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Lens review

Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD

20 November 2019
Maciej Latałło

4. Image resolution

The resolution test (resolution meaning MTF50 function) of the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD was based on RAW files from the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. In the case of that reflex camera the decency level is situated near 30-32 lpmm and high quality, top-of-the-range fixed focal length lenses can reach a maximum level of 45-50 lpmm . Not so long ago the resolution record for that sensor belonged to the Zeiss Otus 1.4/28 (49.2 lpmm) but then it’s been slightly beaten by the Sigma A 85 mm f/1.4 DG HSM, and the Sigma A 135 mm f/1.8 DG HSM so currently it amounts to 51.6 lpmm . Let's check how the Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD compares – its results in the frame centre and on the edge of the frame presents a graph below.

Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD - Image resolution


There's no need to beat about the bush – you can immediately notice that you deal here with an outsanding lens. Already at the maximum relative aperture the MTFs exceed 44 lpmm and it is a sensational value. The peak of its possibilities the lens reaches by f/2.8 and f/4.0 where you see results close to 49 lpmm (officially the highest value we measured by f/2.8 and it amounted to 49.1 lpmm).

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In order to understand better how excellent those values really are let's compare them to the results of the Sigma A 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM, the A 40 mm f/1.4 DG HSM and the Canon EF 35 MM F/1.4L II USM (all these lenses we have tested on the same camera body). An appropriate graph you can find below.

Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD - Image resolution


It's clear that the new Tamron remains distinctly sharper than the older Sigma A 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM. It performs as well as the expensive Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4L II USM from the f/2.0 aperture upwards but at the maximum relative aperture it is actually better. It can be defeated only by the huge Sigma A 40 mm f/1.4 DG HSM but only by a hair's breadth.

A 35 mm lens is already counted among wide angle instruments so the correction of its edges by f/1.4 is not a simple task. The Tamron performed here exceedingly well. Firstly, its results on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor and full frame are very much alike. Secondly, even the results on the edge of full frame are so good that a dozen or so years ago such values were reached only by good prime lenses and only in the frame centre.

It must be also noticed that in this category the Tamron outdistances the Sigma A 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM with ease and also fares better than the expensive Canon EF 35 mm f/1.4L II USM. Once again only the big and heavy Sigma A 40 mm f/1.4 DG HSM defeats the tested lens.

At the end of this part of our test, traditionally, we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart which were saved in the JPEG format.

Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 35 mm, f/1.4
Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD - Image resolution
Canon 5D MkIII, JPEG, 35 mm, f/2.8
Tamron SP 35 mm f/1.4 Di USD - Image resolution