DxOMark tests Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lenses

Tamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD lens DxOMark
Nikon 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR II lens DxOMark score

DxOMark published their test results for the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lenses and those are their conclusions:

Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD ($1,299.00)

"A DxOMark Overall Score of 29 ranks the Tamron 1st for image quality on professional standard zooms, just pushing the own brand Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G AD into second with 28 points, and is well ahead of the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM with 23.

The Tamron offers better sharpness overall, scoring 17 P-Mpix, compared to 15 P-Mpix for the Nikon, good performance at f/2.8 and boasts significantly better chromatic aberration results, too.

What’s more with a $1299 price tag it’s a whooping $600 cheaper than the own brand alternative making it superb value for money for Nikon shooters."

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II ($2,396.95)

"So, no surprises, one of the most expensive medium range telephoto lenses ever has impressive DxOMark Scores and nudges out both its predecessor and Nikon’s cheaper f/4 version to boot. In fact the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II has no significant weaknesses and is the best zoom lens you can mount on a Nikon Full Frame body.

It comes top in the DxOMark table of top 5 70-200mm lenses beating both its predecessor the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR and the cheaper 3rd party competition from Sigma. Costing $2400 it’s expensive however and for $1000 less the Nikon 70-200mm f/4G ED VR is an excellent lens too that offers the same sharpness as the f/2.8 version but with more vignetting visible shooting at the maximum aperture."

Here is the new top 5 list for the best 70-200mm lenses mounted on the Nikon D800 camera:


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  • Rick

    Tamron?? wow that’s a surprise.

  • Daniel Watson

    The Tamron 24-70 is a really good lens. I am a bit surprised they have it beating the Nikon 24-70 although it also looks sharper than even Canon’s brand new 24-70 f/4 IS


  • Dave in NC

    I have the 70-200mm f/4g and love it. Part of why I like it is that it is smaller and lighter then the f/2.8, and this works well for me because I do most of my photography abroad. I don’t mind giving up one stop of light for the added convenience of size/weight. The f/2.8 VRII looks great, however.

    • No longer Pablo Ricasso

      What is really significant about the 2.8 is that it’s sharpness is essentially on par at one stop faster than the slower lens while also suffering from less vignetting and distortion at that same fast aperture. But I understand why the smaller lens is a must have for many. Hopefully someday you can get a smaller camera to match.

      • san

        I see the D600 doesn’t count for you… 😉

        • No longer Pablo Ricasso

          Yeah, that’s pretty small… If you’re coming from a D3.

          If you’re coming from an F3, not so much.

          • san

            touché :/

  • Brian Rudolf

    this got me very excited then i read this review and would disagree on how dxo achieved their results. http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_vs_Tamron_24-70mm_comparison/

    • No longer Pablo Ricasso

      Yeah, real world images have a way of making the test chart data look kind of frivolous. The last part of that review is similar to what I put all of my best lenses against each other with so many years ago. But I am pleasantly surprised with how the Tamron did so well close up. Of course, for that I’d probably want a prime. So Nikon is the best zoom (think… for things you would want from your zoom) by a wide margin. And we haven’t discussed color yet…

  • Stannis

    I’m waiting for the angry comments to start.

  • FMJ

    and i thought Nikkor 24-70 was very good already…..

  • Orb Emmel

    As if DxO Mark figures meant anything…
    Not saying the Tamron lens is bad or anything: I don’t know. All I know is that we should start by saying that the DxO Mark figures’ added value is minimal, at best.

    • CHD

      ….but you probably don’t mind that DXO rates the D800E #1 though…right???

      For what it’s worth I agree with you…DXO is a bit of a joke but I think it’s funny how on one hand people spout the DXO specs when it’s convenient, and then dismiss it when it’s not.

      • No longer Pablo Ricasso

        I think they’re a lot better at rating sensors. I think their initial test results for the lenses are valid for when taken for what they are. But there are many ways to check the performance of a lens. Finally, I don’t believe assigning a single number based on the limited tests that they accurately perform is helpful at all.

        • Orb Emmel

          I tend to agree with you, though sensor results need to be read taking into account that there is a margin for error, and that small differences mean nothing. I mean, don’t tell me there’s a difference between the sensor of a Pentax K-5, a D7000, and a D5100…

          • No longer Pablo Ricasso

            Wow. I think I’ll start calling myself “Jim, the pedophile troll who shoots Canon and LIKES IT” or something so people are less likely to adopt my name. And I agree on the margin of error. It was ridiculous watching people bash DXO for essentially telling them that the D7100 had the same sensor as the 5200.

          • No longer Pablo Ricasso

            Oops. Now the computer has you as Orb. My bad?

        • Aldo

          Or if they are to assign a single number… as far as sharpness is concerned… it better be an average of all f stops plus focal ranges throughout the frame.

    • neonspark

      WOW most generic comment in the web. Congrats

  • Mike

    Bought the Tamron last year. Very happy with it. 24-50mm it’s razor sharp. At 70 it drops a bit but is in no way a slouch. VC is great for stills and double duty for video. What DXo doesn’t say is AF. Nikon 24-70 is near instant. The Tamron while very accurate takes a breath before AF kicks in. But it’s bang on. I know it’s quirk and work around it but Nikon beats it in instant AF. But I knew this and it wasn’t a deal breaker. I’m not surprised about DXO results otherwise.

    • stevieo

      I have to agree. Tried both before choosing the Nikon (AF was the deciding factor for me as I shoot weddings). To be fair, the Nikon AF makes most lenses pedestrian (first lens where I was like wow..). The field curvature is annoying sometimes, though. VC would definitely be useful in my situation, but I’m usually trying to keep my shutter speed up anyways for subject motion. The Nikon has smoother bokeh for sure, but whether that’s important depends on what you shoot. Both very good, but I think anyone choosing between the two should check it out in store.

      • Mike

        Stevieo, I use it for weddings too but not as a primary lens. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind the AF hesitation. I know ‘when’ its best to use it. If you know what I mean. The factors for me buying it were VC & price/value added. One thing about its AFing that is not talked about much is that it doesn’t change focus point when zooming in or out. If you focus at 5′ at 35 mm and zoom to 70mm, it’s still in focus. My apologies to video friends, I know there is a term for that but it escapes me right now. So worth that in mind I can better work around the AF hesitation. And even the word ‘hesitation’ is misleading. It’s not slow or bad but… it’s like starting a car in first gear (Nikon) or starting a car in second gear, revving the engine and dropping the clutch (Tamron). Nikon is moving while Tamron is revving but they probably get there at the same time.

        • Stevieo

          Ah yes, I’ve noticed that on my Nikon. Get’s some taking used to (now I have a habit of mashing the AF-On button ;). I think it’s called parfocal if the focus holds while zooming. Yeah I didn’t mean to say the Tamron is slow, but the Nikon certainly has an immediacy to its focus acquisition.

          Oh and as to the “onion bokeh”, it’s only visible on brighter parts of the image, namely points of light, from my testing at least. Maybe Mike can comment more on this 😉

      • jackyell

        I’m interested to know If nikon bokeh is really noticably better. Can anyone shed light?

        • Aldo

          people complain about the onion ring pattern that the tarmron renders on dotted bokeh backgrounds. There are some good comparisons on google images. I think you should consider the tamron only if the VC would greatly benefit your shooting style and if you shoot video with it.

      • George Kalogeris

        I own and shoot with both the Nikon and Tamron 24-70 lenses. For still images I prefer the Nikon because the edges of the images seem a little better in terms of sharpness and edge darkening. But for my main job (weddings) or travel, I NEED the Tamron at every single occasion for its VC. When day finishes, I have many more stable images in low light than I ever could imagine with the Nikon.

  • CHD

    Funny how the same lens is rated sharper on the Canon 5D3…..

    • neonspark

      Low res canon sensors can’t tell a sharp lens.

  • Rick

    This might sound shallow and stupid, but if I use the tamron on a wedding it’s gonna look like a plasticky DX lens while some of the guests haul around their 5D Mark III with a 24-70 II….so even if the Tamron has quadro benefits: lighter, image stabilization, 1 dox mark sharper, cheaper, but I might still carry the nikkor to look a bit more “pro” with the huge hood lol. So tamron, re-design the look of your lens (like what Sigma is doing with the A series) I think you might get more sales

    • No longer Pablo Ricasso

      I’d be more worried about the guests looking plasticky in your shots.

      • 800mm f/2.8 DX VR


      • Eisnerdigital


    • Chris

      Yeah, that sounds really shallow. I better leave my 50mm 1.8G at home the next time I will be shooting. Rather not have people think I’m not a real real pro.

      • Aldo

        making a statement with your gear is important in event photography… it’s very naive to think otherwise.

        • No longer Pablo Ricasso

          But you can get so much shallower with the 1.8 g than you could ever hope to with the big zoom…

          • Aldo

            Pablo… some customers don’t even know what bokeh is… I’ve had people complain why their background is out of focus.

            • No longer Pablo Ricasso

              Don’t mind me. I was just playing on “shallow.” With a word like that we could probably start a few threads. I suppose you could have a sample shot of somebody in front of the background and then the same at f16 on hand. If that doesn’t explain it you could try vodka…

            • John Baxter

              Seems you don’t know what bokeh is either.
              Bokeh is not DOF.
              As a wedding photographer I know.

            • Aldo

              When did I give a definition on bokeh? gee at least I can read 😛

            • Sahaja

              Yes, I’ve seen that one ~ some people think that shots taken with their P&S are “better” or “sharper” because “everything is in focus”

            • Aldo

              I’m glad someone has been there with me =]

          • Hessephoto

            Not True. I have the 50 1.8G and the 70-200 2.8G VRII. I like the 50mm lens, but max aperture is 50/1.8=27.77mm whereas the 70-200 at 200 aperture is 200/2.8=71.42mm, no way the 50 is better for shallow depth of field and Bokeh.

            • roger

              At the same subject magnification.. yes it is. Looks like you are getting DOF & perspective mixed up.

        • 3Horn

          The only people who have ever cared about my gear when I’ve shot an event, are other photographers.

          So, I’ll let my image quality make my statement, rather than my gear.

          • Aldo

            We had a cycling event here in LA that ended in venice beach… Pretty awesome. Anyway when we got to the beach there was a photographer shooting a guy on a suit. I was with five friends of mine (none of them photographers). Two of them were saying how the photographer was a “wannabe” mainly because he was shooting with a point and shoot camera. My other friends agreed. I then said… that is a leica he is using and he has an awesome strobe. My friends then asked “what’s a leica?”
            It is actually a photographer who has a better chance of realizing you are on to something than the guests are a wedding reception.

            • nakedlens

              Well, as long as I can impress other photographers with my gear, who cares what the end result looks like!

              I mean here I’ve been investing in a bunch of gear that works, when all I really need to do, is sell it all and buy a Leica to impress other photographers!

              And I don’t have to “trust you”, I just have to look at my event photos that have been purchased and published in multiple internationally circulated magazines.

              Luckily, my agent and the publishers aren’t worried about the gear that I use nearly as much as they are the images I produce.

            • Aldo

              First I didn’t say I was impressed… and I’m sorry you failed to pick up my point. As far as your success goes (should it be legit) I congratulate you. I on the other don’t tend to brag about my accomplishments. I also don’t deal with many weddings that get published. Some of them are big, but for the most part they are family parties in which I get paid good money and I turn in photobooks… simple as that. I have vast experience with people though and what I said above derives from that. That being said, I also think some famous photographers are lazy n slackers =].

            • Guest

              Are these “legit” enough for you?



              I wasn’t “bragging”, I was making a statement of fact; that I don’t buy my equipment to impress other shooters, I buy it because it gets the job done.

              My point is, if you’re more worried about what other photographers think of the gear you’re using than you are the images you produce, it’s probably time to check your priorities.

            • Aldo

              you need to re-read this entire thread that Rick’s comment started. You have it all wrong. It obviously doesn’t relate to you…. The cameras are the last thing one is gonna be looking at the events that you cover.

            • Jonathan Ingram

              Holy crap that is disturbing. I’m used to taking pictures of people kissing and such…

            • nakedlens

              Are these “legit” enough for you?



              I wasn’t “bragging”, I was making a statement of fact; that I don’t buy my equipment to impress other shooters, I buy it because it gets the job done.

              My point is, if you’re more worried about what other photographers think of the gear you’re using than you are the images you produce, it’s probably time to check your priorities.

            • Aldo

              Good mother of sweet Jesus… is this what you are bragging about ? no comment.

            • nakedlens

              Well, I figured the world already had enough wedding photographers.

            • Aldo

              this is true

    • Aldo

      the nikon 24-70 has better sharpness throughout the frame. This is not taken into account.

      • neonspark

        seems to be taken into account if you bothered to see all their charts for that lens.

        • Aldo

          post link? the chart I see doesn’t mention anything about the tamron’s sharpness limited to the center of the frame

          • neonspark

            you have to READ. is that hard?


            “The Tamron is marginally the sharpest out of all three lenses overall and
            it’s very good with the aperture wide open at f/2.8, which is an important
            setting for a pro standard zoom. At f/2.8 the Tamron offers great edge-to-edge
            sharpness between 24-35mm, and although there is some drop off in the corners
            between 50-70mm, it’s well controlled.”

            • Aldo

              again… I don’t see where this is incorporated into a score… There is no clear explanation. For example, (this is something rough just to illustrate) if the nikon is 15mp at 80 percent of the frame… and tamron 17mp at 60 percent of the frame, then there is a huge margin of error because the tamron would fall short of the nikon’s res for 40 percent of the frame. If they would take in account the drop out of sharpness (which falls far closer to the center of the frame, not just corners), then there would be no contest. Now is this concept hard to grasp?

            • ninpou_kobanashi

              Normally, you can look at the field map at each setting [zoom, aperture] to see frame comparisons. The Tamron preview is just a preview though, so we have to wait a little bit for the full review.

              1: It’s amazing how people get really defensive about their brands.

              2: Competition is awesome for consumers – a better Tamron / Sigma / etc. is a GOOD thing.

              3: This is even coming from someone who stays away from 3rd party equipment in general.

            • Aldo

              agree on your 2… it will only push nikon to justify their price tags with even better quality optics in the future… as for your 1 i don’t swear by nikon. I can switch to canon tom if its better for what i do… look at this comparison though…. the dropout in sharpness as you fall off the frame is very significant …. especially if you photograph people. To me saying the tamron is sharper is like saying that a made up 2.2-4.5 variable f stop lens is faster than a 2.8 fixed

            • neonspark

              only you’re having so much trouble grasping the concept of an overall score. They’re not going to come up with different numbers for overall edge score, overall middle score and overall center score. you simply did not read. just accept it.

            • No longer Pablo Ricasso

              There is absolutely no way that the Sigma 50 f1.4 is sharper than the new Nikon 50 f1.4 overall. It is a bit less clear with these two lenses, buy only at the distance of the test target. At further distance the two are as far apart as night and day. This is from somebody who defends the validity of the test results, for what they are.

            • neonspark

              name ONE source which tests every lens at every distance from MFD to infinity? by your logic, then every test is invalid, every comparison rigged, and every opinion biased…including yours.

            • No longer Pablo Ricasso

              I don’t know why I’m wasting the time to answer but here goes. I believe that even Popular Photography gives a score for in the field that often contradicts the lab score. If I remember correctly, so does Photozone. A lot of people who write about lenses talk about the distances where they are or aren’t good. And I said that I defend the results FOR WHAT THEY ARE. I believe they are accurate in their measurement and objective in their approach. However, I also think that they got it wrong in this instance and clearly in the instance where they rated the Sigma 50 above the Nikon. There are two things wrong with the sharpness score. One is that it is apparent that the center takes all or nearly all of the priority. The other flaw is that only resolution is measured and not contrast.

            • No longer Pablo Ricasso

              The failure to include contrast allows some lenses that would seem very soft to most viewers to score well because someone can separate lines or line pairs when viewing the crappy image through a microscope. That only one focal distance is tested is really a minor point compared to the other two, but also allows people and methods that are much less scientific to have a leg up on DXO or any lab based score. But in the case of this lens it is a major issue because, from what I’ve seen it just plain falls apart at distances, and I’ll repeat that it is distance where I am expecting and needing the most from a zoom lens, especially a wide angle zoom. And I have a lot of Tamron and Sigma lenses, so I figure I can probably call it like I see it.

            • Aldo

              a rock has better chances of understanding…

            • Aldo

              Im still waiting for the charts you mentioned above where they take sharpness fallout into account….now you are saying “they will” come out. For a moment i thought you were looking at something i wasnt… but you turned out to be just another all talk no show of nikon rumors. And i do understand the concept of overall score…that is exactly my point in the first place… nikon is sharper overall throughout the frame. It is you who doesnt understand much it seems.

      • Micah Goldstein

        Just like reviews of the Sigma vs Nikon 50/1.4 lenses–the Sigma may be an imperceptible amount sharper in the center, but the Nikon is maddeningly sharp across the whole frame. And despite what anybody says, I like the bokeh on the Nikon just fine–the sigma is a little glowy and oniony.

        The bokeh on the Nikon 2.8 lenses is consistently awesome. And for me the speed makes a difference. I was negatively impressed at the AF speed of the Tamron 24-70 VC.

    • jake

      actually the Tamron build quite well , not quite up to the best of Nikon Canon standard, though.

      and the 70-200f2.8VCUSD is a better lens than the Nikon Canon 70-200f4 junks.
      but anyway, just get the 70-200f2.8VR2 Nikon lens and shun all other f4 or Sigma crappy lenses.
      at weddings or events , you need f2.8 , the f4 regardless of what DXO says cannot cut it there.

    • Rick

      Yeah I know shooters shouldnt care about that…but u do get clients who expect you to have the biggest gear than their guests if they are paying you thousands…most of them cant even tell the difference in pictures, but you have to make them “feel” they got their money’s worth…unfortunately. Not so much in engagements but more so in weddings, when Uncle Bob comes over and chat with you about their new D800s

      • Aldo

        only people with experience in this medium would sympathize with your comment… Some bird shooters here may fail to truly understand what kind of people one has to deal with in real world event photography.

        • neonspark

          yeah, dealing with photographers, man I rather deal with tax collectors, far more friendly.

        • Maddog

          As a bird shooter myself I get it…When I die and go to hell I will be assigned to shoot wedding photos of “BridezillaS”

          • Aldo


      • Fraucha

        But what if the bride looks like a pig?

        • Aldo

          lol… too funny. You have two options… go all out and make them look good in at least in a few shots using your experience… eg. use lens distortion to their advantage…. shoot from a higher angle to decrease double chins… don’t cast shadows or highlight features that make them look chunkier…USE NIKON LENSES :P, etc… Option number two: get drunk at the party and blame the bad pix on their looks.

          • You could use canons and bathe everything in yellow, watch as they blend into the wallpaper and join the herd of crap wedding photographers who don’t read this forum.

        • No longer Pablo Ricasso

          You could always try to make the best of it. Do like they did in the movie “Eight and a Half.”

          • Fraucha

            Or threat her like a landscape and do a pano.

            • Aldo

              in bikini right?

        • gnome j

          You use your widest fish-eye on them, it will distort them so much they may actually like it.

        • You get a 27″ mac to fit her on, and get creative turning her into how she wishes she looked. How many times have I cloned walls over the mother in laws bingo wings?

      • Stannis

        I totally understand where you’re coming from. In a way, this is marketing. You care about what your gear looks like for the same reason I whip out a MacBook Pro when presenting to clients even though I use a Windows rig to process all my photos.

      • Mansgame

        You show up to a $4000 wedding gig with a couple of D5000’s and see what happens.

        • John Baxter

          Who cares, you’re getting 4k

          • Pablo Ricasso

            You suddenly don’t anymore. And everything starts to be questioned and disputed. Been there, seen it…

        • Put them in some waterproof housings, paint it black, and it’ll look medium format.

      • One of my wedding photographic idols shoots with 35D and 85D… I almost fell off my chair when I knew, he doesn’t give a rats ass about what people think. He charges over 5000 a wedding.

        • My wedding was shot on a 35mm leica. I still feel gutted when I look at the pictures. Why didn’t I buy a pair when I was offered them for £300 in 1988.

      • In that case get yourself a plate camera and a magnesium powder flash. If you can develop a 16×16 daguerreotype you will be able to charge heaven and earth.

    • Mike

      No. If you’re confident in your wedding work, you have nothing to fear. Ever been on a highway onramp stuck behind ‘fast car’? Just because someone can afford the best doesn’t mean they know how to use it properly or get the most out of it. That guy at the church or reception with the Canikon 5D600 with 70-200 G/L Mk VR VI and on camera flash is still using on camera direct flash at ISO 200 indoors getting the dear in the headlight shot. While you have your Tamron lens on camera and 3 remote strobes set up to make your shot look Hollywood. Light and technique trump gear. Don’t worry how you look.

    • ace

      Stop worrying about what something looks like and more about what your doing. So what if a guest is carrying around a 5D 70-200, doesn’t mean he/she knows what their doing. And even if they do, guess what, your getting paid and their not. Stop thinking the equipment make the photos.

      • I actually prefer it when a guest has better gear than I do. When my shots turn out to be better than theirs do it is a clear example of the value of skill and experience, and those are two factors DXOmark cannot factor in.

    • Jonathan Ingram

      If you need to look pro with the Tamron just throw on Gary Fong Light-Sphere and your good to go!!! LOL. This will accomplish a few things: A). Detract all the attention from your lens onto your (now) ridiculous looking flash. B). Make half of the guests ask you what the hell it is.
      C). Solidify that you are the pro, even though it’s a cheap piece of plastic.

      • Det

        I don’t know where you come from, but a $150 replacement for a takeaway container doesn’t qualify as “cheap piece of plastic” here.

        • Jonathan Ingram

          Ha! good point. I meant cheap though, not inexpensive. It’s hard to swallow the price for such a simple piece of plastic. I actually think they are very useful in certain situations and it does look more pro than my house-hold Tupperware. You are right though, the mark-up is pretty high.

          • No, Get a clear rubber, inflate it and pull it over your flash. It gets all the guests laughing and you wont believe the reflection in their eyes. Bloody Amateurs.

      • Frank Enstein

        The Gary Fong dome is the single dumbest product ever created. What professional photographer would choose a light modifier that throws 50% of the available flash BEHIND them? Any good modifier at least sends the light TOWARD the subject ( and bounding off the ceiling to the subject) not BEHIND the photographer. Gary Fong’s design is lazy and dumb.

        When I see someone using one, I don’t think “professional” , I think: “There’s a person who doesn’t understand the laws of physics….or lighting…or…photography!”

        • but maybe u might want to look at it this way….
          A light modifier only throwing light out is always a small source of light.
          A ceiling bounce light is always though big coming from the top.
          To solve for light to fill in the underside shadows one may need another light source (eg in fashion shoot clam shell style).
          If you have had watch mcNally’s video of one light shoot, to make or get a bigger light source, he had his sb900 with diffuser dome aimed at the white wall behind him (not above). That is to get maximum sized light source.
          Definitely lost a lot of power but then you up your iso to compensate.

          WIth the GF design, I think that is what it is trying to achieve, in one single light modifier (IF the location permits).
          Front bit throws diffused light out,
          Upper section opened to use ceiling diffusion, or closed to limit light loss, or orange dome for warmer light,
          it being a bit blob adds to the need for it to be above your head to cast light back to a bright wall for bigger source and wrap light…

          Yes it still looks ugly 😛

          • You need to factor in the reflective index of the ceiling, it’s relative area given it is at 45 deg to the subject, that makes the effective are closest to the subject worth less than that at a less acute angle, apply the inverse square law and then realise, it would be easier to take a reading, point your primary flash at 45 deg to the ceiling, add +1/3 and rely on the small direct flash and TTL to do the rest. for high ceilings +1 on the top flash, fired straight up or slightly backwards…..
            Don’t photographers use maths any more?

    • I would be more worried about your results than looking Pro.

      Looks are not that important compared to good results!!

      I have used the Old Sigma 150mm Macro for years, I Picked it up used at FM.com for little over $500, it has paid for itself over 20 times!!

    • Yes it does sound shallow and stupid.

    • Rick

      Well I guess in short, for 1 doxmark less, the nikkor has a lot of benefits which many will want to keep vs the tamron. The faster AF, the better durability/built, better looking and perhaps better sharpness across the frame or the quality of the bokeh. The 24-70 has been a great workhorse lens

  • Bernhard Sperling

    In terms of Image Quality the Nikon 70-200 VR II is King. I shoot a wide range of lenses and it never disappoints in that respect.

    The disadvantages it has for me are all in handling. Its near limit does not allow really tight head shots, which I would expect from a 200 lens. The strong focus breezing does not help in this respect either and even with the 1.4 tele-converter the magnification is not really satisfactory at near distance. It is also next to unusable with an extension ring.

    So I have to use other lenses for the really tight headshots.

    • AM

      I own the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II but mine doesn’t have focus breezing. I admit that I would love to have it, especially on those hot days that a little bit of breeze out of the lens will be great for cooling off.

      • Drazen B

        You must have missed then the special edition 70-200 f/2.8 VRII with camel-colour paint?

  • jon

    I tried the Tamron 24-70, great for video, but in photos it has distinct onion skin brokeh, not very attractive, and not covered by this review.

    • simba

      I found the same comments in Amazon’s reviews.

  • Rodney

    In the end, it all comes down to preference. Try them both. They came out with great scores! There’s no doubt Tamron can manufacture quality glass. IMO, despite the score Tamron has over the Nikon, I would still wait and save for the extra $600+ and get the Nikon.

  • neonspark

    No 800mm FL!!!! How can they call thus a test!!! We’re not photographers but measurebators. DXO blows.

  • paparotz

    Whats up With the chro charts on the 24-70 lenses? looks like the Nik 24-70 was not measured.

  • jake

    well, DXO proved it itself , the lens test they do is really useless.

    the f4 70-200mmVR is sharper than the f2.8VR2 ?

    give me a break , I have both and the VR2 f2.8 is a much sharper lens and in fact even the Tamron 70-200f2.8VC USD beats the cheap made-in-laos f4 VR 70-200mm lens.

    I do think DXO sensor test is meaningful and mostly correct but DXO lens mark test is just plain stupid ,useless read.

    • xjxjxjxjxj

      maybe your 70-200/4 is a dud?

    • neonspark

      two possibilities
      1) you don’t have a clue hot to test a lens
      2) you have an underperforming lens.

    • babola

      Jake, I own both f/2.8 and f/4 variants. My observation so far is quite the opposite to yours. There are still areas at which f/2.8 shines and is a better option than f/4, but the f/4 beats the f/2.8 in other ‘departments’.

      It’s pretty much a balancing act, that’s why I decided to keep both.

      • Aldo

        may I borrow the one you are not using?

  • Michael Hesley

    Guess I should sell my Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8 to the lowest bidder, since it’s such a piece of crap. Kidding. Actually, its my workhorse and the sharpest zoom I’ve ever had.

    I don’t doubt the comparison, but I do want a lens that handles constant use, and abuse. My experience with Tamron (I’ve had some) lenses is that they aren’t very durable. Besides the big “N” on the Nikon, I love the autofocus with my D800 and D700!

    Most of our customers won’t notice the difference in picture quality, anyway. So, I’d go for the durability and obvious (not) low picture quality of the Nikon. 😉

    • Aldo

      better over all sharpness… faster af… tank-like built quality… who needs those things right ?

      • No longer Pablo Ricasso

        Well I kind of like COLOR. Or maybe some people would call that contrast. And some people like the bokeh to be smooth. You should look at the bits of photos in the latter part of that review that I just linked. My take is better sharpness in most any instance where you would want to use a zoom, among other things. I don’t use a zoom to shoot things only a few feet away unless I have to because I can move forward or backward easier than I can work the lens ring. I use a zoom for obtaining the perfect crop BEFORE I press the shutter release, when walking isn’t an option, like when I’m in a hurry sometimes, but mainly when I’m shooting things at great DISTANCE or from behind a barrier. I wouldn’t give up near infinity performance for a bit of close up performance. That’s what portrait lenses are for. That’s what macros are for. Even within the range of the test charts, I think most people would choose the Nikon if they were looking at actual photos, because of the other factors.

        • Aldo

          so many mixed reviews and opinions… this makes it difficult when buying gear. There should be an app that asks you a few things about what you plan to do with your gear and then give you an educated guess on what’s best for you.

          • No longer Pablo Ricasso

            It is much like my 20-40 tamron that I have several of. That lens was probably one of the first zooms to focus as close as it does and apparently the sharpest at it’s time. It also has almost no distortion and focuses quickly and accurately. Despite all that I sold my first copy and for less than 200 bucks. Half the time I used it the colors would just kind of blend together. I mean, you could see them if you looked hard enough with a magnifying glass. You could see the detail that was actually there if you stared long enough. And maybe a bit more detail than any other zoom. About as much as a prime and not just smack in the center but most of the way into the corners. On a good day.

            On a bad day the image would just suck. Take pictures of the sky to take in all the details of the clouds and get back GRAY. They tell me it is because the lens flares a lot. Not the kind of flare that makes cool/annoying artifacts all across your picture. The kind that you can hardly notice that takes a bright colorful picture with all the texture you want and make it dull and lifeless and flat and boring. This is typically what people are describing when they talk about muddy Tamron colors. The lenses are so prone to flare that you really have no idea how your shot is going to look when you are shooting. On a perfect day the colors are basically indistinguishable from the excellent colors of the 35-70 f2.8 I carried with it, which are basically indistinguishable from the primes.

            I bought two copies and another for the Minolta system after realizing I really needed auto focus if I was going digital and contemplating the size, cost, and build quality of the primes in comparison to the AI/S that I had, and trying the other cheap alternatives like the Sigma 21-35 and the Tokina 20-35. Compared to them the images leap off the page with the Tamron 20-40. I also knew that I could recover much of what was lost with post processing. But if you’re shooting film and not using the $$$$ processing then you are going to be sorry sorry sorry that you could not afford a Nikon lens for the focal length. What it had in it’s favor was that it was going to replace a 20, a 24, and 28 lens for a bit less than any of them alone, and about as small as any one of them, focusing nearly as close. I thought also, that with digital I could afford to lose a lot of shots since I wasn’t doing it for a living.

            I believe that this is a newer iteration of the same concept. It might do well in a church or some other controlled environment where the light is dictated by the flash on the camera and without ambient light going everywhere. But you take it outside and in all kinds of conditions and consider your portion of “keepers” it isn’t as much a bargain. If I brought such a lens to somewhere I was being paid I would feel like I was getting over on people. But I wouldn’t knock the build quality. My friend dropped one (20-40) so hard it gouged out a big chunk from the metal barrel and it works fine. You’d have to see the lens to appreciate how much impact it took. Still sharper than anything else he can afford in that range for his plastic Canon. A great one at night with or without flash. But not outside in the daylight, or at least not on some days, and for me that’s what a zoom is for.

    • neonspark

      only if you’re the typical insecure photographer that must feel the need to justify his gear to his peers based on review links…or when their gear doesn’t score top marks, feels they need to still justify it.

      • genotypewriter

        You pissing up the wind, sparky…once again.

        Michael is right and makes a good point, a point of a shooter having to rely on his mid-zoom workhorse. Would you trust Tamron or Sigma there?

        I didn’t think so. So go away and hide somewhere.

        • Pablo Ricasso

          A little abrasive reply…;-)….but I do have to agree with you.

        • neonspark

          see, you’re the typical insecure photographer right there. then again, your lack of photography knowledge has always been demonstrated on every post you’ve done. this is yet again no different.

        • Aldo

          lol sparky

    • No longer Pablo Ricasso

      You might look at the review provided by Brian Rudolf, http://www.cameralabs.com/revi
      I did and it explained a lot of things. My opinion after reading the review is that the Tamron lens, while good, is better used for things you would ordinarily use a prime lens for. Nikon makes plenty of prime lenses and they are really really good. Neither zoom will compare with them. I don’t know if Tamron makes any primes in the range of that zoom, so that may explain why the zoom appears to be optimized for close range and, therefore, test charts. The last section of the review shows some crops from what I could best describe as “landscape” and I believe that viewing these portions of photographs will tell you everything you need to know about the two lenses.

    • NRA Advocate

      The reason off-brand lenses cost less is not necessarily because they are inferior optically, but because nine times out of ten they are inferior mechanically. Build quality and durability on Nikon pro glass will blow the doors off anything from Sigma or Tamron (or anyone else).

      That’s how Sigma and Tamron can sell these lenses for less.

      Buy the cheaper lens today…and just end up paying more down the road.

      • Sahaja

        Nikon spend a lot more on marketing than 3rd party manufacturers – they put that into the cost too.

        Comparative repair figures from someone like Lens-Rentals would be a good way of judging durability.

  • bossa

    Camera Labs found that whilst the Tamron won the charts (up close) test the Nikon was far better out in the field: http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_vs_Tamron_24-70mm_comparison/

    • NRA Advocate

      Not surprised.

      Off-brand lenses are always a crapshoot, and future compatibility issues never guaranteed to the same extent.

      I avoid them. Period. Would rather save a little longer and get the best.

    • Aldo

      the nikon one is like 6 years old. When the new one comes out there will be no comparison I assure you.

  • Spy Black

    I don’t doubt Tamron makes some nice lenses, but I bought that 24-70 when I bought my D600 because I wanted to have the stabilization. Now, I may have gotten a bad sample, but the Tamron, while wonderfully built, was optically dismal. I was quite surprised at this, as I had heard good things about it.

    It wasn’t bad at 50-70mm, albeit a bit flat, but at 24mm it was totally hideous. I returned the lens and in the interim I picked up an old plastic 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 Nikkor, and that little bugger blew the doors off the Tamron at the wide end, and more or less matched it at the long end. Have a look at the lenses at their widest with the Tamron having a one stop advantage over the Nikkor:
    Mind you, the Tamron has an additional advantage bright contrasty lighting, no less. Now as I said, it could have been a bad sample, and it’s too bad really because the Tamron was a really nice lens otherwise, but for $1400 (total price with tax) this was totally unacceptable performance.

    I still have the little plastic Nikkor 😉

    • Aldo

      the bad edges are consistent with other tests… also think about the gradual drop of sharpness throughout the frame… you know, the parts you cant tell as much. The only clear advantage of the tamron is the VC, which for some people it is clearly a better choice than the nikon equivalent. I will need something like the tamron for video… I hope nikon comes up with the 24-70 VR by then.

  • Mansgame

    I looked very closely at the Tamron when it was released and the VC and price made it VERY tempting, especially given the D600, and D800’s video capabilities, but went with the bundle deal and got the Nikkor because the lens doesn’t extend out as much so there is less chance for dust to get in, it looks better built, and the bokeh is much better than the Tamron – at least in the sample pics I saw. Tamron has a weird doughnut bokeh.

  • Now they can go ahead and revise their best lenses article.

  • Drazen B

    AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II has no significant weaknesses and is the
    best zoom lens you can mount on a Nikon Full Frame body..”

    It’s music to our ears for the owners of this lens, but we already knew that, right?


    • Pablo Ricasso

      Oh yes!

    • JakeB

      We sure did…no need to state the obvious 😉

  • Chad

    I have both the Nikon and tamrom 24-70. From personal tests of 100% crops throughout. I found the Nikon to be sharper. Also it has more contrast and less of the whitish cast you get on the tamron – from the nano coating i assume. I felt the Nikon was the better performer.

  • doytol

    DxO Mark trolling us again? Enough of your nonsense. It needs not even be posted.

  • Bugs Bunni


    The DxOMark Score for the Tamron lense ist 29 not 26.

    The “DxOMark test” is not profesional. Shit advertising!

    • kakadoo

      Drop that crack…

      • Roland Patterson


  • Martijn

    i’d love them to test the 80-200 Af-S version. Just to see how much the sharpness has improved over the last 20 years. ofcourse you have no VR, but just curious about the lens optical quality

  • Jekyll

    I recently bought this lens to couple it with my D600. I am an amateur photographer, and confirm that this lens produces amazing pictures. So far I can only compare it to my “old” Nikon 35-70 mm, however I am pleased with the results, price (849 €) and 5 years warranty granted by Tamron.

    • No longer Pablo Ricasso

      Have you ever put them on a tripod and shot them side by side?
      I’d like to know how they compare. That’s one of my favorite lenses.

      • jekyll

        No sorry I haven’t. I had to get rid of my 35-70 mm because of fungus last week. That was the reason to get the Tamron 24-70 mm in the first place :o(

        • No longer Pablo Ricasso

          Well you can get another one for small change anytime. Mine both made landscape type shots that were virtually indistinguishable from either of my 35 f1.4 lenses and they exceeded the ability of the old style 50 f1.4 that was the only Nikon 50 I had at the time. That’s sharpness at max aperture. As for distortion it was superior to either at any distance. The macro function also allowed me to get closer than with either lens. My experience tells me that the 35 f2AIS (and not the AI or before) may be a bit crisper than the f1.4 lens and I know that there are and were many 50 mm lenses that were and are better than what I had, but I still say that is one hell of a lens and nice and small too. The 28-70 and 24-70 are twice as big and at least twice as costly. They also distort like crazy at the wide end.

  • We’ve published similar results on Fstoppers and I can honestly say last year and now this year the camera I reach for is a d600 or d800 with my tamron lens on it. I now give my Nikkor 24-70 to my assistants to shoot with. Still think the 70-200 is the best telephoto but the Tamron 24-70 is a really nice lens to work with. If you shoot video at weddings it’s a no brainer with the VC….when will nikon put VR in their 24-70 2.8?

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  • Chiththaka

    As per DXOMark, Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 vc is better in optics than both equivalent Nikkor or Cannon…!!

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