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Tamron SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di 1:1 Macro

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16 replies to this topic

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#1 Dallas


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Posted 07 January 2009 - 05:51

What is your experience with this lens? This topic will be indexed on our equipment pages. Please keep your comments centered on your experiences with this lens so that others may draw value from them.

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#2 MartynP

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 22:46


I used to use this lens when I used Canon gear and the images it produced were without exception sharp and detailed.

When I 'saw the light' and switched to Nikon gear I was given a Sigma 105mm Macro which produces equally good results, however I would not hesitate to recommend  the Tamron.

#3 dgillilan



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Posted 17 January 2009 - 01:56

I own this lens and have been using it for a couple of years. I love its sharpness and the colors are great out of this lens. I guess the only con I have seen, is that it hunts some, on autofocus, but to be honest, I do not use AF much, I use manual for macro.
I have used the AF for a few portrait shots of my hound dogs. The sharpness was amazing, the whiskers and nose textures were detailed and very pleasing to me, great dog portraits. Great color as well.
Of course I have shot flowers also with this lens, and the colors are terrific and sharpness again, superb. It is as sharp or sharper, than my Nikon 60.
One other item I sort of dislike is the push-pull of the lens, to do AF vs manual focus.
I do recommend the lens as a very sharp macro and portrait type lens.
Thank you,
Debra Gillilan
I Love my D700 and Nikon 24mm PCE lens, Nikon 14-24mm and 24-70mm Lenses are Awesome and Very pleased that I purchased those also. Enjoy this site very much.

#4 Revision


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Posted 17 January 2009 - 23:23

Annoying push-pull system to shift from AF to MF, lens hunts for focus, much better if limiter is used, feels fragile build-wise, odd 55mm filter size. Will as most macro lenses do stop down as you focus closer, elongates a lot with close focusing+shortens focal length in micro range=very short working distance of about 10cm at 1:1.
Very sharp esp. in the center fully open, best about 5.6. Very good contrast and color rendition, nice bokeh, does an excellent job on skin tones, excellent portrait lens. Great deal for the money and an outstanding performer regardless of price.
Best Regards,

#5 HansC


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Posted 18 January 2009 - 13:08

Build quality not super, image quality super
HansC, doin' life

#6 Guest_Leif_*

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 23:04

On a D200 this lens is very sharp, more so than the Nikon 105mm F2.8 AFD lens when stopped down to F11 and F16. It is small, light, and inexpensive. The lens including the filter ring is made from plastic. It feels a little cheap, due to the plastic used, but it is probably quite robust. The AF clutch operates by moving the focus sleeve in and out. I found it very irritating. I would try and focus on a subject and often end up engaging AF. The filter ring is 55mm which is non standard and requires a step up/down ring for use with the R1 flash. There is a large plastic lens hood. I noticed a distinct difference in colour and tone compared to my Nikon lenses. It is less contrasty, and I did not like the look. The front element is deeply recessed which helps to protect it, and means that a protective filter is probably superfluous. It also means that the hood is probably not needed most of the time. I saw no issues with flare and ghosting.

#7 DougJGreen


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Posted 14 May 2009 - 17:23

The earlier manual Adaptall-2  Tamron 90mm f2.5 SP Macro was and remains the finest lens that I have ever owned.  Not just razor sharp at both macro and normal distances, but absolutely gorgeous bokeh as well.

#8 zepirate



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Posted 23 November 2009 - 05:41

I like it very much - images are very sharp. It became a good alternative to the 105VR as I didn't want to spend as much for a macro lens. I am hoping to combine it with a Raynox macro too.

#9 mustaffaaziz8



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Posted 04 July 2010 - 12:59

Regretted selling this lens a few years ago. Was used when I was shooting film with the F5. Excellent IQ. :)

#10 Nikon Bob

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 19:07

I just got this lens today in F mount with the built in motor. My initial impression echoes the previous posts. I find it more than sharp enough wide open, for me that is, and it gets better stopping down a bit. It works well close up and at normal distances, a good all a rounder. I have not seen any harsh out of focus areas. It can hunt a bit going from close up to distant subjects and the motor in the lens is not quite as quiet as a Nikon afs lens but you won't need ear plugs either. I don't think I am going to find the push pull action of the focusing sleeve irritating and in manual mode the action is well dampened. The reason I got the Tamron over the Nikon 105 VR was cost, I did not think VR was worth almost double the cost, nor do I think the Nikon would have given me double the sharpness. I am not hard on lenses so the Tamron has a good enough built quality for me but it could be that the Nikon is better in that department.


#11 netr


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Posted 03 January 2011 - 04:25

I find the push-pull manual to AF change a pain, but for macro I usually focus manually, so there are few transitions.  Optical quality is excellent.

#12 ho72


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Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:57

The Tamron 90 was the first 3rd party lens I bought after switching to Nikon. Prior, I used the venerable Kiron 105 macro on my Canon T90. It's difficult to say which is the better lens since the comparison is between digital and scanned film, and my film scanning is limited to the Coolscan 4000... but I digress.

The only real quibble I have with the Tamron, besides the aforementioned auto / manual focus clutch, is that it's not terribly accurate when focusing at a distance (~100 yards +). This really is not an issue since I rarely try to capture a long distance image with it, but it is a minor irritation which may be a product of the sample I own. All the other virtues (bokeh, sharpness, portrait use (it is NOT kind to bad skin!) have been reported accurately. Build quality is sufficient as long as you don't plan to drive nails with it.

Recommended as the one of the best values around.
I've seen the big picture and I'm not in it.

#13 another_4711


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Posted 04 February 2011 - 09:09

I am very pleased with my old Nikon AIS 55mm/2.8, but I just had far too many picture with wrong focus on moving subjects. So I decided to go for AF, and also to move up to about 100mm.  I did not want a lens known for strong breathing effect, so I ended up with the Tamrom 90mm SP DI Macro.

The first experiences resulted in pictures with good, but not exceptional sharpness and quite some CA.  So I made an Imatest resolution test at about 1:50 magnification, leading to rather disappointing values: about 1600 MTF on my D700 (the 24-70 delivers about 2000, the pre-AIS 105/ 2.5 about 2250 with that amount of sharpening I use).  Correcting both CA's in NX2 brought the values up to 1800 (all value at about f 5.6 in the center; corner on the 90mm Macro only very slightly behind).

For some reasons I got the impression, that the lens is maybe optimized for the 1:1 range, and not the 1:10 situation I am often in.  So I made a picture of a 8 inch ASIC wafer having about 5000 chips on it  -  on resolution a very demanding issue.  (The wafer is coated giving some issues go get correct lightning).

Below you see the result of my experiment (800 % crop)   -  there are many areas where from one pixel to the other pixel more that a 50% contrast jump can be seen; indicating that at 1:1 the lens should outperform my D700.  But also at 1:1 magnification CA is an issue.

I am interested to hear other experiences.

Attached Images

  • DSC_2099 Tamrom 90mm Macro.jpg

#14 another_4711


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Posted 04 February 2011 - 21:30

1:2 magnification at f 5.6; 100% crop.  CA with NX2's default settings.

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  • DSC_2104 100% crop.jpg
  • DSC_2108 Extract.jpg

#15 another_4711


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Posted 05 February 2011 - 05:30

and the whole picture with the best possible CA correction in NX2 (5.6 setting of the lens; about 1:1 magnification).

Attached Images

  • DSC_2110 lowres.jpg

#16 Trekker308

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 16:24

I purchased mine at a time when I couldn't afford a 105 Micro-Nikkor, but don't feel short changed at all - the colour rendition, sharpness and detail in images it produces are superb, and unlike others I actually like the push-pull switch between MF and AF - a lot easier and quicker than fumbling for a Nikkor M/M-A switch! Generally use MF for critical close-up work, but it seems to focus quickly enough in 'normal' AF use on a D300s.

No, it does not have the build quality of a Micro-Nikkor, but it's pretty solid, produces great images, and best of all - it's a joy to use.
D300s + D90, assorted AF and MF Nikkors and a Tamron 90mm Macro

#17 another_4711


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Posted 18 February 2012 - 19:31

In the meant time I bought the Nikon 105 VR lens; after several month of wondering what to do. I am very pleased; AF is on the D700 much faster and less error prone than what my Tamron lens shows. But it is bulky, has breathing effects and costs more. The handling of the 105mm VR I never the less prefare. With pictures in the 1:2....1:5 range I do not see much difference in sharpness etc; I get fully open with the Tamron better contrast and stopped down the Nikkor is ahead; with the 105mm VR the pictures seem to me more "3-dimentional". VR I use from time to time - I find it helpful and rather efficient.

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