Nikon 200-500 vs Tamron 150-600

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The Nikon 200 500 and the Tamron 150 600 are both quality telephoto zoom lenses designed to meet your far-away photography needs. However, you might need to decide on Nikon 200 500 vs. Tamron 150 600. Which is better? Well, let’s help you find an answer.

Nikon 200 500 vs Tamron 150 600 Overview

The Tamron and Nikon are both quality lenses worth adding to your gear list because they are one of the best budget-friendly lenses for wildlife photography. However, understanding the ups and downsides of each lens under different conditions will go a long way in determining which lens best suits you.

An image of Tamron telephoto lens

Nikon 200 500 Overview

For a zoom lens at 500mm, the Nikon is incredibly sharp, and it takes shots with a quality closer to that of a prime lens. It features three low divergence glass components used for the optical design to minimize distortions and improve its sharpness and color accuracy.

This lens offers a pretty solid zooming angle to take most of your wildlife shots at a better magnification. It also covers a broad zoom range and is characterized by a constant f/5.6 maximum aperture that allows you to take consistent shots at different ranges.

Another factor that contributes to the overall image quality is the built-in coating that helps to increase the image’s contrast and clarity by minimizing flare, ghosting, and internal reflections. This makes the Nikon ideal for shooting under strong lighting conditions.

Tamron 150 600 Overview

The Tamron is a long-reaching zoom lens that can serve as both a telephoto and a super-telephoto lens. It features an improved optical design combining three low dispersion (LD) glass components to eliminate chromatic aberrations and color fringing over the zoom range.

The lens also possesses an improved optical construction (consisting of 21 elements organized into 13 groups). As a result, the lens can produce images with a high resolution, enhanced sharpness, and overall increased performance.

This lens is ideal for many forms of field photography because of its tightly sealed and moisture-resistant construction. Additionally, a fluorine coating has been applied to the front lens element to provide additional protection against dust, dirt, and smearing.

Comparing Nikon 200 500 and Tamron 150 600

These two lenses provide several functions that can not be easily ignored. However, when it comes to certain conditions, one tends to outperform the other. Let’s discuss the similarities and differences between both lenses:


When it comes to aperture, both lenses are on a different level; the Nikon 200 has a fixed maximum aperture, while the Tamron has a variable maximum aperture. This difference in aperture is one of the significant distinguishing factors between them. What does this mean, actually?

Fixed aperture zooms have always been faster and sharper than zooms with variable apertures. However, for most recent lenses, that’s not quite the case. The Nikon at f/5.6 and maximum zoom is only 1/3 stop faster than the Tamron. Not that fast, after all.

The fixed aperture of the Nikon does not have that much of an advantage over Tamron’s variable lens. While shooting at a wide-angle, the latter is quite faster compared to the former. When comparing the aperture of both lenses, they are not that wide apart.


Talking about autofocus, the Tamron has more edge over the Nikon. The former has a faster and more accurate focus compared to the latter. While the latter struggles with focusing on moving objects or objects in low light conditions, the Tamron lens does this efficiently.

A close-up image of telephoto lens

Sharpness/Image Quality

The Nikon and Tamron are versatile lenses that produce fairly good sharpness and quality images.

Starting at 200mm, the Nikon lens produces very sharp images and is at its optimal performance. However, the image quality reduces as you get closer to the long end of the zoom range. The lens does not deliver much at 500mm, just like other telephoto zoom lenses.

Tamron is the sharpest at the center of the frame when the aperture is wide open and at all focal lengths up to 500mm. When the aperture is wide open, the results at 150mm and 200mm are slightly soft in the middle and edges of the image.

Image Stabilization

The two lenses can be used to capture fast-action moments either in sports or wildlife photography. As a result, it is essential to consider how both lenses stabilize images during shots.

Because the Nikon lens has a slow aperture and a long focal length, it needs a sound image stabilization system to shoot it hand-held. There are two modes of stabilization: “Normal” and “Sport”. The Normal mode is intended for use with stationary subjects, while “Sport” is made for moving targets.

Tamron’s lens has a vibration correction, making it much more versatile and improving the image quality. Three other vibration correction modes can be used for different types of shooting. As a result, it worked up to 1/125 sec ( which is two stops).

Lens Design

Since the Tamron and Nikon are telephoto lenses, they are suitable for long-distance outdoor shots. Due to this reason, the lens design is a pretty notable factor that should not be overlooked. Both lenses operate on a push-pull system and zoom in by adjusting the lens barrel.

The Nikon is a pretty large lens, given its wide focal length range. It measures 10.5 by 4.25 inches in size (HD). The focus ring comes in textured rubber between the switches and the locking system. Although it comes in a plastic barrel, it is pretty solid.

The Tamron is 10.2 inches long and 4.3 inches wide and weighs 4.4 pounds, which is ideal for most wildlife photographers. The manual focus ring and the zoom ring have a textured rubber covering, and the barrel has an exposed metal surface.

When to Use Nikon 200 500

The Nikon 200 is one of this range’s best telephoto zoom lenses. It is suitable for different long-distant wildlife shots due to its minimum focusing distance of 2.2 meters. It doesn’t have a pretty fast focus, so it is more compatible for shots with less rapid action.

When to Use Tamron 150 600

The Tamron is most suitable for taking rapid-action shots due to the faster focusing speed and the performance of its autofocus. It offers a wide range of shooting angles for wildlife and sports photography. The Tamron is an ideal lens for shooting moving subjects.

An image of Tamron lens

Which Lens Is Better?

Both lenses let you take quality shots of far-away objects without any hassle and they deliver some pretty stunning shots for a telephoto lens in the 500-600 range. Even though both lenses are neck to neck in terms of their performance, one outperforms the other slightly.

The Tamron 150 600 is slightly better than the Nikon 200 500 when it comes to long distant shots. It focuses slightly more accurately than the Tamron. Although not as sharp as the Nikon in some cases, it still takes better quality shots under different conditions.

On top of that, the Tamron comes in a portable size, making it relatively easier for most wildlife and sports photographers to handle. In terms of all-around performance and accuracy, the Tamron is better compared to Nikon.

What are some other key features of the Tamron?

  • A metal mount is included with the Tamron.
  • Zooming in or out, the Tamron reveals rotation of the front element.
  • The Tamron has incorporated outer protection that keeps it dust and weatherproof.

Final Verdict

Neither of the lenses compared above can be easily ignored while discussing telephoto zoom lenses. Their sharpness, focusing ability, image stabilization, and other features make them undoubtedly worth considering. They both enhance your camera’s performance and produce quality shots under varying conditions.