Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 vs Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7

Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 vs Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7

The Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 and the Tamron Z 150-500mm f/5-6.7 are at present the 2 longest telephoto zoom lenses out there natively for the Z mount. Due to this, they may probably attraction to an identical kind of photographer, and it’s simple to surprise which one is best for you.

I’ve owned the Nikon Z 180-600mm for the previous a number of months, and I not too long ago acquired the chance to extensively take a look at the Tamron Z 150-500mm in Africa (as seen in our Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 evaluation). Since these lenses are pure rivals, but additionally have important variations, I believed it is likely to be useful to do a comparability as we speak. Beneath are my ideas on these two lenses and what I really feel are the important thing decision-making variations.

First, lets rapidly take a look at the sizes of each lenses (with the Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S on the left for scale):

From left to proper – Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC, Nikon Z 180-600mm, Tamron Z 150-500mm

As you’ll be able to see, the factor that instantly jumps out when trying side-by-side is that the Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 is noticeably larger. That is partly as a result of the Nikon is an inside zoom, whereas the Tamron is an exterior zoom. (This may be each a professional and a con as detailed later). Additionally, the Nikon has an extended most focal size of 600mm quite than 500mm.

The aperture variations are fairly related. Whereas the Tamron is barely brighter on the vast finish, and the Nikon is barely brighter on the telephoto finish, it was by no means sufficient to be noticeable in my expertise with the lenses.

Tamron 150-500 9
NIKON Z 8 + TAMRON 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD A057Z @ 500mm, ISO 320, 1/800, f/6.7

Focal Vary

The obvious distinction between these lenses is the focal ranges they cowl. The Tamron has an additional 30mm on the vast finish (from 150-180mm), and the Nikon has an additional 100mm on the lengthy finish (from 500-600mm). It can come down to non-public desire which of these “extras” is extra invaluable to you.

For me, I virtually all the time pair this lens with the Nikon Z 70-200 2.8, which is considerably brighter and sharper than both of those of their shared ranges. Provided that, the broader 30mm of the Tamron isn’t one thing I actually care about. I’d have been completely pleased if both lens started at 200mm quite than one thing wider.

One final word on focal vary – the Nikon can use the Nikon Z teleconverters, the place the Tamron can’t use any TCs. So for those who would end up wanting to make use of the 1.4x and/or the 2x converters, the Nikon would be the better option. The under picture was taken with the 2x teleconverter for a complete of 1200mm of attain.

Winner: Nikon

Nikon 180-600 5
NIKON Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR Z TC-2x @ 1200mm, ISO 1800, 1/800, f/13.0

Construct High quality

Each of those lenses really feel good within the hand. The Nikon just isn’t a part of the premium S line, nevertheless it’s nonetheless made with materials that feels high-quality. The identical could be mentioned of the Tamron, though it’s cheaper ($1200 versus $1800).

In antagonistic climate, I favor the inner zoom of the Nikon for its sturdiness. Alongside the identical strains, within the feedback of our Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 evaluation, we heard from a few readers who had mechanical points with their Tamron lens, though I didn’t expertise this myself. One factor I actually like concerning the Tamron is that it comes with an Arca-Swiss foot on the tripod collar.

Winner: Nikon

Nikon 180-600 2
NIKON Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR @ 480mm, ISO 180, 1/320, f/6.0


I discovered each of those lenses to be correct at focusing. Relating to focusing velocity, I’d charge each as “good, however not the most effective.” The Nikon lens focuses a little bit quicker of the 2, nevertheless it’s solely a small distinction. Nonetheless, the Tamron has the benefit of focusing extra intently – all the way down to 71 inches on the lengthy finish, quite than 95 inches on the lengthy finish for Nikon.

Winner: Nikon for velocity, Tamron for shut focus

Tamron 150-500mm f5-6.7 Review Sample-00021
NIKON Z 8 + TAMRON 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD A057Z @ 370mm, ISO 125, 1/500, f/6.0


The Tamron is 8.4 inches lengthy when absolutely retracted, and the Nikon is all the time 12.4 inches lengthy (inside zooming). For me, this portability is the one largest benefit for the Tamron. Virtually talking, the distinction in measurement when packing for a visit could be the distinction between the lens becoming and never with the ability to convey it.

On the journey to Africa the place I took most of my Tamron photographs, I wouldn’t have been in a position to bodily match the Nikon 180-600mm in my bag together with the opposite issues I introduced. Worldwide journey may be very demanding on the house in your bag, and the Tamron is clearly forward on this respect.

As for weight, the Tamron 150-500mm weighs in at 3.79 kilos in comparison with the Nikon’s 4.3 kilos. Holding them side-by-side, the Tamron is noticeably lighter. Nonetheless, I don’t assume this distinction is sort of as important because the distinction in measurement, particularly with how well-balanced the Nikon feels.

Winner: Tamron

Tamron 150-500 2
NIKON Z 9 + TAMRON 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD A057Z @ 287mm, ISO 2500, 1/1250, f/7.1

Dealing with

If in case you have used different Nikon telephoto zooms, the 180-600mm will really feel very acquainted. Then again, The Tamron was one of the vital irritating lenses I’ve ever used within the area. This comes down primarily to 2 points that will appear minor, however that I struggled with all through the journey.

The primary challenge is the locking ring. The lens locks its focal size if you push the zoom ring ahead. Apparently I by no means realized how usually I apply a small quantity of outward stress when zooming, as a result of I by chance locked the lens fairly often (or partially locked it, the place the ring grew to become laborious to show). This was all the time a fast repair, however to me, good digital camera gear ought to simply “work” with out you having to consider it. I’m certain I’d get extra used to it if I used the lens longer, however after weeks of each day use, that by no means occurred.

The second challenge with the Tamron is the lens hood. It feels foolish to write down a few lens hood, however that is essentially the most irritating one I’ve ever used. When touring, and to benefit from the small retracted measurement of the lens by reversing the lens hood. Placing it again on the proper approach would take additional time, since this hood doesn’t easily reattach. That is the primary time I imagine I’ve ever written a few lens hood, apart from to say that I exploit them. But it surely was so annoying in use that it modified how rapidly I may use the lens.

For what it’s value, the Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8 lens – which I additionally introduced on my journey to Africa –  doesn’t have both of those points. It was a really well-handling lens, and I want that Tamron had taken extra design cues from it.

Winner: Nikon 

Nikon 180-600 1
NIKON Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR @ 520mm, ISO 560, 1/320, f/6.3

Picture High quality

Spencer has revealed full evaluations of each of the Tamron and the Nikon lenses, so I received’t go into the technical variations. What I’d say is that total the Nikon has higher picture high quality, nevertheless it wasn’t an enormous distinction. Though the Nikon wins this class, it wouldn’t be a significant component in my choice making due to how shut it was.

For enjoyable, I’ve included under a shot of roughly the identical scene taken a number of seconds aside with the 2 lenses at 400mm to offer a comparability (with the Nikon Z 400 f/2.8 TC added as properly). This isn’t a take a look at of sharpness however simply an instance of how the background blur, distinction, and total look that you simply get from these two lenses may be very related. Whereas the Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC can blow out the background a lot additional, due to its wider most aperture.

Winner: Nikon, barely

Horse 180600
NIKON Z 8 + NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR @ 400mm, ISO 250, 1/640, f/6.0
Horse 150500
NIKON Z 8 + TAMRON 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD A057Z @ 396mm, ISO 180, 1/640, f/6.3
Horse 400 28
NIKON Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S @ 400mm, ISO 64, 1/640, f/2.8


The Nikon retails for $1700, and the Tamron for $1299. A $500 distinction is important, and it may very well be a serious decision-making issue for some photographers.

Each of those lenses symbolize a superb worth for what you get. The Nikon is the extra superior lens in most methods, and that’s mirrored within the value. I imagine that you’ll discover both lens to be a sensible choice for the value. In case you’re on a price range, go along with the Tamron – in case you have some additional financial savings, go along with the Nikon.

Winner: Tie


To summarize the strengths of every lens that I see as a probably deciding issue between the 2, I’d record them as:

Nikon Z 180-600mm Strengths

  • 100mm extra attain on the longer finish (and teleconverter compatibility)
  • Inner zoom building
  • Higher dealing with expertise (as detailed above)
  • Somewhat higher optically

Tamron Z 150-500mm Strengths

  • Considerably smaller when absolutely retracted (by 4 inches)
  • Lighter (by 1/2 pound)
  • Cheaper (by $500)
  • Focuses extra intently

The underside line is that I appreciated each lenses. It was lots of enjoyable with the ability to use two lenses which can be comparatively related on paper, however very totally different in precise use. Personally, I’m glad I personal the Nikon. However with the smaller measurement, lighter weight, and decrease value of the Tamron, it makes simply as a lot sense relying in your wants. Like I mentioned within the Worth part, I believe that each lenses are priced very properly for what they provide.

Let me know in case you have any questions or in case your experiences with both of those lenses are totally different from mine!

Tamron 150-500 5
NIKON Z 8 + TAMRON 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD A057Z @ 178mm, ISO 1250, 1/800, f/5.0

Pricing and Availability

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