Nikkor 200 f4 AF vs Tamron 180 Di

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by Flew, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    OK, let me say from the start that this is a field evaluation, not a rigorous test (otherwise, Bjorn will whack me across the knuckles ;-)). I will also state up front the the Nikkor 200 is a sharper, more solidly built lens.

    So how did the Tamron 180 fare in this comparison? Very, very well IMO. While the Nikkor is clearly better, actual results are much more dependent on proper technique, and such factors as user focus accuracy, steadiness, and lighting and wind strength at the moment of the shot than the inherent advantages of one lens or the other.

    Note that most of these were shot at f22, and have been cropped only slightly for composition. Also note that the framing of these shots was more intended to provide a good comparison of these lenses than as artistic compositions. I tried to be very conservative with USM settings. The cam was my D2H, and I used the SB-800 on all.

    I have tried to rate each lens in areas that are important to me as a beginner macro shooter. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being better than 1), here is what I observed:

    Sharpness
    Nikkor - 10
    Tamron - 9

    Contrast

    Nikkor - 9
    Tamron - 9

    Reproduction Ratio
    Nikkor - 10 (1:1)
    Tamron - 10 (1:1)

    Working Distance
    Nikkor - 10
    Tamron - 10

    Ease of Focus
    Nikkor - 10
    Tamron - 9

    Ability to get close
    Nikkor - 10
    Tamron - 10++

    Value
    Nikkor - 9
    Tamron - 9+

    Here are some shots with each lens.
    180:
    [​IMG]
    200:
    [​IMG]

    180 (the Nikkor 200 wouldn't focus this close):
    [​IMG]

    180:
    [​IMG]
    200:
    [​IMG]

    180:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I wish I could get the Nikkor, but for now, I'm going to be very happy with the Tamron. 8)
     
  2. Quite an extensive test, the 200 pictures look better maybe because the contrast that seem a little highier.
     
  3. Leigh

    Leigh

    Feb 19, 2005
    Alabama
    Even to an untrained eye (mine), I'm able to pick out some of the differences you are talking about. That said, I think you are still going to enjoy Crystall's lens as your own. Once I got into macro photography (w/my CP) I've seen things in the world I'm sorry I missed before. You'll find yourself stopping to look at a clump of dirt just to see if there's anything of interest to take a picture of. It's definitely a challenge, that's for sure. But I've seen your other work so I have no doubt you have the technical thing down....and I know your have a drive for the creative....so I think we better all just stand back to be blown out of the water. You are about to do some amazing new things with your camera and lenses. I can't wait to watch as it happens.
     
  4. Nice shots...!! You are going to like "macro" photography :)
     
  5. Frank
    Thanks fro sharing your evaluation of these two lens, I just cant justify the cost of the Nikkor for the amount of macro I would be doing I like the longer focal length of the Tamron 180 over the Tamron 90. Again thanks for this valuable info.
    BTW you will be blamed for my macro lens purchase... :lol:
     
  6. Excellent comparison images Frank. The only thing you failed to quantify was the resale value of the two lenses. Sometimes it's cheaper in the long run to go with Nikon. I say that after having all of my old film camera Nikon lenses snapped up on Ebay but still sitting on an old Pentax lens.
     
  7. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Thanks for the nice feedback everyone.

    Gordon,

    If I had to guess, I'd say that they are roughly equal with regard to resale value. Crystall is selling this one at about 70 - 75% of the new purchase price. Now that the 'new' is gone from it, I could probably sell it for about the same. I would guess that a used 200 Nikkor would sell for about the same percentage of the new price, and then maintain about the same resale value from that point on.

    If I had the $$, I'm sure that I would get the 200, being such a Nikon glass devotee. However, I'm not sure that I would enjoy using it as much. The Nikkor is great, but the Tamron will continue to focus well past the 1:1 distance (closer), and I find that I am often in that range. As a result, the Tamron is probably better for the type of shooting that I do. Time will tell of course. 8)
     
  8. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  9. Okay, now for my two cents. If I had it to do over again, I would probably not purchase the Tamron 180mm macro lens. Not because of its quality or price, but because the discontinued 70-180mm micro Nikkor more than adequately meets my needs based upon my style of photography.

    In my haste to build my kit, I purchased several lenses with duplicate focal length. :oops: Having sold the 180mm f/2.8 and this 180mm macro (right Frank?), I feel almost (LLD :twisted: ) comfortable with my kit and I am halfway to my goal of acquiring the Beast. As soon as my 17-55 sells, I am heading directly to Penn Camera to pick up the Beast! :twisted:
     
  10. Sounds like a good plan to me Crystall. You should have no trouble selling your 17-55mm lens as it is outstanding. That is my most used lens.
     
  11. Glad to hear that Gordon. Thank you.
     
  12. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Crystall,

    Please check your PM's.
     
  13. Frank,
    Life must be tough. Settling for the Tamron, when you would like the Nikon. Reminds of a friend who complained of having to drive a 2 year old Lexus. Hee hee. Anyway, you blew me away with all your photos. I think you'll be even happier with the 180 when you stop comparing it to the 200. Reminds of how I came to appreciate my wife. Whoops, I better stop before I get into trouble.......
    Muril
     
  14. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    Ok I have one question for you Frank, How did you get those bugs to sit still while you changed lens?
    Just wondering what the trick was..
    Nice comparison work.

    Dave
     
  15. Dave,

    That is the question of the week! How do they get those little guys to sit still?? :?: I feel like a track star when I try to compose a shot with the butterflies (even when they're feeding). :wink:
     
  16. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Muril, I hear you. Actually, I'm very happy with this lens. I did a bunch of research before deciding on it, so I have absolutely no regrets (actually, I'm thrilled to get such a good deal). Now I need to learn how to use the flash system like you do. I need to get my D70 fixed so that I can use it like you do yours. I enjoyed shooting with you Thursday. When are you going to get some of yours posted?

    Dave and Crystall, When I go to the butterfly house, I search until I find a subject bug that seems to be settled in, and then take shots from various angles (or in this case, with various lenses). Seems like in a 1 to 2 hour visit, I'll find at least one butterfly like this, and sometimes more. I'm not knowledgeable enough about insect behavior to know why certain ones do this, but they do. Sure makes shooting them easier. 8)
     
  17. Frank,
    Again, I am very impressed with your photos. It's not just the equipment. You have a good eye. I may pick out a few shots from our outings at the gardens and post them on the forum. Thanks for the encouragement to do so.

    Regards,
     
  18. obelix

    obelix

    714
    Mar 17, 2005
    Fremont, CA, USA
    Excellent choice. Great write up. I will look for one now
     
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