Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lens (Nikon F mount) reviewed at DxoMark


The Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD lens for Nikon F mount ($749) got reviewed at DxoMark (click for larger view):





DxOMark's conclusion:

"The Tamron 85mm f/1.8 is the highest-scoring of all the 85mm prime lenses under $1000 that we’ve tested on Nikon full-frame DSLRs. Securing excellent all round lens metric results, it delivers outstanding overall sharpness, with high levels of acutance and uniform edge-to-edge sharpness at all aperture settings.

Excellent image quality is allied with a good set of features too, including Tamron’s VC image stabilizer and USD autofocus motor, which improve low-light performance.

Its maximum f/1.8 aperture has lower light transition compared to the Carl Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4 and Nikon’s own $1597 Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G, which could be an important factor in your buying decision, but these faster aperture lenses also cost significantly more. The new Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art will make for an interesting rival to the Tamron in a similar price bracket (and we’ll bring you those scores as soon as possible), but for now the Tamron short telephoto 85mm prime lens offers the best value for Nikon full-frame shooters."

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  • valdazis

    I wonder how VC is working on this thing. If it saves 2-3 stops, for low light it will be more useful than f1.4

    • jason Keefer

      It does… I shoot mine at 1/10 pretty easily.

      • I tried a Tamron VC 35mm and found the VC jumpy, how would you rank the performance of the 85s VC?

        • jason Keefer

          I don’t see it being very jumpy, but nor was my 35 SP. I will tell you that it snaps into focus much faster than the 35.

          • This is the way you may make a quite decent wealth monthly… You can test it on your own! After been without work for six months time, I started off freelancing over this site and now i couldn’t be more joyful. After six months time on my latest job opportunity my month-to-month earnings are around 12k per month…>>TIMELY84.COM

    • Spy Black

      Well, for anything that isn’t moving, yes. Otherwise you could benefit from a higher shutter speed.

    • tobi

      Just got mine a few weeks ago 🙂 (Please as punch at the review!)

      However, although the VC is darn good to have when the lights get low.. There have been reports that at high shutter speeds it introduces movement blur. I have noticed some lower than expected sharpness at high shutter speeds but since I just got the lense its still inconclusive(may be just user error).. A suggestion by some users is that you simply need to remember to turn off VC at high shutter speeds of 1/2000 or more.

      • Max

        Nikkor VR does the same

        • Antonio

          If you don’t follow the warnings to prevent the use of VR at speeds of 1/500s and faster.

          • Max

            Yeah I know I’m not complaining about it because it’s not an issue at all. I’m just saying it’s the same with vr

            • Antonio

              Ok, my answer wasn’t because I thought you were complaining but to make it clear to the ones not familiar with the use of VR.

      • Not Buyin’ it

        can you turn VC off ? (e.g., at high shutterspeed)…. I mean, what’s the point of VC at high shutterspeed?

  • GMck

    Pretty nice score. I just returned 2 sigma art 85 due to unbelievably bad front focus. Had my eye on the Nikon 105, but maybe Tamron deserves a second look.

    • I owned all nikon 85mm’s. However, after buying the 105E, the sharpest telephoto lens I’ve ever owned, next to the 200mm f/2.0 of course.

      • GMck

        Just ordered the Nikon new 105 1.4. I had such high hopes for the new Sigma. What a piece of crap. I am done with Sigma. I really need a 1.4 portrait, so Nikkor it is.

    • silmasan

      What Nikon body did you use the S85A with? Do you have the USB dock? Or have you maybe written about this in more details somewhere else on the ‘net (reviews/forums etc)? I ask because I’m seriously going to get it and need more input.

      I’m prepared to do the necessary adjustment/tuning and even would be fine doing manual focusing while tethered anyway so there’s no way I’ll call it “crap” while the Otus is almost four times as expensive.

      • GMck

        I tested on a D810, D750, D500 – Equally bad on all 3, and yes, I have the USB Dock. I had to set it to +20 and then +20 in the body and it still was not sharp. I use Focal for testing my lenses and it reported the lenses was out of range of correction, plus I did a lot if other less “scientific” tests. All the tests use Single Point AF. Don’t believe all the hype about it being like the Otus. It simply is not, and nobody will convince me that Sigma is worth the money any longer. I have 3 other Sigma lenses, and they all took tweaking, but the 85 was so bad, it was shocking. Maybe others got great results, but for me, I am done with Sigma and their Dock. Go look at the reviews at B&H – many of the same reports there. Seems Sigma relies on their Dock to get the end user to setup what they should have done at the factory.

        • silmasan

          Thank you. I’ve read the B&H reviews and from other places. Some got bad results, others did well after tuning, and a few even seem to get it working fine out of the box, which is baffling me. I have no idea of the statistics or whether there are many bad samples especially from the early batches. If the latter’s the case then returning and getting another sample now probably won’t help.

          In any case, the Nikon 105/1.4E would be your best bet, so happy shooting with that!

          • GMck

            I know the Nikon is double the price, but if you can’t focus on the subject’s eyes at 1.4 or 1.8, a 1.4 lens is worth nothing – no matter how low the price.

            • silmasan

              Well, I’ve yet to experience one myself and besides, portrait’s not my only target usage for it (mostly static).

              My 105 DC is “easier” on most people’s face anyway, when it comes to details. At least that’s what I say to myself for now. 😀

            • William Dyer

              I too have the 105 DC, and thought the same thing, “How much retouching do I want to do on portraits?” The 105 DC is sharp enough for me. If I want sharper, I have the 70-200 E FLD.

            • KnightPhoto

              For this reason I have tended to prefer the D4 over the D800E for portraits 😉

              I’m interested by the idea of the Tammy VC, the new 105 Nikkor, the 85 f/1.4G, and the 70-200E – lots of choices! Currently just use the 70-200 VRII, sold the 135DC several years ago to help fund the D4.

            • Hysz

              That Tamron is nothing to sneeze at, look at the resolution! You can cut 90% of the content, blow it up 3x and it would still look great. Damn.

            • GMck

              For sure, but you buy a 1.4 to use it at 1.4.

            • Hysz

              I would argue that with today’s technology that 2/3 stop is meh. I understand, you buy a 2l bottle and you want whole 2l. But sometimes a 1.75l bottle is enough.

            • Hysz

              that is very important. people tend to overlook that.

          • jason Keefer

            For the record…. all three of my Tamron primes have been sharp out of the box. The USB dock has only been used once, to update firmware.

        • James R Mercer

          I had a terrible time with my Sigma 50 USB dock and front focus until I called them and they told me how to use it properly – which is NOT documented in their crappy manual.

          Dunno if you know this, so I’ll put it here in case. 🙂

          You have four focal distances to adjust at, with one firmware setting for each distance. I spent weeks trying to tune my 50 and was ready to return it, then called Sigma. In about 45 seconds, I had the answer.

          Set the camera af tuning to zero, if it’s not already there. Also zero out ALL FOUR settings on the lens.

          Make your adjustments on the FIRST and CLOSEST SETTING ONLY. Do not alter any of the other values, leave them at zero.

          When you have it right, write down the value and zero out the entire lens again.

          Now go for the next distance – again, ONLY alter the value corresponding to THAT distance to the object. Again, when it’s right, zero out the whole lens, and then rinse/repeat for the remaining distances.

          Then after the final reset, put ALL the recorded values in at one time, and you’ll be good to go. Apparently, if you leave values in the other settings while calibrating lens-based AF FT, it screws up things in the setting your working on, and by the time you’re done, NOTHING works right.

          I had been working on each distance in turn, keeping the previous values in while trying to adjust for the new distance. Doing it THIS way allowed me to calibrate my 50 really well.

          In the interest of full disclosure, I still made some minor changes after doing the above and then running the lens in real world situations, but my Sigma Art 50 is now the (hands-down) sharpest and fastest focusing lens I have. Hit rate on first focus is fantastic.

          So when I read about people doing Sigma dock adjustments and having a terrible time, I always wonder if they did it this way, or the way I struggled with. 🙂

          I love Tamron – I have their 70-200 and their 15-30… but given my experience with my Sigma Art 50, I’m really leaning toward the Sigma Art 85.

          • GMck

            Thanks for the info. I know the dock and procedurefor distance very well. In the case of my 35mm and 50mm i was able to tune and get good results. The 2 copies of the 85 I got were so bad, no adjustment would make them usable.

            So for Sigma, they are relying on the user to configure their crappy lens instead of spending the time to figure out how Nikon bodies work. Tamron is a third part lens, and the don’t have this issue. I’m a tech guy with 30 years in IT, I know what I’m doing and I refuse to spend a ton of time to fix a problem that should have never been there in the first place. Sigma is using the oldest trick in the book, release a product that you know as problems and deal with returns. it’s a calculated risk. There is a certain percentage that don’t pass QC, but the cost of returns is outweighed by the value in sales that they can report on their books. That also have a distributor network, so they let the distributors deal with it. There are lots of buyers that will never even notice or care, but I am not one of those buyers. They are selling shit and they know it.

            • James R Mercer

              Thanks for the info – well, that sucks on Sigma’s part. Too bad, really. Well, then, I’m starting to reconsider the Tammy now. 🙂

              Might buy the Sigma via Amazon and see if I get a good copy. The return policy with them is fantastic, so if I get a garbage experience, I can kick it to the curb pretty easily.

              Thanks!

            • GMck

              I have 3 other Sigma lenses, so I was really digging the 85 that I had waited 2 years for, until I started using it. Returning and calibrating and fiddling is such a pain in the ass, not mention I’m not getting paid when I’m having to spend time to fix their crap. It reminds of cars in the late sixties and early seventies that you had to go around and tighten the bolts because the factor workers didn’t give a shit.

              Sigma needs to get their shit together really. You can release piles of lenses and cine lenses and market the crap out of them, but if they are hit and miss, they are worth noting to people who trying to make their living with it.

            • James R Mercer

              I know what you mean. I’ve heard nightmare stories from people who get bad copies of Nikkors, too.

              I had a bad time with my first Tammy 70-200 – my copy wouldn’t focus consistently 2 out of 8 times or so. Bought it at a Tammy dealer, who actually had a direct relationship with Tamron – we sent the lens back twice for repair and update, with Tamron claiming it was fine after firmware upgrades were applied.

              We blind-tested my lens against a fresh one, documented the results, and he gave me a new copy out of his inventory, then kept the not-so-good one around as a rental while he gave Tamron a hard time with the evidence. One reason I love good dealers, they care about ME, not the vendor. 🙂

              Good customer service on that – almost put me off Tamron completely, though, but the reviews of the 15-30 were so good I took a chance. That lens is stellar – used it at the Grand Canyon last year, and had great shots. I’ve also used it more recently at family events for those “crowd shot” moments and even video on my D750. Works great, happy as all get out with both Tammys.

            • GMck

              I had the exact same experience with my Tamron 15-30 – and took shots at the Grand Canyon, Zion and Byrce last August. Stellar on my D500 & D810. Contrast was amazing.

              You are right about the dealer service, but really, the get caught in the middle. They don’t make enough margin to cover all the customer service time. I have a local dealer (smaller shop) that dropped the line for that exact reason. He got tired to having to explain to people “Well I know it’s not focusing, but can sell you this USB thing, and blah blah blah.” I’m off of Sigma sadly. I just don’t trust their products any longer.

  • Really having a tough time deciding between the Nikkor 85/1.8G and this Tamron.

    Do I really need VC for $300 more dollars?

    • valdazis

      If you won’t use speedlight indoors for instance.

    • I got a 85 1.8G for $330 with a spensive filter, so if you can find a refurbished or used but mint, try for that ballpark. Very happy with mine but I wouldn’t pay twice the price for it – I’d find an alternative, but since I got it for so cheap(used but looks like it was used once, fleabay magic) there is no logical alternative. It’s also quite durable, it has taken some falls and bangs and I am still getting flawless D810 performance.

      • Spy Black

        “I got a 85 1.8G for $330 with a spensive filter…”

        Probably woulda been a lot cheaper if you didn’t have to pay for that spensive filter. Filters are so spensive nowadays…

        • Neopulse

          lol

        • tobi

          Its an SP lense you should have SPensive filters.. 😉

          • I hope the use of “lense” was deliberate!

            • tobi

              Google it 🙂 Lense is acceptable spelling though less often used 🙂

            • There are two ideas about this online
              1)Both are correct, but they are different words. “Lens” is the glass thing that focuses light. “Lense” is a verb meaning “To make lean; to macerate”
              2)”Lense” is an archaic variant spelling that is no longer in use.
              The only two dictionaries worth checking(merriam webster for american and oxford for british english strictly spell it as LENS. So go figure.

          • Pat Mann

            Just be careful it doesn’t come lose so you loose it.

        • Hysz

          No, it’s a spensive filter. It is used by mounting on front of the lens, and it cuts the wavelength of everything that is spensive, like that new Mazda there!

    • jason Keefer

      VC and Weathersealing and it’s built a lot tougher. But, the Nikon f1.8 is very good.

      • No. Just no, no, no. I’ve exposed the 1.8G to ludicrous amounts of snow, rain, and abuse. It’s weathersealed unless you try swimming with it. VC is it, the Nikon is built tough, plastics bounce, my 85mm did when it hit the floor, and because plastic flexes and doesn’t dent, the lens is fine, even after it fell onto concrete one time. And to top it off, it’s used.

        • Hysz

          Maybe. Mine is OK, but I can see with naked eyes that there are gaps on the barrel. I wouldn’t use it rain or snow. But that’s just me. I grabbed it, shaken and yeah, china quality.

    • Lubos

      Yes, you do.

    • Chris

      The new sp lens is very good. I won’t get 85/1.8g because it diesel have nano coating. From my exp with sp45 and 5018g, so will render color better. I did have 8518g for some time.

    • Adam Brown

      I had the 85g and upgraded to the Tamron — VC + the sharpest lens made for Nikon + better purple fringing than the 85g…. well worth $300 in my book.

    • scott800

      Yes! The VC is amazing.

    • koenshaku

      I would go with the Nikkor 85mm F/1.8 personally. Check out some reviews for it and look at some of the Flickr shots for both and see which on you like more. I was looking on flickr and bokeh did seem muddy to me which is why I bought the Nikon.

    • I’d recommend the Nikkor. Personally I don’t need VR for a portrait lens like this, but that’s just me. I tend to shoot at a minimum 100thsec to reduce movement blur in my subjects. So for weddings and events I’m not sure that VR would help that much, but everyone has different needs. If you a video shooter though, then obviously that’s different.
      The Tamron looks like a great lens, but the Nikkor is a rock solid little gem for the money. Great rendering, colours, Bokeh and sharpness. My only criticism would be slow focus in bad light, but then most fast primes seem to be pretty poor in that regard, in my experiences any way.
      My two pennies worth, everyone is pushing for super sharp lenses, but we don’t always consider the other aspects of how a lens renders. Personally I don’t mind a little softness in a portrait lens especially at the corners, but each to their own.

    • Hysz

      TBH, I bought 85mm 1.8g about 1-2months ago. It’s Incredible [D600 body], sharpness is just everywhere but it has some vignette problems [quick fix in any software]. What can I say? It’s excellent. Now, read review, checked the stats for every spec, and I want Tamron. I will try to sell mine [got it dirt cheap] and have vr on such sharp lens. You really have to decide. I use mainly flash in photos, yet I will find creative uses for VR, like adding ambient light to the background without raising ISO and without tripod. As I would use it I would figure out some other uses.

    • James R Mercer

      Better to have VC and not need it, than to need it and not have it. 🙂

    • decentrist

      it’s a tough call, both are priced accordingly..

  • sickheadache

    Very Interesting…now await Sigmas 85mm art to be test..hoping the turn keyers at DxO will do this quickly…not like did with Sigmas art line 50mm…

    • tobi

      Its already taking full advantage of the 36mp and the other 24MP sensor dont even push the lense resolution. Unless you are testing the still unreleased and unannounced and un-rumoured D810 successor with 72MP sensor. Sharpness wise for the sensor its not going to be any difference, if its sharper.. It can only test worst. Of course if you do need the the F1.4 vs 1.8 then it will be worth getting but you dont need DXO to tell you that. Still the VC is also good to have in the Tammy(and untested by DXO). Finally, bokeh quality .. also untested by DXO. so DXO test of the Sigma wont really tell you anything..

      • Hysz

        Bokeh isn’t tested because there is no measure for bokeh. Some schools say smooth or nothing, some will need for creative weird bokeh, I will need onion bokeh. No quality, bokeh is subjective. Same way they don’t test AF speed. conditions vary, AF system vary, user settings vary.

    • GMck

      I returned 2 Sigma Art 85s the past month due to serious focusing problems. I have a Tamron 15-30 and that puppy was sharp right out of the box. Only needed a +1 on my bodies. Quality control at Sigma leaves a lot to be desired. I would like to see just how much DxO adjust the focus with the dock to get it a reasonable state. I will never again use Sigma after this. DxO pobably takes so long because they are waiting for Sigma to produce a few pristine copies. Lens Rentals published MTF charts the the Nikon 105 and they at least take the average across 10 copies of the lens.

      • silmasan

        Yes, LensRentals must already have sizable number of copies for rent, I really am looking forward to their assessment. They have the knowledge, skills, experience, instruments and they’re in the best position to do just that.

  • Adam Brown

    Basically, if you look closely….
    The Tamron is the sharpest lens you can put on a Nikon camera — essentially tying the Otus. Otus wins in total score due to the 1.4 transmission.
    But the Tamron scores even higher than the new Nikon 105/1.4 in sharpness. There is no sharper lens for Nikon under $1500—
    And it has VC to boot.
    Though I own 7 lenses, this lens is now on my camera more than half the time.

    • silmasan

      Since you mentioned the Otus (a manual focus lens), yes, there is a sharper lens for Nikon under $1500 and that’s the Sigma 85 Art. (plus the USB dock). Even without the AF, it still gives the Otus a run for its $$$$.

      • tobi

        Unless you have a greater than a 36mp camera there is no sharper lense 😉 Not for Nikon anyway… Not yet. Unless .. you use DX cameras …

        • silmasan

          I take it that you refer to dxo’s “36mp” number? No, I mean see it for yourself by comparing their sample images, you can see the S85A (or Otus for that matter) has advantage at f/1.4 thru f/2 at least (compared to the Tamron at f/1.8~ f/2).

          At f/2.8 and above sure, not much difference that’s discernible to most people maybe. A “D810 successor” will only make it clearer (again, esp. wide open).

          • tobi

            True .. yes of course.. F2.0 and below sharpness performance is the new battleground in 85mm lenses.

            • decentrist

              in your head only

            • tobi

              In your head only..

              🙂 I mean I doubt anyone else understands what you mean.. ie please explain.

          • Hysz

            argument to compare 2 images always bothers me. You cannot take 2 pictures with 2 different lenses at the same time. Thus there will be some changes in scene. And also there is some very cute thing called bias. You have Otus [tons of cash] and now this, when compared ofc you will choose Otus. Even knowing this bias, people tend to see sharpness [or any other advantage] where they invested money.

            • silmasan

              There are already “clinical” test results for measurable stuff like sharpness etc already for comparison (yes, they’re not everything but still they can be partly useful). I guess I shouldn’t lump those things together with the regular “sample images” like portraits or landscapes.

              As for the “bias” thing, e.g. you assume that I would choose the Otus. Well, NOT. 🙂 I actually like the Milvus and the S85A better than the Otus for their overall rendering. And yes (also to respond to your other post), you can compare the out-of-focus rendering, the focus transition of different lenses objectively if you know what to look for.

            • Hysz

              You can do tests like front and back bokeh looks in dark room with 1PX lit only. Depending on the shape of the created image you can say if it’s clean or if it’s erratic etc. But there is no objectivity involved. As I said, I like onion bokeh and if lens does not have it is garbage. You see how idiotic this is? Same for separation etc. I have been talking and testing, and asking and looking, and I am very sorry, but there is no objective way to test bokeh [because there is no objective better or worse bokeh]. If you know ‘what to look for’ I am all ears, I don’t close my mind to other ideas like most people.

              And maybe you wouldn’t fall for bias,but psyh tests have shown over 80% of tested [sample like 20k or something] are indeed biased.Be it confirmation bias or any other [wiki/bias if you want more]. That’s why you will never have objectivity if person is somehow involved. You have to REALLY strong mentally to evade bias. Most people just go with bias, but say the other thing, that’s clever in it’s own way.

            • silmasan

              OK, so you know what I was referring to (CoC, spherical aberration, and all that jazz). So let me just clarify: the quality of the transition, the evenness of the circle of confusion is the “objective” part, we can basically both say whether the transition is sharp/harsh/abrupt or smoothly gradual etc. Your (or my) preference is the “subjective” part, say I choose smooth and you choose e.g. sharp plus the concentric circles. That’s simply what I meant re: objective vs subjective.

              Though I do change my preferences depending on subject and mood (sometimes the sharp/harsh is just what’s needed, and this is where I conversely get annoyed by some people who insist that it has to be fluffy fuzzy all the time).

              As for bias… Yes, and by now I’m already sure you’re someone who would demand “double blind ABX testing or shuddehellup”. For many subjects, indeed I’d agree with that. 🙂

            • Hysz

              nothing better then good ol’ double blind test to start a day, lol. I will

              share something with you.

              dpreview[dot]com/forums/thread/4031515?page=6

              You know what to do to change it to address, right? So this is as close as I have seen to objective bokeh. It’s really great read, you can start from page 1 ofc, I forgot to change that.

            • silmasan

              Ha! I was going to mention that thread of hers, but I figured if you’re into this stuff then you must’ve already stumbled upon that also. 😀
              I have the DC lens btw which sparked my interest in this stuff.

            • Hysz

              Good, I like to meet an intelligent person from time to time 🙂 But even with that hard work, all we can really show is those circles. When I first saw this I haven’t slightest idea wtf is this and how to apply, and why is everyone cheering? But few minutes and everything came focus so to speak. TBH this was the tipping point of my struggle to buy 85mm lens. There are many of those for Nikon. And since I cannot buy without DxO [damn my 50mm 1.4D, it’s like a soft filter applied], because DxO provides the stuff I want. The rendering and AF etc, I can check that, but if lens is faulty [huge T stop compared to f, vignette like it’s no tomorrow, CA and sharpness. I don’t care about distortion at all] then it just vanishes from list. 85mm D both are 6MPX less sharp than G versions, and not on D810, I always pick D600, mine. So I landed with 85mm 1.8G, and not two weeks later DxO made a bold claim about sharpest consumer lens on Earth, grrrr. Sharpness is great, because I can crop, leave 20% of image, blow it up in PS and it will be nice looking. I even tested that wild idea with 1.8G and yeah. 30x40cm prints can be done.

            • silmasan

              I had the 50 1.4D with a D70s years ago… it was soft wide open, 50/1.8G isn’t much better (sharp only when stopped down). The 85 is just better wide open. I think the 50 and 85 f/1.8G are both similar when stopped down to about f/4~f/5.6. Definitely more than sharp enough for studio use. And the new gen lenses are now bringing that kind of sharpness to the f/1.4~f/2 region, which is very exciting to me because now we don’t need medium format just to get that kind of look.

            • Hysz

              85mm 1.8g is ideally sharp from side to side, at f1.8, compared to 50mm D it’s just totally different league, I can stop down to 5.6 and not get sharpness of 1.8g

            • silmasan

              Really? Bad copy / decentered maybe? The Nikkor 50s should all be sharp from f/4~f/5.6.

            • Hysz

              Agree, geled versions are sharper, but they lack this… nostalgia factor.

      • Adam Brown

        Hasn’t been tested by DXO yet. Lenstip does rate the sigma as even sharper.
        No room in DXO to really get sharper — pmpix on the d810 is 36mp, on a 36mp camera… 24mp on the d750. In other words, already getting the absolute maximum resolution with the Tamron.

        What it really comes down to — the Tamron and Sigma are both among the sharpest lenses around. Becomes a choice of 1.8 with VC or 1.4 without VC. For me, the VC is worth more than the extra half f-stop.

        • silmasan

          See my reply to tobi re dxo’s p-mpix number.

          Of course everyone has different needs, and the Tamron is already sharper than Nikon 85 primes. I see the Art/Otus as more special need than general-purpose (not least because of the size & weight). The Tamron’s best as a walk-around 85.

          • Adam Brown

            The ART isn’t that much heavier than the Tammy. The Tamron is pretty heavy for a 1.8 lens– it’s the one thing I miss about the Nikon 85g.
            To me — I’ll take the Tamron over the ART because it is a little cheaper, weighs a little less, and the VC is a big benefit to me. (My hands aren’t the steadiest and I’d be shooting at 1/200 without VC). For me, the VC is more important than 1.4. On top of that, I’ve seen many people have focus and compatibility issues with Sigma.

            But overall, between Tamron SP, and Sigma ART… Nikon glass is starting to look overpriced and/or second rate.
            I now have 3 Tamron lenses 24-70/2.8, 45/1.8 and 85/1.8h, 1 Samyang (14/2.8)and only 4 Nikon (18-35g, 70-200/4, 105/2.8, and 300/4).

            • silmasan

              Oh you’re right, I misjudged it — it’s not much bigger but twice the weight of 85/1.8g… still a pretty good balance I guess, similar to my 105DC. The 85 Nikkors do need another upgrade for sure.

            • Adam Brown

              And the Nikon 85g WAS my favorite lens. I was hesitant to replace it, but I had to shoot at 1/200+ to get sharp images, so I was really only using it in great light. When the Tamron was announced, I decided I would wait for some reviews — If it was optically as good as the G, with the addition of VC, then I decided I would get it.
              It is actually optically even better than the G.
              But DXO fails to mention the one downside — it suffers from some rather severe focus shift. I struggled with micro adjust to get a result that I’m happy with.

              Essentially, I think it’s time for almost every lens to get VC, certainly any lens at 35mm or longer. Most of the Nikon G primes are excellent, but their low light capabilities are limited without VC — When I can shoot a 2.8 zoom with VC, or I can shoot a Sony body with VC on every lens… etc, those become better options than a non-stabilized prime in low light situations.

            • decentrist

              it does not suffer from focus shift,not my copy,it’s dead on

            • Hysz

              I agree with f stop argument. We got crazy ISO, VR [VC], superb image quality and sensors that can pull +4EV from shadows. Sure, it’s additional bokeh, tad higher shutter speed then, but VC, ON A PRIME, WITH MAX RES.I have 85mm 1.8g, need to cleverly sell it for 1000$ and I’m good to go 🙂

      • Alda Smite

        Sigma art will be sharper… but who cares – the AF inconsistency is a huge drawback – I wish any reviewer could incorporate that in Sigma scores (not only one sentese mentioning at the end)

        • silmasan

          Have you ever used it personally? Tried your best to make it work? If not then who cares about your input. From what I’ve seen, many users are using the Art lenses successfully, for paid jobs. It’s their input that I care about.

          Also you apparently didn’t get the Otus reference that I clearly mentioned (manual vs manual).

          • jason Keefer

            For every “I love my ART lens” comment, I see an equal amount of “My ART isn’t sharp” or “used ART for sale”…… There’s a lot of hype out there and for a lot of people, it’s turning into sour grapes. Sigma is fully aware that the 35 ART has serious quality issues and have done little to nothing to fix it. That lens should have been completely recalled.

            • silmasan

              Yes yes yes personal experiences, statistics, hard data, or is it amplified “sourness” repeated over and over… plus secondhand sentiments thrown in for good measure… Sorry, but I haven’t found a single insightful survey. Which is why I’m looking for usable inputs (and specifically for the 85 with the updated AF, do you have one?) from people who actually tested it and made necessary efforts to get a good working unit, not words from random naysayers on the ‘net!

              Since you said you have three fine Tamron primes, just imagine someone saying “Tamrons are crap” because they have bad, upsetting experience with their samples. You know that’s not fair because you have good copies.

          • decentrist

            yes, many are, and many folks are reporting the fact that these lenses are a crap shoot. it’s just a lens, not a religion.

        • Hysz

          85mm ART does not suffer the same AF problems as 35 and 50. I would like a source but I’m too lazy. It’s true though, someone tested it like a maniac. [thank you maniac!].

          • GMck

            Where did you get your information that the 85 does not? There are lots of report of the same focus problems. I had the 85 (returned) and I have the 35 and 50. All 3 have focus consistency problems. The 50 is the least problematic. The 35 was sent back to Sigma for service for this exact issue. It is much better now, but seriously, I have never had to do this with a Nikon or Tamron. Don’t believe everything you read. People get emotionally attached to their purchases.

            • Hysz

              NO no nno. I am the last person who believes in anything written without any proof.

              I said I was too lazy to find source, let me try now.

            • Hysz

              approving because I used links, fuck my life

            • Hysz

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J6lFgMBYvc at 3:40

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohLAc0jOVEU 13:50 < Dustin is OK. And there was another thing:

              https://petapixel.com/2016/10/17/review-sigmas-85mm-f1-4-art-lens-exceeds-expectations/

              And since petapixel is rather trustworthy, thus my statement.

            • Hysz

              From SIGMA:
              also re-engineered the AF system in this lens, giving it 1.3x the
              tourque of previous generations, and introduced full-time manual focus
              override so you can always get a response when you twist the focus ring
              even in continuous AF.

              Don’t ask me again please, I hate double back, I am not posting false comments, EVER. [only when Im drunk].

            • GMck

              No sweat. I just wanted to know where you saw that. Signa’s marketing material is worthless to me quite frankly. I am posting from my hands-on testing of 2 owned 85s. I have all the test data to back up what I am saying.

            • Hysz

              I get that really, but I have posted 3 sites too, but they have links so I have no idea how much will you wait. And these were videos in real time testing consistency. So yeah. new engine + people saying that it’s accurate + people actually shooting on video = proof. Can I be excused now?

            • Hysz

              really? How bad was it? like in 10 shots?

            • GMck

              Focal takes about a hundred shots during a calibration run, maybe more. I ran it 3 times on 3 bodies. I thought I was crazy, or Focal was crazy to be honest. I mean how could this lens be shipped like this? Turned out I was sane. So this was in the range of 300 to 400 shots. On my D810 – it was out of range, meaning the correction MFA needed was +43. D705 was +39 and D500 +31.

            • Hysz

              That’s OK, you can tune it. I was asking for continuity. Like if you shoot the same thing over and over, would focus shift and how many times? Because this is the issue, AF calibration like BF/FF can changed in dock.

            • GMck

              You can’t tune a +47, not would I want to. The focus consistency test was 94.3% – which is well below average.

            • Hysz

              you are kidding right? use the dock, calibrate it, then use your body and you are done. 94% is actually very good. you guys are never satisfied.

            • Hysz

              average is 95%, D800 had 90% when it was introduced. Keep in mind that your body misses too, not only your lens, so hit rate is higher. And Can’t you set up 50+/- in USB dock?

            • GMck

              No. Dock is -20/+20 and 3 distance settings. I know bodies are not perfect, believe me. I have 11 lenses and the 85 is the only one that was not able to be calibrated because it was past the +40 possible with the dock and the body combo. I really wanted the 85 too. I tried everything, In the end, crap is crap, no matter what package it comes in.

            • Hysz

              I see. you already added the in body + dock. that’s why I said you can, didn’t factor this. Look, all is good. Remember piece of crap 50mm 1.4D? I bought one, 1.4 unusable, 1.8 same, 2.0 maybe, 2.2 yeah I can start shooting. called Nikon, and they said naaaaaaah man, this isn’t best lens, it will be like that. OK? I guess. Sold it, went to physical shop and asked for this 50, they had 11 I think samples. 10 of them were crap, and 11 the last one, and it isn’t bias, was clean. I was shocked and asked if this is indeed the same lens [I didn’t knew as much as I know now] and everyone nodded, although I saw frustration in their eyes. Bought it, overpay like 30$ [I live i Europe so ballparking] went home and yay… Maybe try it like that?

            • Hysz

              and test t manually, tripod, one object, same light, shoot, defocus shoot, defocus shoot apps can be as faulty as hardware.

            • GMck

              Take a look at http://www.reikan.co.uk/
              I use the Pro version for all my lenses. The software does the shooting tethered. It’s on a Gitzo tripod aimed at a target with the correct lighting in studio. No movement, very little error factor. I I’ve done this test many times.

              Anyway, I’m done with Sigma, so I won’t post about this any more. I’ve beat it to death already.

      • jason Keefer

        Unless you get a bad one…. and it’s still a lot more than $750.

        • silmasan

          ?? If you get a bad sample then you should just return it and get refunded — same thing for any brand.

          And a gap of $3300 certainly changed my perspective about a mere $450 ‘change’ plus some potential hassles for getting a fine working copy.

      • GMck

        Have you tried the Sigma? I have and it sucks. At 1.4, it really sucks. It is nowhere near as good as all the marketing hype. Returned 2 of them it for a full refund.

        • silmasan

          The stock is limited where I am, I’d like to be able to test more than one sample in the store, and so far I don’t find one that have copies ready for testing (they’ll only take from the warehouse once paid, wish I have the cash to burn really). Availability should improve soon, or so I was told. So now I’m just gathering all info I need for testing. I’ll certainly test for AF etc and report somewhere here.

      • decentrist

        for god’s sakes, get 2!!!

    • jason Keefer

      If I’m shooting outdoors, it’s almost always the Tamron 85. Indoors, the Tamron 35…. both are stellar.

  • Webdomi

    Only one fact is not brushed here, speed of focus… Where can it be tested ?

    • tobi

      LOL only one ? .. DXO only tests optical performance in 4 parameters..They do what the do very well ..but , there are quite a few things not tested.. Check out some youtube reviews..

    • jason Keefer

      It focuses very quickly. My buddy owns the Nikon f1.4 and we found them to be very similar in autofocus abilities.

    • Hysz

      It would be huge pain in the butt. Every lens combo? at which AF settings? center AF point? It isn’t that simple, and I think you cannot measure it objectively comparing different bodies. With 1 body 1 lens [yours] you can test it objectively.

    • decentrist

      speed of focus for a portrait lens?

  • CaMeRa QuEsT

    Now you tell me, after I bought a 1.8g last month, which BTW is the sharpest lens I’ve ever owned? Still, a gray market SP costs almost twice as much as what I paid for my Nikon USA 1.8g, while also weighting almost twice as much, too, so for now the SP is not for me and my D7200. But, as soon as I get an FX body, I’ll splurge for both the 35mm and the 85mm SPs!

    • jason Keefer

      I bought my 85 SP while I was still using my D7200 and it was nice, but it does render significantly more detail on a D750.

  • Max

    Can someone explain why there’s more vignetting on the Canon?

    • Eric Calabros

      While Canon mount is bigger. seems very odd. But maybe sensor noise performance has a role in DxO vignette equations.

    • tobi

      I was wondering that too… then I remembered that there was some “magic” introduced in the D810 sensor. Not sure if it is in the D750 and below sensors. What I remember is that in several reviews of the D810 vs D800, they noticed that the D810 improved edge/corner sharpness and vignetting. As far as I know Nikon has not mentioned anything about this improvement anywhere. It could be due to the “offset micro lens” technology (also found in coolpixA)

    • Carleton Foxx

      Is Nikon secretly curving the edges of the sensor?

    • EnPassant

      Maybe because of smaller pixels as the Canon body used have a 50MP sensor versus 36MP for Nikon.

  • Robin Hunter

    How is the OOF rendering, how is the focus speed, how is the micro contrast, what is the contrast like, the flair etc etc etc???

    There is so much more to a good lens than its sharpness that it almost renders this comparison pointless.

    • tobi

      true .. thats where the horde of youtube reviewers becomes somewhat useful. 😉

    • Michiel953

      Exactly. It’s the overall rendering that counts, not some numbers that are meaningless when viewed in isolation.

    • silmasan

      That’s what image samples are for! I think they did a good job balancing things out. Without going into details, personally I think it consistently gives “pleasant” looking images.

    • Hysz

      How would you rate OOF rendering? from 1 to 10? How would you test focus speed, on central AF point? on all? on all modes? micro contrast is there if you know how to read, and again, you cannot measure flare objectively. Site provides objective data, for subjective data, you can go wild and ask around, everyone will tell you different story. That’s how it is.

      • Robin Hunter

        My point was more that many people seems to get all bent out of shape comparing the finite differences between lab-tested image sharpness and lens resolution but it matters very little to an actual end result once the lens is being used in the real world. Yes these types of tests produce an objective score but the score doesn’t really mean anything.

        • Hysz

          I was cruising and asking that question to various photographers: You are given lens, what do you want to know about it?
          Simple. But people after asking focal length and f stop went directly to “is it sharp?” This was always before any subjective things, like bokeh, rendering overall etc. And it reinforced my thinking. When looking for lens, I look at sharpness first, am guilty. Sorry.

          • Robin Hunter

            Thats fair enough, my approach is slightly differently in that really all modern lenses are capable of sharp results so I tend to be more interested in the way they render an image. I have an older Pentax 50mm which I have kept and use as the aperture blades have a very strong shape to them and so produce a distinctive OOF rendering that you tend not to get with newer designs. I suppose if pushed I’d say its not as technically sharp as other 50mm’s I have but thats not why I chose to use it.

            • Hysz

              not every modern lens is sharp. Especially new ones, you just don’t know. That’s why I love reviews by DxO. No BS, just facts, superb.

            • Robin Hunter

              Ignoring ‘kit’ lenses which are aimed at a different sector what modern lens released in the last few years or so isn’t sharp?

            • Hysz

              give me a sec, as I saw reply I was going to hit the can. brb.

            • Hysz

              DX sigma 10-20, tokina 12-18? and FX for example this stupid 80-400mm, tamron 180 macro.
              most listed as PRO or something version exclusive.

            • Robin Hunter

              The Sigma 10-20mm was released way back in 2009 and became a pivotal lens in the history of super-wide zooms for DSLR’s not only because it was the widest at the time but also for offering excellent performance. I had one of the earliest copies to hit the UK and it helped me create some of my most enduring images, certainly I never found it to be unsharp and reviews back this up??

              I’m not aware of a Tokina 11-18 but I do know the 11-16mm f2.8 has a very strong following and is popular right across the crop sensor market. Again it is capable of very good results and of the dozen or so photographers I know who shoot with one I can’t recall them complaining of its lack of sharpness – its a bit of a pain with flaring but so are many other super-wide zooms. It typically gets excellent reviews too??

              The Tamron 180mm macro produces images that are edge to edge visually sharp from the off and stays so until diffraction rears its head.The MTF figures back this up also so I don’t understand how you think it is unsharp??

              This stupid 80-400?

            • Hysz
            • Hysz

              cant link sec.
              dxomark[DOT]com/Lenses/Sigma/Sigma-10-20mm-F4-56-EX-DC-HSM-Nikon-mounted-on-Nikon-D7100—Measurements__865

            • You can link now, I approved it.

            • Hysz

              I;m sorry you had to change… I didn’t sleep I am dead today. sorry.

            • No problem, links are usually held for moderation because of the large amount of spam I get.

            • Hysz

              Im too lazy to do that again. sorry. I don’t lie. in the net lying is easy to be seen and I am honest.

            • decentrist

              DXBlows pans the Nikkor 180mm AF. They lose all credibility with me.

            • Hysz

              ok, so because you have 1 lens on 1 body, your data renders DxOs irrelevant? Try and click on the article on how they test everything. It’s an old lens, there can be variations in samples. Or maybe you view sharpness as something else? It really wouldn’t be beneficial to put in bogus data.

            • decentrist

              I’m going to give you a pass, because I read your posts and believe your experience reflects it. You’ll figure it out in time.

            • Hysz

              Not that I care really. I have everything figured out, thank you.All that notion that if you find any irregularities, it means you are lied to. Kinda paranoid IMO. But do as you do, think as you think, I am not the kind who will force his own agenda. You like something? Use it. Don’t like it, sell, or throw it out. I don’t really see how can you even presume that you are ‘superior’?

            • Hysz

              I tottaly get your point of view. I have few helios lenses, they are unique too, but it’s 1/100 of total shots you make [this means that you use it only from time to time, dont think]

  • mark meerdam

    tamron also made the zeiss batis 85mm which for e-mount is a wonderful lens. If this is even somewhat like it, it should render quite nice. Color rendition seems somewhat less yellow/bit cooler than the sigma arts. I would say it’s in between the harsh flat sigma art and the characterfull more fluid nikon 85g .1.4. could be nice with vc, which would yield a lot of extra sharpness by reducing some micro motion blur!

  • tripod

    I have owned the Nikon 85 1.8 and the Tamron crushes it in wide-open sharpness, but more importantly, IMO – bokeh, contrast and color. Everything you shoot with this lens looks great. I’ve used it on several portrait shoots and I couldn’t be happier. My only nit would be that it doesn’t focus in low light as well as the 70-200, but what does.

  • br0xibear

    I do like the Tamron design language for their SP VC lenses, take note Nikon, lol…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/800640c9eeb459ad8d2352d5f5dc7862f8d19a37ccd9a773e58611025cf07b75.jpg

    • Hysz

      It’s ugly as hell, and the fancy text “Designed in Japan” and next to it you can see “Made in China’. I mean… why…

  • Focuspuller

    Speaking strictly for myself, a portrait lens doesn’t have to be the very sharpest, since I spend time in post smoothing out skin anyway. For me, rendering, flare resistance, and focus accuracy are more relevant.

    • Hysz

      Then sites like DxO are not for you. If I wanted to watch HD footage test from various cameras, bodies I wouldn’t go to youtube – it crushes with compression, I would visit Vimeo for example. Everyone bashes DxO, but have no idea that all they test is objective data. I am sorry, but there is no objective way to test flare resistance, nor focus accuracy, because in well lit room it would be great, person with dark shirts walks by, and can throw focus off. Just objective data.

      • Focuspuller

        Perhaps if you reread my post you would understand I was not “bashing” DxO and I fully understand the nature of their testing. Then, you may realize that my point had nothing to do with the general usefulness of DxO, but rather that for portraits of women, the most “objectively” sharpest lens may not be the best tool for the job. FYI, I use DxO test results as they ought to be used; as one bit of info among others, including side-by-side comparisons of real-world results. Selecting lens sets for motion pictures has been a part of my job for 40 years, and I can state unequivocally that lens appeal is more than the sum of any stats, as with wine, cars, girlfriends, and the best lens for the job not always scores the best technical marks, unless of course your artistic assignment is to photograph lens charts on a flat wall.

        • Hysz

          That’s why DxO isn’t for you, again. You are looking for subtleties, for nuances in lenses, DxO does not have that, it only has measurable components. Great bokeh isn’t quantifiable for example. But if you know how to use DxO, you can make smarter choices when it comes to gear. [eg want something for sport?, grab one with high ISO, body, or something with IS,VR whatever]. Sorry, but to this day there is no measure of art, and I agree, DxO isn’t telling the whole story, it tells only what is objective.

          And I hear you about the best tool for the job. But still, if your job is to shoot high detail scenes without any flaws, like CA etc, DxO will help. Thing is, really small portion of people know how to use this site, and DxO isn’t helping. Overall score should not exist, because people make stupid assumptions. So basically, yes I agree with you, but DxO is great tool to have, at least for me.

          • Focuspuller

            And what part of “FYI, I use DxO test results as they ought to be used; as one bit of info among others” do you not understand?”

            • Hysz

              If I would work 40 years in selecting lenses, then I wouldn’t even look at DxO, because you have everything in your head already. But, if you would use ONLY DxO in selecting a lens for example, well the higher in ranking the better right? The more sharpness it has the better. Thing is, if you use side by side, real world applications etc, then what really do you use DxO for? that’s puzzling.

            • Hysz

              And shhh, I didn’t read that, I am juggling 5 pages here, man can make a mistake. I’m sorry.

          • decentrist

            You contradicted yourself. DXO cannot be objective when the parameters used to judge a lens are limited in scope.It’s a lazy way to do things. It veers discussions into a vortex of meaningless minutiae. I look at these posts, and see so many folks are lost because they rely too much on DXO. The discussion becomes about what DXO says as much as user experience and lens rendering characteristics. I do not know how many samples they use, but they miss on their evaluations, and I suspect that’s one of the reasons.

            • Hysz

              What? It seems like you try to make an argument, but it’s not. It’s like saying that my phone has 4 core CPU and you would say ‘no, this is not objective because you didn’t tell everything’ They test what they can, it’s objective, you can mount and replicate, you will get the same data.

            • decentrist

              No, you could not be more wrong. This is not a personal attack aimed at you. I’m telling you now, that you’ll look back on these posts in a few years,if you are still a photographer, and laugh. You are dancing on the head of a pin. You are weighting DXO way above their value. It’s what millenials do. Stats and buttons, and “data” over real world use and experience.

            • Hysz

              I really wish to agree with you, but I cannot. f 1.8 will always be 1.8. same for resolution [relative to the sensor] vignette and CA or transmission. No matter how many years pass, these will be valid. And I am not saying you should use it OVER real world tests, all I am saying that there is data there, and it is relevant to me, as it always has, and I understand that this is not everything you can tell about a lens. But this is something to start looking for the right tool.

  • Hysz

    Mother of sharpness god! I know it isn’t everything but 10MP [relative] boost is just… wow. I see only vignette as a flaw, but Lightroom.exe can fix that. And I just bought 85 1.8G well for a magic price of 320$, 1.5y warranty and I didn’t even seen any marks on it, guy had to desperate to sell, oh well.

  • Captain Megaton

    It’s nice that Tamron has joined the Sigma in the “premium” tier, but what is this “value” that DxO goes on about? More DxO points per dollar? Can you tell how many DxO points are in my photos? I doubt it.

    Lately I got off that train and have been enjoying the “value” of the old Nikkor AFD 28mm and 35mm optics. Sure, they are not “good” … but they are “good enough” and are small, cheap, and convenient.

    • Hysz

      Word ‘value’ is used only once, and I think to separate this lens from Otus and big bros. It’s just that. So you get very good spec for value. At least I understand it this way.

  • Webdomi

    I dont think it will make a larger hole in your butt, if you read that some sport photographer have felt a little too slow motion of AF on the 80-400 , and prefer the 300 F/2.8 or 500 F/4 . Anyway it seems that Nikon has left the competition for lens quality, and this is a real pain , as Zeiss passed the hard challenge and produces again the best lenses in the world. (But no AF!)

  • Hysz

    I used this software until it started to give false data for ‘non central point’. It’s better to just tripod, place item, focus, shoot, defocus, shoot x20 or something and that’s that. And it’s OK, you had bad experience, you want something different, great. I just wanted to know the data. If I had to buy one I would buy Tamron anyway.

    • GMck

      Amen to that brother.

  • I have the Nikon 105mm F1.4E, but am also tempted to get the Tamron 85mm as it will be much better at low light due to VC. Anyone has both or know where to see a comparison between these two?

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