Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD review

The first 85mm prime lens with inbuilt image stabilization for Canon & Nikon DSLRs, this Tamron is refreshingly shallow

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Superb handling and performance - the addition of stabilization and relatively compact build make it very attractive lens to consider.


  • +

    Weather-sealed construction

  • +

    Great image quality


  • -

    It’s two-thirds of an f/stop slower than f/1.4 lenses

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When it comes to prime lenses for portraiture, 85mm is a perennially popular focal length, when using a full-frame DSLR body. Established fast, faster and fastest choices include the budget-friendly Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, and the pricey Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM (£1500/$2000). One thing lacking in all of these lenses is optical stabilization, which has never been available for a Canon EF-fit 85mm prime lens – until this Tamron came along in 2016.


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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.