and hence with full zoom, I was personally able to shoot clear hand-held pictures at a shutter speed of 1/15 in low light. Whereas, with the Tamron lens, I could not shoot even a single clear picture at S=1/15 in the same lighting conditions.

Clearly, the Nikon lens has an advantage during low light conditions but I am not sure if the picture quality (sharpness, colors) of Nikon is better than Tamron lens.

I was going through the samples pics at Amazon for both the lens and almost all the pics of Tamron seem better than Nikon to me (I mean, not all the Tamron users who are writing a review at Amazon for Tamron could be better photographers).

Tamron Sample Pics: https://www.amazon.de/Tamron-AF017NII-700-70-300mm-Macro-Built/dp/B0012UUP02/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515618117&sr=8-1&keywords=tamron+70-300+nikon#CustomerImages

Nikon Sample Pics: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B003ZSHNCC/ref=psdc_5332032031_t2_B003YUBTIA

I am not sure if its worth to spend around 150€ extra for VR (if the Tamron lens actually takes better pictures).

  • \$\begingroup\$ What's your budget? What kind of photography do you do? \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Jan 10, 2018 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since you don't get the shot, because of the missing image stabilization, you have your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Horitsu
    Jan 10, 2018 at 21:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh and comparing the quality of two lenses with the pictures form different costumers on amazon maybe is not the best method. You have no information about used cameras, postprocessing, etc. If you have the chance (which seems to be the case) test both by your own. Do some test shots with a labor setting and some with "everyday" shooting. \$\endgroup\$
    – Horitsu
    Jan 10, 2018 at 21:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Better in what way? Better for what purpose? Better for whom? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 10, 2018 at 22:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Amazon is probably not the best place to get a good representation of a lens' performance. Look at someplace like Flickr. Keep in mind that it is easy to take a lousy picture with the world's greatest lens. The best examples of each lens is what you need to compare. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 10, 2018 at 23:09

3 Answers 3


A lens, or camera, or any other tool, is only as good as the hands it is in. If you can't tell the difference between the photos you took with either lens then there is no difference between the lenses for you.

If the only difference you can see between the two lenses is the result of VR in the Nikon then you must decide whether that is worth the price difference for you.


These lens are relatively low-end offerings and so the differences are not great. As always, the larger you print or view, the more you will notice differences:

  • The Nikon is sharper, particularly wide-open where it actually starts fairly sharp for its focal-length.
  • The Tamron shows almost no vignetting while the Nikon does, although this is the easiest thing to correct in software.
  • The Nikon shows less chromatic aberrations. Geometric distortion is about the same, the Nikon showing less at wide-angle and more at telephoto.

Although the Tamron is labelled as a Macro lens, it is not, but it does acheive higher magnification of 0.5X compared to 0.23X. This will let you take photos closer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ While it's not 1:1 macro, the Tamron does allow much better magnification than non-macro lenses. You must turn on a switch to get it, and the zoom only operates 180-300 when the switch is on. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12, 2018 at 4:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkRansom Oh goodness, I thought all of those designs from the dark ages had been abandoned! Those are the ones where too many owners think their lens is broken when they can't zoom out past 180mm when the macro switch is on "Macro". \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 12, 2018 at 4:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark if it works don't fix it. I've had mine for about 10 years, and the only complaint is a little CA. And you generally make the mistake of thinking the lens is broken once. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12, 2018 at 4:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkRansom My Sigma version worked with my film EOS bodies in the 1990s, but not with my EOS DSLRs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 12, 2018 at 5:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Answers like this need upvotes I think! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2019 at 18:11

Note that you are comparing apples with pears. The Nikon is normal (nature, landscape) zoom for APS-C (smaller) sensor. The Tamron you have picked is full format macro lens. In the macro photography, the tripod is a must, so image stabilization is less common than in other lenses. Also front element can rotate on focus, because one rarely (never) uses polarization filter for macros. If you want to photograph landscapes, as you state in the comments, then Tamron has SP AF 70-300 F/4-5.6 Di VC USD for you, or you pick the Nikkor you have tested.

So: If you plan to buy full format body later and/or you want to use the lens for both, landscape and macro, then the Tamron (LD MACRO) is your choice.

If you want to focus fully on landscape then you want the lens with image stabilization and not moving the front element on focus. (Nikkor VR or Tamron VC)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't call it a macro lens. Very likely it is not optimized for flat field and corner sharpness at close range at the expense of infinity performance and speed. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 20, 2020 at 22:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe you are right, but I am speaking more about producers intentions rather than about his achievements. As I see it, each lens targets a different audience, so it is essential to focus on what the OP wants to do before going into the comparison of technical details. \$\endgroup\$
    – Thinkeye
    Mar 6, 2020 at 14:53

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