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Tamron 17-50 vs Nikkor 17-55

Andrew Meszaros , Sep 15, 2010; 09:34 a.m.

On a DX Format camera, comparing the Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II VC LD Aspherical (IF) Lens to the Nikkor AF 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX, are these two lenses really so very different that anyone pursuing excellence (or at least not willing to compromise), should not even consider the Tamron?


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Matt Laur , Sep 15, 2010; 09:55 a.m.

Of course you should consider it. Probably the biggest difference is going to be in the ruggedness of the lenses. If you're out regularly working with the lens, and need it to work despite the knocking around and inevitable lumps, bumps, moist weather, etc. that heavier-duty use presents, then the Nikon lens is probably going to hold up better. For some shooting styles, the vibration control feature on the Tamron (which the Nikon doesn't have) may make a bigger difference than any other feature. After all, what good is the Nikon's stellar optics if you can't hold it still enough at the shutter speeds you use? If you can, handling them each in person will probably tell you more than anything else.

Hans Janssen , Sep 15, 2010; 10:11 a.m.

On the otherhand you can buy several Tamrons for the same price as the Nikkor. An other advantage of the Tamron is the weight, lack of. On a good body the AF speed is good, screw driver AF, much better as the motordriven newer and VC lens.

Matt Laur , Sep 15, 2010; 10:16 a.m.

If the solution to the Tamron being more fragile is to buy more than one, that only really helps if you take more than one with you. Any lens can fail in the field, obviously. But in practical terms the biggest problem with a failed lens is that it fails when you actually need to be using it.

Peter Hamm , Sep 15, 2010; 10:51 a.m.

Here's a good place to start.


John Deerfield , Sep 15, 2010; 11:26 a.m.

I have used the Nikon 17-55 for years. I love the lens so much that when my wife dropped it at a wedding I sent an assistant to get a replacement on the spot. I could tell you the exact frame she went back to shooting with the 17-55 (coming from a Tamron 28-105 back up). We also have the Tamron 17-50. I really, really wanted to like this lens. More so for budget events when I didn't want to bring out the big guns. But in all honesty, after having shot with the 17-55 all this time, I just don't care for the Tamron. Every time I bring it out I am disappointed. Now I suspect that if I hadn't shot thousands and thousands of frames with the Nikon 17-55, then I might not be so disappointed in the Tamron. But I have, so I am. It is a matter of you get what you pay for.

Nish Nishant , Sep 15, 2010; 11:43 a.m.

The Tamron has VR (VC), while Nikon is yet to release a VR version (assuming they ever will).

Michael Kohan , Sep 15, 2010; 12:16 p.m.

I have the Tamron VC version and find it to be excellent, fast, sharp, solid. I only handled the Nikon 17-55 in the store so have no other experience with it. I shoot lower light concerts and the VC sure does help.

Richard Snow , Sep 15, 2010; 02:54 p.m.

DISCLAIMER: I have no experience with the Tamron, only the Nikon.

Here's my thought: I've shot with the 17-55 for a few years now, first renting, then purchasing...

Since I've owned the lens, it rarely leaves the camera body. It's so versatile, sharp, and well built that I use it for nearly every type of shooting I do.


Mike Plavchak , Sep 15, 2010; 10:05 p.m.

I don't think there is that much if any IQ between the two. As far as build goes, the Nikon my be stronger, but I have the Tam 17-50. A few weeks ago after a high school sr shoot, I left it outside on a ledge 3 ft above the pavement. If was left out for a few days and rolled off the ledge hitting the pavement. Thinking I was going to have to file an insurance claim, I burshed the sand off and put it on and shot another session with no problems. There wasn't even a dent on the body, no damage at all. So I'm very happy with the build of the Tam and with it's IQ.

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