I had the opportunity to test the Tamron 85mm f1.8. Here are my thoughts and photos while out and about.
My photography of choice is mainly wildlife. (Pets fall into this category as well!) I had a weekend away in Brighton with friends and by no means the ideal context to bring my DSLR! (Lets just say there were a lot of pubs involved!) However, to put a lens through its paces, the real test is to limit yourself, take the one lens and see how it does! (It also tests you as a photographer – buts that’s another blog post)
The 85mm f1.8 is a chunky lens and relatively heavy. However my Canon 80D balanced well and I didn’t feel weighed down by it during the day. I like that it has a full-time manual focus override. I found this most useful at a wider aperture when the lens may struggle to understand which area you’d like to focus on.
The 85mm lens uses LD (Low Dispersion) and XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) glass elements. These are designed to minimise colour fringing to achieve outstanding sharpness and clarity. I can see this in the images I have taken.
Points to consider.
I did test the lens to its limits while shooting starlings. I found the focus wasn’t the quickest when using it for fast-moving subjects or low light environments. It sometimes struggled to pick up a focus point on a dark coloured subject. I did become a little frustrated when trying to shoot a 6 month puppy who did not stay still for a second! Having said that, as the light was fading over the sea I found the VC (vibration compensation) incredibly useful and all my shots were handheld with no evidence of blur. For portrait photos or specific details (as seen in the images above) this lens is fantastic. I love the colours that it produces and the smooth functions of the lens makes it extremely easy to use. I love the sharp clear details in the observation tower and the bokeh effect on the stone photo above and dog photos below. In all honesty, I found this lens to work extremely well in the conditions I demanded from it.
I was happy with the majority of shots I achieved over the weekend. That is a testament to the 85mm f1.8 and its superb quality. I would have no qualms recommending this. For £699 and a 5 year warranty the Tamron 85mm f1.8 is certainly a lens to consider as part of your photography kit!