Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD- the “Workhorse”

With the expansion of the full frame DSLR and Digital mirrorless cameras, Tamron sensed it shouldn’t be left out in product coverage.  In late February 2019, Tamron announced two new full-frame DSLR lenses (the 35-150mm F/2.8-4 Di VC OSD and SP 35mm F/1.4 Di USD, and a new full-frame mirrorless lens (the 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD). They should be available from leading retailers in mid-2019. 35mmlens.com decided to share our thoughts about the SP 35 f/1.4.

Specification and Overview

The first impression of this Tamron is that this lens is definitely not in the ‘small and discrete’ category. The lens is visually larger in size comparing to is predecessor, the amazing SP 35mm F/1.8 due to obvious requirements to increase the maximum aperture. It is suspected that the filter it uses will be 67mm if not bigger. The lens supports full-frame DSLR cameras of Canon, Nikon and Sony, and can be fitted on APS-C bodies as a 56mm prime lens (you don’t want to do this as its primary function).

Similar to its predecessor the Tamron 35mm f/1.8, The lens has 10 elements in 9 groups with extensive usage of 2 aspherical elements made with low dispersion (LD) and extra-low dispersion (XLD) glasses.

We don’t know how much it’ll cost yet, but trust Tamron will find it a nice pricing spot below the brand named Canon, Nikon and Carl Zeiss badged Sony lenses.

Highlighted features

USD – Tamron’s current generation ultrasonic motor;

Di – digitally enhanced lenses for both Full Frame and APS-C bodies

COD (Closest Focusing Distance) – Tamron prime lenses have industry leading CODs, we have reasons to believe the design capability is extended on this lens as well. This allows some very unique shots at the macro end of a wide angle lens. We believe the COD will be around 200mm.

Why not for mirrorless?

Just like there are ‘dress watches’ and ‘tool watches’, there are lenses used for professionals in a production environment and lenses for enthusiasts to enjoy in leisure. (more on this in a later post)

This Tamron, judging from its look, size, feature and supported mounts, is a typical ‘tool lens’. It is designed to be sufficiently robust and can withstand elements. It does not have sandblasted aluminium casings that can be easily scratched. Meanwhile it is large and heavy with that USD focusing module. A photographer’s enjoyment or comfort is placed in a secondary position, giving way to photo quality, speed, longevity and performance.

Who is this lens for?

To put it simply, professionals that care about the end result, client satisfaction more than the button-clicking pleasure.

In addition, I say it is a fabulous choice for enthusiasts undertaken challenging projects involving a harsh environment, security concerns (as they are relatively not THAT expensive to replace), remote areas and require to take a lot of photos.

Reasons not to buy this lens

Despite the good optical performance of this Japanese giant, Tamron lenses won’t turn heads on the street or ‘likes’ on social media. It probably will not give you the same satisfaction of spinning the manual focusing ring of a Leica Summicron and remind you of those great photographers that used the same lens.

With its weight, the Tamron 35mm f/1.4 is not for people concerned with their arm strengths or don’t like the idea to carry a few brick-like lenses around while travelling. It suits studio and wedding photographers rather than travel photographers.

If you have the budget, also consider the equivalent Canon, Nikon and Sony lenses as their graphical quality varies. I don’t wish to be the judge here and tell you which is better. Look a the image quality carefully, try to post-process a few photos and see what you like or dislike in the final result. This is for you to decide.


In the year 2019, there is no reason people should have concerns to buy a Tamron SP 35mm F1.4 Di USD, a fast standard prime lens for full-frame DSLRs. The image quality and sharpness are well known. The only thing it may lack is what’s beyond a ‘tool lens’, something sophisticated and linked to emotions. In terms of graphics, unique attributes that allow supports to identify.

Own one? Want one? Let me know what you think, leave a comment below.

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