Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/2500s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/640s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/2000s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure 1/8000s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/2000s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/2.2
Exposure 1/1250s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/2500s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Exposure 1/1600s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/3.2
Exposure 1/500s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/1000s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/1600s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/200s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/4.0
Exposure 1/1250s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/1250s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure 1/1000s
Make Canon
Model Canon EOS 5DS R
ISO Speed 200
Focal Length 85.0mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Exposure 1/250s

Competition

Natural competitors of the Tamron lens are probably the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM ART as well as the new Samyang AF 85mm f/1.4 EF. The Sigma lens is quite a brick and as such certainly nothing for casual users. Performance-wise they are in the same league. If you require that extra bit in speed, it'll be hard to avoid the Sigma. The Samyang is a newcomer that we'll check out in our next review. Interestingly it manages to provide more speed while keeping its weight below the Tamron lens. While the Sigma is more expensive, the Samyang has a similar price tag. However, its performance is inferior to the Tamron.

Visual comparison courtesy of camerasize.com.

Verdict

The Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD delivered a convincing performance with just a few hiccups. The center quality is very high at max aperture and even the extreme corners are still good. Stopped down to medium apertures it is extremely sharp across the image field. Distortions are basically absent. Lateral CAs are generally low and not an issue in real-world conditions. There is some visible vignetting at f/1.8 but it remains within the range that is typical for this lens class. The quality of the bokeh is a bit of a mixed bag. The background bokeh is quite smooth whereas the foreground is on the rough side. Out-of-focus highlights are nicely rendered in the image center but deteriorate rapidly towards the borders at f/1.8.

Prime lenses are fairly simple beings but even so the build quality of the Tamron lens is impressive thanks to high-quality materials and a smoothly operating focus ring. The AF is fairly fast and reasonably accurate. On the downside, the exposure seems to be at least 1/3 f-stops off (underexposure) - a fate that it shares with other Tamron lenses (also on Nikon). Tamron's image stabilizer has an average efficiency but if you are into low light photography, the Tamron can yield better results than a conventional f/1.4 lens without stabilization.

The Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD is fairly expensive for this speed class - it costs twice as much as the admittedly ancient Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM. That's quite a frog that you have to swallow here albeit the image stabilizer is surely worth a couple of extra dollars. That being said it's worth mentioning that it is lighter, smaller and cheaper than most of its f/1.4 counterparts and not everybody requires a f/1.4 lens. Highly recommended!

Optical Quality at 50 megapixels:
Optical Quality at 21 megapixels:
Mechanical Quality:
Price/Performance:
      
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