Best superzoom for Nikon DSLRs: 8 tested

With their colossal zoom ranges, superzooms offer unparalleled versatility

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di - £495/ $560

A direct competitor to Nikon's full-frame 28-300mm lens, the Tamron is much cheaper. It matches the Nikon for stabilisation, with Tamron's four-stop Vibration Compensation. It's a bit smaller, too, and some 250g lighter, although the build doesn't feel as robust.

The filter thread is just 67mm, rather than Nikon's 77mm, but with less light entering the lens the maximum aperture is a third of a stop slower at the telephoto end. As a result, this pushes the image stabiliser to the limit when you're using an APS-C-format camera.

Performance

Impressively, sharpness is on a par with the more expensive Nikon 28-300mm at the wide- angle end of the zoom range, and slightly better at mid- range and telephoto lengths. Distortions are fairly well controlled, although colour fringing is more noticeable, especially at frame corners. The slow autofocus is a bit of a letdown. Plus, there's a tendency for it to hunt back and forth or stop in dull light.

Sharpness

In the 28-200mm section of the zoom range, sharpness is great, and it's still acceptable at the longest 300mm setting.

Lab test at f/8
Sharpness at wide angle: 2108
Sharpness at mid range: 1682
Sharpness at telephoto: 1128

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Fringing

Colour fringing is obvious at mid to long focal lengths throughout the zoom range – a lot worse than with Nikon's equivalent.

Lab test at f/8
Fringing at wide angle: 1.8
Fringing at mid range: 2.54
Fringing at telephoto: 3.78

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Distortion

There's very little to differentiate the Tamron and Nikon 28-300mm lenses in terms of distortion. Both perform well.

Lab test at f/8
Distortion at wide angle: -2.44
Distortion at mid range: 0.81
Distortion at telephoto: 0.75

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Image quality verdict

Colour fringing is the only real flaw in the Tamron's image quality. Other than that, it's a strong performer at a good-value, reasonable price.

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Taken at 28mm (min)

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Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Taken at 300mm (max)

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