Tamron 70 200 G2 vs Nikon 70 200 Vrii: The Ultimate Comparison
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Tamron 70 200 G2 vs Nikon 70 200 Vrii: The Ultimate Comparison

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Lenses these days come at a variety of different standards and categories. Thus choosing between all of these options can get troublesome and without the right knowledge one can end up with the wrong type of lens.

A photographer’s needs and what they favor shooting comes into play when deciding between the prime, standard zoom, or the supreme telephoto lenses.

When talking about telephoto zoom lenses, the Tamron 70 200 G2 vs Nikon 70 200 Vrii are two of the most common lenses photographers like to use and tend to suggest in this category.

I’ll be doing a comparison of these lenses’ performance and the niceties the two bring to the table.

Tamron 70 200 G2 vs Nikon 70 200 Vrii: Quick comparison chart

Some key differences between Tamron 70 200 G2 vs Nikon 70 200 Vrii:

FeaturesTamron 70-200mmNikon 70-200mm
Lens typeTelephoto Zoom lensTelephoto Zoom lens
Focal range70-200mm70-200mm
Minimum Focus Distance95cm140cm
MountNikon FNikon F
Lens FormatFull-frameFull-frame
Optical design23 elements/17 groups21 elements/16 groups
Maximum image magnification0.16X0.12X
Weather SealingYesYes
Buying linkTamron 70 200Nikon 70 200
Release dateFebruary 2017July 2009

What are the Key Differences Between Tamron 70 200 G2 vs Nikon 70 200 Vrii?

Both lenses being telephoto zoom we can compare and evaluate the differences easily. What possibilities and complications come with purchasing one of the two lenses will be the main focus.


Right off the bat, there is a huge difference in the price of the two lenses.

The Tamron 70-200mm G2 is priced at only $1299 and to get the Nikon 70-200mm Vrii the expenditure will be $1955 which makes it a sub $2000 lens.

Spending the premium $2000 on a 200mm max focal length lens is not suggested as that price range is for the professional budget-oriented super-telephoto lenses that go beyond 200mm and up to 600mm.

So, the Tamron 70-200mm G2 demolishes the Nikon 70-200mm Vrii in the price perspective and can be crowned the budget king of telephoto lenses among the two.

Design, Build, and Buttons

The Tamron 70-200 G2 was released much later than the Nikon 70-200mm Vrii. Even though both lenses are built with magnesium alloy, the Tamron has a tad bit more sturdiness to it. The Tamron weighs lower than the Nikon lens but it feels heavier on hand just adding to its solidness.

Here are some images of how both the lenses look.

(source: Peacecamera)

The Tamron 70-200mm is a bit shorter and has a sleek minimalistic design and looks premium. It comes with an integrated Arca-swiss tripod mount that sits on the palm and doesn’t hurt to handhold for long sessions.

The Nikon 70-200mm is also a premium-looking lens with Nikon’s trademark gold-plated signature on it. It is also metal built considering it was released back in 2009. Nikon has never compromised when it comes to build quality.

Both lenses are weather sealed. Both have an internal zoom function so the barrel doesn’t extend on either. The only drawback is that the lenses have their zoom ring in the front which can be a bother when using manual focus and having to switch hand position constantly to change the focal length and focus point.

The Tamron has a dedicated focus mode button, a focus limiter, and two VC mode buttons which is their name for image stabilization. The buttons are square-shaped and switch modes easily when carried on a strap and bumped against the leg.

The Nikon also comes with 4 buttons. A focus mode, focus limiter, and two VR buttons. These buttons adapt to the old design and don’t easily switch modes.

Here are photos of the buttons of the lenses.

(source: MC Gray Photography)

The Tamron lens has a maximum image magnification of 0.16X and the Nikon’s is 0.12X.

The Tamron lens offers a minimum focus distance of 95cm but the Nikon can only do down to 140cm.

Both lenses look unique and well designed and well built. So the choice comes down to preference of looks and durability.

The two lenses offer similar results in terms of build quality. So there is no clear winner here.

In-hand Experience:

Both lenses were used to take sample photos of a nearby shop for comparison purposes. At first look, there is no difference in picture quality.

Let’s look at some comparisons of photos taken with both lenses.

(source: Peacecamera)

The pictures look almost identical at 70mm focal length. The overall sharpness of the lenses is hard to differentiate. Nikon has been known to produce excellent sharpness and Tamron can deliver and keep up with its Nikon counterpart.

Even at the focal length of 135mm, there is no significant difference between the two lenses.

Here is a demonstration.

(source: Peacecamera)

The Tamron seems to produce dull colors in the background while the Nikon produces dull colors on the subject. That is all there is to it.

Now let’s take a look at pictures at the maximum focal length of the two lenses which is 200mm.

(source: Peacecamera)

At 200mm, however, the Tamron 70-200mm falls short as the Nikon 70-200mm produces sharper images. The ‘YOU&CRIS’ logo on the Tamron lens seems to be smoothed out around the edges. The Nikon however retains its sharpness throughout its focal range. So, Nikon here gets a point for being consistent.

Another point is that the Tamron produces warmer colors which are more soothing to the eyes. So Tamron also gets a point here.

Let’s compare the two lenses on bokeh performance and background blur.

Here are samples of the same frame taken with both lenses

(source: Matt Granger)

The background blur on both lenses is marvelous. The Nikon 70-200mm has better color reproduction and pictures have more contrast and detail. The Tamron however falls short and the subjects’ outer edges look artificially smoothed out.

The bokeh balls are also really nice and circular so no issue there.

This is nothing that post-editing can’t fix but it is worth the notice when deciding to buy one of the two lenses.

Overall the Nikon 70-200mm delivers better results with sharper images at the max focal length. But the Tamron 70-200mm is not as far behind. Still, the Nikon gets a point and is the winner.

Tamron 70 200 G2 vs Nikon 70 200 Vrii: Which one to get?

The Tamron on this comparison showed minimal to no focus breathing while the Nikon has a significant amount of it at 200mm which can be a bother to some photographers.

All in all, I think both lenses perform identically with the Nikon producing more sharpness and detail in all the images and better color reproduction.

But considering the price difference between the two lenses, the Nikon does not provide the extra $600 worth of performance. So really it comes down to the price of the products.

If I were to spend $2000 for a lens I’d expect it to deliver better results. There is almost no point in getting the Tamron lens to deliver almost identical results at a much lower price point. So, the Tamron 70-200mm G2 is the winner and the one to get.

Final Words

Those were my findings on the comparison of Tamron 70 200 G2 vs Nikon 70 200 Vrii.

The price of the Nikon lens doesn’t help in choosing the lens. The Tamron lens has some setbacks but it provides more value for its price.

Tamron is not a cheap alternative for name brands anymore. They produce very good lenses which come at a lower price than their counterparts and are on par with them. So, buying the Tamron 70-200mm G2 will be a worthwhile investment.

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