The SP series of lenses from Tamron are the company’s effort to differentiate itself in a highly competitive fast prime market. With a 35mm focal length, Tamron isn’t exactly providing something revolutionary, however, there are three factors working in the company’s favor. These are image stabilization, the state of modern optics, and price. In a forthcoming full review, we will consider these in more depth, but for now, here is my first impression of this lens.Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens – Canon, Nikon, Sony

Out of the box, the Tamron 35mm 1.8 reveals a simple yet, aesthetically pleasing design. It dons a smooth black matte finish accented with a golden ring swathed around its base. The large rubber focusing ring at the top immediately beckons your eyes before they are drawn downward by labeling with a light font that is clean and unobtrusive. The lens feels substantial but not burdensome in the hand. To describe this lens in one phrase, it is minimal with a hint of elegance.

Here is a rundown of some key features.

  • Dimensions (DxL): 3.17 x 3.10″ (80.4 x 78.7 mm)
  • Weight: 15.9 oz (450.77 g)
  • Front: 67 mm
  • Aperture : f/1.8 – f/16
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 7.87″ (20 cm)
  • VC Image Stabilization
  • USD AF Motor, Full-Time Manual Focus
  • Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio:1:2.5
  • Elements/Groups: 10/9
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9, Rounded

Once mounted on a body, you feel the weight it adds. If you mount it on smaller APS-C body such as a Nikon D7200 or Canon 80D, this weight is exaggerated. Your knuckles may even brush up against it once as you grip it to take a shot. Personally, I believe it adds just the right amount of weight once mounted, and I find it helps me better control any jitters from my hand. This will vary from person to person, but its worth noting. This is no plastic fantastic lens.

Although this lens is more budget friendly, its design clearly demonstrates the intent to find its way into more than just amateur and enthusiast gear bags. It also seems to be aimed at professionals who want something affordable, with newly refined optics, and of course, great light gathering ability. Ultimately, if this lens can find its way into your kit, you may eschew your tried and true 35mm and forgo the new offerings from the competition; at least, that’s my theory. I’ll be back with an in depth look at this lens soon.

[REWIND: DXO Mark Crowns a New King: The Sigma 85mm Art]