The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD is not just another bright 35 mm. This lens was released in honor of Tamron’s 40th anniversary. Of course, it is an SP (Superior Performance) lens that shows what Tamron is capable of.
Click on the lens for specifications, prices and test results.
TEST RESULTS: Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD
The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD certainly lives up to expectations, and that’s an impressive achievement.
The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD is a bright, moderate wide angle for full-frame SLR cameras. The lens is available in Nikon F and Canon EF mount. With its high brightness of f/1.4, it competes with the professional Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM and the Nikon AF-S 35 mm f/1.4 G. Those are formidable opponents. Tamron’s announcement that the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD was an anniversary lens increased the pressure even further. The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD certainly lives up to expectations, and that’s an impressive achievement.
35mm lenses are very popular as widely usable lenses for street and documentary photography. The slightly wide-angle field of view ensures that you can, for example, make portraits with little distortion and quite a bit of background. This allows you to use them very well to show context in your image. The brightest versions also offer the ability to make that background completely soft, so that you can isolate your subject very well. So it’s no wonder that a fast 35mm is the standard tool of many advanced photographers. And those photographers place high demands on their lenses. The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD has been designed to meet those requirements. It is at least equivalent to and in some respects even better than comparable Canon and Nikon lenses. The only thing that is not equivalent is the price. The Tamron costs half as much as the Nikon and the Canon. That makes this lens even more attractive.
BUILD AND autofocus
The build quality of the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD is at a high level and, as far as we can tell, not inferior to comparable lenses from Canon and Nikon. The lens is weather-resistant and has a gasket on the back. With 815 grams in the Canon mount and 805 grams in the Nikon version, the lens is even half an ounce heavier than the Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM and two ounces heavier than the Nikon AF-S 35 mm f/1.4 G. That weight comes not only from the metal housing but also from the large amount of glass in the lens. The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD has 14 lens elements and is full from front to back.
Three elements are aspherical, and four elements are made of glass with an extra low refractive index. The lens elements have a BBAR-G2 coating, and the front element has an extra fluorine coating to keep it clean. The diaphragm consists of 9 rounded blades, and the ample lens hood has an extra lock to prevent it from accidentally coming off. The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD has a window on which the set distance can be read but no scale for the depth of field. On the side, there is a switch for autofocus and manual focus. The focus is quiet and quite accurate. The focusing speed is almost comparable to that of original Nikon and Canon lenses.
We had high expectations of the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD when it comes to sharpness. Nevertheless, we had to test this lens twice. Our first test camera, the Nikon D800, had a 36-megapixel sensor but also an anti-alias filter. And that resulted in slightly lower scores than what we consider this lens capable of. We therefore also tested this lens with a Canon mount and an adapter on a 60-megapixel Sony A7R IV. And that made a huge difference. The graphs actually tell the whole story. The center sharpness is higher than almost all other lenses that we have ever tested. The corners seem to lag slightly behind, but that only seems to be because of the enormously high center sharpness. The sharpness in the corners is clearly higher than the sharpness that we tested with the Canon 35mm f/1.4L II USM, for example. At full aperture, the values in the center as well as in the corners are already very good, but for the optimum result, it won’t hurt to stop down to f/4.
The lens has virtually no problems with chromatic aberrations or flare with backlighting. At the same time, it was not easy to make good sun stars with the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD with the aperture closed. When it worked, they look good, but very often we just got the sun in the picture. Thanks to the good coatings and the good design, you get beautiful, full colors and beautiful color reproduction.
What is no surprise is that the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD shows some vignetting. In RAW , it’s almost two stops at full aperture, and with the lens corrections on, it’s more than one and a half stops at f/1.4. We don’t find that vignetting at full aperture a problem, because on the one hand, you can use it as part of your visual language, and on the other hand, we assume that you want to use that full aperture for your subject (which is usually located somewhere near the center from the background). If you want a perfect image from corner to corner, then you will usually have to stop down a bit more for sufficient depth of field, and then the vignetting is gone.
In our test lab, the distortion with 1% barrel shaped in the jpegs, a little higher than we would like. This is usually not a problem for documentary work, but you could see this in critical applications such as architectural photography. However, we did not find much distortion in the sample images. This is probably due to the fact that our test cards are (of course) smaller than buildings in the outside world. So, at a smaller distance, you see a bit of distortion, but not much at larger shooting distances.
Another important aspect with a bright lens like the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD is the quality of the bokeh. That has to do not only with the brightness but also with the lens design and the precision of the assembly. The purer the lens renders, the nicer the blur is. And that is reflected in the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD. Blurry areas in the background hardly show any sharp edges or impurities in the soft areas that could make the image restless. This lens is a must for bokeh lovers.
The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD can be completely adapted to your wishes with Tamron’s Tap-In Console. Updating the firmware is very easy with this handy accessory. You can adjust the sharpness at three distances, and with zoom lenses, you can also adjust the sharpness perfectly at multiple zoom positions on the camera. Read more about the Tap-In Console here.
Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD SAMPLE IMAGES
Curious about the performance of the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD in practice? Click on the button below and visit our renewed web gallery with sample images. The images can be downloaded in full resolution to be viewed at 100%.
ConclusiON: REVIEW Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD
oN Nikon D800 & Sony A7R IV (& Canon EF Adapter)
The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD offers fantastic quality at a surprisingly competitive price.
The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD is a lens that fully meets the high expectations that Tamron itself created. The Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD offers fantastic quality at a surprisingly competitive price. It is built like the proverbial tank, and the optical performance is particularly high. Tamron says that the Nikon F and Canon EF versions are also suitable for the Nikon Z and Canon R system, in combination with the right adapters of course. But the same applies to the Sony system cameras. You do not need to look further for this amount if you want a bright 35mm.