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Tamron 400/4 vs Nikkor 400/3.5

Max Salganik , Sep 11, 2006; 10:19 a.m.

I tried searching for this topic but didnt find any direct comparisons. Has anyone used both of these lenses? Im faced with the choice of getting the Nikkor (and possibly a 1.4tc) or being able to by the Tamron with a 1.4tc and probably having money left for a carbon fiber tripod and a bogen gimbal. If the nikkor is that much better in terms of IQ, Ill go for it but I want to hear people's experiences first... in particular Im interested in performance wide open... id be shooting a wide variety of subjects (on a 1.5x body) and I will be hiking (one of the reasons I had to part with my 400/2.8 a while back. If anyone has any direct comparison photos that would be even better. Thanks for your help! Max


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Grover Larkins , Sep 11, 2006; 05:02 p.m.

The Nikon 400mm f3.5 EDIF is a classic lens and one of the sharpest teles ever made. I had one for many many years and loved it -- it was the LAST lens I sold when moving to AF -- even the 600mm f4 went before it did.

The Tamron is so-so -- not as good as the Nikkor in terms of contrast and resolution -- I would not use it wide open with teleconverters.

Andrew Robertson , Sep 12, 2006; 01:56 a.m.

I know several people who kept their 400 f/3.5 lenses to this day because there really was no replacement offered for it an AF.

Max Salganik , Sep 12, 2006; 09:55 a.m.

OK....i was just looking around and found some reports of CA with the 400mm f3.5 on digital... is this really a bad problem...how bad... any experiences? Thanks!

Bob Atkins , Sep 14, 2006; 07:25 a.m.

George Lepp tested then about 20 years ago in his Natural Image newsletter.

I don't have it to hand right now, but I do remember that the 400/3.5 was the better lens.

CA isn't a function of the recording medium. Film or digital makes no difference. All lenses will show some CA and some digital sensors can show effects similar to CA.

I don't think there's any doubt that the Nikon 400/3.5 is a very good lens indeed.

W Kato , Sep 15, 2006; 12:36 p.m.

Here is a shot using an Oly e300, Tamron 400 and Olympus 1.4x converter, using only the very central part of the coverage of the Tamron. It's crunched down to maximum for downloading purposes but it's full size, no sharpening added. It's grainy bec it the nature of the DZ beast.


Greg Peters , Dec 01, 2006; 06:15 p.m.

I have the following in my hands now Tamron 400mm/4.0 Nikkor 400mm/3.5 Nikkor 500mm/4.0

I bought them all to try out... I plan on using them on a Canon 5D

Dilip Kumar , Jan 10, 2007; 03:09 a.m.

Hi Greg: Since I use tamron, interested to know how your tests worked out?

Pontus Gustavsson , Jan 18, 2007; 04:30 p.m.

I've used a 400mm f/3.5 on a digital camera with some success. Here's a cropped picture.

400mm f/3.5

Dilip Kumar , Jan 19, 2007; 06:05 a.m.

Nothing to complain in the image, is there? A baby wren, is it? Lovely! How did you attach the lens - the fully mechanical adapter or the dearer one with focus-confirm electrical contact?

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