After several months of using the Tamron 18-270 PZD, I’m well aware of how a little care and attention can yield great results. Today I decided to see just how close I could get to replicating the results that I’ve come to expect from my macro lens, the Nikon 105mm VR.
Keep reading to see a comparison between the two.
My technique for this sort of thing is well rehearsed. I try to find an area with a fairly light backdrop, and overexpose the scene slightly. I use a tiny amount of flash to freeze any movement, as I find it’s best to work without a tripod to prevent scaring my subjects.
In order to get the maximum detail from the Tamron 18-270 PZD, I used a 36mm extension tube to get a little bit more magnification from a more modest focal length, which was as close to the 105mm VR as I could get (110mm from the EXIF data). The aperture was also a mid-range selection.
After taking a shot with the Tamron, I switched to the Nikon. Here are the results side-by-side:
If you really look hard, you can see the differences between the two. The Tamron is slightly softer as you get nearer the edges, which is more obvious in the tail of the damselfly. It’s not quite as sharp in general as the shot from the Nikon, but that’s a specialist tool. It won’t do wide-angle, and for distance work it won’t touch the range of the Tamron, even accounting for differences in resolution. Financially, both set-ups are about the same: the Tamron is around £500, with the extension tubes I use costing about £100 for a set of three. The Nikon is around £600. The Nikon is about twice as heavy as the Tamron, in a similar size. Most of the differences don’t show up until you get to at least A4 viewing scale.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my macro lens, and I wouldn’t be without it. But if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t see a difference in these two photos, then I’m pretty sure that the Tamron is all you’re ever going to need. You might have to work a little harder to get the results from it, but I think this proves that it can deliver.
*In case you’re still trying to figure it out, the Tamron image is the one on the right.