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Gear Announcements

Tamron Announces New Fast Primes with Image Stabilization | Initial Hands On Thoughts

By Anthony Thurston on September 2nd 2015

Today marks a big announcement for Tamron as they refresh the look and feel of their SP line of lenses. Building upon a legacy that goes back to their original 90mm SP lens, Tamron has two new lenses being unveiled that take the company in a new direction, both in design and market.

Tamron SP 35mm F1.8 Di VC USD_model F012 (Canon mount)

These are the first fast primes from Tamron, the 35mm F/1.8 VC USD and the 45mm F/1.8 VC USD. As the naming scheme denotes, both lenses feature an F/1.8 aperture and Tamron’s VC image stabilization technology. The two lenses also share a completely new design language, a stark departure from Tamron’s current look and feel.

I am at a Tamron Press event taking place in NYC this week and as part of this event, we have been able to have some hands-on time shooting with both of these lenses. I am pleased to share my initial thoughts and impressions.

Initial Thoughts and Impressions

Well, cutting straight to the punch, I love these two lenses so far. They have a great look and feel and are incredibly light compared to what I was expecting when looking at the lens from afar.

Tamron SP 45mm F1.8 Di VC USD_model F013 (Canon mount)

Both lenses focus quickly, accurately, and silently from what I have seen in my testing so far.  One of the big talking points from Tamron on these lenses has been the MOD or minimum object distance, also referred to by some manufacturers as the minimum focusing distance. Simply put, it is impressive.

I am a photographer that likes to be able to get in close without having to switch lenses, and these lenses will allow me to do that. Another aspect to these lenses that really impressed me was the inclusion of weather sealing, which just gives you that extra piece of mind.

tamron-prime-2

These lenses also feature Tamron’s EBAND coating for a nice reduction of ghosting and flare when shooting towards a bright light source (like the sun for example). Flourine also makes an appearance on these two lenses, making the front element incredibly resistant to dust, dirt, oils and liquids that on un-coated lenses could be difficult to remove.

I was loaned a Nikon D610 by Tamron to use while testing these cameras, and I have nothing but good things to say about my experiences so far. The only slight hiccup that I ran into had to do with trying to focus on a thin flower stem and the camera trying to focus on the background.

tamron-prime-3

The buttons on these lenses for the VC and AF/MF controls are nice. They give you that nice satisfying ‘click’ when you engage them so you know you did it correctly if you are not looking directly at the button. Overall, I feel like Tamron has a couple of winners here. But enough of me babbling, you want to see some sample images…

*EXIF data is embedded for those who want it. 

35mm

tamron-35mm-1 tamron-35mm-2 tamron-35mm-3 tamron-35mm-4

45mm

tamron-45mm-1 tamron-45mm-2 tamron-45mm-3 tamron-45mm-4 tamron-45mm-5

Conclusions and Availability/Pricing Information

You will have to wait for my final review to get my final conclusions, but my preliminary ones, after having had a few hours with the lenses now, is that Tamron has a pair of real winners here. I think you will likely agree when you see the pricing information below.

tamron-prime-1-3

Both the 35mm and 45mm lenses will become available on September 29th, and both will retail for $599. The lenses will initially be introduced in the Canon and Nikon mounts, with Sony A mount versions coming around three months later. To put this in perspective, this is about $400 more expensive than Nikon’s DX only 35mm F/1.8, $200 less than Sigma’s highly popular 35mm F/1.4, and about $1,000 cheaper than Canon’s newly announced 35mm F/1.4.

Pre-orders are now available for all the mount versions (sony included) of the 35mm F/1.8 over on B&H, here. If you think you may be more interested in the 45mm F/1.8 in a Canon, Nikon, or Sony mount you can find those for pre-order over on B&H, here.

I am excited to be able to spend some more time with these lenses, so be on the lookout for our full reviews on both new Tamron primes soon. In the meant time, what do you all think of Tamron’s new venture into fast primes and the new design style? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rony Bhuiyan

    need that 35mm

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  2. DeOren Robinson

    That 35mms is calling my name

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  3. Richard Bremer

    Can’t wait for some real world reviews that compares the 35mm to the Sigma Art and the Nikon 35’s. Still waiting to buy one. I do hear that the Sigma sometimes gives some problems with focussing accuratly far away, which makes me sway a bit to Nikon… Maybe Tamron gives them both a run for their money. I’m excited!

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  4. Kristopher Galuska

    The close focussing is really nice. The 35mm could be great for newborn photography.

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  5. Lauchlan Toal

    Sigma’s quick to defend their brand, I see. Their latest email newsletter talks about their “prime heritage” – playing off the fact that Tamron is more known for zooms, whereas Sigma has gained some renown for their recent primes. And to be fair, Tamron is kind of piggybacking on Sigma’s aesthetic here.

    In any case, thanks for the intro to these lenses Anthony. It’ll be interesting to see how these lenses stack up to the competition.

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    • Anders Madsen

      Well, to be fair I think they are both piggybacking on the “Zeiss look” as far as the exterior goes, so… ;)

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I saw that. Its hard to deny that the new Tamron look is very similar to the Sigma look. That said, seeing the Tamron in person, and holding next to a couple Sigma primes that other press had here at the event, and they are different enough side by side that I am fine with it. The Sigma is more glossy, while the Tamron is more uniform and matte (aside from the gold ring).

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  6. Dalibor Tomic

    Bravo Tamron!! Canon and Nikon must learn form Tamron and Sigma in these days :)

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  7. Matthew Saville

    Tamron claims that these lenses have very well-corrected vignetting, coma, and field curvature, so they could be magic bullets for astro-landscape photography. Can’t wait to see some real-world testing in those environments!!!

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    • adam sanford

      That might be the only selling point of the 35 for Canon users. They already have a wonderful 35mm f/2 IS USM with more of a sure thing on the AF front — all for about the same price.

      But I’m getting geeked for that 45mm something fierce. It could turn out to be the 50mm f/nooneknows IS USM that Canon continues to deliberately withhold from me.

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    • Colin Woods

      They may be great for astro, but at the moment their 15-30mm f2,8 has me grinning. Sometimes you can even forget it weighs 1100g.

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    • Matthew Saville

      @Colin – maybe you can forget that it weighs over 1KG if you’re doing your astro-landscapes from a roadside viewpoint, however as a backpacker I much prefer the most lightweight versions of lenses possible. Unless Tamron has a lens like the Roki-Bow-Yang 14mm f/2.8 up its sleeve, I won’t be selling my Rokinon 14mm any time soon. And any longer than 14-17mm, and I find myself hankering for something faster than f/2.8 anyways so most of the time those zooms are wasted on me beyond their widest mm’s…

      But, having said that, the Tamron 15-30 is a true masterpiece of optical engineering, and I’d proudly own one if my adventure habits were even slightly less weight-conscious…

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    • Colin Woods

      That’s true, most of my night shooting is done within a short walk from the road. Next time a go on an extended walking trip, in a few years time probably as we have two small children, I will probably get the Nikon 20mm f1.8. Until then I like the tamron for its incredible VR, versatility and this – http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-milky-way-over-new-richmond-quebec-colin-woods.html.

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  8. adam sanford

    I’ve been saying for a long time that Canon needs a non-L 50 prime with IS like the 24/28/35 IS lenses from a couple years ago:

    https://goo.gl/Pk9jYy
    (a picture is worth a thousand words)

    But it looks like Tamron beat them to the punch. 45mm, eh? Hmm….

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I actually asked the VP of Tamron that eat question ‘Why 45mm and not the standard 50mm”. His response was that the math of the optical formula vs the size of a full frame sensor worked out best at 45mm, with the added note that at one point 45mm was the standard before 50mm really took off.

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    • Matthew Saville

      It really does make a difference in the size / amount of glass required to hit a specific focal length (or, angle of view to be precise) with maximum sharpness and overall image quality. 45mm historically is the most common of “pancake” optical designs (I think) because it is one of the most simple optical formulas possible.

      In other words, Tamron could be saying, “consider this to be a pancake lens on crack; to hit 50mm exactly with this same optical quality would have made the lens far bigger and heavier than this.”

      I dunno, it’s just 5mm, but then again they’re the ones with college degrees in engineering and decades of expertise at optical formula design.

      BTW, Anthony, did you get to meet Jun Hirakawa? I would be so jealous…

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  9. Colin Woods

    I’m sure that they will be great. When I shot Pentax I had a 45mm lens and it was a lovely lens, just that bit wider than 50mm. I found myself using it frequently.

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  10. Wendell Weithers

    Very competitive pricing. Nice.

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  11. Colin Woods

    Must…..resist

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  12. Nick Viton

    Was the vignetting added in post or is that from the lens?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      The vignetting is very minimal on this lens. There is a wooden table shot I included where it appears to be pretty pronounced, but in reality that is less the lens and more the actual shadow in the scene. If you look at the rest of the images you can see vignetting is very minimal, if noticeable at all.

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