Lens tests 53
Photography News Issue 25 absolutephoto.com
Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VCUSD The 45mmf/1.8 is physically a fewmillimetres longer than its 35mmbrother, but that apart, these two SP lenses are like twins. They share a similar high level of optical prowess, too, although it is fair to say that the 45mm is very marginally less good at maximum aperture. However, matters take a turn for the better, even just 0.3EV down to f/2 and from that point on image quality continues to improve with stopping down. F/5.6 and f/8 both gave a high level of performance where fine detail looks excellent. A high standard was maintained right down to f/16 where this lens continued to turn in sharp, detail-packed images and the impact of diffraction was not too much of an issue. Both lenses seem to combat flare very well and even shooting with the sun in the frame was handled well with minimal spots and ghosting. The lenses come supplied with identical hoods. It is also the case that both lenses seem to be highly corrected so distortion was not a significant factor at all. On full-frame and APS-C cameras, the 45mm length is ideal for so many subjects including close-up portraits to make the most of any bokeh.
Specs: SP 45mm
Format Full-frame and APS-C Mount Canon, Nikon, Sony (no VC) Construction
10 elements in 8 groups Special lens elements Moulded glass aspherical, 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 29cm Focus limiter No Maximummagnification 1:3.4 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)
Sharpness test: SP 45mm
Verdict Few people will have the budget to buy both the 35mm and the 45mm so you have to think carefully about what you are going to use the lens for. There is no right or wrong here and it is very much a personal choice. If you were to decide on performance alone, the 35mm just has the edge, because it is very marginally better than the 45mm at maximum aperture. The 45mm is a fine lens with identical characteristics and the same price tag as its brother so it’s a tough decision.
How it rates
Features Great looks, VC, fast aperture, USD AF, exotic lens coatings Performance Slightly soft wide open but improves quickly with stopping down Handling Good balance, smooth focus, VC is effective Value for money Very competitive for a high-spec prime lens Overall A quality, very versatile prime lens that handles really well Pros Great looks, performance, VC, flare resistance Cons Not much, perhaps f/1.8 quality could be slightly higher
Canon: 80.4x91.7mm Nikon: 80.4x89.2mm Weight Canon: 540g, Nikon: 520g Contact tamron.co.uk
To test VC , a series of handheld pictures were taken at shutter speeds down to 1/4sec. It was a still day so wind was not a significant factor. With the 35mm lens I got acceptably sharp pictures at 1/4sec with a three out of five success rate and that rate improved at 1/6sec. Not only did the hit rate improve, but sharpness did, too. Shots at those speeds without VC switched on weren’t acceptable at all. This shows how effective Tamron’s VC can be so it’s well worth leaving on during handheld shooting.
The longer 45mmmeans hand- holding at slow speeds is even more challenging. Nevertheless Tamron’s Vibration Compensation system coped well with the
challenge as you can see here. The shots taken at 1/4sec and 1/6sec are reasonably sharp and they would certainly be usable at smaller output sizes.
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