Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 AF

Jopa

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 11, 2015
1,056
0
I wanted to go back to basics and buy a 50-ish mm lens. As far as I understand the Sigma 50mm Art is not an option because the AF is a real lottery. I'm thinking of the Tamron 45mm SP now, and wondering if anyone had an experience shooting with this lens, especially in terms of AF? How consistent & fast is it? TDP's Bryan C. mentioned he had problems focusing the off-center AF points. I'm not sure if it's just his copy or a common issue. Would love to hear your opinions. Thanks!
 

GammyKnee

EOS RP
Jan 24, 2013
246
2
I use the Tamron 45 primarily on my new 5DIV, but prior to that I used it on a 5DIII, and have occasionally used it on my old 5DII.

Speed-wise, the AF is noticeably slower than all my Canon USM lenses, but obviously a lot depends on how much of a jump it has to make; due its short MFD a full stop-to-stop movement can take some time. It does however perform faster with a more sensitive or sophisticated AF implementation in the body, i.e. 5DIV > 5DIII > 5DII

In terms of accuracy and consistency, it's pretty good with the center point. With my copy, only small AFMA adjustments are necessary and they seem to hold regardless of distance on all my bodies (refreshing change from Sigma).

I'd say it's up to Canon standards on the 5DIV with the center point for static subjects, while on the 5DIII accuracy can suffer a bit in poor light, and performance is weakest on the mark II (but that applies to every lens I've got). As you move out from the center, accuracy and consistency start to suffer a little. Even on the 5DIV I shoot extra frames if I'm using one of the outermost points, but I trust it completely with the central bank of 21 cross-types. Things were similar but not quite so good on the 5DIII, and obviously the 5DII is center-point only for everything.

When it comes to AI Servo things aren't so great, probably because the AF speed becomes significant. In my hands fast action is hard with a low keeper rate; slower action is OK.

Bottom line: AF-wise this is still the best performing 50-ish lens I've had, beating the Canon EF 50 1.8 II, EF 50 1.4, Sigma 50 1.4 (pre-Art).

Hope that helps.
 

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
739
148
I have the Tamron 45 f1.8 and the 50L. The description made by GammyKnee reflects my own impressions of the Tamron. It is most noticably a bit slow, and while AF accuracy is good in most cases, it will miss at times with off center focusing points. The 50L isn't perfect either, though.

I really do like the pictures I get from the Tamron, but be aware that it suffers a bit from CA at wide apertures.

If I were to pick between the 50L and Tamron 45, I would go for a used copy of the 50L. In Norway, a good used copy costs about the same as a new Tamron.

Worth mentioning, I had a Sigma 50ART a while ago. I did not like the pictures I got from it. AF was actually better than what I expected, but there were some issues with it as well.
 

Jopa

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 11, 2015
1,056
0
Guys, thank you all for your comments! It seems like a good choice for the price.
 
Thank you everyone for your input! I've been thinking about getting the Tamron 45mm 1.8 VC as well. I have the Tamron 85mm and love it however, I've had to do a bit of AFMA with FoCal to get the results I love.

I also have the Tamron 15-30mm and after getting a second copy (due to the first having AF issues) I've noticed it too struggles with some of the 5D4's outer (none cross-type) AF points. After reading several reviews of the 15-30, I haven't run across anyone who mentions this. Now I know this could be an issue with some Tamron lenses in general however, my Tamron 85 doesn't struggle with much of anything.

I wonder if someone compared the Tamron 45mm with the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM. I absolutely love my Canon 50mm STM however, I'm delegating that lens to my M6 kit.
 

Larsskv

Enthusiast with Canon related GAS
Jun 12, 2015
739
148
Sporgon said:
JP4DESIGNZ said:
I wonder if someone compared the Tamron 45mm with the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM. I absolutely love my Canon 50mm STM however, I'm delegating that lens to my M6 kit.
Well you'll love the Tamron 45 more then. The 50 STM is pretty mediocre across the frame on FF at f/2.8.
I have a few comparison pictures between the 50 stm, the 50 ART and the 45 f1.8. The 50ART is clearly the sharper lens up to f2.8. At f2.8, the Tamron is about equal to the Sigma.

The Tamron is better than the 50STM at f1.8, but not by very much. The Tamron is much better than the 50 STM at f2.8.

I haven't tested the 45 f1.8 enough to exactly know when it improves the most, but it is a dramatic difference between f1.8 and f2.8.

Bokeh from the Tamron is good.

Dustin have a very thorough and good review of the Tamron 45 f1.8, which is worth a read, or look on YouTube.
 

Jopa

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 11, 2015
1,056
0
Larsskv said:
Sporgon said:
JP4DESIGNZ said:
I wonder if someone compared the Tamron 45mm with the Canon 50mm 1.8 STM. I absolutely love my Canon 50mm STM however, I'm delegating that lens to my M6 kit.
Well you'll love the Tamron 45 more then. The 50 STM is pretty mediocre across the frame on FF at f/2.8.
I have a few comparison pictures between the 50 stm, the 50 ART and the 45 f1.8. The 50ART is clearly the sharper lens up to f2.8. At f2.8, the Tamron is about equal to the Sigma.

The Tamron is better than the 50STM at f1.8, but not by very much. The Tamron is much better than the 50 STM at f2.8.

I haven't tested the 45 f1.8 enough to exactly know when it improves the most, but it is a dramatic difference between f1.8 and f2.8.

Bokeh from the Tamron is good.

Dustin have a very thorough and good review of the Tamron 45 f1.8, which is worth a read, or look on YouTube.
If the Art had no AF issues - it would be a no-brainer. Knowing my luck I have zero chance to get a decent Art :)
Ideally I would love to have a 50mm analog of the 35 1.4L II (which I'm really enjoying!), but unfortunately it doesn't exist...
 

YuengLinger

EOR R
Dec 20, 2012
2,232
252
Southeastern USA
Based on some praises here in CR, I've apparently had bad luck with this lens, purchased new from a big online camera store. Could not get it to focus properly on an 80D, the camera I had hoped to leave it on, though other comparable quality lenses (ef-s 35mm f/2.8 IS macro, old ef 85mm f/1.8 USM, ef-s 24mm f/2.8 STM) do great on the same body. Wouldn't focus well in Live-View at all, though with a mere -5 for AFMA value I got pretty close to centered for phase detect.

But then it just wouldn't get sharp, again compared to other similar quality lenses, and the AF is not reliable. Pretty much the same dodgy AF as I experienced with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art a few years back on a 5D III.

The CA was MASSIVE, purple and green so bad it tinted numbers in AFMA tests, and looked like stained-glass windows in high-contrast backgrounds. Made the 85mm 1.8, in this regard, look amazingly free of CA in comparison.

The IS has noticeable drift while on a tripod. In other words, with IS turned on, the center point of the lens will slowly move either southeast or southwest quite a bit, and keep drooping while Live View is active. This may not be a problem, as turning off IS on a tripod is best practice, generally, but I've never seen this happen with other IS lenses.

Build quality does not "feel" impressive, but like a cheap kit lens. The silver ring around the base is tacky and toy-like.

Finally, the AF was unacceptably slow, much slower than described in reviews. Even for small changes in distance.

Did I get a bad copy? Maybe. My first Tamron ever. Nowhere near the gem reviewed. But there must be a reason the price has drifted down to a virtually permanent $400. Perhaps quality control slipped? It would be a rare day indeed to get a lens much better than the retail price suggests it should be. I didn't.
 
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YuengLinger

EOR R
Dec 20, 2012
2,232
252
Southeastern USA
After more thought, the Tamron likely has one or misaligned elements,
which either slipped past QC or resulted from being knocked around.
Packaging was pristine.

The key clue may be the behavior in Live View. I could get the lens to focus on the chosen center point using MF, but not using AF. It would consistently backfocus badly in Live View using AF.

From my understanding, misalignment can cause the symptoms I experienced.

But overall the lens was not compelling enough to try another copy. I do wish Canon would start adding IS to more fast primes.