Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED vs Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
Let’s take a look at how the lens compares to the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC lens at various focal lengths from 24mm to 70mm. Here is 24mm:
As you can see, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G is significantly sharper in the center of the frame at 24mm, but visibly weaker in mid-frame and especially in the corners. Once again, this behavior comes from a very pronounced field curvature problem the lens exhibits. It is possible to get similar, if not better mid-frame and corner results compared to the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8, but at the expense of the center performance. The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8, on the other hand, does not have as much field curvature, although its overall performance is not stellar either.
Let’s take a look at what happens when both lenses are zoomed in to 35mm:
Although both lenses start out similarly in the center and the mid-frame, once stopped down to f/4, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G shines again in the center frame. This time, however, it is also demonstrating much better mid-frame and corner performance in comparison.
Now let’s see what happens when we zoom further to the 50mm focal length on both lenses:
The clear winner here is the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G, which shows excellent center, mid-frame and corner sharpness, especially when stopped down. The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 suffers quite a bit in the corners due to field curvature.
Lastly, here are both lenses at 70mm:
Here, we can see that the Tamron suffers greatly at anything beyond 50mm, showing very poor overall performance. The Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC produces different results across the frame depending on the target distance. At close distances, it seems to produce more or less even performance from the center to the corners, showing decent numbers. However, at long distances, especially closer to infinity, the lens shows rather poor performance from mid-frame to the edges of the frame (I noticed this behavior on multiple lens samples). Only at f/8 its corner performance gets marginally better – at the expense of the center frame. You can get sharper center performance by using live view with manual focusing, but the sharper the center, the worse the corners. Field curvature is very strong at the longest focal length on this lens, and sadly, it hurts the lens pretty much at all apertures.
It looks like the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC is optimized to yield the best performance at shorter focal lengths. Once zoomed in above the 50mm range, its performance decreases sharply, with Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G producing much more consistent results.
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G vs Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR
Let’s take a look at how Nikon’s pro-grade 24-70mm f/2.8G compares to its cheaper and lighter brother, the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR. Below is the comparison of the two lenses at 24mm:
Surprisingly, the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR is a very sharp lens wide open. As you can see, it is practically as sharp as the 24-70mm at f/4 in the center and its mid-frame and corner performance are quite good in comparison (thanks to much less field curvature). Both lenses do very similarly when stopped down, although the 24-120mm f/4G VR is better in the corners.
Let’s see what happens as we zoom both lenses to 35mm:
The 24-120mm f/4G VR starts out with better performance wide open. However, once stopped down to f/4 and smaller, the 24-70mm f/2.8G takes off, especially in the center.
What about 50mm?
The lenses certainly get worse at 50mm optically, but the 24-120mm f/4G VR still shows pretty impressive performance overall. It starts out about the same wide open and once stopped down, shows slightly worse corners.
The 24-120mm f/4G VR is known to suffer at longer focal lengths and it really shows here. Zoomed in to 70mm, its center performance takes a major hit at f/4. It certainly does get better when stopped down though – by f/5.6 it actually reaches solid resolution levels, surpassing the 24-70mm in the mid-frame. Stopped down to f/8, the Nikon 24-1200mm f/4G VR outperforms its big brother in the corners.
Overall, despite its cheaper build and slower maximum aperture, the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR delivers very impressive results when compared to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G. Being a newer lens, it was built to perform quite well with high-resolution cameras, which really shows here.
Table of Contents