Tamron 18-200mm design and build quality
Pictured below from left to right are the Tamron, Nikkor and Sigma 18-200mm lenses zoomed-out to their shortest positions. Each lens measures 73x84mm, 77x97mm and 70x78mm (diameter x length) respectively. The Sigma’s clearly the smallest of the group, with the Tamron measuring roughly in-between it and the larger Nikkor.
When zoomed-in to their longest focal lengths, the Tamron, Nikkor and Sigma lenses extend by a further 66, 65 and 53mm respectively, each employing two barrel sections. As pictured below, the Sigma remains the smallest of the three and the Nikkor the largest, with the Tamron again coming up in-between. The Nikkor’s larger size is reflected in its 72mm filter thread, which is considerably greater than the 62mm threads of the Tamron and Sigma.
Weighing 423g, the Tamron’s only 18g heavier than the Sigma, and both are noticeably lighter than the 560g of the Nikkor. The Nikkor’s additional weight is undoubtedly down to its superior build quality and slightly faster optical performance at the telephoto end. It sports a focal ratio of f3.5~5.6, compared to the f3.5~6.3 of the Tamron and Sigma models.
In terms of build quality, the Tamron and Sigma are roughly similar. They’re both lightweight budget lenses so unsurprisingly feel quite plasticky with less smooth mechanics than a premium product. Don’t get us wrong, they’re not poorly constructed, but are clearly below the build quality of more expensive lenses.
For example, you need only compare them with the Nikkor 18-200mm to immediately notice how this pricier model looks and feels to a much higher standard. It’s more solid with smoother mechanics delivering a greater impression of confidence in use. Of course the Nikkor costs twice as much, but if you’re after the best build quality, you’ll need to spend the extra.
We’re pleased to report all three employ internal focusing with non-rotating end sections – important for anyone who uses polarisers, although obviously the Nikkor’s wider thread will incur higher-priced filters. Thankfully, all three lenses were supplied with hoods.
In terms of focusing speed, the Nikkor’s premium SWM system was certainly quicker than the Tamron and Sigma, but not by a large degree. Where they really differed though was in focusing noise with both the Tamron and Sigma models being considerably louder than the Nikkor. The Tamron was worst of all in this respect, grinding quite conspicuously during manually focusing. Again if ultimate discretion is your thing, you’ll need to spend more on the Nikkor.