Tamron SP AF 60mm F2 Di II LD (IF) A-mount lens review by macronut

reviewer#11734 date: Mar-19-2014
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 5
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I own this lens
compared to:Minolta 50mm 2.8 Macro RS
Minolta 50mm 1.4
price paid:$424 after rebate
positive:Short enough to work well with pop-up flash - No extending during focus.
Quiet focus compared to older macro lenses - In lens AF motor.
Working distance at 1:1
Sharp as hell.
f/2
Smooth bokeh.
Excellent hood.
D lens.
negative:Negatives? Fugedabowdit!
Well, a focus limiter switch would have been great.
Does not function on Novoflex Balmin-AF Bellows.
comment:BRILLIANT LENS!!!!!!!!!!!

This lens is an instant stud in my stable of great glass. What a lens. One of my favorites. A very capable macro lens and also a great walkaround f/2 prime. Loving the f/2. Very nice results wide open. Stopped down a fuzz she can split hairs. Took this lens and the Minolta 135mm 2.8 on a trip to the zoo. Worked very well as a short and lightweight one-two punch. A zoom would have saved hassle, but there is no comparison to macro shots in an environment such as a zoo.

When used as a regular prime for candid shots, the AF can be abit annoying at times. If you take a picture of something a few feet away and then want it to focus on something considerably farther away, it is slow to get its bearings. Also it will hunt in low light, just like other macros do. The focus is internal, but like any macro it does travel farther than a standard prime from one end to the other. The bottom line is that AF is less ideal than a standard prime when using it as such. I refuse to hold any of this against it because it is a macro lens. The fact remains that it is a good walkabout prime though. The only time I now carry my 50mm 1.4 is when I know I do not want macro shots, or if I anticipate wanting to auto focus in low light. The Tamron is better when it comes to flash photgraphy because it has all eight contact pins for ADI. Bokeh of the Tamron does not take a back seat to the Minolta 1.4

In comparison I would say the Minolta 50mm 2.8 Macro RS focuses a wee bit faster in some settings, not all. But it is also considerably louder. The Tamron has almost the same colors. If I try hard enough, I find myself prefering The Mino's colors in some comparison shots, not all. It is nearly even and they both deserve a 5. The Tamron has a better working distance at 1:1, which can make for some easier macro shots and opens up more lighting options. However, when used for macro, I do prefer lenses that have magnification markings on the barrel, or near the focusing ring. The Tamron has markings that move inside the little window. You won't know when you're at 1:1 without looking at the window. This is because when turned by hand, the focusing ring never stops turning. With a macro that extends while focusing, like the Minolta, you can quickly extend it all the way out manually. It is therefore a little easier and faster to know you're at 1:1, before you start moving your setup to and from the subject to attain focus.

One other thing I should mention. The Tamron did let me down when i tried using it on my Novoflex Balmin-AF bellows. The camera did not recognize there being a lens mounted. This means I cannot use it with the bellows because there is no way to control aperture. On the other hand, the Minolta works beautifully on the bellows.

No distortion worth mentioning. Flare is very well controlled with the hood, and is not at all bad without the hood. Unless you try your damndest to induce flare, you simply will have none. The plastic build leaves nothing to be desired. She is solid and nice looking.

At the time of this review, this is my only aps-c lens, amongst a great many older FF lenses. I see this lens as my multi-purpose lens becasue it is so versatile. I get a great walkaround prime, a macro, great bokeh & DOF, razor sharpness, ADI flash, quieter AF than screw drive, modern coatings... need I say more? I love my old Minolta, but damn, I would miss this lens if I sold it. Probably on my camera more than any other lens.

Get it when Tamron offers their $100 rebate and it is a deal you should not pass on. Worth full price too. I can't recommend this lens highly enough.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 28
  • sharpness: 4.89
  • color: 4.89
  • build: 4.32
  • distortion: 4.86
  • flare control: 4.89
  • overall: 4.77
Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer
In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania