Tamron SP 45mm F1.8 Di USD A-mount lens review by QuietOC

reviewer#44175 date: Nov-17-2018
sharpness: 4.5
color: 4
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:Tamron SP 35 F1.8 USD
Minolta 40 F1.7
Konica AR 40 F1.8
Sony FE 40 F2.5 G
Canon EF 40 F2.8 STM
Pentax-M 40 F2.8
Pentax-DA 40 F2.8 XS
Pentax-FA 43 F1.8 Limited
Rokinon AF 45 F1.8
Minolta MD 45 F2
Sigma 45 F2.8 DG DN C
Rokinon 50 F1.2
Yongnuo 50 F1.4
Canon EF 50 F1.4 USM
Sigma 50 F1.4 EX DG HSM
Minolta MD 50 F1.4 & AF & Sony (D)
Minolta MD 50 F1.7 & AF & RS
Meike 50 F1.7
Youngnuo YN50 F1.8 DF
Sony FE 50 F1.8
Canon EF 50 F1.8 STM
Konica AR 50 F1.8
Vivitar 50 F1.8
Fotasy 50 F1.8 APS-C
Sony DT 50 F1.8 SAM
Sony E 50 F1.8 OSS
Minolta MD 50 F2
Neewer/Meike 50 F2
Minolta AF 50 F2.8 Macro RS
Minolta AF 50 F3.5 Macro
price paid:275 USD (used)
positive:Sharp wide-open
Flat focus plane
Quiet Focusing
Minimum breathing
Always available MF
negative:Size and weight
Veiling glare
Axial CA/focus shift
Purple fringing
No VC (A-mount)
Dim as F2 lenses
comment:A like new copy with original retail packaging and all accessories. The original list price was $599, but Tamron lowered it to $399 a year ago. The Sony 50 F1.4 has been stuck at $448 during this time, but used copies have been selling for less than $175. I traded my Sony DT 18-135 SAM for the first A-mount copy. Then I bought a Canon EF VC version. I replaced this with the much smaller Samyang AF 45/1.8. "MADE IN JAPAN"

This is a large lens, slightly larger than the Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX Macro. Maybe the size was needed for the optical stabilization system which is not enabled in the the A-mount version. The little Minolta MD 45mm F2 is actually brighter than this lens. This lens is sharper than my copy of the Minolta. The focus plane is much flatter than the Minolta 45, but not as flat as the Minolta/Sony 50mm F1.4. It has worse veiling glare than the 28 F1.8, 35 F1.8, 50 F1.7, and F1.4. The contrast gets a generous bump when stopping down.

The sharpest focus wide-open has a lot of purple fringing and is not the sharpest focus at f/2.8. For sharp results stopped down it is better to minimize the purple fringing when focusing. Like the Minolta 50 F1.4 this lens would benefit from stopped down focusing which is not possible on Sony cameras without using a third-party adapter that has a manual aperture control. The EF version has much less fringing.

The first reviewer below misstated that it is focus-by-wire, but it uses a normal focus clutch mechanism just like other SSM lenses. It can be manually focused off of a camera--no wires used or needed.

The plastic HF012 petal hood is shared with the SP 35mm F1.8 lens.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 3
  • sharpness: 4.33
  • color: 4.33
  • build: 4.67
  • distortion: 4.67
  • flare control: 4.00
  • overall: 4.40
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