NPhoto - - Test Team -

Man­ual fo­cus­ing is a lit­tle lack­ing in smooth­ness, whereas aut­o­fo­cus is slug­gish but benefits from a lim­iter switch that can cut out the short end of the fo­cus range for gen­eral shoot­ing. And gen­eral pho­tog­ra­phy turns out to be what the lens is best suited to, as it de­liv­ers good all­round im­age qual­ity. Sharp­ness and con­trast are im­pres­sive, even at the widest aper­ture. Tam­ron ad­ver­tises this lens as be­ing equally suit­able for por­trai­ture and close-up shoot­ing. To help with the for­mer, it gives an ideal ‘ef­fec­tive’ fo­cal length for por­trai­ture of 90mm on the DX bod­ies for which it’s de­signed. Bet­ter still, it has a class-lead­ing widest aper­ture of f/2, which helps to tighten the depth of field and blur the back­ground.

Fur­ther re­fine­ments in­clude an in­trigu­ing aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem which, while us­ing an elec­tric mo­tor, still en­ables full-time man­ual fo­cus over­ride in ‘sin­gle’ AF mode. How­ever, the man­ual fo­cus ring feels quite sticky.

With a min­i­mum fo­cus dis­tance of 18.5cm, you don’t need to get as close to ob­jects for full 1.0x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion as with the Nikon 40mm. An­other bonus is that the Tam­ron fea­tures fully in­ter­nal fo­cus­ing. As such, the over­all phys­i­cal length is shorter than that of the Nikon 40mm when they’re both at their clos­est fo­cus dis­tance.


Sharp­ness is re­spectable at medium to nar­row aper­tures, and bet­ter at wide aper­tures than in pre­vi­ous re­view sam­ples of this lens that we’ve used. Even so, sharp­ness be­tween f/2 and f/2.8 is still distinctly low. One plus side of this is that it can make for soft, dreamy look­ing por­traits.

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