More fixed focal length lenses

Tamron 35 mm

Tamron 35 mm

Tamron has announced the SP 35 mm f/1.8 Di VC USD and SP 45 mm f/1.8 Di VC USD. The company suggests the lenses will be available by the end of September.

Details of the lenses can be found on our companion site.

Not only are the lenses interesting, but so too is the company’s decision to revamp the SP line, which launched back in 1979. Tamron suggests the state of current camera technology behooves it to redefine the line.

What’s also interesting has been the deluge of fixed focal length lenses, and most specifically fast models, coming to market during the course of the past couple of years. It doesn’t seem all that long ago companies were in search of the ultimate zoom lens, not that work on them has stopped.

Fixed focal length lenses seem to be making a comeback. Back in the first SLR boom of the early ’70s, the film cameras were sold with a fixed focal length lens, something on the order of 50 mm to 58 mm. F/stops on those lenses were usually below f/2, and if you had an f/1.2 lens, you were really at the top of the heap. (Leica outdid everyone with the f/1.0 Noctilux for its M-series rangefinder cameras, but that was esoteric glass.)

Zoom lenses offered consumers the ability to, in effect, carry two or three lenses in one, and not have to be constantly changing lenses. As pros shooting news and sports will tell you, you can’t afford the time to change lenses, so they as a matter of course carried two or three cameras, each with a different lens.

So it almost makes you wonder if the return to fixed focal length lenses isn’t a conspiracy by the camera makers to sell more cameras . . . No? Okay, it was a stretch.

Zoom lenses may be versatile, but they are slower than fixed focus lenses, optical principles being what they are. And that’s one of the keys to the new generation of fixed focus lenses, shooting at lower ISOs in conditions with less light where, when using a zoom, you’d have to either bump up the ISO or add artificial light.



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