A new era begins for Tamron as the company famous for its zooms moves into the premium fixed-focal-length lens market. Damien Demolder tests the first, a 45mm fast standard.
Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD review – Build and handling
If you were expecting a 45mm lens to be reasonably compact you’ll need to think again. This is quite a beast, and looks more than at home on the equally beastly Canon EOS-1D X. I was surprised by its size, I have to say, but a lack of miniaturisation is often compensated for by the space given to a design that creates better quality images. The lens feels very nicely made and is finished in a smooth semi-matt metal paint with a fine-rib focusing ring. In all, it’s a rather good looking piece of equipment with a serious air about it.
When in use, a pair of switches falls beneath the thumb of the left hand. These take an effort to flick back and forth so it is unlikely that you’ll deactivate the VC system by accident or find you’re in manual-focusing mode when you last left the lens set for AF. The switches are housed in a raised platform so they are easy to find, and once you remember which does what you’ll be able to operate without taking your eye from the finder. The focusing-ring action has just enough resistance and despite the wide range of focus distances that are covered it takes only 180˚ of rotation to get from 29cm to infinity. A window on the top of the barrel lets you see a focus scale, should you not be able to look through the viewfinder, but it’s worth noting there’s no depth of field indicators or infrared markings with it.