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Tamron 85mm 1.8 Released Early, TH Swiss Releases High-End New Lens Line, & Vivian Maier Is Now On Netflix [Daily Round-Up]

By Kishore Sawh on March 23rd 2016

Welcome to our roundup series where we will hit on gear news and rumor topics each day. This gives you a chance to get caught up on all of the day’s news in one place. Be sure to check back daily for the latest.

Tamron 85mm f/1.8 Is Released Early & Price Listed

With Sigma being one of the biggest surprise companies of the last decade, laying claim to some lenses that best the native offerings from Canon and Nikon in price and performance, it seems to have lit the way for third party brands to be taken more seriously, and Tamron seems to be trying to feed its flame off the Sigma torch.


It was only weeks ago they released 2 new lenses in a new style and apparent quality that made us sit up with attention, as the 90mm f/2.8 Di series 1:1 Macro looked different than anything we’d seen from them before but fair to say it was the 85 that most had been waiting for, and it’s here, early. This new 85mm 1.8 Di series lens is also a VC (vibration control) which makes it the first prime 85mm 1.8 with built-in stabilization capability. While it was originally slated to be released in April, it has arrived and available tomorrow with a price tag of $750.

It’s a curious price because the lens comes in significantly more expensive than the 85mm 1.8s from Canon or Nikon, nearing $300 more, and those lenses are generally beloved, especially the Nikon (now going for a remarkable $426 special at the moment). Granted, it has Ultrasonic Silent Drive for a motor, is compatible with their TAP-in console, has a fluorine coating, and now Nikon will get the benefit of the electromagnetic diaphragm system that Canon has previously enjoyed. But its biggest competitor will come from Sigma as their current 85 1.4 is around $970. So, is it worth it? We’ll have to wait and see if the overall iq and performance is worth the cost, but it looks like it just may. Get it here.


TH Swiss Announces New IRIX Line Of Lenses

In keeping with what was said above, TH Swiss is also vying for your attention, and this latest line from them is what they hope will get it. It’s interesting, however, that to do that, their first offering in the line is a 15mm f/2.4 ultra wide angle lens for full frame cameras. That’s not typically a broadly mass appeal focal length, but they seem so confident in it, they’re offering it in two variants: a ‘Blackstone’ model which has a magnesium and aluminum body for use in ‘extreme conditions,’ and a ‘Firefly’ model which is lightweight and features a more ergonomic focusing ring.


Both models are apparently optimized for sensors of 50MP+, with special coatings for reducing chromatic aberration, ghosting, and flare, have a minimum focusing distance of less than a foot, are weather sealed, have front and rear filter mount/slots, and an ‘Infinity Click’, which is a feature to aid you in focusing to infinity judging by sound and feel.


While no official price release has been set, Nikon Rumors has suggested the Nikon variant will commence at $600 for the Firefly and $780 for the Blackstone.

P.S. – in case you were curious, TH Swiss is based in Switzerland, but manufactured in Korea

You can check it out in a video here:

Non-Gear Related News

In a move that’s upset many, Instagram became more like its father, Facebook, and now gives a rather curated feed versus a strictly chronological one. While the brouhaha has still not subsided about it, Instagram has rolled out yet another feature making it more like FB, and at the same time more desktop/browser friendly – they’ve added notifications.

You can see this via the blue button on the top right of your screen, and some will certainly welcome this, though it seems to have the community on a whole wondering when, if ever, Instagram will release and allow for browser-based uploading. No word on that yet.


Lastly, but certainly not least, is news that the Vivian Maier documentary, “Finding Vivian Maier” is now available to stream on Netflix. Maier has become somewhat of an icon in the past years for the remarkable talent she had for street photography that she was utterly devoted to but unrecognized for during her lifetime. Some nine years ago now, a young estate agent purchased a box of tens of thousands of negatives from an estate sale, and what he had bought were Vivian’s images which have already cemented themselves, and her, in the annals of photographic history.

Here’s the trailer, and highly recommend you watch the film:

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Bob Davis

    The Irix 15…think I’ll have to give it a go…

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  2. Darian Smith

    “which makes it the first prime 85mm 1.8 with built-in stabilization capability.” I don’t think this is the first prime 85mm to be stabilized. Doesn’t Zeiss’ 85mm f/1.8 Batis have built in image stabilization?

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    • adam sanford

      You’re correct, but I’m guessing Kishore may have meant ‘first 85mm prime with IS’ *for an SLR* system. That Tamron represents a first for Nikon and Canon SLR folks.

      Batis is E-mount mirrorless only, yeah?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Yes Darian, the Batis had it before, but this is a first fast (1.8) with iS for a DSLR system.

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  3. Ralph Hightower

    I like the idea of the filter window for that IRIX lens. However, won’t that produce uneven skies at that wide angle when using a polarizer?
    I used the filter window on the Canon EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L II lens and thought it was great.

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    • adam sanford

      Ralph, a CPL at 15mm absolutely *will* mess with blue skies, but there are other reasons to use a front filter in an UWA lens:

      * You can use an ND for waterfalls, long daylight exposures, etc. Not all landscapers are down with rear gel filters as swapping them in and out while out in the elements can be risky.

      * You can use a CPL a different way — to cut through reflections (glass in architecture shots, sunlight on tides/streams, etc.). An uneven FOV effect of the CPL on a 15mm lens is far less noticeable for (say) highlights and glare on a running stream than it is with a bright blue sky.

      * Screw in an adaptor ring and bam, you’re plugged into the Lee / Hitech 4×4 / 4×6 front filtering ecosystem, which critically gets you access to ND grads.

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  4. Raoni Franco

    OT: Just to register, I really don´t like the multiple subjects articles like this one or the ones that Anthony usually do. I don´t know……it´s kinda confusing. I think that scrolling the main page and reading the main titles is enought to get a general ideia about what´s new around here. You don´t have to have four subjects in the title of one article. Anyway, this is just an observation. Thanks

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  5. Anthony Hall

    Ive just seen both the Tamron and the new Irix at the Photography Show in Birmingham (UK) i have to say they look and feel amazing!!

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  6. adam sanford

    Tamron is hitting an open gap with their 45mm VC and their 85mm VC. In the 45-55mm prime space (I’ll call that “50-ish”), no one in the SLR world has IS to my knowledge. And in the 85mm space, folks are frothing at the mouth for an new offering — the pump has been primed by everyone and their mother wanting an 85mm f/1.4 Art, a lens that still has not materialized.

    And Kishore, I disagree on the Canon 85mm f/1.8 — it’s beloved on the sharpness-per-dollar front like the nifty-fifty is, but folks are hungry for a more substantial product — IS, more/curved blades, less color fringing, etc. In short, folks want an 85 Art and the Tamron will scratch that itch in its absence.

    So I think Tamron will make good money on the 45mm and 85mm offerings. But don’t get me started on their 35mm (far more recent/crowded waters competitively) — that one’s DOA to me.

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