Everyone loves a fast 35mm prime lens, right? These lenses rank among the most-used in many kits and Tamron commemorated the 40th anniversary of their SP (Superior Performance) series by introducing the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens.
This is the second 35mm SP Di (full frame) prime lens in Tamron's lineup, arriving about 4 years after the 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens. With the latter lens distinguished by the Vibration Control feature and a low price, there was definitely room in the lineup for a higher grade, wider-aperture 35mm lens. While the f/1.4 lens is priced higher, most are going to find the improved image quality and wider aperture quite valuable and easily worth the higher cost.
The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens brings the desirable 35mm focal length together with an ultra-wide aperture, great image quality at that wide aperture, a modern design featuring a metal exterior barrel, Tamron's premier USD AF, and a relatively low price. This might be the lens you were looking for.
The number of 35mm prime lenses currently available in the marketplace reflects the popularity of this focal length. Canon and Nikon currently have 4 different 35mm models each and 2 of Tamron's 6 current prime lenses have a 35mm focal length.
So, why choose 35mm? That this moderately wide angle of view invites a subject distance (perspective) that creates a natural perspective and makes the viewer feel present in the image is one reason. That this angle of view welcomes such a wide range of subjects is another. That people are one of this focal length's best subjects emphasizes the previous reason. This focal length has great general-purpose use, making it an ideal choice to simply leave on the camera for whatever needs arise. As a prime lens, it is often not difficult to sneaker zoom to the right distance to get the ideal 35mm subject framing.
I often press whatever lens I'm reviewing at the time into the around-the-house, walk-around, general-purpose lens role and 35mm usually works very well for this. It is wide enough to capture the big scene but not so wide that people and other subjects are readily distorted by the close perspective invited by ultra-wide angles.
For similar reasons, the 35mm focal length has long been a first-choice for photojournalists. Wedding photographers, who work in some of the worst lighting venues to be found, also frequently use 35mm lenses. Portrait photographers like the 35mm focal length for full to mid-body portraits and for group portraits.
The 35mm angle of view is inviting for street photography. Landscape photographers have plenty of use for the 35mm focal length.
Sports photographers able to get close to their subjects (such as basketball shot from over or under the net) or wanting to capture a wider/environmental view of their events appreciate this focal length. The angle of view invited by 35mm can make action figures large in the frame.
Parents love 35mm lenses for capturing their indoor events and most pets will let you get close enough to capture a nice perspective with such a lens. 35mm is popular with videographers, especially for creating documentaries. Many medium and large products are ideally captured at 35mm. The full list of 35mm uses is huge and limited only by our imaginations.
To visualize where 35mm fits among other common focal lengths, I'll borrow a focal length range example from the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens review.
On an ASP-C/1.6x sensor format body, the 35mm focal length provides an angle of view similar to a 56mm lens on a full frame sensor format body. The 56mm angle of view is close enough to 50mm to be used for all applications this extremely popular "normal" focal length is used for. Those uses coincide with most uses of the 35mm focal length with slightly tighter framing or slightly longer perspective for the same framing being the difference.
Common prime lens advantages include smaller size, lighter weight, lower price, better image quality, and/or a wider aperture. A prime lens may lack the versatility of a focal length range, but no zoom lens can match this lens' f/1.4 max aperture and only a small number of prime lenses exceed the f/1.4 opening.
The basic concept is, the wider the aperture, the more light that is able to reach the imaging sensor. Allowing more light to reach the sensor permits a faster shutter speed to be used for freezing action including handholding the camera in lower light levels and/or the use of lower, less noisy ISO settings. This wide aperture is especially valuable after the sun sets, in the shade, and when shooting indoors, including indoors using only ambient light. There always seems to be enough light for f/1.4.
One of my favorite features of wide aperture lenses is the strong background blur they can create. Increasing the aperture opening reduces the depth of field, thus creating a stronger background blur at equivalent focal lengths. The shallow f/1.4 depth of field must of course be acceptable to you for the scenario at hand, but shallow depth of field can make a subject pop, isolated from a strongly blurred, non-distracting background, drawing the viewer's attention to the subject. The background blur created at 35mm cannot match what is created by a longer focal length lens (85mm for example) at the same aperture, but the f/1.4 background blur is still differentiating among 35mm-capable lenses. Those stepping into this lens from a kit zoom lens will find the difference to be huge.
What are the disadvantages of a wide aperture? Heavier weight and increased size go hand in hand with a wider aperture. The other wide aperture disadvantage one can count on is increased price over similar focal length lenses with narrower apertures. None of the penalties for this lens are big and the advantages often far outweigh the disadvantages.
Note that, especially under full sun conditions, a 1/8000 shutter speed may be only marginally fast enough to avoid blown highlights at f/1.4. Cameras with shutter speeds limited to 1/4000 may need the assistance of a neutral density filter to keep images dark enough at f/1.4. Shooting with a narrower aperture of course remains an option.
Following is an example of the maximum background blur this lens can produce:
Want to see another example?
It is hard to get too much of that.
This lens does not have Vibration Compensation, but the wide f/1.4 aperture letting in so much light negates much of the need for this feature.
You typically buy a wide aperture lens to use at its widest aperture. Often, the aperture selected on my mounted prime lens does not leave the wide-open setting. Unfortunately, the image quality at the wide-open aperture is so often not amazing, typically showing reduced resolution and contrast. The good news is that this lens turns in very nice image quality even at f/1.4.
The Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens delivers very sharp full frame corner-to-corner results with a wide-open f/1.4 aperture. Stopping down to f/2 brings a noticeable bump in contrast and another slight increase can be seen at f/4 where the results are very impressive.
Following are a series of outdoor-captured center-of-the-frame 100% resolution crop examples. These images were captured using an ultra-high-resolution Canon EOS 5Ds R with RAW files processed in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) using the Standard Picture Style and sharpness set to only "1" on a 0-10 scale (Note that images from most cameras require some level of sharpening but too-high sharpness settings are destructive to image details and hide the deficiencies of a lens).
Be sure to find details in the plane of sharp focus to base your opinions on, especially in the close-up crop featuring the bee.
In some lens designs, the plane of sharp focus can move forward or backward as a narrower aperture is selected. This is called focus shift (residual spherical aberration, or RSA) and it is seldom (never?) desired. With this lens, the depth of field increase through f/2.8 is mostly to the rear but fortunately, the subject remains in sharp focus. You will likely notice this in the images above. At f/4, the foreground receives more focus and the depth of field is better distributed throughout the rest of the aperture range.
Next we'll look at a comparison showing 100% extreme-top-left-corner crops captured and processed identically to the above center-of-the-frame images. These images were manually focused in the corner of the frame.
This lens is not turning in absolutely sharp extreme corners, but they are very good, especially for an f/1.4 lens. In the second set of examples featuring the blue spruce branches, notice the direction of the needles and how their sharpness is being rendered at the wider apertures. That is the primary reason that perfection is not being reached here. That attribute is rectified at f/5.6 and at f/8, the corners are really impressive.
Corner sharpness does not always matter but it does matter for many disciplines including landscape photography. When I'm photographing landscapes with corner sharpness being desired, I'm probably using f/8 or f/11 to obtain enough depth of field for in-focus corner details and this lens works beautifully for this purpose at these apertures. When shooting at wide apertures, the corners are most often out of focus and not supposed to be sharp.
You likely noticed the corner crops getting brighter at narrow apertures. You are going to notice the about-3.5-stops of peripheral shading showing in the corners at f/1.4. While rather strong, this amount is normal for the lens class. Want brighter corners? Stop down one stop for about-1.5-stops of improvement and about-1.4 stops of shading remains in f/2.8 corners. Vignetting slowly decreases until a seldom-visible about-.6-stops remains at f/5.6 and throughout the balance of the aperture range.
APS-C format cameras using lenses projecting a full-frame-sized image circle avoid most vignetting problems. One stop of shading is the amount often used as the visibility number, though subject details provide a widely-varying amount of vignetting discernibility. In this case, the about-1-stop of APS-C shading showing at f/1.4 might be visible in images with a solid color (such as a blue sky) showing in the corners.
Vignetting can be corrected during post processing with increased noise in the brightened areas being the penalty or it can be embraced, using the effect to draw the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. Study the pattern showing in our vignetting test tool to determine if your subject (subject's face) will be darkened or if it will be emphasized by the darker periphery.
The effect of different colors of the spectrum being magnified differently is referred to as lateral (or transverse) CA (Chromatic Aberration). Lateral CA shows as color fringing along lines of strong contrast running tangential (meridional, right angles to radii) with the mid and especially the periphery of the image circle showing the greatest amount as this is where the greatest difference in the magnification of wavelengths typically exists.
With the right lens profile and software, lateral CA is often easily correctable (often in the camera) by radially shifting the colors to coincide, though it is always better to not have the problem in the first place. Any color misalignment present can easily be seen in the site's image quality tool, but let's also look at a worst-case example, a 100% crop from the extreme top left corner of an ultra-high-resolution EOS 5Ds R frame showing diagonal black and white lines.
There should be only black and white colors in this image. This lens is very well-corrected for this aberration — I see a slight color separation, but it is minor.
A relatively common lens aberration is axial (longitudinal, bokeh) CA, which causes non-coinciding focal planes of the various wavelengths of light, or more simply, different colors of light are focused to different depths. Spherical aberration along with spherochromatism, or a change in the amount of spherical aberration with respect to color (looks quite similar to axial chromatic aberration but is hazier) are other common lens aberrations to look for. Axial CA remains at least somewhat persistent when stopping down with the color misalignment effect increasing with defocusing while the spherical aberration color halo shows little size change as the lens is defocused and stopping down one to two stops generally removes this aberration.
In the real world, lens defects do not exist in isolation with spherical aberration and spherochromatism generally found, at least to some degree, along with axial CA. These combine to create a less sharp, hazy-appearing image quality at the widest apertures.
In the examples below, look at the fringing colors in the out of focus specular highlights created by the neutrally-colored subjects. Any color difference is being introduced by the lens.
In the example above, look at the fringing colors in out of focus areas with specular highlights in the foreground showing different colors than those in the background. These aberrations are modest, though not unusual, at f/1.4, and they mostly clear in the narrower apertures illustrated above.
This lens features Tamron's BBAR-G2 (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection Generation 2) Coating for anti-reflection performance. Our sun in the corner of the frame flare test produced very few flare effects at the widest apertures. As usual, stopping down produces stronger flare effects but still, this lens shows very few effects even at f/16 for superb overall performance in this regard.
Flare effects can be embraced, avoided, or removal can be attempted. Removal is sometimes very challenging and, in some cases, flare effects can be quite destructive to image quality. A lens' ability to suppress flare is a distinguishing factor.
There are two lens aberrations that are particularly evident when shooting images of stars, mainly because bright points of light against a dark background make them easier to see. Coma occurs when light rays from a point of light spread out from that point, instead of being refocused as a point on the sensor. Coma is absent in the center of the frame, gets worse toward the edges/corners, and generally appears as a comet-like or triangular tail of light which can be oriented either away from the center of the frame (external coma), or toward the center of the frame (internal coma). Astigmatism is seen as points of light spreading into a line, either sagittal (radiating from the center of the image) or meridional (tangential, perpendicular to sagittal). Remember that lateral CA is another aberration apparent in the corners.
The image below is a 100% crop taken from the extreme top-right corner of an EOS 5Ds R frame.
The stars in the corner of the frame are not perfect points, but this rendering is not unusual.
From a linear distortion perspective, this lens performs very well, though not perfect. The corners are pinched in slightly to create a small amount of pincushion distortion. Use the site's distortion tool to see this effect.
The blur and quality of blur seen in the out of focus portions of an image are referred to as bokeh. There are an infinite number of bokeh tests that can be performed, but I'll share some samples below.
The first f/8 example shows a 100% crop of defocused specular highlights and the next is a 100% crop from a woods scene. The last three examples are full images reduced in size. The f/1.4 example shows the cat's eye bokeh effect, a form of mechanical vignetting, seen in the corners at f/1.4. If you look through a tube at an angle, similar to the light reaching the corner of the frame, the shape is not round and that is the shape seen here. As the aperture narrows, the entrance pupil size is reduced and the mechanical vignetting absolves with the shapes becoming round.
Overall, I don't see anything unusual here – these results are good. Most will find the strong blur this lens can create to be its most obvious bokeh aspect.
When stopped down, this lens' 9-blade aperture produces awesome 18-point stars from point light sources
I love that look. Use this attribute to give the sun, street lights, etc. this effect.
"The optical construction (14 elements in 10 groups) leverages the best of Tamron technology and features a generous arrangement of special glass materials including four LD (Low Dispersion) and three GM (Glass Molded Aspherical) lens elements." [Tamron] This design obviously works very well as this is one of best optically-performing 35mm lenses available.
The "USD" in the lens name tells us this lens has Tamron's premier ring-type USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) autofocus motor. "Thanks to the Dynamic Rolling-cam mechanism that has been newly developed specifically for this lens, Tamron has succeeded in minimizing the drive load placed on the focus lens component. This breakthrough ensures stable AF operating performance and improves reliability even under the harsh shooting conditions of professional use, including high and low temperature extremes." [Tamron] This system focuses very fast with only quiet clicking/clunking heard during autofocusing. As usual, the f/1.4 aperture permits autofocusing in very low light levels, but AF is noticeably slower when shooting in light-starved venues.
Fast AF speed is good, but I'll argue that accuracy is more important. An out of focus image is usually immediately trashed. When mounted on a Canon EOS R mirrorless camera, this lens autofocused remarkably accurately with a variety of tested AF points, including in low light using Servo AF with eye tracking and an in-action subject. When mounted on a Canon EOS 5Ds R, this lens' autofocus accuracy was a bit disappointing with more inconsistency than I am happy with. In this testing, consistency is especially important as consistency can be calibrated into accuracy, either in-camera (with some models) or via the TAP-in Console. Usually, third party lens manufacturers are required to reverse engineer camera autofocus algorithms and the result is commonly the weakest aspect of these lenses.
The Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens' AF implementation is an inner focusing design that does not change the external lens size during focusing and permits FTM (Full Time Manual) focusing without a switch change.
Moderate (normal) subject magnification/framing changes (focus breathing) are seen in full extent focus range changes as illustrated below.
A focus distance scale is provided in a window. A depth of field scale is not included.
The Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens' manual focus ring is superbly implemented. This sharply-ribbed rubber-coated ring is ideally sized and is very smooth with just the right amount of rotational resistance. The generous 146° of rotation is adequate for precise manual focusing even at the minimum focus distance.
With a 11.8" (300mm) minimum focus distance, this lens has a 0.20x maximum magnification spec, a normal number for this lens class. Here is a comparison table showing these specifications for similar lenses:
|Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens||11.0"||(280mm)||0.21x|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.20x|
|Rokinon (Samyang) 35mm f/1.4 US UMC Lens||11.8"||(300mm)|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.19x|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.18x|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.20x|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens||7.9"||(200mm)||0.40x|
|Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens||11.8"||(300mm)||0.22x|
A subject measuring approximately 6.8 x 4.5" (173 x 115mm) will fill the frame at the minimum focus distance.
As always, the minimum focus distance will provide the opportunity to create the strongest background blur.
Magnification from wide-angle through standard/normal focal length lenses is generally significantly increased with the use of extension tubes which are basically as their name implies, hollow tubes (with electronic connections) that shift a lens farther from the camera. Doing so allows the lens to focus at closer distances, though at the expense of long-distance focusing. A 12mm extension tube provides an ideal range of focus distances with the shortest yielding very little working distance without the hood installed. Most are going to find 25mm extension tube to be too much for this lens with infinity focusing distance yielding only about 0.5" (13mm) of working distance without the hood installed.
This lens is not compatible with Tamron teleconverters.
"The smoothly contoured body and the texture of fine details reinforce simple operation and ensure intuitive use. The shape boasts a high-grade feel worthy of a next-generation model that’s packed with advanced technologies. The form snugly houses the internal components, while the carefully finished Luminous Gold brand ring and painstakingly precise construction speak loudly of the extreme high quality of the lens. Combined with the ergonomic switch box shape, highly legible distance-scale window and sturdy metal mount, the lens boasts a finely-finished rugged and functional design." [Tamron]
Tamron's writers are the best.
If you have experienced Tamron's SP 35mm f/1.8 VC or SP 45mm f/1.8 VC lenses, you know what to expect from the SP 35mm f/1.4 from a build perspective. The SP 35 appears to be simply a larger version of these.
These lenses share a very similar, very attractive, clean, modern design that features an aluminum alloy exterior barrel. This lens has great looks and the fit and finish are excellent.
This lens has a smooth overall design that, including from a diameter perspective, feels as great in hand as it appears to the eye. The nicely-sized manual focus ring is easy to find and use.
The low-profile AF/MF switch is ideally positioned for easy use. It and the switch panel are contoured to the lens barrel. The switch is nicely sized with a sufficient amount of throw and a positive click to provide strong positional tactile feedback.
This lens has moisture resistance incorporated into its design. "Seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to prevent infiltration of moisture and/or rain to provide Moisture-Resistant Construction" [Tamron]
The front lens element is fluorine coated to repel water, fingerprints, and smudges for easier cleaning of the lens surface. Tamron indicates a "Vastly improved highly durable Fluorine Coating" is being used on this model. It works well — oily fingerprints wipe right off.
From a size and weight perspective, this lens is at the top of a class of lenses that do not vary greatly overall. The size is very comfortable to use and the weight is heavy enough to make the lens feel stable in use (dense enough to provide a solid feel) but not too heavy for long term use.
|Model||Weight oz(g)||Dimensions w/o Hood "(mm)||Filter||Year|
|Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens||26.8||(760)||3.2 x 4.2||(80.4 x 105.5)||72||2015|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens||21.2||(600)||3.3 x 3.5||(83.0 x 89.5)||67||2010|
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens||23.5||(665)||3.0 x 3.7||(77.0 x 94.0)||67||2012|
|Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Lens||22.2||(630)||3.1 x 4.4||(78.5 x 112.0)||72||2015|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens||28.8||(815)||3.2 x 4.1||(80.9 x 104.8)||72||2019|
|Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens||16.9||(479)||3.2 x 3.2||(80.4 x 81.3)||67||2015|
|Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Milvus Lens||41.3||(1170)||3.3 x 4.9||(84.8 x 124.8)||72||2017|
For many more comparisons, review the complete Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens Specifications using the site's Lens Spec tool.
Here is a visual comparison of a set of these lenses:
Positioned above from left to right are the following lenses:
The same lenses are shown below with their hoods in place.
Use the site's product image comparison tool to create your own visual comparisons.
The Tamron SP 35 f/1.4 accepts mid-sized, common 72mm filters.
The Tamron HF045 lens hood is included in the box. Always use the hood.
This a rigid plastic lens hood with a mold-ribbed interior that offers a nice amount of protection from both light and impact to the front element. The petal design is most efficient in its light-blocking capabilities and visually facilitates alignment for installation. You will not want to try to balance the lens on the installed hood as you might do with a round-shaped hood. A release button allows smooth, non-friction-based installation and removal.
Printed boldly on the lens is "Designed in Japan", clearly emphasizing this lens' Japanese roots while "Made in China" is discretely included nearby. Printed in dark lettering on the lens hood is "Made in the Philippines".
Tamron has long had some of the best center-and-side-pinch lens cap designs available. The rear lens cap is relatively large, nicely covering and protecting the mount gasket, and quite solid.
The included black soft lens pouch offers dust and light impact protection with the padded bottom offering a greater degree of protection, presumably needed for placing the pouched lens down on a hard surface. Consider Lowepro's Lens Cases for quality, affordable protection.
The Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens is compatible with the Tamron TAP-in Console. The TAP-in Console is a small round device that attaches to the lens mount and via a USB connection, allows communication with a computer.
Once the lens is attached to the dock and the dock attached to the computer, the TAP-in Utility checks for a firmware update for itself and the software app then communicates with the lens and checks for any available lens firmware updates. If an update is available, a dialog box is presented, providing the option to update the lens. There have been a number of Tamron lens firmware updates released recently, addressing compatibility and other issues. Having the TAP-in Console makes installing those updates very fast and easy, especially compared to the alternative of shipping a lens to a service center.
Within the TAP-in Utility app, many will find the first tab, Focus Adjustment, to be the most important. Autofocus adjustments can be made at 3 focus distances. That is adequate adjustability to dial in the calibration of difficult camera and lens combinations. A focus Limiter tab is provided; however, this lens does not offer the ability to customize the autofocus distance range (the full range is always enabled). The last tab, Miscellaneous, provides control over full time manual focus override.
Tamron competes very strongly on the value proposition and the Tamron 35mm f/1.8 Di VC Lens continues that tradition. This lens' price is relatively low in comparison to all lenses and compared to the major camera manufacturers' options, this lens has a very low price. This lens' image quality and design make this lens a very good value even if only used sparingly.
The Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens is initially available in Canon EF (reviewed) and Nikon F mounts. Various adapters allow it to be used on other mounts including Canon's RF, Nikon's Z, and Sony's E. Since Tamron reverse engineers (vs. licenses) manufacturer AF algorithms, there is always the possibility that a DSLR body might not support a (likely older) third party lens. Usually a lens can be made compatible by the manufacturer via a firmware update, but this cannot be guaranteed. There is also the risk of a problem that results in the lens and body manufacturers directing blame at each other. That Tamron USA has your back for 6 years (the warranty period) is impressive.
The reviewed Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens was online-retail sourced.
Upon getting our standard image quality test results up on the site, the first comparison I wanted to see was against the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens. This lens has long been a favorite and a great value. Could Tamron's anniversary lens best the Sigma?
In the image quality comparison, the Tamron takes the noticeable win with sharper results across the entire frame. At narrower apertures, the Sigma lens catches the Tamron lens in the center of the frame, but the Tamron lens retains the periphery sharpness advantage deep into the aperture range. The Sigma lens has less geometric distortion.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens vs. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens comparison shows the Sigma lens being modestly smaller and lighter. The Sigma lens uses 67mm filters vs. 72mm. The Tamron lens has a longer range of focus ring rotation, 146° vs. 97°. The Sigma lens is not weather sealed. While both lenses have the same list price, the 7-year-older Sigma is seeing decision-factor-strength instant rebates at review time.
With a primarily Canon kit, I next wanted to see the awesome Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens compared. This image quality comparison shows the Canon sharper in the center of the frame, but the Tamron is competing more strongly than its 50% lower price tag (list) would suggest and even besting the Canon for image periphery sharpness. The Canon has less geometric distortion.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens vs. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens comparison shows these two lenses being nearly equivalent in nearly every regard including size and weight. Expect DSLRs to autofocus the Canon more accurately.
Those with Nikon-based kits have the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens option. We have not yet tested the Nikon lens with an ultra-high-resolution camera, but using your visualization skills, I think you will see the Tamron lens competing favorably against the Nikon lens. The Nikon lens has less peripheral shading at wide apertures and slightly stronger barrel distortion.
Looking at the specs and measurements, the Tamron 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens vs. Nikon 35mm f/1.4G AF-S Lens comparison shows the Nikon lens being modestly smaller and lighter. The Nikon lens uses 67mm filters vs. 72mm. Expect DSLRs to autofocus the Nikon more accurately. While the Nikon lens is less expensive than the Canon lens, it is not that much less and much more expensive than the Tamron lens.
I love Tamron's press releases — they read like few others and every lens is perfect. I'll share a paragraph from this lens' release:
"Tamron’s SP (Superior Performance) lens series was born in 1979, based on the concept of delivering lenses for taking the perfect picture for those who love photography. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the series. In celebration, Tamron has developed the Model F045, the distillation of Tamron’s accumulated lens-making expertise and craftsmanship. This orthodox fixed focal lens, which some consider the most basic of all interchangeable lenses, is the embodiment of all optical technology and manufacturing knowhow Tamron has developed to date. The Model F045’s unprecedented high-resolution image quality and beautiful, appealing background bokeh lets photographers capture any scene down to the finest details. The external lens barrel was developed through the tireless pursuit of operability and durability, focusing constantly on the needs of photographers. This lens is equipped with a large F/1.4 aperture and high-speed, high-precision AF functionality offering exceptional reliability, plus various other features for increased convenience, making it the perfect everyday lens for your creative pursuits. It is ideally suited for nearly every photographic genre, including photojournalism, landscape, sports, street life, wedding groups and family snapshots."
I can't top that.
Distilling this review ... the bottom line is that you want great images and this lens is capable of delivering them. The focal length is very useful with great general-purpose utility. The aperture is extremely wide, making the lens useful in low light and giving it the ability to create a differentiatingly strong background blur. The image quality even at the wide-open aperture, assuming accurate focus, is great, especially for a price that doesn't put a big dent in the budget. This lens is a pleasure to use and with a modern design featuring a metal barrel exterior, equally attractive to look at.
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