Lens tests 52
Photography News Issue 25 absolutephoto.com
Two fromTamron One newTamron lens is cause for celebration, two calls for bunting, cake andmuch trumpet blowing. These new optics both sit in the SP range, sporting a newdesign philosophy You can’t help but be impressed with the elegant cosmetics of these SP optics. The main body has a smooth black sheen, offset by the luminous gold-finish ring at the back of the lens. This ring will appear on all new SP lenses – it signifies the relationship between the camera and lens.
Specs: SP 35mm
Format Full-frame and APS-C Mount Canon, Nikon, Sony (no VC) Construction
In terms of handling, the internal focusing barrel is smooth with the right amount of resistance. It allows full-time manual override on most cameras and there’s an AF/MF switch on the side if you need to declutch the focusing mechanism. AF speed and responsiveness, on our test Nikon D800, rated highly. Fast, sure-footed, smooth and almost silent. Behind the camera you will hear the gentle whir of the USD focus motor. The other switch is for Tamron’s Vibration Compensation that can give up to a 4EV benefit. It’s proven technology that helps avoid shake in any alignment, not just in horizontal or vertical axes.
10 elements in 9 groups Special lens elements Moulded glass aspherical, low dispersion and extra low dispersion Coatings eBAND, BBAR and fluorine coating Filter size 67mm Aperture range f/1.8-16 Diaphragm Nine blades Internal focus Yes with USD (ultrasonic silent drive) AF motor Manual focus Yes – switch on lens, full-time override Minimumfocus 20cm Focus limiter No Maximummagnification 1:2.5 Distance scale Metres and feet Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser Vibration Compensation Tripod collar No Lens hood Supplied Weather sealed Moisture resistant construction Dimensions (dxl)
Review by Will Cheung
Tamron started working on this pair of SP lenses with a blank sheet of paper and the objective of offering superior optical performance with today’s high-resolution cameras in a great-looking bodyform and with excellent handling.
I shot a variety of images using both of these lenses, and as our review samples were Nikon- fit I used a Nikon D800 body throughout. I shot handheld and with a tripod (using models from Benro and Gitzo). When on a tripod, I used a remote release or exposure delay mode to release the shutter. Test images were Raws processed through Lightroomwith default sharpening applied. Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VCUSD
There is much to like about this lens’s optical showing. Simply, it is a capable lens, delivering quality images from the maximum aperture onwards and the only setting that’s less good is f/16 where diffraction softens overall sharpness. At the key wider apertures, this lens delivers from f/1.8 onwards, especially when appropriate levels of unsharp mask are applied before use. If youwant to enjoy shallowdepth-of-field, shooting
wide open or at f/2 is perfectly feasible and you’ll get nice out-of-focus highlights, too. Fine detail is very nicely recorded from f/2.8 with the optimum aperture for excellent central and edge sharpness being either f/4 or f/5.6 – in terms of sharpness there is little to choose between them. Shooting with the sun in the frame didn’t give any serious flare problems. See opposite for details about the VC test.
Verdict This focal length is great for somany subjects and this lens is going to be popular simply because of its versatility. This 35mm is a lovely lens to use and with no direct competition from the camera brands, its price is attractive, too.
How it rates
Features Great looks, VC, fast aperture, USD AF, exotic lens coatings Performance Very impressive at its optimum apertures Handling Good balance, smooth focus, VC very effective Value for money Very competitive for a high-spec prime lens Overall A quality, very versatile prime Pros Great looks, performance, VC, flare resistance Cons Less good at f/16
Canon: 80.4x80.8mm Nikon: 80.4x78.3mm Weight Canon: 480g, Nikon: 450g Contact tamron.co.uk
Sharpness test: SP 35mm
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