The market wasn’t exactly short of 35mm lenses before Tamron introduced the second of its new range of fixed-focal-length optics. Damien Demolder investigates whether we need another.
Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD – Features
The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD is suitable for use on both full-frame and APS-C-sensor cameras, providing a standard-type focal-length appearance for cropped-sensor users and a moderate wideangle for those with full-frame cameras. The lens uses ten elements in nine groups, and includes two glass moulded aspherical lenses, one element made from low dispersion (LD) glass and a further two made with extra low dispersion (XLD) glass. The aspherical elements are there to ensure that focus is maintained across the flat surface of the sensor, and to reduce the blurry rotation effect that sometimes occurs due to sagittal coma aberrations. The aspheric glasses should also help to prevent barrelling and pincushion distortion – so straight lines close to the edges of the frame should remain unbent.
Tamron’s LD and XLD glasses intend to reduce the chromatic faults that see coloured highlights appearing around high-contrast edges. That three of these elements are in use suggests the company wants to produce a lens that can be used effectively at large apertures.
Like the 45mm that we previously reviewed, this 35mm model uses a nine-bladed iris, which will help to create attractive circular out-of-focus highlights that don’t have hard-angled edges to draw attention away from the subject.
It’s quite unusual to have image stabilisation in a wideangle lens, as traditional thinking says that the lower magnification means there’s less impact from camera shake. As sensor resolutions increase, however, the effects of a moving camera become much more obvious, because we can enlarge our images so much more – so all stabilisation help should be gladly accepted. I also enjoyed the ability to use the lens at what would otherwise have been ‘dangerous’ shutter speeds, so that I didn’t have to crank up the ISO so much in low-light conditions.
Another unusual feature of the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD is its closest focusing distance. Canon and Nikon equivalent lenses can focus to 24-29cm, but this model gets as close as 20cm.
Tamron uses its eBAND (Extended Bandwidth and Angular-Dependency) and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coatings to reduce flare, while fluorine coatings on the front element are designed to repel water and fingerprints so it can be kept clean. Also of note is the weather proofing of the lens, with seals around the mount and the joins that allow users to carry on shooting in the rain.