Tam­ron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD

£750/$750

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

What’s good: Pre­mium weather-sealed build, great im­age qual­ity, op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion. What’s bad: Two-thirds of a stop slower than the com­pet­ing f/1.4 lenses on test. Our ver­dict: Su­perb all-round qual­ity and value, eas­ily man­age­able for hand­held shoot­ing.

It’s al­most too close to call: the Sigma and Tam­ron 85mm lenses both de­liver fab­u­lous im­age qual­ity for por­trai­ture. The Sigma has a slightly wider f/1.4 max­i­mum aper­ture rat­ing, but the Tam­ron is smaller and lighter – mak­ing it more man­age­able when shoot­ing hand­held – and it fea­tures Tam­ron’s highly ef­fec­tive Vi­bra­tion Com­pen­sa­tion sys­tem. It’s also much less ex­pen­sive.

By com­par­i­son with the Tam­ron and Sigma 85mm lenses, Nikon’s 85mm f/1.4 looks over­priced and out­dated, al­though the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens per­forms very well, and rep­re­sents out­stand­ing value for money for an 85mm lens.

For por­trai­ture on DX-for­mat cam­eras, Sigma’s 50mm Art lens de­liv­ers the best out­right im­age qual­ity, but it’s only marginally ahead of the smaller, lighter, sta­bilised Tam­ron 45mm lens. Again, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens is the best bud­get op­tion, de­liv­er­ing good im­age qual­ity and han­dling at a very rea­son­able price.

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