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Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD F016

Medium telephoto prime lens • Digital era


SP Professional lens with high quality optics and robust build. Meets the highest standards and provides excellent performance and flawless image quality unachievable with traditional optical technologies.
DI The lens is designed for full-frame digital SLR cameras but can be also used on APS-C digital SLR cameras.
VC The lens is equipped with Vibration Compensation.
USD The lens is equipped with Ultrasonic Silent Drive.

Sample photos

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Specification

Announced: February 2016
Production status: In production
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Mount: Canon EF
Minolta/Sony A
Nikon F
Optical design
Diagonal angle of view: 28.5° (35mm full frame)
18.2° (Canon APS-C)
18.9° (Sony APS-C)
18.9° (Nikon APS-C)
Lens construction: 13 elements in 9 groups, including 1 XLD, 1 LD
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm control system: Electromagnetic (Nikon F)
Number of blades: 9
Focusing
Focusing method: No information
Closest focusing distance: 0.8m
Focusing modes: Both autofocus and manual focus
Type of autofocus motor: Ultrasonic Silent Drive
Focus mode selector: AF/MF
Manual focus override in autofocus mode: Available
Image stabilizer
Vibration Compensation (VC): Canon EF (Optical)
Nikon F (Optical)
Stabilizer features: Mode 1
Panning Detection
Stabilizer efficiency: up to 3.5 stops
Physical characteristics
Weight: 700g (Canon EF)
660g (Nikon F)
Maximum diameter x Length: Ø84.8×91.3mm (Canon EF)
Ø84.8×88.8mm (Nikon F)
Weather sealing: Water-resistant barrel
Fluorine coating: Front element
Accessories
Filter thread: 67mm
Lens hood: HF016 (Bayonet-type, round)

Manufacturer description

Just as a painter instinctively reaches for the right brush, a portrait artist reaches for an 85mm lens. The focal length is ideal for producing a pleasing image with true-to-life facial features in accurate proportion. While a wide-angle lens makes close objects appear larger than they are, and longer telephotos compress and flatten features, the 85mm medium telephoto is just right. Plus the working distance between you and your subject is perfect for making the personal connection that’s often missing when using a zoom.

The Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 is the world’s first* 85mm fast-aperture lens with image stabilization. Its unique design allows us to include our VC (Vibration Compensation) system—without the lens becoming too large or heavy. What’s more, our SP 85mm F/1.8 delivers edge-to-edge viewfinder brightness for ease of composition and superior low-light performance. The fast aperture of the F/1.8 also offers the perfect balance of subject sharpness and bokeh, that dreamy blur which separates your portrait subject from the background.

Chromatic aberration appears as magenta or green color fringing along edges and contours in images, especially against bright backgrounds. It happens, in part, when the optic fails to focus all colors of light on precisely the same point, and is more conspicuous in cameras with high resolution and high pixel densities. The SP 85mm F/1.8 uses LD (Low Dispersion) and XLD (Extra Low Dispersion) glass elements in the optical design to minimize color fringing and to achieve sharp and clear image quality with high color fidelity. In addition, by thoroughly reducing comatic aberrations (distortion of off-axis point source) and astigmatism, subjects that appear as a distinct point source will be captured as a distinct point source even at the edges and corners of the frame.

The SP 85mm F/1.8 is designed to provide tack-sharpness of the subject for stunning clarity and flawless image quality. At the same time, Tamron’s design philosophy embraces the notion that photographers—particularly portrait photographers—use background blur, bokeh, as a creative element to concentrate emphasis on the subject. Through numerous simulations conducted for wide-ranging blur effects, such as a gentle, melting transition from the focused to the out-of-focus areas, Tamron has created a soft, natural blur effect that achieves perfect harmony with the inescapable sharpness.

The SP 85mm F/1.8 is the world’s first* lens with a fixed focal length of 85mm and a fast aperture of F/1.8 that’s equipped with the VC system. Camera movement—often too minute to be perceptible to the photographer—is the leading cause of unpleasant photographs. In addition, newer DSLR cameras with higher pixel densities are more susceptible to subtle camera shake.

This technology makes it possible to take photographs handheld in dim light and to make optimal use of slower shutter speeds and increased depth-of-field without extreme increase of the camera’s sensor sensitivity (ISO equivalent). This is especially important in portraiture because lighting is often low and the photographer needs the spontaneity of not using a tripod or disruptive flash units.

Areas of possible ingress surrounding switches and the boundary between the focus ring and the lens barrel are protected by special seals. This provides deterrence against the intrusion of water droplets. This feature provides an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions.

Two highly developed lens coating technologies, eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular-Dependency), which uses nanotechnology, and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) combine to increase light transmission and to reduce flare and ghosting to imperceptible levels. Additional techniques are employed to prevent reflections inside the lens barrel so that the SP 85mm F/1.8 delivers high contrast, sharp and clear images worthy of a fixed focal lens. This lens clearly captures detailed tones even in the shadows.

Fluorine Coating technology developed for use in industrial optics applications has been adapted to photographic lenses. The water and oil repellant coating applied on the front element surface allows safe and easy removal of fingerprints, dirt and smudges. The coating also provides an enhanced level of durability, and will sustain its effectiveness for years.

USD delivers precise and quick focusing for the SP 85mm F/1.8 fast-aperture short telephoto lens. This is crucial because of the lens’s naturally shallow depth-of-field. In addition, Full-time Manual Focus override is available at any point during the autofocus operation for deliberately shifting focus without switching the AF-MF mode selector. The 85mm is equipped with a circular-arc-type USD ultrasonic motor that’s designed to speedily move the large group of lens elements inside this fast-aperture, prime lens. The absence of reduction gears in USD means there is no backlash and no unnecessary back-and-forth movement.

An electromagnetic diaphragm system, which has been a standard feature for Canon-mount lenses, is employed in Nikon-mount lenses*. More precise diaphragm and aperture control is now possible because the diaphragm blades are driven and controlled by a motor through electronic pulse signals.

The superior technology inside the Tamron 85mm is matched by advanced external ergonomic features under a design philosophy called “Human Touch.” Improvements include altering the geometric shape and resistance of the AF/MF and VC switches to deliver comfort with secured operational feedback, and enlarging the distance scale window to maximize visibility and legibility. Even the font style has been newly developed to enhance legibility as part of the overall product design.

Design and features

The maximum aperture F/1.8 is not especially impressive compared to the competitors like Canon EF 85mm F/1.2L II USM (2006) or Sigma 85mm F/1.4 EX DG HSM (2010). Still, such focal length and aperture is wide enough for shooting in low-light conditions, to provide shallow depth of field and smooth background blur at close and medium focusing distances.

Sigma 85mm F/1.4 DG HSM | A

Sigma 85mm F/1.4 DG HSM | A

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  1. Turn optical image stabilizer on
  2. Switch camera to aperture-priority automatic exposure mode (A/Av)
  3. Select aperture value F/1.8 - F/2.8
  4. Use as low ISO as possible (f.e. 100 or 200) to achieve the best color reproduction
  5. Shoot in natural lighting conditions, do not use flash
  6. Focus at model's eyes when shooting facial portrait
  1. Put camera on a monopod
  2. Disable image stabilization function
  3. Set image quality to JPEG
  4. Switch camera to shutter-priority automatic exposure mode (S/Tv)
  5. Set shutter speed to 1/500 - 1/1000 sec to "freeze" action in the frame
  6. Set the highest possible ISO at which your camera provides acceptable signal to noise ratio
  7. Do not use flash
  8. Shoot both in continuous AF and burst modes
  • Compatibility

EMD lenses are not compatible with Nikon D2- or D1-series, D200, D100, D90, D80, D70, D70s, D60, D50, D40, D40X, D3000 digital SLR cameras.

Aperture

The aperture stop is an important element in most optical designs. Its most obvious feature is that it limits the amount of light that can reach the image/film plane. Typically, a fast shutter will require a larger aperture to ensure sufficient light exposure, and a slow shutter will require a smaller aperture to avoid excessive exposure.

A device called a diaphragm usually serves as the aperture stop, and controls the aperture. The diaphragm functions much like the iris of the eye – it controls the effective diameter of the lens opening. Reducing the aperture size increases the depth of field, which describes the extent to which subject matter lying closer than or farther from the actual plane of focus appears to be in focus. In general, the smaller the aperture (the larger the number), the greater the distance from the plane of focus the subject matter may be while still appearing in focus.

The lens aperture is usually specified as an f-number, the ratio of focal length to effective aperture diameter. A lens typically has a set of marked "f-stops" that the f-number can be set to. A lower f-number denotes a greater aperture opening which allows more light to reach the film or image sensor.

The specifications for a given lens typically include the maximum and minimum aperture sizes, for example, f/1.4–f/22. In this case f/1.4 is the maximum aperture (the widest opening), and f/22 is the minimum aperture (the smallest opening). The maximum aperture opening tends to be of most interest, and is always included when describing a lens. This value is also known as the lens "speed", as it affects the exposure time. Lenses with apertures opening f/2.8 or wider are referred to as "fast" lenses. Zoom lenses typically have a maximum relative aperture (minimum f-number) of f/2.8 to f/6.3 through their range. High-end lenses will have a constant aperture, such as f/2.8 or f/4, which means that the relative aperture will stay the same throughout the zoom range. A more typical consumer zoom will have a variable maximum relative aperture, since it is harder and more expensive to keep the maximum relative aperture proportional to focal length at long focal lengths; f/3.5 to f/5.6 is an example of a common variable aperture range in a consumer zoom lens.

Autofocus motor

Micromotors and built-in motors of Nikon, Pentax and Sony digital SLR cameras provide moderately noisy and acceptably fast autofocus.

With ultrasonic, linear or stepping motor it is possible to achieve very fast and virtually silent autofocus. Moreover, the use of linear or stepping motor ensures smooth continuous focusing which makes lenses with such types of motors ideal for video recording.

The accuracy of autofocus does not depend on type of used autofocus motor but depends on focusing method (contrast or phase detection), autofocus algorithms, lighting conditions and other factors.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film. The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Focusing method

Photographic lenses carry out focusing using one of the following five methods:

Methods of internal and rear focusing have the following advantages:

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

AF/MF

AFAutofocus mode with manual focus override.
MFManual focus mode.

Screw-in lens hood

Fastens to the front thread of the lens barrel.

Slip-on lens hood

Attaches to the lens barrel behind the front rim. A knurled screw tightens a retaining ring, holding the hood firmly to the lens.

Bayonet-type lens hood

Attaches to the bayonet fitting on the front of the lens barrel and locks in place with a twist. After usage, the lens hood can be mounted in reverse for transportation or storage.

Snap-on lens hood

Attaches onto the front of the lens with a spring-type retainer ring. This type of lens hoods is the fastest to attach. After usage, the lens hood can be mounted in reverse for transportation or storage.

Filter access window

The lens hood features a slide-out window which enables rotation of polarizing filter without removing the lens hood.

Aspherical elements

Aspherical elements (ASPH, XA, XGM) are used in wide-angle lenses for correction of distortion and in large-aperture lenses for correction of spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, thus ensuring excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. The effect of the aspherical element is determined by its position within the optical formula: the more the aspherical element moves away from the aperture stop, the more it influences distortion; close to the aperture stop it can be particularly used to correct spherical aberration. Aspherical element can substitute one or several regular spherical elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Low dispersion and fluorite elements

Low dispersion elements (AD, ED, LD, HLD, SD, UD etc) and fluorite elements minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics

Organic Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics (BR Optics) material placed between convex and concave elements made from traditional optical glass provides more efficient correction of lateral chromatic aberrations in comparison with fluorite, UD and even Super UD elements.

Diffraction elements

Diffraction elements (DO, PF) cancel chromatic aberrations at various wavelengths. This technology results in smaller and lighter lenses in comparison with traditional designs with no compromise in image quality.

High refractive index elements

High refractive index elements (XR, UXR, HID, HR, HRI etc) minimize field curvature and spherical aberration. High refractive index element can substitute one or several regular elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Apodization element

Apodization element (APD) is in fact a radial gradient filter. It practically does not change the characteristics of light beam passing through its central part but absorbs the light at the periphery. It sort of softens the edges of the aperture making the transition from foreground to background zone very smooth and results in very attractive, natural looking and silky smooth bokeh.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Efficiency of Image Stabilizer

The efficiency of image stabilizer is measured in stops and each stop corresponds to a two-times increase of shutter speed. For example, if you are shooting at focal length of 80mm and it is known that the efficiency of image stabilizer is 3 stops, it means that during handheld shooting at such focal length you can use shutter speed of 1/10 second which is exactly 23 times longer than the shutter speed 1/80 second needed to obtain sharp image in sufficient lighting conditions.

Zooming method

The rotary zooming method means that the change of the focal length is achieved by turning the zoom ring and the manual focusing - by turning the separate focusing ring.

The push/pull zooming method means that the change of focal length and the manual focusing is achieved by one and the same ring. The change of focal length happens when the photographer moves the ring towards the mount or backwards and the rotation of the ring leads to change of focus.

Push/pull zooming allows for faster change of focal length, however conventional method based on the rotation of the zoom ring provides more accurate and smooth zooming.

Zoom lock

The lens features a zoom lock to keep the zoom ring fixed. This function is convenient for carrying a camera with the lens on a strap because it prevents the lens from extending.

Power Zoom

The lens features electronically driven zoom mechanism. It provides smoother, more natural zoom movements than you could accomplish by hand.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Digital sensors are usually smaller than 35mm film, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a constant factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website calculates angles of view of lenses automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a photographic camera body and a lens. It is confined to cameras where the body allows interchangeable lenses, most usually the rangefinder and SLR cameras.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock (friction lock) type. Modern still camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body. Screw-threaded mounts are fragile and do not align the lens in a reliable rotational position.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different. These incompatibilities are probably due to the desire of manufacturers to lock in consumers to their brand.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. A magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size". A lens is not considered to be "true" macro unless it can achieve at least life-size magnification.

Weight

Excluding caps and detachable accessories such as lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding caps and detachable accessories such as lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Floating element system

Provides correction of aberrations and ensures constantly high image quality at the entire range of focusing distances from infinity down to the closest focusing distance. It is particularly effective for the correction of field curvature that tends to occur with large-aperture, wide-angle lenses when shooting at close ranges.

Non-retrofocus lens

The lens was designed for use with 35mm film SLR cameras with the mirror locked in the up position. The lens extended into the SLR's mirror box when mounted. Mirror lock-up must be activated prior to mounting the lens; otherwise its rearmost element would be in the way as the mirror flipped up and down during exposure. A separate optical viewfinder had to be mounted on the accessory shoe to confirm angle of view, because when the mirror is in the up and locked position, the subject is no longer visible through the viewfinder.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Weather sealing

Weather sealed lenses contain a rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Diaphragm type

SLR cameras require stopping down to the chosen aperture immediately before exposure, in order to permit viewing and focusing at full aperture up to the moment the shutter is released.

Historically, there are four different types of diaphragm:

Manual – the diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring,

Pre-set – the lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value,

Semi-automatic – the lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value,

Automatic – the actuating lever in the camera, operated by the shutter release, closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Hybrid IS

The image stabilizer has Hybrid IS technology which corrects not only angle but also shift camera shake, which is more pronounced in close-range shooting when a camera moves parallel to the imaging scene. Hybrid IS dramatically enhances the effects of image stabilization during shooting, including macro shooting, which had proven difficult for conventional image stabilization technologies.

Dynamic IS

The image stabilizer has Dynamic IS technology which especially effective when shooting while walking because it compensates strong camera shake. Dynamic IS activates automatically when the camera is set to movie shooting.

Mode 1

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake. Mainly effective for shooting still subjects.

Mode 2

Corrects vertical camera shake during following shots in a horizontal direction. Corrects horizontal camera shake during following shots in a vertical direction.

Mode 2

Corrects vertical camera shake during following shots in a horizontal direction.

Mode 2 (Intelligent OS)

The lens incorporates Intelligent OS with algorithm capable of panning in all directions. In Mode 2, the movements of subjects can be captured with panning effects even when the camera is moved horizontally, vertically, or diagonally — regardless of the position of the lens.

Mode 3

Corrects camera shake only during exposure. During panning shots, corrects camera shake during exposure only in one direction the same as Mode 2. Effective for following fast and irregulary moving subjects.

Panning Detection

The image stabilizer automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction

Tripod Detection

It is often thought that image blur caused by camera shake can be prevented by using a tripod. Actually, however, even using a tripod may result in image blur because of tripod vibration caused by mirror or shutter movement at the time of exposure. The image stabilizer automatically differentiates the frequency of the vibration from that of camera shake, and changes algorithm to correct image blur caused by slight tripod vibration.

VR NORMAL

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake. Automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction.

VR ACTIVE

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake when shooting from a moving vehicle, or some other unstable position. Panning is not detected.

VR SPORT

Allows a continuous shooting frame rate and release time lag similar to those that are possible when image stabilizer is turned off. Automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction.

VR TRIPOD

It is often thought that image blur caused by camera shake can be prevented by using a tripod. Actually, however, even using a tripod may result in image blur because of tripod vibration caused by mirror or shutter movement at the time of exposure. The image stabilizer automatically differentiates the frequency of the vibration from that of camera shake, and changes algorithm to correct image blur caused by slight tripod vibration.

CANON EF BAYONET MOUNT

Designed by: Canon Inc.
Announced: 1987
Discontinued: None
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 44mm

MINOLTA/SONY A BAYONET MOUNT

Designed by: Minolta Corporation
Announced: 1985
Discontinued: None
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 44.5mm

NIKON F BAYONET MOUNT

Designed by: Nikon Corporation
Announced: 1959
Discontinued: None
Maximum format: 35mm full frame
Camera type: Single-Lens Reflex
AF support: Yes
Flange focal distance: 46.5mm

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