70-200mm Nikon VR II or Tamron G2 which to purchase

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to me a lot depends on if you think you might sell it
3rd party stuff takes a beating and used 3rd party is too risky for me whereas I'd buy Nikon used....stay away from VR1, it's out of service, and I bet VR2 is close behind
 
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I have the Tamron 70-200 G2. It’s a sharp lens (on the 24mp bodies I have owned, anyway) and generally well-behaved for less money than Nikon’s VRII or FL. Optically it is comparable to the VRII, and exhibits the same focus breathing. Some say it’s as sharp as the latest FL version from Nikon... The benefit of the G2 is that you can use Tamron’s dock to adjust AF tuning, although it is a lot of work it can help dial it in more than the in-body AF fine tune. The one thing I do not like about the G2 is that it can exhibit swirly out of focus areas under certain circumstances, a look that I do not like.
 
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This is like which road do I take. The one to the left or the right. Both lens have excellent reviews. This could possibly be the last lens I get. So I don't want to make a mistake. There was a photo of me taken recently with the VR II. It is so sharp and in focus that at 500% magnification I could still make out a hair on my nose. Lots of lens pixelate out around 200% magnification.
 
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This is like which road do I take. The one to the left or the right. Both lens have excellent reviews. This could possibly be the last lens I get. So I don't want to make a mistake. There was a photo of me taken recently with the VR II. It is so sharp and in focus that at 500% magnification I could still make out a hair on my nose. Lots of lens pixelate out around 200% magnification.
I doubt any of us could tell a side by side comparison of images taken, if you're gonna keep it get the Tamron
 
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This is like which road do I take. The one to the left or the right. Both lens have excellent reviews. This could possibly be the last lens I get. So I don't want to make a mistake. There was a photo of me taken recently with the VR II. It is so sharp and in focus that at 500% magnification I could still make out a hair on my nose. Lots of lens pixelate out around 200% magnification.
But do you enlarge the image that much that you can see the difference?
If your max image size is 8x10, you don't NEED the IQ that a 24x36 image would need.
And do you look at a print with a magnifier?

If you don't want to have buyers remorse, just get the Nikon.
Part of the cost, is to eliminate buyers remorse of buying the Tamron, then wishing you had bought the Nikon.

Then why not the even better (but more expensive) 70-200/2.8E FL ED VR ?

I see you have the D850, so you have the camera to make use of the best optics.

You said "This could possibly be the last lens I get." To me, that indicates age.
If so you might consider the lighter 70-200/4 lens, as I did. It is HALF the weight of the f/2.8 lens. That is important to me, when shooting for 4-6 hours.
The IQ is GOOD. When I put it on my D7200, the increased IQ felt like I had a new camera.
 
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I traded my VRII for original VC (I guess you could call it a G1). The VRII was better, but the G1 wasn't bad and the G2 is better than the G1. This was a backup for me, I used the Nikon f/4 as my primary 70-200 so for me the extra $$ I got selling the VRII and buying the G1 was worth it.

As others have mentioned, the Nikon will hold it's value better. You can get a used VRII for the same or less than a new G2 and the Nikon will probably stay pretty close to that value for several years. On the flip side, a new G2 will drop $300 as fast as a used car, but you can try and return it if needed and you get a warranty.

Another thing to consider is are you thinking of going mirrorless? I'm pretty sure most (all?) compatibility issues have been resolved, but I haven't really kept up with the details.
 
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The G2 needed a firmware update to work with the Z/FTZ, after updating it works as well as it ever did on a DSLR body.
 
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If you need f/2.8, the Tamron is really hard to beat. It is sharp, functions perfectly on DSLR and mirrorless. It is much less expensive than the OEM.

Otherwise, I’d definitely look at the smaller f/4 Tamron 70-210mm if you want a constant aperture.
If you don’t need constant f/4, then the Nikon 70-300E AF-P should be thrown into the consideration.

I’ve trusted and had zero issues with Tamron lenses. I’ve been using them since 2005 on my Nikon D50. Back then it was the old Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

Tamron 70-200 G2
https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157707603228765

Nikon 70-300 E AF-P
https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157698431202462
 
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I'd go used VRII, mainly due to the balance of performance and all-around compatibility. If you ever go mirrorless, you won't run into firmware issues, plus you can use it with AF film cameras, making it a bit more versatile than the E version. Also despite the chance the VRII not being serviceable in the future, Nikon probably sold so many 70-200mm VRII lenses, there should be various parts for years to come!
 
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Speaking of warranty, since you are in the US, make SURE that the lens is a US lens.
Nikon USA will not repair a non-US lens.
And with Nikon USA not selling spare parts to independent repair shops, that as an alternate will dry up.
 
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If you need f/2.8, the Tamron is really hard to beat. It is sharp, functions perfectly on DSLR and mirrorless. It is much less expensive than the OEM.

Otherwise, I’d definitely look at the smaller f/4 Tamron 70-210mm if you want a constant aperture.
If you don’t need constant f/4, then the Nikon 70-300E AF-P should be thrown into the consideration.

I’ve trusted and had zero issues with Tamron lenses. I’ve been using them since 2005 on my Nikon D50. Back then it was the old Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
I don't know the reveiew details of the Tamron 70-210/4, but I used it to shoot a soccer game, and operationally it was great.
I had my doubts about the forward position of the zoom ring, but dang, it worked well. I could easily hold the lens with my left hand, and work the zoom ring with my thumb/fingers. Call me a convert.
And the zoom being an internal zoom, the zoom ring was EASY to work with my fingers. This is critical for a forward positioned zoom ring.
 
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Here are comparison photos taken this morning. I tried to do as little processing as possible. The 70-200mm certainly has better color saturation. But sharpness to me was very close. I have a Tammy rented for next week. More comparisons then.
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