Top positive review
31 people found this helpful
A superb macro and candid lens
on 9 December 2012
I've used the Tamron 90mm f2.8 across all 4 mounts, currently using the Minolta/Sony mount version.
This would probably rate as one of the most useful, and pleasing lenses I've ever used over quite a long period of time.
As well as an excellent macro lens with 1:1 magnification, on a 1.5x crop sensor you get an extremely useful candid focal length of 135mm...almost perfect for street/candid shooting. As a dual purpose lens this is simply a stunning offering from Tamron at a very respectable price.
Pictures are sharp and show excellent contrast at f2.8 across the frame, with a wonderful blur effect for portrait shooting the Tamron has rightly earned a reputation second to none for this type of photography. I'll provide a summary of pros and cons
+ Good build (plastic but decent plastic) with a nice grip for focus and metal mount. This is just fine for the price
+ Superb optics even wide open, with a 9 blade aperture for smooth out of focus rendition. Stunningly sharp stopped down
+ Very useful focal length for macro AND candid/portrait shooting
+ Focus limit switch, very handy for non macro work to speed up the AF a bit
+ The front element is well into the body of the lens which means you are not likely to use the hood much
+ Lens is very light and easy to carry around without bogging you down
+ 55mm is a good filter size for Minolta/Sony users (common size)
+ Very smooth manual focus (as expected for a macro)
+ It's a "full frame lens" so no problems if you get a FF body later on or shoot some 35mm film
- Can suffer from some CA issues more so wide open (varies from copy to copy) My current copy is one of the bestter ones I have used, can be an issue with strong highlights in an image (CA around the highlight edges)
- Focus is not fast (it's a macro) focus limiter helps a bit here, screw drive versions tend to be faster (depending on the body used)
- Lens extends with focus
- Due to the recessed lens elements you are closer to the subject for 1:1 macro than you might expect (but not as close as some of the short focal length macro lenses)
Just a quick note that the "one touch" for manual focus works only on the Nikon/Canon versions (pull it towards you to MF)
As is normal for a macro lens at closer focus distances the lens speed drops (to around f5.6 at full macro) this is normal for a macro lens.
The Pentax version I had did have an aperture ring, other versions do not.
The in lens micro motor versions of this lens (Canon/Nikon) are in my view not as good as the screw drive versions (Pentax/Sony) the motor is not that quiet (it's ok but not USM) focus is acceptable speed wise but not as fast as the other versions in my use of this lens.
As an added "bonus" users with in body AS/SR/IS will get a free ticket here a stabilised 90mm f2.8 lens which is really very useful for lower light situations. Tamron have a new VC version with a faster quieter in lens motor and sealing with Tamron's good VC stabilisation too, but with this one around it's a big win for A mount users and K mount ones who won't benefit from a VC 90mm Macro (Tamron don't include VC on these mounts) The sealing and better AF motor might swing it for Canon and Nikon users though.
Very hard to find fault, the words "classic" are too often banded around for lenses. This one delivers superb images, and wonderful portraits with smooth creamy blur.
You have quite a few choices for Macro lenses across all the mounts and various focal lengths from 30/40/50/100/105mm and more. The 90mm comes into it's own on the 1.5x crop sensors giving you a superb 135mm "classic" focal length. For users who have normal 35/50mm prime lenses this makes more sense than picking up a macro in that focal range. One of a handful of lenses that I cannot recommend enough this is one of the best I've used, the decent price simply adds to the appeal. There are quite a few reviews around for this lens, just about all put the Tamron as good if not better optics wise than most of the rivals out there including the original makers macro lenses. Enough said..this delivers and you won't want to be without it after you fall for it's charms.