Review Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD @ APS-C
The Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD is a bright, short telephoto lens available in Nikon and Canon mounts. On full frame, it is primarily a wonderful portrait lens, but on APS-C and DX cameras, it is a great telephoto lens with a focal length that corresponds with 135mm on 35mm. It is a modern lens with two strong features: it is stabilized and weatherproof.
Stable and bright: Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD
An 85mm on full frame is an ideal portrait lens. With an 85mm, you have the ideal working distance from your model: not too close but certainly not too far away. On APS-C and DX cameras, the 85mm works like a 135mm on 35mm because of the smaller sensor. That makes it more of a real telephoto lens with which you get your subject closer as it were, making the perspective flatter than with a standard lens. Before zooms became popular, the 135mm for 35mm cameras was perhaps the most-sold focal length of all telephoto lenses. That was because it is so versatile. It's long enough to get that real telephoto effect, but just short enough to serve as a portrait lens. Today, many people choose a zoom for the ease of use. But zooms cannot match the quality and brightness of the Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD. Instead of this Tamron, you could also choose an 85mm from Nikon or Canon. Some of the 85mms currently on the market, however, have been around for many years, and none of them have the unique features of the Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8. The lens namely has Vibration Compensation, Tamron's image stabilization, and is outstandingly protected against the elements. That makes it an ideal lens for cameras like the Canon EOS 7D Mark II or the Nikon D7500 and D500, which can also take a bit of weather. Thanks to the image stabilization and high brightness, this lens can also keep working well if lighting conditions are not optimal.
BUILD AND autofocus
The Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD is a beautifully finished lens. The new design of the current Tamron lens series is beautiful. Matte black with a silver-colored ring formed around the lens on the mount side. It looks very contemporary and is certainly distinctive. It is quite a big lens and maybe a bit heavy, weighing 700 grams, with a diameter of almost 85mm and a length of more than 91mm. The balance with the larger APS-C and DX cameras such as the Canon EOS 7D Mark II or the Nikon D500 is perfect, though. Those are also hefty cameras with a good weight. But on a much lighter Canon EOS 1300D or Nikon D3300, you feel the Tamron's weight a bit more. The Tamron feels very solid, and the weight and dimensions also indicate that Tamron has done its best to make this 85mm something special. The lens is made of an aluminum alloy and has multiple gaskets to prevent moisture and dirt from entering. The front lens has a fluorine coating to prevent dirt from sticking to the glass. This will keep it clean for a longer period of time, and it will also be easier to clean if a droplet or a greasy finger gets on the glass. There are two slider switches on the lens. One is for switching between autofocus and manual focus. The other is to enable or disable the image stabilization, VC. Thanks to this image stabilization, you get sharper shots at a bit longer shutter speeds. There is no separate mode for following subjects, and you do well then to turn the VC off. The autofocus is virtually noiseless, and for manual focus the Tamron 85mm turns smoothly, but with exactly enough resistance so that you can feel what you're doing as a photographer. The lens can be used with Tamron's Tap-In Console for updating the firmware and calibrating the autofocus.