you may be able to push the shutter speed even slower.
This is also one of the first lenses to be compatible with
Tamron’s forthcoming TAP-in Console. Using the Console,
you’ll be able to quickly update the lens’s firmware and
make adjustments to vibration correction to either prioritize
viewfinder stabilization or the stabilization of captured images
(the lens strikes a balance between the two out of the box).
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
There’s really nothing to dislike about this lens, but I do
have a wish list of what I think would make this lens even more
appealing. As mentioned earlier, I understand that VC might
add weight to the lens, but I was expecting the SP 85mm
f/1.8 to be a little lighter. Autofocus in low light/low contrast
settings didn’t lock in as quickly as I had hoped, and I noticed
occasional lens flare under challenging conditions.
Keep in mind, though, that these are—for the most part—
minor points. Overall, I think that Tamron made an excellent
lens that delivers where it counts, especially with sharpness.
And they managed to price it very reasonably, given the level
of quality images the lens is capable of delivering.
HOW IT COMPARES
Although there are less expensive fast-aperture 85mm
lenses such as the $480 Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G,
I think the $749 Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 is a solid alternative
to lenses that are twice the price. If you want to stay in the
Tamron price range, check out the Sigma 85mm f/1.4; it’s
a little heavier than the Tamron model and lacks image
stabilization, but it’s slightly faster. I’m going to stick with my
more expensive, lighter and faster NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G, but
I’ll miss the Tamron SP 85mm’s image stabilization.
Wedding and portrait photographers will find the Tamron SP
85mm f/1.8 a welcome addition to their gear bags.
Theano Nikitas has been covering photography for over 20
years. She pens Rf’s PhotoForward Tech Tuesday blog posts
and, although she loves digital, she still has a darkroom and a
fridge filled with film.
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ABOVE: The wide aperture of the SP 85mm delivers soft
and pleasing background blur with an effective amount of
separation between the foreground and subject.