There can be many reasons why same-as-camera-make lenses are not a perfect fit. Many times this can be down to budget, which is where third-party lenses come into play, specifically Tamron lenses for Nikon DSLRs. Tamron lenses, like the rest of the third-party market, are no longer second or third choices or even budget options, but viable alternatives as main-use, affordable lenses.
Many of the lenses below cover both the prime and zoom lens arena, ranging from the cheap to expensive, to fit all types of budgets. As many of the examples are quite affordable, they are within easy reach of the enthusiast photographer and are generally loaded with similar features to same-brand versions.
1. Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Overall Winner)
When there is such a wealth of high-quality glass to choose from both in the Tamron prime and zoom range, singling out one lens is tough. The reasons for picking the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 are not just because of the price point and quality of optics, but I also know a few professionals who have chosen this third party 70-200mm over the Nikon version (shock and horror) and are more than happy.
The 70-200mm is one of the most useful zoom lenses in the medium telephoto range, with this version being equally happy on both FX and DX formats, providing a 105-300mm focal length on the latter. The Tamron comes with a constant f/2.8 aperture, wrapped around one extra-low dispersion and five low dispersion elements, plus eBAND and BBAR coatings to reduce lens anomalies and to increase color and contrast.
The lens has an impressive five stops of compensation in the VC image stabilization system with three modes of use for general photography, panning shots, and at the point of capture. The whole lens is dust and moisture resistant and comes with a removable tripod collar, which is Arca-type compatible.
There’s no faulting the sharpness of this lens, even with the aperture wide open, with a natural degree of contrast and colors. There are a bunch of switches on the lens barrel for full control of operations, including a focus limiting switch, AF/MF, VC on and off, and one for the different stabilization modes.
In total, if you cannot quite stretch to the high price of the Nikon version, the Tamron is a lovely second option.
A 35mm prime lens is a great alternative to the standard 50mm, providing slightly wider-angle shots. The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD is everything you need at this focal length, with a generous f/1.4 aperture.
The optical arrangement consists of four low dispersion, three aspherical and BBAR-G2 coatings on all elements. The lens also has a respectable close focusing distance of 30cm, wrapped around a total weight of 805g.
The f/1.4 aperture is highly adept at producing wonderful bokeh and there are no complaints with the sharpness across the frame. The lens may seem initially expensive, but seeing as it is going up against far higher-priced versions, it’s very competitively priced.
General all-rounder zoom lenses are not just versatile, but they also save you from carting around a bunch of prime lenses when you want to travel light. The Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD is a cost-effective option, which also works well on the DX-format providing a very useful 52.5-225mm focal range.
The lens is wrapped around an optical arrangement of 19 elements in 14 groups, featuring BBAR coatings and a variable aperture of f/2.8-4. There’s also a Vibration Compensation system offering up to five stops of compensation, a Micro-Processing Unit for speedier workings, and a moisture-resistant lens barrel.
The lens provides plenty of detail and sharpness throughout the focal range, with the only immediate downside being the want for a constant f/2.8 aperture, rather than the variable f/2.8-4. However, unless you’re venturing into the lowest of light conditions, the lens is quite capable of shooting in most scenarios.
The Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD is just a touch over the standard 85mm focal length, which is considered a good option for portraits. What this lens does have is an additional macro mode, with a 3.5 stop Vibration Compensation system and nice included features such as a Focus Limiter switch.
Being a true macro lens, the optics provide a full-sized 1:1 maximum magnification and a close focusing distance of 30cm. This makes the lens not just adept at shooting the smallest of subjects, but it is also useful as a medium telephoto prime lens. The f/2.8 aperture works extremely well in low light conditions and produces a very pleasing bokeh, which is needed for a portrait-length lens.
A wide-angle zoom is usually in the top three choices of zooms, as it’s useful for anything from landscape to portrait shots.
The Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 Di OSD is wrapped around an optical arrangement of 15 elements in 10 groups, with a Broad-Band Anti-Reflection Coating and a fluorine coating on the front element to repel oil and water. Although the lens doesn’t have any form of image stabilization, it’s still quite adept at working in low-light conditions, providing plenty of definition and detail to all images.
For such a versatile wide-angle zoom lens, the Tamron is also very affordable, with enough image quality to last for years.
6. Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD (Budget Winner)
Just like the 35-150mm above, the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD covers a very wide focal range. In this case, has all the scope needed for shooting portraits, wildlife, events, or any type of action shot. This lens may have a smaller overall aperture than the offerings above, but it does feature Vibration Compensation with four stops of compensation for those low shutter speeds.
The build quality is very good on this lens and although it’s not fully weatherproofed, it’s still robust enough for general use. Although the lens may not have the ultimate resolving power of the prime lenses above, it’s still very good at producing high degrees of detail.
Considering the Tamron SP 70-300mm covers such a wide focal range, it has a lot to offer those who want a long-reaching lens for their Nikon DSLR at an affordable price point.
Selecting the Best Tamron Lenses for Nikon DSLR Cameras
The above shortlist of Tamron lenses for Nikon DSLR cameras should cover the most useful of focal lengths with helpful additions such as image stabilization. More than anything, what Tamron lenses can provide is great quality optics at an affordable price.
As originally stated, Tamron can easily be a first-choice option in all focal length categories. Plus, the appealing price point will leave you money to spare for a bunch of other camera goodies.