A prime lens is defined as a lens that has a fixed focal length. Where zoom lenses have a variable focal distance of 24-70mm, for example, a prime lens has one focal distance, such as 35mm.
While this makes prime lenses less versatile, what they lack in versatility, they make up for in quality. Prime lenses provide greater image quality at that set focal distance in comparison to a zoom lens that can achieve the same focal distance.
Prime lenses also encourage movement. To use a prime lens effectively, you must think about your positioning and work for the photo, zooming in with your feet. With a prime lens, you can gain a greater understanding of composition, instead of simply standing still and zooming-in on your subject.
Having a variety of affordable prime lenses in your arsenal is a great way to develop your photography skills, so to help you find a lens that’s under budget, we present the best Tamron prime lenses under $1000.
1. Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD (Overall Winner)
Our top choice for Tamron prime lenses under $1000 is the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 DI VC USD. This is an affordable lens that offers good quality and features. It is part of the Super Performance (SP) range which means it has various improvements over standard Tamron lenses.
These improvements include an advanced fluorine coating for the lens to reduce fingerprints, smudges, and moisture. Also, it has low dispersion (LD) and extra-low dispersion (XLD) glass which helps minimize distortions like lens flares and chromatic aberration. Photos from this lens are clear, sharp, and have excellent contrast.
The maximum aperture of f/1.8 provides great flexibility and means the lens performs well in low-light situations. You can also create dreamy background effects whilst your subjects remain sharp and in focus.
The functionality of this budget lens is improved by Vibration Compensation (VC) and Tamron’s Ultrasonic Drive (USD). The VC is Tamron’s image stabilization technology, and the USD motor helps autofocusing. For street photography, landscapes, and even close-up portraits, this is a good lens under $1000.
Get more insight and see the many reasons why this lens is a top choice in our Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 DI VC USD review.
Similar to our top pick, we have the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD. This is a similar quality lens but has a greater maximum aperture. This makes it another good lens under $1000 and an affordable wide-angle option.
As an SP lens, it has an enhanced build quality and superior optics. This means the image clarity is great, and when using this lens your photos will have minimal distortion. It also has a USD autofocusing motor which offers silent operation and accurate autofocusing.
The main downside compared to our top pick is the lack of VC. However, it is still relatively easy to use and gives good results. The lens is available for Canon, Nikon, and Sony DSLR cameras and is definitely one of the best Tamron prime lenses under $1000.
Find out more about the lens in our Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD review.
If you want a good lens under $1000, the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di 1:1 Macro VC USD is a great choice. This affordable macro lens has some good features and allows you to capture fantastic macro details. It is one of the few Tamron macro lenses available.
The focal distance of 90mm is a good mid-ground which means you don’t have to get close to your subject, making it better for wildlife macro photography. Using this budget lens, you can take photos of things like insects and flowers with ease.
Macro shots are improved by a magnification ratio of 1:1, and a small minimum focusing distance of just 11.8 inches. It also has vibration compensation which corrects up to 3.5-stops of camera shake. We still advise using this macro lens with a tripod, however.
The lens element is durable and has a fluorine coating that helps protect from moisture, dust, fingerprints, and water. Finally, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, you can create some gorgeous bokeh backgrounds for your macro subjects. Due to its good design and features, this is one of the best Tamron prime lenses under $1000 for macro photography.
To see how the lens stacks up against the competition, take a look at our full review of the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di 1:1 Macro VC USD.
4. Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 DI VC USD (Budget Winner)
Our budget option for Tamron prime lenses under $1000 is the 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD. This is a solid lens and is included in many top lists. For a relatively cheap price, you get a high-end lens that offers excellent quality and good features.
The focal distance of 85mm makes this affordable lens ideal for portraits and events photography. Using the maximum aperture of f/1.8 you can create excellent backgrounds and control the depth of field to a high degree.
As an SP lens, the 85mm f/1.8 has improved quality. For example, it has a fluorine lens coating which helps resist moisture. The elements also have LD and XLD glass which helps reduce color fringing and distortions.
The Tamron 85mm SP f/1.8 Di VC USD also has Vibration Compensation which corrects for up to 3.5-stops of camera shake. Its utility is further improved by the USD autofocusing motor which enables fast and accurate focusing. This is another top lens, and a good lens under $1000 for portraits.
Read about all the features and what this lens has to offer in our Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD review.
Improve Your Photo Quality with Tamron Prime Lenses Under $1000
Lenses with a focal distance of less than 35mm are ideal for wide-angle landscape photography, whereas lenses with a focal distance of 50mm or more are better for portraits. Look at what you want to achieve with your lens as this will help make your choice easier.
When choosing a prime lens, consider how you intend to use it. This is because different focal distances are suitable for different types of photography. We hope you have benefited from this guide on the best Tamron prime lenses under $1000. Happy hunting!