It would appear that the “cheap” prime lenses with comparably short shutter speeds are all the rage these days. A variety of economical (semi-)pancake lenses were introduced by Samyang a few years ago, making the company likely the pioneer in this market area. After this, Sigma came up with a more upscale approach.
Tamron 35mm F/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 Prime Lenses
Late in 2019, Tamron made its debut with three prime lenses that appeared to be similar in every way: a 20mm f/2.8, a 24mm f/2.8, and a 35mm f/2.8. Tamron has historically been more of a player in the middle tier, but it is very evident that the gang of 3 is focused on cost-effectiveness. Let’s begin with the Tamron 35mm f/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 because it’s a reasonable wide-angle lens and we’ll be reviewing the rest of these lenses over the coming several weeks. You can get it for as cheap as 250 USD or EUR right now.
You cannot reasonably anticipate receiving quality on par with that offered by professionals for this amount of money. The chassis is constructed with polymers of a standard quality that are mounted to a metal basis. Even though it doesn’t exactly scream “luxury,” the rubbery focus ring performs really smoothly. Surprisingly, the lens contains certain seals that make it resistant to moisture; nevertheless, there is no mention of dust protection anywhere on the packaging. During the focusing process, the length of the lens does not change; nevertheless, there is a tube inside the lens that moves.
Due to the fact that this tube is rather deeply recessed by around 1.5 centimeters, it is not quite obvious why Tamron built the lens to be relatively lengthy. Instead, they could have made the lens shorter, but this would have resulted in the inner tube bulging out at certain distances of focus.
Tamron decided to go with a variant of their lens hood that has a flat front and is referred to as a “windowed” version. Although we enjoy the idea behind it, it is important to point out that the hood, which was manufactured in the Philippines, has a far lower-quality feel than the lens (made in Vietnam).
A linear extension mechanism is utilized by the AF system. The autofocus (AF) speed is on the sluggish side, but at least it doesn’t make any noise, which is typical for this sort of focusing mechanism. It is not possible to say the same thing regarding the aperture mechanism. When the shutter is fully depressed, you will be able to hear the camera opening and closing the aperture as it performs focusing operations. This again gives the air of something that was done on the cheap.
As is customary, “by-wire” operation is used for manual focusing. In this instance, the accuracy is rather satisfactory. The lens is notable for its ability to focus extremely close to the subject. It is able to focus down to an object magnification that is a maximum of 1:2. (hence the M1:2 in the lens name). It should not come as much of a surprise that an image stabilizer has not been included considering that the pricing is so low.