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Lens review

Tamron SP 45 mm f/1.8 Di VC USD

13 October 2015
Szymon Starczewski

11. Summary

Pros:
  • solid, stylish and moisture resistant casing,
  • minimum focusing distance already from 0.29 of a meter,
  • very good image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the APS-C sensor,
  • acceptable image quality on the edge of full frame,
  • lack of problems with chromatic aberration,
  • imperceptible spherical aberration,
  • negligible distortion,
  • moderate coma,
  • good correction of astigmatism,
  • nice out-of-focus areas,
  • vignetting level noticeably lower than that of its direct rivals,
  • silent and rather accurate autofocus,
  • efficient image stabilization,
  • five-year guarantee period.

Cons:

  • autofocus should have been faster.

There was a lot of media noise around this Tamron launch so, understandably, our expectations, were high. We heard so much about the new philosophy, new casings, new optical constructions, optimized for densely packed sensors, that we could hardly wait for an opportunity to check it all in practice. The result? Stating that the bubble burst in our test would be a bit too harsh but I admit I feel a bit unsatisfied. It is true that the Tamron fared better than the old 1.8/50 class constructions in many areas but, after all, nobody expected it to do otherwise. However it’s a pity it didn’t even approach resolution records presented by other contemporary 50 mm devices and in some testing categories the older optical constructions still were able to compete with the Tamron successfully.

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I suppose the presence of the Sigma A 50 mm f/1.4 HSM on the market might prove to be the biggest problem of the instrument tested by us. The Sigma is a bit more expensive than the Tamron but it is also faster. The Tamron’s selling points, among other things, are an efficient stabilization unit, a moisture-resistant construction and a better minimum focusing distance but, unfortunately, when it comes to optical categories the Sigma managed to prevail in every single one of them. Still the Tamron might be a better option for fans of video recording - its optical stabilization, even sharpness across the frame and low vignetting are undoubtedly serious assets.

If you look at the number of pros, listed by us above, you might find it difficult to criticize the Tamron 1.8/45 for anything. This lens has more impressing assets than your average optical instrument and it didn’t have any serious slip-up in our test either. The presence of strong rivals on the market seems to be its only problem but, after all, it doesn’t concern the customers. Let’s the Tamron company deal with it. For us, the enthusiasts of photography and good optical equipment, strong competition is actually a piece of very good news and let us end the summary of our test on such a pleasant note.