Tamron Unveils Two Fast SP Primes

I’m in New York this week with our friends at Tamron, who have today officially introduced two new fast prime lenses: the SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD, and the SP 45mm F/1.8 Di VC USD.

Tamron SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD

Tamron SP 35mm F/1.8 Di VC USD

These lenses represent an all-new physical appearance for the SP series, with premium materials and construction. Though not technically macro lenses, both offer excellent close-focus capabilities: the 35mm can focus on objects as close at 7.9 inches, for 1:2.5 magnification, while the 45mm offers a magnification ratio of 1:3.4 and focus as close as 11.4 inches. This close-focusing capability will be especially advantageous for wide-angle landscape compositions with prominent foreground elements. They’re designed to excel in sharpness with modern high-resolution cameras, and sample images displayed excellent optical resolution.

You can explore those compositions without being anchored to a tripod—both lenses incorporate Tamron’s VC (Vibration Compensation) system for hand-held exposures. Though CIPA testing is not yet finalized for these lenses, the VC system is expected to provide between 3 and 4 stops of latitude.

Though designed for full-frame sensor cameras, both can be used with APS-C sensor cameras, as well. Full-frame shooters get wide and standard fields of view, while APS-C shooters will get standard and telephoto perspectives.

Tamron SP 45mm F/1.8 Di VC USD

Tamron SP 45mm F/1.8 Di VC USD

The lenses feature 9-blade diaphragms for pleasing, circular bokeh. They also feature moisture-resistant construction for wet conditions, with weather sealing at the lens mount and controls. Though Tamron makes no specific claims in this regard, on hand at the press preview yesterday was photographer Erik Valind, who spent time photographing with these new lenses in very wet conditions in Iceland, and spoke highly of their performance when paired with a weather-sealed pro DSLR. The lenses also feature flourine coating on the front element to repel water and smudges, for quick, easy cleanup when needed.

I’ll be spending more time with these lenses “hands on” over the coming days and will update this post with sample images. Right off the bat, I can say that the build quality is excellent, and that Tamron’s emphasis on making the lenses easy to handle was a success. Little details, like the design of the focusing ring and the AF and VC switches paid off. Those switches are especially nice—large enough to easily find and use without looking away from the viewfinder, they toggle with a satisfying click that leaves no doubt.

Both lenses will be available for Canon and Nikon mounts in late September, with a Sony A-mount model to follow. Pricing for each lens is expected to be $599 on release. For more information: www.tamron-usa.com.

UPDATE: The image group below shows a comparison of focal length, and magnification when used with APS-C sensor cameras.

Tamron SP 35mm and 45mm comparison.

Wes is the editor of Outdoor Photographer.