Tamron 150-600 vs Nikon 300 f4
Introduction – Tamron 150-600 vs Nikon 300 f4
I like the build quality of the Nikon better, feels more solid, looks better. The Tamron has more plastic in the construction, but it is required to control weight. The Tamron is much bigger especially at 600mm with the hood. It is a huge lens. The Nikon is smaller.
The Nikon is a prime lens with relatively few lens elements(10/6) while the Tamron is a complicated design with many lens elements(20/13) is many groups.
The Nikon can be used with 1.4, 1.7 and 2x converters as well. The 2x teleconverter degrade image quality very much, more fit to the sharpest f/2.8 lenses. With the 1.4x converter the lens is excellent, with the 1.7 is better for smaller distances.
The new Tamron is surprisingly good. Obviously the worst at wide open at 600mm, but even there is not bad at all. At 300m the Nikon is better, at 420mm as well, but 500 and 600mm I think the Tamron is better.
The af performance of the Nikon 300mm with the 2x is slow, not very good for wildlife, with the 1.4 or 1.7 or the lens alone is much faster. The Tamron 150-600 is very speedy but sometimes hunts in low contrast scenes.
Here the zoom wins hands down, it is much better to frame for example flying birds with a zoom, especially with longer focal lengths.
The Nikon 300 f4 is 1440g (without the teleconverters) while the Tamron 150-600 is almost 2kg.
This is the point where the Tamron wins hands down, especially if we compare the teleconverters as well for the Nikon. The Tamron 150-600 is 1069 USD at BH, the Nikon 300 f4 is 1369 USD. The 1.4x converter is 399 USD (TC 14E-II), the 1.7 converter is 509 USD (TC 17E-II), the 2x converter is 499 USD. The Nikon 300 f4 is not on the list for MK III converters. The Kenko PRO300 1.4 dgx is 182 USD. The best best bet is the 1.4x according to my opinion.
Here the Nikon wins hands down. For the Tamron needs to wait months at the moment.
Advantages of the Nikon 300mm f/4
-Brighter f/4 aperture at 300mm.
-Less weight without the converter, little less with converters
-Same brand, Nikon style colors, same system
Advantages of the Tamron 150-600mm
Drawbacks of the Nikon 300mm f/4
-Not so versatile
Drawbacks of the Tamron 150-600mm
-Needs to wait for the lens
-Big and heavy
-If you often change cameras compatibility not for granted with new Cameras, especially because the lens is extremely popular.
-future compatibility with newer cameras is not for granted
Nikon 300mm f/4
Focal length range: 300mm
150 – 600mm
The Tamron 150-600 is much more of a fun lens, better for someone who has not so much time for shooting, the 600mm focal length and the stabilizer helps in many situations. While the Nikon 300mm f/4 is more of a Pro lens, I would put a 1.4 converter on it, and not change very often, perhaps better for people who has lots of time for photography and better at approaching subjects.
The image quality of the prime is better at 300mm, perhaps at 420mm as well, but at 600mm is hard to be the same level with the Tamron, and the viewfinder will be quite dark as well (f/8 vs f/6.3), and AF will be slow if working at all, only Nikon d7100 focusing up to f/8 among crop cameras.
Which one to choose?
For birds/wildlife I would prefer the Tamron because of the longer focal length and for versatility as well, not to speak about the stabilizer and significantly better price as well.
A prime lens good for image quality but not so good for framing or versatility. The 150mm wide end of the Tamron allows landscape-like shots as well. A prime is shorter, lighter, has f/4 brightness which is very nice. According to my judgement the image quality difference is small between the two lenses. The biggest difference is the focal length and the size / weight. I would not say the af of the Nikon is superior than the Tamron.