Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Review

September 16, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


Having watched one of their main rivals, Sigma, garner all the recent plaudits with their popular range of Art lenses, Tamron have responded with the premium quality 35mm and 45mm f/1.8 SP prime lenses. Both lenses offer built-in vibration compensation and weather-sealing, which the comparable lenses from Sigma, Canon and Nikon do not feature, while the 45mm's close focusing distance of 209cm is the best in its class. As you'd expect from Tamron, the price is very appealing despite the excellent build quality, undercutting the competition by several hundred pounds/dollars. The popular Sigma 450mm Art lens is faster at f/1.4, though, and it crucially offers even better image quality than the Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD, with the Tamron lens suffering especially from green and purple colour fringing effects.

Image quality is still very good though, with excellent center and edge sharpness throughout almost the entire aperture range. The notable optical issues are the aforementioned chromatic aberrations, obvious corner shading at the maximum aperture, something that every full-frame shooter has to put up with, and a slight lack of sharpness when shooting wide-open at f/1.8 and stopped-down at f/11 and f/16.

The Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD is a more affordable alternative to the OEM offerings from Nikon and Canon and the Sigma 50mm Art lens, with the added benefits of an effective image stabilisation system and weather-sealing. It can't quite match the Sigma lens for outright image quality, though, and the f/1.8 maximum aperture isn't as fast as its main rivals, so you need to decide which features are most important and just how much money you're prepared to spend on a premium standard prime lens...

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5