Nikon Z 100 400mm f45 56 S vs Tamron 70 300mm f45 63
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Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S vs Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3

Partly for enjoyable – and partly to see for those who get what you pay for – I needed to match two somewhat totally different telephoto zooms in the present day. One in all them is amongst Nikon’s most coveted skilled lenses, the Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S; the opposite is a third-party optic that prices about 1/3 as a lot, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3. Which lens wins? Nicely, that’s not going to be a shock, it’s the Nikon. However by how a lot? That’s what I’ll cowl under!

Focal Size (and Associated Concerns)

Beginning with the apparent, these two lenses have totally different focal size ranges and totally different most aperture values at every focal size. For many photographers, reaching to 400mm on the lengthy finish will likely be extra useful than reaching to 70mm on the huge finish, particularly if in case you have different lenses that already cowl 70mm.

When it comes to most aperture, the Nikon lens has a few 1/3-stop benefit at 100mm and a few 1/2-stop benefit at 300mm. It’s nothing main, however nonetheless a win for the Nikon lens. You may as well add a teleconverter to the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S to increase your attain, whereas the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 is incompatible with Nikon’s teleconverters.

Lastly, the Nikon Z lens has vibration discount built-in, whereas the Tamron doesn’t. That’s not an enormous adverse for Tamron as long as your camera has in-body picture stabilization. Nevertheless, for those who intend to make use of this lens with any Nikon Z camera with out IBIS, you’ll be a lot better off with the Nikon Z 100-400mm.

NIKON Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S @ 320mm, ISO 800, 1/1250, f/5.3
NIKON Z 7 + TAMRON 70-300mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD A047Z @ 70mm, ISO 64, 1/13, f/5.6

Dimension and Weight

Unsurprisingly, the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S is a a lot bigger and heavier lens than the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3. Nevertheless, till you’ve held each of those lenses, the diploma of distinction could be obscure.

I’ll put it this manner – even with its tripod collar eliminated, the Nikon lens is 2.5 occasions as heavy because the Tamron lens. And the scale distinction feels even better. Right here’s a tough comparability, to scale, of each lenses:

Nikon 100-400 f4.5-5.6 S versus Tamron 70-300mm f4.5-6.3 Size Comparison to Scale

After I was testing these two lenses within the area, the Tamron was straightforward to throw in my backpack (or simply handhold) with barely a second thought. As for the Nikon lens, it’s not prefer it stayed in my bag the entire time, however carrying it round all day was rather a lot more durable. You don’t want a tripod whenever you’re utilizing the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S, however you’ll most likely need one.

Some photographers might want the reassuring heft of the Nikon lens over the light-weight really feel of the Tamron, but when I needed to convey both lens on a protracted hike, I do know which one I’d attain for.

NIKON Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S @ 175mm, ISO 64, 1/125, f/7.1
NIKON Z 7 + TAMRON 70-300mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD A047Z @ 198mm, ISO 64, 1/400, f/6.3

Construct and Dealing with

There’s no contest right here – the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S is a pro-level lens with glorious construct high quality and dealing with options. I used to be truly impressed by the Tamron lens’s construct high quality and weatherproofing, however by way of dealing with, it’s horrible by comparability.

The Nikon Z 100-400mm has a mess of buttons and switches – two operate buttons, an additional management ring, a spotlight limiter, an illuminated show, and an A-M change. The aspect of the lens seems to be like this:

Nikon Z 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR S
The Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S

In the meantime, the Tamron lens doesn’t have any buttons or switches in any respect – not even an A-M change. There’s simply the same old focus and zoom rings. It feels decidedly shopper by comparability. After all, that’s a part of how Tamron bought the burden and worth down, so some photographers received’t care a method or one other.

Each lenses do prolong when zoomed, with a single barrel telescoping design. This isn’t perfect for working in wet or dusty situations, however the climate sealing on each lenses by no means gave me any issues even in harsh climate.

The Tamron lens at 70mm and 300mm
Nikon Z 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR S size at 100mm and 400mm
The Nikon lens at 100mm and 400mm

Picture High quality

1. Distortion

Telephoto lenses aren’t recognized for having excessive ranges of distortion, however the Tamron lens does get greater than I’d wish to see. Listed below are my distortion measurements for each lenses:



The Nikon lens maxes out at 1.95% pincushion distortion, whereas the Tamron lens reaches as excessive as 3.14% pincushion distortion. That is often straightforward to appropriate in post-processing regardless, but it surely’s nonetheless a win within the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6’s column.

Lateral Chromatic Aberration

Neither lens has excessive ranges of chromatic aberration on the wider focal lengths. Sadly, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 jumps sharply in CA at 300mm. Listed below are the total charts:



Each lenses obtain excellent efficiency ranges within the shared vary from 100-200mm. I’m unsure why the Tamron lens spikes so excessive at 300mm by comparability. In the meantime, the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S has its personal spike at 400mm, but it surely’s nonetheless lower than the Tamron. Including a teleconverter to the Nikon 100-400mm will increase chromatic aberration additional, unsurprisingly.

3. Vignetting

Now let’s check out vignetting – one other space the place the Nikon Z lens comes out forward:



I wouldn’t name the variations placing, however they positively favor the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 over the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3. At 100mm, huge open, it’s a few 0.3-stop distinction. That distinction jumps to about 0.4 stops at 200mm and 0.5 stops at 300mm.

4. Sharpness

Now for the actual enjoyable! Does the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 proceed its successful streak by being sharper? In a phrase, sure.

Right here’s 100mm, the primary shared focal size of those two lenses:



This actually isn’t any contest, no matter the place you look within the body. The Nikon Z lens is far sharper at 100mm, from the middle to the corners. It’s not that the Tamron lens is unhealthy (though its corners aren’t nice at 100mm) – it’s extra that the Nikon lens is unusually good. The variations slim a bit, however by no means equalize, at f/11 and f/16.

Now for 200mm:



This time, the Tamron lens’s corners have improved considerably, whereas the Nikon 100-400mm isn’t fairly as sharp because it was at 100mm. However that’s not sufficient to alter the story; the Nikon lens is forward at each aperture and portion of the body.

Lastly, right here’s 300mm:



When you’ve learn my Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S evaluate, chances are you’ll recall that it weakens a bit in sharpness on the longer focal lengths. The Tamron additionally maintains excellent efficiency at 300mm, in contrast to loads of third-party lenses. Even so, the Nikon lens is considerably sharper wide-open, and it’s sharper within the corners at each aperture. On the narrower apertures, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 does handle barely higher central and midframe efficiency.

General, I feel the reply is fairly clear – you do get what you pay for with a pro-level Nikon Z lens. The Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S is a vastly sharper lens than the Tamron at 100mm and 200mm, and it’s nonetheless the higher performer at 300mm (though much less dramatically). The Nikon lens additionally comes out forward in distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberration. It’s merely a better-corrected lens, accurately for the worth and weight.


These two lenses reside in very totally different worlds. Frankly, it’s unfair of me to match them underneath a microscope optically, with the $700 Tamron doomed to lose to the $2700 Nikon S-line lens.

However seeing the variations like this side-by-side permits you to get a great sense of every lens’s worth. When you’re on a finances, I might get the Tamron, no contest. The identical is true for any light-weight conditions. As a panorama photographer who likes to hike lengthy distances, the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 is instantly interesting as a result of it nonetheless manages strong efficiency with out breaking my again. With Tamron’s typical $100-off sale, it makes for an excellent worth.

Nonetheless, contemplating the Nikon’s spectacular efficiency (and 400mm capabilities), it’s additionally a great worth. They’re simply made for various audiences. Skilled photographers who need glorious efficiency and most versatility, even on the expense of weight and worth, can’t go unsuitable with the Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S.

You possibly can examine the present costs, and assist my testing efforts at Photography Life, on the following B&H affiliate hyperlinks:

NIKON Z7 II + NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S @ 400mm, ISO 160, 1/400, f/5.6
NIKON Z 7 + TAMRON 70-300mm F/4.5-6.3 Di III RXD A047Z @ 300mm, ISO 100, 1/200, f/6.3


I hope this text helped you determine which one of many two lenses is best for you – or justify the acquisition of whichever one you have already got 🙂

The reality is that the Nikon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 is optically improbable, whereas the Tamron 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3 performs effectively for a lens that’s 1/3 the worth and fewer than 1/2 the burden. Despite the fact that this comparability has a transparent winner, neither lens is a nasty selection. They’re simply made for various photographers.

Let me know within the feedback if in case you have any questions on these two lenses, and I’ll do what I can to reply!

#Nikon #100400mm #f4.55.6 #Tamron #70300mm #f4.56.3

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