It’s been a while since Tamron released a new prime lens–but today they’re announcing something totally new. In a meeting yesterday, the company shared with us that they’ve been envisioning the next evolution of their lenses; and the first of those being announced today is the Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC. This is a full frame lens designed for Canon and Nikon DSLRs with Sony Alpha support coming sooner or later.
In the company’s presentations, they pit it squarely against the Sigma 35mm f1.4, Canon’s 35mm f1.4 L, and the Nikon 35mm f1.4 G. However, this lens incorporates weather sealing (unlike Canon and Sigma’s, though the new Canon 35mm f1.4 L II USM incorporates weather sealing) and is priced at only $599.
Model : F012
Focal Length : 35mm
Maximum Aperture : F/1.8
Angle of View (diagonal) : 63°26′ (for full-frame format)
: 43°29′ (for APS-C format)
Optical Construction : 10 elements in 9 groups
Minimum Object Distance : 7.9 in
Maximum Magnification Ratio : 1:2.5
Filter Size : Ø 67mm
Maximum Diameter : Ø 80.4mm
Length : for Canon 3.2 in
: for Nikon 3.1 in
Weight : for Canon 16.9 oz
: for Nikon 15.9 oz
Aperture Blades : 9 (circular diaphragm)
Minimum Aperture : F/16
Standard Accessories : Flower-shaped lens hood, Lens caps
Compatible Mounts : Canon, Nikon, Sony
Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice. Length is the distance from the front tip of the lens to the lens mount face.  The circular diaphragm stays almost perfectly circular up to two stops down from maximum aperture.  The Sony mount model does not include VC, since the bodies of Sony DSLR cameras include built-in image stabilization functionality.
The new Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC is a lens designed for every single photographer but aimed a bit more squarely at the advanced amateur and enthusiast. And it bring with it a wealth of features for those folks. We begin our ergonomics tour with the front of the lens. Here you’ll see the Tamron branding–which the company said they worked a very long time on choosing carefully. Additionally, you’ll see a distance scale but not a depth of field scale.
Turn to the side and you’ll find switches for controls like image stabilization and autofocus capabilities. These areas are raised up quite a bit more than what we’re used to–and we like that.
Then you’ll see more Tamron branding/badges. They have the SP logo there but a bit more raised as well. What you’ll also notice is the silver colored ring near the bottom–which the company is used to brand itself and distinguish itself from the rest.
Finally, there is the front of the lens–which uses a 67mm sized filter.
The lens is stated to have weather seals–and around the lens contacts it surely does in addition to the focusing ring. Beyond this, the exterior ir made of metal with a consistent color schematic and smoother feeling finish from that of Sigma’s lenses–which the Tamron offerings look a lot like.
Ease of Use
As far as using the lens goes, you just need to attach it to your camera, point, shoot and enjoy the photos. It focuses very closely to around 7.9 inches, and you’ll really enjoy that.
We’re testing the lens with the Canon 6D and these are said to be production lenses. The focusing even in low light situations is consistently snappy, though sometimes it isn’t accurate. Perhaps the 6D may need to have the contacts cleaned, but when using the outer focusing points the hit rate drops to around 85%. Still, that’s not too bad.
We’ve spent a couple of hours with the lens as of writing this post at 3:30pm the day before announcement, but we’re really impressed by:
- The colors
- The bokeh
- The close focusing distance
- The relatively good sharpness, though we’ve seen better wide open
Here are some samples.
We’re far away from still giving our final analysis of the images and this lens, but stay tuned. So far, we’re really enjoying what it can do, and considering the $599 price point, Tamron may have a big hit this holiday season.