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Just for fun, I looked around on one of my adventurings for some sort of object a bit of distance away, to try comparing the quality of the Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S and the Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 VC. Given the latter only goes as wide as f/6.3 at 300mm, the exposure was quite a lot longer at 1/400th, versus 1/1250th for the Nikkor - so there's technically the possibility of some motion blur involved, though the Tamron's internal stabilisation should've taken care of that. It's only a quick test, therefore, but it does nonetheless give a useful indication of their relative merits.



These are, I should note, 100% crops - no rescaling involved, just extracting a particular portion of the image at original resolution. Not a subtle difference!

I was amused to later realise said construction was about fourteen miles away. =:D
No, that really is the sharpness of the Tamron - I've got months of other shots to compare with. =:) That's what led to me even considering the Nikkor - the Tamron's just rather soft, and prone to some noticeable chromatic aberration in places you'd expect, such as bunny tails contrasting against darker backgrounds. It's a bit of an extreme comparison, really - a rather soft lens, versus about the sharpest 300mm around.

If I were buying again, for the first time, the Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 seems reasonable well-regarded, though I might very well have satisfied the wider end with something like a cheap older 28mm prime, and the Sigma 150-500mm, given the great majority of my photography's in the realm of the telephoto. But, that's the way it goes, ne? Always compromises - the best costs more, with flexibility trading off against optical formulae that can be optimised for a single focal length. (Mind, the 14-24mm f/2.8 manages some excellent clarity despite its range. Gorgeous lens, though again, not exactly cheap. Definitely one I'd love to give a home to, though =:)
OK, then in that case, I suppose there's no use in mentioning that image stabilizing elements could also make the image slightly unclear, if they happen to have travelled far off-centre by the time the picture was taken.
No, because the lens just isn't that good, I believe you. :-)
I use the Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 myself. I haven't made a direct comparison to a prime lens, but now I think maybe I should just to see what there is to see.