Tamron SP AF 90mm F2.8 Di Macro A-mount lens reviews

reviews found: 109    << 1 2 3 4
reviewer#1382 date: Nov-5-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 4
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 100 2.8 Soft Focus
Minolta 28-80 & 70-300
price paid:
missing
positive:Very sharp lens
Focus Limiter
negative:Nothing much
comment:I have the non Di version and I'm very pleased with it. The macro results are fantastic - sharp, nice punchy colours and good working distance with the 1.5X crop. Prior to the 100 Softy, I used this as a fast portrait/telephoto lens and it held up well - sharp at 2.8 and nice for candids from afar. The focus limiting switch was a great help in speeding AF up. Overall a very nice lens.
reviewer#1226 date: Sep-25-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:affordable alternative to the legendary minolta 100mm
sharp
recessed front element
bonus range on cropped sensor great for insect closeups
can also double up as a portrait lens
negative:annoying af-mf switch
comment:this one's a must for insect enthusiasts (unless one is lucky enough to be the owner of the minolta macro).

the focal length, especially on a digital crop, is perfect. long enough to give you a decent working distance so you can get closeups without spooking the bugs. another important thing is that the lens is still light and hand-holdable, something much harder with the 180mm type macros.

i never use a hood or a filter with this lens, since the front element is very deep inside, and protected from knocks and flare.

the AF limiter is nice. it allows you to restrict the focus range of the autofocus so that you can use it as a somewhat slow focusing tele lens. what i dislike is how when you want to switch from AF to MF and vice versa, you have to throw two switches, one on the camera body and one on the lens.
reviewer#1221 date: Sep-24-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Sigma 105mm Macro
price paid:
missing
positive:-Optical Quality
-No vignetting or softness wide open
negative:-lens extends a fair bit during focusing
-Plastic feeling body
-Flimsy focus limit switch
comment:I tested this lens together with the Sigma 105mm macro. Then I went home to view the photos on my computer before deciding. The two lens were head to head in picture quality. However, after reading many reviews, most of them said the Tamron is better at wide apertures than the Sigma, and both are equally as good stepping down from wide open. Thus I decided on the Tamron, even though I much preferred the Sigma's superior built quality, but my photos are not going to boast build quality but optical quality. Let's just say I never wished I bought the Sigma over the Tamron.
reviewer#1120 date: Aug-26-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:250 USD (used)
positive:Very Sharp
Focus Limiter
Great for Macro and Portraits
Value for the Money
negative:Sharpness falls off a bit when stopped down past f/11
comment:I just picked this (non-di 72E version) up on ebay in excellent condition for $250. I am extremely pleased with it so far. Build is plasic but quite solid and fairly lightweight. Good weight for the 5D. I don't mind the AF/M switch. It seems pretty sturdy to me. Outstanding portrait lens (poor man's 85 1.4) as it is very sharp at f/2.8. For macro, it would be nice to have the sharpness extend to f/16 and beyond because of the extremely narrow DOF but, that said, it is still useable up there.
Overall verdict: Absolutely Outstanding for the money!
reviewer#974 date: Jul-3-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 2
overall: 4
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Tokina 17mm f/3.5 ATX Pro
28/2, 24/2.8
price paid:
missing
positive:Incredible image quality, 1:1 macro
negative:Dosent handle extreme conditions well, poor autofocus
comment:I have the non-di version, Superb image quality, best of any lens I've used. Clarity, color, sharpness, when the conditions are right this lens just 'pops' like no other.

Flare can be very bad, night street scenes are not even possible with this lens because the whole scene washes out badly. Sometimes a problem indoors with a window in the scene, etc. I've only seen purple fringing once or twice with a backlit scene, but it was very bad. Glad this is a rare occurance.

Autofocus is fast at standard ranges, I use manual focus for macro. In some conditions autofocus is unusable, it hunts and fails to lock on (usually indoors, combination of low-light and close ranges?).

When used for macro I have not seen these issues (except for occasional overexposure), very good performance here. Works great from wide open.

List of lens versions here: http://home.comcast.net/~tmoreau2/dyxum_90mm.htm
reviewer#916 date: Jun-16-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:sharp
easy to handle
relatively inexpensive compared to other macros
negative:not much
comment:I love this lens! It's sharp, light, gives great bokeh and great colours. It's great for close-ups as well as portraits. The sunken front element is protected at all times and seldomly requires the lens hood. All macros are sharp but for the price, it sure beats out other comparable macros.

The only thing I don't really like is the sliding focus ring. The fat focus ring is great for manual focus and is easy to handle and sliding it away so it doesn't rotate during AF is pretty neat, but I just have a feeling that it'll be the first thing that gives out on the lens. It would have been better to have the focus ring automatically disengage during AF.

That little issue aside, this lens is a great macro - you won't be disappointed with it!
reviewer#915 date: Jun-15-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Minolta 50mm Macro
price paid:190 USD (new)
positive:VERY Sharp
Superb bokeh
Versatile lens
Nice working distance w/ crop factor
Simply an awesome lens, another "must have".
negative:Focus travel (minor complaint)
comment:I am thrilled to have bought this lens new about 18 months ago at a great price on ebay. I did some research at the time and found it to be a well appreciated lens by both users and bench testers. Mine is the previous version as well, the 72E.

What is not to like about this lens? It is SO sharp, produces 1:1 image reproduction, and has a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture. It stays sharp at f/2.8, but talk about shallow depth of field! It has a much nicer working distance over a 50mm, especially with the 1.5x digital factor. In a recent photo of a bee, the veins in the wings were razor sharp and you could count the yellow and black hairs on the thorax. The background and foreground flower petals "cream out" beautifully.

If you'd like to have a look:

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=169099674&size=l

I've used the lens extensively, and every time I photoshop the images, I appreciate this lens' balance of sharpness, contrast and beautiful bokeh.

The 2 major issues that others have mentioned are the build and the focus travel.

Build is certainly not that of a first generation vintage Maxxum lens. But it is still well built and in trading off the metal, the lens is much lighter, although certainly not cheap. I don't consider build to be a negative. A lot of the VINTAGE Maxxum AF50 (2.8) Macros run into problems as they age due to a flaw in their design. Focus action can stiffen as glue works into the extension tube assembly. I've not read or heard of any design issues with this Tamron lens. Focus is smooth and quiet and it is a pleasure to use. Apparently, flare is more pronounced in this version in comparison to the Di version, but it's not been an issue in my experience.

The Tamron SP90 is not the fastest focusing lens on the block, but this is due to the fact that the lens is capable of such an incredibly wide focus range. It is essentially 2 lenses in one. You get a 90mm f/2.8 prime (135mm on a 7D) for portrait and regular shooting to infinity, plus a top notch Macro lens capable of 1:1 images very close up. You simply can't physically do all that without having the focus travel a fair distance and take the time to travel it. As others have noted, the lens has a Limiter Switch to reduce focus travel depending on which application the lens is being used for and this does help. In any case, AF time is certainly not a critical factor or even an annoyance that would sway me away from highly recommending this lens.

Many have mentioned that the Manual/AF Focus Clutch as a negative feature, but frankly, I like it. And the focus ring is wide and has a nice damped feel to it.

If you can get a new or used SP90 at an equal or better price, I'd take it over the Maxxum 50mm Macro simply for the working distance and the AF50 Macro's propensity to stiffen up with age. It would be interesting to compare this lens image quality to the 100mm Macro which runs about double the price.
reviewer#802 date: May-18-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Tamron MF 90mm 1:2, Sigma AF 90mm 1:2
price paid:
missing
positive:Lightweight, optical performance, sturdy
negative:All plastic. Quite large and AF not much use, but both to be expected of a macro.
comment:(I have the non-Di, model 72E)
In comparison to the original all metal Tamron 90mm (52B) it does feel cheap considering it's price, but I've found it to be as robust as any lens I've owned.
In terms of optical performance this and the Sigma 50mm are my best lenses. I generally use @f8, but I can open up for a shallower DOF without losing too much sharpness.
For film I've found 90mm to be a great allround length, but crop factor of the DSLR now makes it too long to be my only macro, hence the Sigma.
It's a shame they were unable to use the moving focus collar to fully switch AF/MF - Canon style. Maybe this will come in the future.
Bought 2nd hand, the hood was missing but that doesn't matter as the front element is so deeply recessed, I have never encountered flare/ghosting.
reviewer#582 date: Mar-15-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:70-210/4
50/1.7
price paid:
missing
positive:Super sharp, Fun focal length, good design
negative:slightly cheesey build
different than typical minolta lenses?
comment:My first and only true macro lens. Well, I don't use it a ton for macro, but it certainly does that job well. I bought it so I would stop lusting after the 85/1.4, and it is working so far. This lens is pleanty fast to focus when the limiter is in place, so no worries about it being a typically slow focusing macro lens. Sharp wide open (like most every macro), so no worries about shooting it wide open when you want a smooth and creamy bokeh.
Build quality is a tad lower than I'd like, but I really like the design of the MF ring. Slide it forward and it spins freely (or stays stationary while the AF turns). If you want to MF, either leave it in the rear position and live with it turning while AF, or switch it back and forth. A full time MF ring with automatic clutch would be nicer, but this is one step away.
It is a great fun lens, and I am glad I have it. Might not be worth quite as much as they ask for it new...but that is my humble opinion.
reviewer#529 date: Feb-21-2006
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.7
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Min 85 1.4 G
Sig 180 3.5 macro
price paid:
missing
positive:
missing
negative:
missing
comment:In the rush to buy fast disappearing Minolta stock I missed out on finding a new Min 100 macro - shouldn't have delayed so long !
In two minds about the Tamron despite good reviews here - I need not have worried it is a great lens.
Crisp,suprisingly good bokeh,easy to use and despite negative comments in some reviews about build quality it feels solid in the hand and given sensible care should be fine.
Macro is excellent - optical quality superb.
For non-macro it doesn't compare with the 85G but that is not suprising however it is not all that far behind for general work.
reviewer#398 date: Jan-10-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 4
flare control: 4
overall: 4.4
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:very sharp, very good lens!
negative:
missing
comment:It's my first macro lens, and I really like it, I uses it foro some prtraits also, very nice results!
reviewer#393 date: Jan-10-2006
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Tamron 28-75, Sigma 50mm Macro, Carl Zeiss 135mm 3.5
price paid:
missing
positive:Bokeh quality, sharpness
negative:none. It would be great if this was a 10-200 2.8 zoom lens though.
comment:This is based on the non Di model. The build is not that bad IMO. It may be very plain and plastic but it is robust and stable. Glass is amazing. Wonderful warm colors. The bokeh (blur) you get from this lens is wonderful at any OOF case. The only equal I can find is the zeiss 135mm. Much better and more reliable than 28-75

You want out of focus? Get this. Now.

Everybody mentions this but this is really a sharp lens. Don't cover it (the glass is deep inside the barrel and with the hood it is untouchable except by dust and etc.) and you will not use any USM on the result image.

Macro use is also great but that is not what I use it for.
reviewer#263 date: Dec-5-2005
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:Used many in this range.
price paid:
missing
positive:Tack sharp
Handleability
Size and weight
negative:None
comment:Some negatives in other reviews are focus speed and build quality. This is a macro lens and while admittedly a little slower than the Minolta lens I also had, I have not personally found this a problem with this lens. It is pretty much the same or better than most other 90-105 I have or have used. The build quality is either subjective or perhaps variable by batch being third party. Mine I think is excellent.

The manual focus push pull switch is, imho, a good design point and the limit switch spot on. Considerable use on the 7D in the field during summer has produced first class results and this lens has become almost a permanent fixture on one of my 7D bodies.

Effectively 135mm, can be used with Olympus B300/Tcon17 telecon, cul's and tubes to great effect. Great portrait lens too.
reviewer#210 date: Nov-10-2005
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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 used to own this lens
compared to:Sig 50 + 105 macro. Nikkor 55 micro. Minolta 50/2.8 & 3.5 macro
price paid:
missing
positive:sharpest macro lens I've ever used
negative:build, I've been tough in the rating
comment:Stunning optically

MF/AF push-pull is not good. Tough to get it in/out of a small bag without moving the ring/clutch

limiter is good.

AF is woeful. But all macros are slow.

Build - not that you are going to break it, its just not solid. It is very plastic.

For the optics alone I would take the Tam 90 over any other 90/100/105 macro lens. Shame about the build.
reviewer#177 date: Oct-26-2005
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:Sigma 105/2.8 macro and KM 100/2.8 macro
price paid:€ 359
positive:Sharp, cheap, good build quality
negative:af-m focusring
comment:Good lens, a must have

perfomance is great both on APS-C and FF
reviewer#172 date: Oct-26-2005
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Very sharp. Nice bokeh. Reasonable fast AF.
negative:Focus limitar isn't working properly with the 7D and AS.
Because of the focal length, you have to be close to the subject. But a good compromise between 50 mm and 180/200 mm
comment:For macro work it's an excellent lens. But also for portraits and street photography it's realy a good choice. Should be in everybody's bag. I never go out without it. In that respect it's a fast 90/2.8 prime lens.
reviewer#154 date: Oct-11-2005
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 3
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.6
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:
missing
negative:
missing
comment:Rapidly becoming my favourite lens - pin sharp images, I mainly use it in manual focus for close-ups of fungi
reviewer#150 date: Oct-8-2005
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Sharp like crazy
Well built
Accurate AF, fast enough
negative:
missing
comment:I have shot images where the objects in the foreground want to jump out of the picture. Incredibly sharp lens, imho superior to the KM 100/2.8.
reviewer#52 date: Feb-16-2005
sharpness: 5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 5
overall: 4.8
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 have experience with this lens
compared to:
missing
price paid:
missing
positive:Extremely sharp, cheap, nice bokeh.
negative:I don't like the AF/M-switch.
comment:My favorite lens. Excellent for macro, and equally good for landscape and portrait. It is extremely sharp, and given its relatively low price it is a fantastic piece of glass. A must have.
reviews found: 109    << 1 2 3 4

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 109
  • sharpness: 4.92
  • color: 4.76
  • build: 4.08
  • distortion: 4.79
  • flare control: 4.71
  • overall: 4.65

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