This lens is a keeper!

Started Dec 19, 2016 | User reviews thread
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pshummer Regular Member • Posts: 133
This lens is a keeper!
6

I've been testing the Tamron 85 f1.8 VC for a while and I can say that this lens is a keeper. A forum member,havoc315,recently posted his great review of this lens and I agree with his opinions. I was looking for a lens to replace my Nikon 85 f1.8 G. Though it is a good lens there are 3 things I wish the Nikon had.

One of them is image stabilizer. My hands are not as steady as they used to be so IS/VC will really help.

Most prime lenses are a bit soft  at wide open and you usually have to stop down a bit to get a sharp image. But I wanted a f1.8 lens that can take a sharp image @ wide open with a nice bokeh.

Since I live in a desert city where you get 300 +beautiful days, 10 days of rain and the rest is overcast days,you'll have to deal with harsh light. I get a lot of CAs when I shoot with the Nikon 851.8G outdoor and though you can correct it with LR/PS,it loses some contrast. I wanted a lens that can handle CA very well.

The Tamron 85 f1.8 VC has everything I wanted in the f1.8 lens and more. First of all, in my initial test, I wasn't really impressed by its sharpness and I was going to return it. But a forum member, another mike, told me to give a 2nd chance to evaluate it since he believes it's an excellent lens. I then spent good time to do micro AF adjustment with the Tap-in console and I was able to get a tack sharp image @ wide open. I'm glad that I didn't return it.

But not everything is perfect. Like havoc315 reported, there is a AF inconsistency when you stop down a bit. My experience is that I get more in-focused shots shooting wide open than shooting @ f2 or f2.2. That doesn't mean I can't get sharp image when I stop down but the keeper rate is lower than shooting @ wide open.  I usually use an ipad to monitor the image for my paid shoot but I didn't use it for this test so it's really hard to tell if it's in focus or not by the camera's small lcd. And I can see the slight softness in eyes only when I see it @ 100%. I will need more test on this issue.

When it comes to portraiture,sharpness is not everything. Though I'm happy to know that my copy is sharp @ wide open,it reveals everything. It's unforgiven for matured people and you'll see it in the last image.

I will rent the Sigma 85 f1.4 ART to compare these two lenses and though I can get the Sigma if I really want it, I will most likely not buy the Sigma. According to Dustin Abbott's youtube review of the Sigma 84 f1.4 ART, the Tamron 85 f1.8 VC handles CA much better than the Sigma does. And to me, the Tamron's sharpness is just sharp enough( though it's a personal preference).

Hide Takahashi

 pshummer's gear list:pshummer's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D750 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 +4 more
Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD
Prime lens • Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sony/Minolta Alpha
Announced: Feb 22, 2016
pshummer's score
4.5
Average community score
4.3
Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD
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