Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Lens Review

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The Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Di USD (for Canon, Nikon) is the prime lens that is currently wowing the masses with its mind-bending sharpness and wide-open f/1.4 speed.


The release of this prime lens is said to mark the 40th Anniversary of Tamron’s “Superior Performance” line of lenses. Tamron has specifically geared all of the glass in SP line towards meeting the needs of discerning professional photographers.

Let’s unbox this Beauty

Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Lens Review

Taking a look at the lens out of tree for the box, one will conclude this is a gorgeous lens. It possesses a clean and simplistic style. The lens itself is a velvety deep satin black with white lettering and, of course, that signature metallic-colored ring finishes off the minimalist design.

There isn’t a lot to see here aside from the focusing ring (which is nicely rubberized), and the AF/MF switch. Oddly enough, the SP 35mm F/1.4 lacks the Vibration Control functionality which leaves quite a bit of open real estate on the lens body.

The absence of Tamron’s proprietary VC image stabilization is odd not because it will necessarily be missed on a lens of this focal length, but instead because it is present on the close cousin of this lens – Tamron’s 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD (Canon, Nikon, Sony). The exclusion of VC on this 35mm could very well be a weight-saving measure to avoid making an already robust lens heavier.

This lens includes generous moisture sealing throughout. There’s just something extremely comforting about the physical presence of that rubber gasket at the rear of the lens.

It also comes with a very nice storage bag.

Overall, it’s safe to say that the look of the new SP 35mm lens impressive

Here’s the list of specifications for the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD courtesy of Tamron:

Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Lens Review

As you can see, this is not a feather-weight prime lens. The 35mm F/1.4 with the lens hood comes in weighing just shy of 2lbs(907g). That makes for a hearty setup when mounted on larger DSLR cameras.

The Lens Hood

Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Lens Review

Tamron has recently introduced a locking mechanism to some of its new lenses.

Autofocus

Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Lens Review

Auto focus

There isn’t a lot to see here aside from the focusing ring (which is nicely rubberized), and the AF/MF switch. Oddly enough, the SP 35mm F/1.4 lacks the Vibration Control functionality which leaves quite a bit of open real estate on the lens body.

Newly introduced with the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 is a revamped mechanism that supposedly aids in more speedy and less noisy autofocusing. It’s called the Dynamic Rolling-Cam System.

The Dynamic Rolling-cam System assists Tamron’s already capable Ultrasonic Silent Drive AF with moving that large f/1.4 focusing unit and is reported to make the entire AF experience of the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 much more reliable. This lens also features a full-time manual focus override so that you can easily tweak focus manually while still in AF mode.

Performance and image quality

If you’ve heard anything about this lens already then you probably know it’s reported to be sharp – I mean scary sharp – with beautifully creamy bokeh and superb contrast. Well, it’s all true.

Sharpness

The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 is exquisitely sharp even wide-open at f/1.4. The center is tack sharp with only a minuscule softening at the corners. At smaller apertures beyond f/2, this lens absolutely shines with virtually no vignetting past that aperture mark as well – virtually zero distortion. Also of note is that as you move toward f/16, there are majestically pronounced starbursts at point sources of light.

Color and Contrast

Colors pop wonderfully with this 35mm lens. Equally, the contrast is great. It produces some beautifully contrasted photos with perfectly adequate color separation. Tamron has also introduced the second generation of their BBAR element coating which is purported to reduce ghosting and flare greatly.

The SP 35mm f/1.4 from Tamron is a perfectly executed fast prime. It combines all the best attributes of fine glass and bundles them into a sleek looking package that performs fantastically. It’s a fast focusing beauty that would be right at home in the field or on the street.

What’s your take on this lens, do well to drop your opinion in the comments

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