Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lens for Nikon F mount tested at DxOMark: “serious contender “

DxOMark published their test results for the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lens for Nikon F mount:

Tamron SP 35mm F1.8 Di VC USD (Model F012) Nikon versus Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Nikon versus Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f:1.8G ED lens comparison

Against the high-speed Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM Art, the new Tamron performs at a similar level, but bear in mind that the Sigma is a faster f/1.4 lens and carries a $300 or so premium. Still, from the initial aperture through to f/4, the Tamron is ahead in sharpness, at least from mid-field to the corners on account of the Sigma’s slight astigmatism. The Sigma has slightly higher peak sharpness (at f/2.0), but it doesn’t match the Tamron for uniformity until f/8–f/11. Nikon’s relatively new 35mm f1.8 G ED is no slouch either, but it trails the Tamron wide-open in the outer zones with some field curvature and high levels of chromatic aberration. Stopped down, the Nikkor performs well, with sharpness practically matching the Tamron at every aperture; however, the performance is marred somewhat by a ring of chromatic aberration that persists through to f/16.

Tamron SP 35mm F1.8 Di VC USD (Model F012) Nikon versus Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f:2 ZF2 Nikon versus Canon EF 35mm f:2 IS USM lens comparison

When mounted on the 24-Mpix Nikon D750 for comparison with the Canon EF 35mm f2 IS USM on the 22-Mpix Canon EOS 5D Mk III (we’ve yet to test lenses on the 50-Mpix EOS 5Ds and 5Ds R), we can see that the Tamron compares favorably, outperforming the Canon combination. The overall score is a little higher due in part to the higher peak sharpness and better uniformity (though in fairness, the Nikon sensor has higher resolving power— that is, at least in theory). The Tamron also has slightly lower distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration, though you can see that the Canon is a very good performer. The Zeiss is also a very good performer, particularly at wider apertures, where it sits between the Canon and Tamron in sharpness across the field. Chromatic aberration is limited to the extreme corners over the first two stops in the Zeiss, but a noticeable ring forms at f/5.6, rather like the Nikkor in the previous comparison, which accounts in part for the slightly lower overall DxO Mark ranking.

Tamron SP 35mm F1.8 Di VC USD Nikon mount DxOMark review

With a DxO Mark lens score of 41 points and a peak sharpness of 28 P-Mpix on the Nikon D810, the Tamron SP 35mm F1.8 Di VC USD (Model F012) Nikon is an exceptional performer. It has very high sharpness even wide open, and with only minor field curvature, it is sharp right out to the corners. Stopping down only slightly improves sharpness in the centers, with most gains made in the outer field. But performance is so consistent throughout the range that it would be hard to tell when photographing 3D subjects. As for the other metrics, distortion is very low, and vignetting at –1.4 EV is pretty typical; however, control of chromatic aberration is exceptional. The only slight downside is the –0.4 EV deviation in transmission from the maximum aperture.

DxOMark's conclusion:

The Tamron 35mm f1.8 comes close to matching the Sigma 35mm f1.4 in terms of sharpness, and even surpasses it in uniformity at wider apertures, and has lower distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberration. At $600, it’s comfortably more accessible than the Sigma (although you do give up three-quarters of a T-stop); indeed, it’s around the same price as the Nikon 35mm f1.8G ED that it outperforms, particularly with regard to control of chromatic aberration. Add optical stabilization, and the Tamron looks like an attractive option.

Both the Tamron SP 35mm and 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lenses are priced at $599 and are currently in stock. Additional coverage on these lenses can be found here.

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  • Michiel953

    How did we ever get along without this lens.

  • Eric Calabros

    It’s a f/1.8 lens in f/1.4 size, but if the VR and AF work flawlessly, I can live with that.

    • Paul H.

      The Tamron 35mm seems smaller than Sigma’s f/1.4, if size/weight are important. Not sure about the 45mm…

  • T.I.M

    Nikon 58mm f/1.4 AF-S ***LAST UPDATE***
    I’m done testing my new 58mm f.1.4 lens, I have to say that I am very impress by that lens.
    It can’t be compare to Nikon’s 50mm prime lenses, the 58mm f/1.4 is a totally different lens.
    It is ultra sharp all over at f/2 (little soft at f/1.4).
    That lens excel in night lights shooting and astrophotography.
    I’m so happy with the results that the lens have now it’s “own” D800 body.
    Great job Nikon !

    • Michiel953

      Try ambient light portraits? You’ll be even more surprised!

      Enjoy that lens!

      • T.I.M

        I find it a little short for portraits, my favorite low light portrait lens is still the AF-s 200mm f/2 VR

        • Michiel953

          That’s allright; I like to get in close and personal 😉 . But, why not try it? Be sure to have a dark background, diffuse but still directional lighting. You’ll be amazed. It’s a whole different style of rendering.

          • T.I.M

            I have to use my 200mm f/2 when I take portraits of my wife, because if I get too close we never finish taking the pictures….

            • Michiel953

              OK… LoL!

            • sickheadache

              Your Wife, Agusta Wynd let’s me get real close on her…I use a 28mm scary stuff.

    • T.I.M

      Expensive wine for an expensive lens….

      • T.I.M

        The picture of the wine bottle is of course shoot with the AF-S 58mm f/1.4
        I don’t drink wine (I’m probably the only French guy on earth who does not drink wine…)

        • Nikon1isAwesome!

          French? Good to know. I’ll give you more grace before I get aggravated from now on. lol Nice shot. I have the 58mm on my short list. Nice to see another user that is satisfied.

      • Mikycoud

        Hey! Ce vin est un peu trop près du bord de la table à mon goût! !!
        Watch it, this wine looks way too close to the table edge to my taste!! 🙂

      • peter w

        Do you need help with this bottle? I love its smell of garigue, Mediterranean herbs, prunes and dark fruit, and pepper. You are very welcome ;).
        The bokeh of the lens suits the richness of the wine. It may be at its best now.

    • sickheadache

      TIM…IT is one of the worst bs lenses that Nikon Produce. It is ultra SOFT as a baby’s butt. It is a poorly soft and over price bs lens. I test drove it..and was so disappointed and truly have HATE for that lens. Makes no sense. Tons of Plastic with no thought. A Little Soft? Dude..it is freaking Mush. Sigma’s 50mm Art is perfect. Nice Thread Jacking Tim.

      • T.I.M

        All lenses are soft wide open (except my 200mm f/2 and my 400mm f/2.8, thanks to the ED elements).
        Even my 105mm f/2.8 micro have tons of CA at f/2.8
        I’m very picky about my lenses, and that 58mm is a winner.

        • sickheadache

          SO dang incorrect..Otus 55 and 85mm and Sigma’s 35 and 50mm 24, 24-35..Art..Nikon’s 85mm 1.8 G…Samyang’s 35mm are tack sharp wide open… lil Timmy please stop writing, what you don’t know. Please.

          • T.I.M

            look like you only find lenses from other brands to be sharp, are you sure you own a Nikon camera ?

            • sickheadache

              D810. The Nikon 105 and 135 All Metal Designed Lenses are Tack Sharp. I use them also. But if Nikon cannot make a writing on a paper tack sharp and the blacks stay black and the whites stay white..Rent a Otus 55…That puts away the flimsy Nikon 58mm away every time. I suggest you stop playing round with Nikon’s pussy lens of 58mm and get with the real boys who use QUALITY Cameras and Lenses. Failure..I feel a sick headache coming on. I need to lie down.

            • HF

              Otus is great but a lens which I always wonder who really needs it, especially at this price point and in view of a Sigma Art or Sony 55mm, which are excellent, too. The Nikon has a very nice rendering costs much less and is much lighter than the Otus. Try focusing the Otus without tripod and live view wide open …

            • sickheadache

              What NON PROFESSIONAL WOULD hand held that Otus 55mm at 1.4 Without a Tripod. Ken Rockwell and HF?

            • Carleton Foxx

              I’ve decided that the Otus lenses are for photographers who want to get close to medium-format quality but don’t want to go down the very costly medium format digital road. By spending $4000 on a lens, you can avoid buying $40,000 digital backs and $8,000 lenses.

            • HF

              Reasonable explanation.

            • T.I.M

              So your NR icon picture is a self portrait ?
              I always thought it was a joke about your Grandma or your mother in law !
              (I’m married to an Asian woman so I can’t joke about her mother if I want to stay alive)
              Don’t forget to take your medicines !

      • Michiel953

        Take an aspirin. Or several.

      • fanboy fagz

        that 58 is a piece of garbage (for the price of course) they rape people and give them nothing for it. slow AF shitty build, no sharpness till 2.8. its the ripoff lens of the century.

        nikon says ode to the noct 1.2. pitiful ode. it may have nice bokeh but damn it isnt worth 1700 bucks. maybe 600 bucks.

        • T.I.M

          What camera did you use for the test ?
          On my D800 the 58mm AF is much faster than the 50mm f/1.4G (slow focusing lens).
          And at f/2, the lens is ULTRA SHARP even at the corners (no AF fine tune needed on my cameras)

          • fanboy fagz

            both lenses are very slow. the new afs motors in the prime lenses are slouches vs the older D lenses..by far. the new 85 1.8g is hlaf the speed of the previous D version. same with the 50’s/58

            this the 85 but the 50’s are worse.

    • preston

      Please try to stay on topic. There are forums for random posts/discussions.

      • T.I.M

        Yes you’re right, but no Nikon news, so I try to keep NR busy !

  • Louis-Félix Grondin

    How big is it compared to the S-Art?

    Did someone here do a “real-life” test, how reliable is the AF, how good are the colors and contrast, which one gives the best overall result in your opinion?

    I’m considering switching if it’s a bit lighter because of the VC and the extra $ I’d have in my pocket…

    • Albert

      It weighs 450g, and the Sigma is 665g. Reviews on AF state that it is a little slower than the Canikons (not much) and about equivalent to Sigma. http://www.lenstip.com/455.10-Lens_review-Tamron_SP_35_mm_f_1.8_Di_VC_USD_Autofocus.html

      • TDL

        I don’t have any experience with the Art, so I can’t comment as to how big it is, but it’s pretty big for a 1.8 lens…about as big from what I remember as my friend’s 35L.

        Colors and contrast are nice, renders slightly warm from what I’ve noticed so far. Sharpness is excellent by f2. My copy had to have +1 dialed in on AF fine tune, but other than that AF accuracy has been great. The speed reminds me of the 50mm 1.8G though, not fast, but not slow. Kinda “meh” when compared to more expensive lenses, but for what I shoot (fashion) i’m not really that big on speed so much as I value accuracy.

        Long story short, I’ve had no issues with it so far through 3 shoots…and I like it enough that I’m already waiting for them to release more primes. If they can repeat this with something like an 85/100mm I’ll buy with no hesitation.

    • Paul H.

      Wow. 3rd party primes are really messing with Nikon/Canon’s prestige these days. Folks who dismiss these lenses out of hand are missing out…

      • Iggy

        A.K.A Ken Rockwell, maybe he’ll think twice now before calling them “junk brands”!

        • CERO

          pretty sure they mean junk brands because they might not work in the future due of firmware issues.
          I dont think the new ART line from sigma will be “junk” now. (since they can be updated to work on newer cameras)

  • Impressive, but since I already own the Sigma 35 Art, I’ll wait and see what Tamron does in the other ranges. Since they already did 40mm, maybe they’ll skip 50mm and do a 60mm that can do 1:2 macro, or a regular ~55mm / 58mm that hits f/1.4 and then a ~90mm f/2 that can do 1:2 macro.

    Tamron has an older Adaptall 90mm f/2.5 optical design already, and it is incredibly sharp and does 1:2 macro; its only downfall is a bit of softness and fringing wide open. I’d absolutely love to have an AF 90mm f/2 or f/1.8 from Tamron that allows me to replace both my Nikon 85 1.8 G and the old Adaptall Tamron Macro 90mm!

    • I also wouldn’t mind seeing how Tamron can compete against Sigma’s 20mm and 24mm f/1.4’s, especially in a lighter weight f/1.8 package since the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 is so tiny by comparison, and almost as sharp.

      However, Since Sigma has ignored the 85 Art wishes for so long, I think Tamron’s best next move is definitely a killer 60-90mm prime or two.

    • T.I.M

      what device do you use to track the stars ?

      • S0lidSnake

        There are plenty in the sub $500 range. What’s your budget?

        • T.I.M

          I need a very good one that can hold heavy lenses, and very precise to keep stars looking like stars.

          • nwcs

            Good astrophotography mounts are expensive, especially for heavy lenses. Astrotrac would be your best bet for portable with a heavier lens. Some people can get by with the Star Adventurer with heavier equipment but it’s a low weight mount and QC is hit and miss.

            But if you’re looking for precision with heavy lenses expect >$2000 for a medium quality equatorial mount. Most have some QC issues until you hit the $6000 range.

            If you’re thinking light and portable you can easily do the Vixen Polarie or iOptron SkyTracker. Max payload of about 3kg.

            • T.I.M

              Thanks for the infos !

          • S0lidSnake

            Sorry for the late reply, but again: what is your budget? As nwcs just told you, good ones can be $2000+. Which is not to say that you can’t get good results with one less than that. I use a SkyWatcher Star Adventurer ($380), and this is the best result I’ve gotten to date (the Orion and Horsehead Nebulae: http://i.imgur.com/tYu4lnN.jpg

            • T.I.M

              I guess I’ll wait I move to a better state (Florida’s atmosphere is always nasty).

            • S0lidSnake

              Actually, from what I’ve read the opposite is true: Your atmosphere has great seeing (when it’s clear, which is a different metric) because there are no real mountains. I’d say you should give it a try, from your other posts you seem to have some heavy hitting gear. Feel free to contact me if you’d like some advice.

      • No device, at present, just the right shutter speeds to avoid star motion as necessary. I am however very keen on Pentax’ upcoming full-frame body with built-in astro-tracking, and possibly also getting a dedicated tracker. However I do more backpacking than roadside astronomy, so portability is more important for me right now.

  • peter w

    Looks as if I really wanted this Tamron 35 F1,8 instead of Sigma 1,4. I didn’t need F1,4 and I really would like a smaller, and less heavy lens…
    However, I am not going to part anymore from this Sigma :). Lovely.

  • Nikon User

    Time for Cankon to seriously kill third party lenses including Tamron.

  • USD just makes me think of US dollars, or worse shorthand for ‘used condition’ when i see it at the end of the product name… :/

  • Rickster

    I had two copies of the lens using them on my D750 and my D810. Never had a lens so worthless. My first copy was completely unusable on either camera. It could not deal with slightest contrasts. It would just blow out any lights. The second copy was nearly as tragic. It was just barely usable on the D750, but was horrendous on my D810.

    • Nikon1isAwesome!

      My first venture into Tamron (18-50 some years ago) was a similar experience. After a trip to the shop it was very nice but still hard to love. Sold it and bought a used Nikon since it still missed focus more than I was used to. I will say that Tamron has perhaps the best in-warranty customer services out there. Super quick turn around and it came back as perfect as it could be.

    • TDL

      Sample variation must be pretty bad then. I got my copy a little over a week ago and it hasn’t left my camera since. Handles contrast great, and is razor sharp on my D610. Looks like I got lucky…but then again I was expecting the worst considering the reports of people having to go through 3-4 copies of their 24-70 before getting a good version. Luck of the draw I guess

  • Chris

    As far as I concern, lenstip suggests lens doesn’t work well against light. This is probably the only flaw but it’s kinda troubling.

  • HF

    Wow, trying to be funny?

  • AutoMatters

    Tamron keeps coming out with great lenses for Nikon. That begs the question, Is it just me or does anyone else think that Nikon is missing the boat on its choice of new zoom lenses? I love Nikon’s quality but I also need more useful zoom ranges.
    Years ago I was so convinced that the 28-300mm range of an inexpensive Tamron lens was great for general purpose, walkaround photography that I took a chance and bought one. It proved to be an ideal general purpose lens.
    Nikon did not offer that zoom range so I continued to use the Tamron on increasingly expensive Nikon (eventually pro) bodies.
    Finally, after many years, Nikon came out with its own 28-300mm lens so I bought one and have used it ever since.
    More recently, Tamron again has addressed my needs better than Nikon. Thanks to its incredible VR system, the full frame Tamron 150-600mm lens can be hand held at ridiculously low shutter speeds, and it produces very sharp images. I use it to shoot auto racing, air shows, hydroplane racing and more. Having such a long zoom range is very important when shooting events where the shooter-to-subject distance varies greatly. The 80-400mm range of Nikon’s zoom lens is just not nearly as useful.
    I would really like a Nikon 80-600mm lens (150mm does not let me get as close to nearby subjects as I would like).
    The other full frame Tamron lens that I bought recently is their 15-30mm VR f2.8. It, too, is an awesome lens and for a surprisingly low price.

  • Tieu Ngao

    About one year ago I had a chance to test this lens Tamron 35mm at a local store against my Nikon 16-35mm (which is slightly soft at 35mm compared with other focal lengths) on D750 and I was happy with every aspect of the lens except the sharpness, which is about 95% compared with the Nikon (I’d expected otherwise). That was a surprise for me and the only reason why I did not buy the lens on that day. Further thoughts on this: the reason could be (i) sample variation, and/or (ii) on-camera calibration was needed.

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