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Nikon Rumours - My experience of using consumer optics, professionally

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#1 Sailjunkie


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Posted 06 August 2017 - 12:18 PM

I'm throwing this out for discussion because I still meet the occasional photographer who thinks that if one isn't using Nikon glass on their Nikon bodies, then one is using garbage.


If I'm talking about you, then I'm going to apologize in advance, because I couldn't disagree more strongly.  Like many others, I got into photography because of interest.  If I never make a dime from it, I'm still happy.  Third party glass gives me an affordable way to pursue this wonderful hobby without a full-on mutiny from Angela.  :D


Now for the article.




I kept reading, to see what third party glass he was using.  It was only near the very end when I realized that he had been talking about Nikon glass throughout.  Then he decided to solve his focus issue by replacing a $1,799 lens with a $8,999 lens (Nikon Canada current prices).   :o  


Would this be a good time, to point out that one can buy a fully equipped sailboat for less?  I don't think that this solution would be available for many photographers.


While I don't dispute the quality of Nikon glass, I do think that Nikon's pricing is the best thing that ever happened to Sigma and Tamron.  We've talked about Nikon's pricing for camera bodies.  I think the same holds true for glass.  




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#2 justshootit


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Posted 06 August 2017 - 12:42 PM

Well, there are times when the glass matters greatly and times it when it it's not as important. I've still got a Tamron 400/4 with the two matched teleconverters that i got for US$1,500 and I can do a lot with it. But if I compare its images with ones from a Nikkor 300/2.8, the Nikkor images are sharper and the color has more pop.

Same if I compare images from the 300/2.8 with those from the Nikkor 75-300/4.5-5.6. The latter is really sharp at f/8-f/11, but the color from the 300/2.8 is still better. Though this can be fixed in post pretty easily. Sharpness issues are harder to deal with in post.

Many moons ago, I ran a comparison between the Tamron 28-75/2.8 and the Nikkor 35-70/2.8 and got similar results. The Tamron just didn't have the quite same color pop as the Nikkor, though I have to say that had I done that test when I was more comfortable with digital & Photoshop, I might have kept the Tamron and returned the Nikkor.

I think it depends on the lens, and you have to test to see what fits your style better. I may need to replace a 12-24/4 Nikkor, and the Tokina 12-28/2.8 is a VERY tempting option. It tests better than the Nikkor.

It also has to do with economics. I can afford a Tamron 24-70/2.8; I can't afford the Nikon version, so if I needed one of these lenses, I'd opt for the Tamron.

Last point. I was at a wedding reception for some friends not that long ago, and I got to shooting the breeze with the photographers. One said that they don't buy the expensive stuff because their gear takes a beating on the job, and they just can't afford to keep replacing the expensive stuff. They're making a living with their gear and they shoot with prosumer stuff. How do you argue with success???
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#3 nwcs


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Posted 06 August 2017 - 01:39 PM

Overall it's about finding the right compromise, as I said in that thread. For people like me, enthusiasts with not a lot of time to spend, it may not be worth spending a great deal of money on equipment. Over the years I've had my share of Tamron 200-500, 150-600, Sigma 150-500, and time with the Nikon 200-400. I definitely appreciate what Tamron and Sigma et al have done for Nikon users. However Nikon knows the secret sauce and their stuff generally works better.


Right now all I have is a 300 f4 PF and 1.4 E3 TC. Not cheap but my thinking turned to this: if I have little time I want to maximize the potential of the few situations I get to shoot. So I end up with better stuff that way. A true wildlife pro (how many are even out there anymore?) will want the best because it has fewer compromises where they need it most: performance.


I'm really glad we have such a wonderful assortment of lens options these days. Many opportunities for the right situations.

Edited by nwcs, 06 August 2017 - 01:40 PM.

#4 ericbowles


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Posted 07 August 2017 - 08:43 AM

Neil - you're certainly qualified to speak to the differences.  I think you're the only person I know who has bought - and sold - the Nikon 200-400 TWICE in favor of a Tamron telezoom.


Right now my den has bird photos hanging on the walls that were taken with three different camera and lens combinations.  All are printed at 12x18.  One was with the Nikon D300 and the Tamron 200-500 - the predecessor to the 150-600.  It was taken by my wife and was selected by The St. Augustine Alligator Farm for their calendar.  One was taken with a Nikon 300 f/4 AFS with the Nikon TC 17EII teleconverter at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and was a top image in both the Audubon Magazine contest and the NANPA Showcase.  And the third is just an image I like of a painted bunting taken with the D800E and the Nikon 600 f/4 AFS VR.  


For consistency and performance, I'll haul the 600 f/4 every chance I get.  It' my  "go to" lens.   It's the fastest so it's better for low light, and it's exceptionally sharp.  It's good with teleconverters as well.  The Nikon 300 f/4 AFS has been used in the past 30 days - for butterfly photos.  It's a great light weight alternative even though it is not quite as sharp.  The Tamron 200-500 is a very good lens under the right conditions and with good technique, but good technique is required.  It sells for about $400 used right now.  The catch is you MUST put a hand over the lens barrel if it is mounted on  a tripod, because the long length makes it highly subject to mirror slap even at faster shutter speeds.  I've recently replaced the Tamron with the Nikon 200-500, and used that combination from a canoe and for polo with my D500.


There are a lot of good options these days.  For a bird photographer, you might not ever have a long enough lens.  Photographing wading birds is very different from songbirds.  Go to Yellowstone and you might photograph bison, badgers, and wolves on the same day - covering distances from 20 yards to over a mile.  Pick the tool you need - not the most expensive gear.

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#5 Sailjunkie


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Posted 07 August 2017 - 12:18 PM

Very good points everyone.  My take-away is that our choices certainly aren't Black & White.  Still, I'm glad that we have more buying choices.  :)


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#6 Art


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Posted 07 August 2017 - 11:30 PM

Nikon, without a doubt, is Sigma and Tamron's best friend, among others.


And, this is a very, very good thing for photography.


Having said that, I very much prefer Nikon glass.


For one reason only, it maintains its value more than the other brands.


Is Nikon glass better?


Well, on any lens made today by the big three.... Nikon, Sigma and Tamron... maybe.  You would have to look at it feature to feature.


- glass (image sharpness, tones, CA etc)

- build (solid, water proof, etc.)

- coatings (Nikon is using a new coating no their new glass that seems to be the cats meow, but I don't think they own it and you can find it on other glass!)

- price... typically, Nikon loses here.


I have older Nikon glass I absolutely swear by...


85mm f1.4G

105mm f2.8F

200-400mm f4G

24-70mm f2.8G


I live and die by these lens because I love the results.  I have other glass I also like but I am sure there is better value and better optics by the other two companies.


I have the cheaply made in China 24mm f2.8 and it is a very, very good lens.

I like the 50mm f1.4G

I have the 16-35mm ... nice lens, even though DxO rated a Sigma lens better


I have the 50mm f1.2... jaw dropping


300mm f4 is a nice lens, does the job, but I am sure you can find better for less from other brands


In one of my classes, I saw a student with a Tamron 24-70 that was equal in image quality to anything I took with my 24-70 Nikon!!


To say that anything but Nikon is garbage .... :lol:  Laughable comment!  I like my Nikon glass, but I have seen other photographers get stunning results with other brand names at a fraction the price.


I view photography as a hi-tech industry.  You are only as good as your LATEST development.  Tomorrow, your competition is eating your lunch.  So, what is great today, is not so great tomorrow because you cannot continually develop and upgrade the same product overnight.  


That means, a 14-24mm lens made 5 years ago at $5K may not  be as good as a 3rd party lens made today for $1,500!  Why?  In 5 years... a life time of change and advancements occur.


Who ever made the statement is an elitist bone head! 


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