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4.7 out of 5 stars51
4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 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

Pro points:
+ 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.
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0Comment|31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 October 2014
Build quality is great.
Stunning Image Quality.

Focus ring is nice and large so you can easily adjust it.
The lens focuses quickly when set to 1m+
For macro work you are better off using manual focus as auto it can seek backwards and forwards.
3 distance switches work well.
Very quiet focus.

I have been using this lens on the Nikon D800.
Mainly for portrait and food photography.
90mm is a really good size to have in your collection of lenses for sure.

For close up macro work this is one awesome piece of kit.
Tried it out on a spider. The subject was about 1cm long, went in nice and close, could see his eyes !
Detail in this lens is mind blowing.

VC is good if your are using it for video related work.
This is for sure the best lens I have ever used.
Images are super sharp and detailed.

Honestly cant find a thing wrong with this lens.

If you want a fantastic macro/portrait lens this is it.
Tried out other macro lenses (Nikon/Sigma) before buying and this beats them all by a big margin !
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 November 2015
What you waiting for? Get it before it's discontinued! The newer version isn't actually better, it's just made differently (cheaper!), and the VR (vibration reduction) it offers is simply down to a sleeker focusing motor, which is really irrelevent to a lens like this, where manual focus is essential. The 90mm (in full frame format) was once considered optimal for portraiture (head and shoulders filling frame are aesthetically represented in 3D without telescopic compression), but stepping outside the pigeonhole turns this into a landscape detail lens and a close-up macro. If you're used to zoom lenses to frame yourt shots you'll miss the whole point here: this lens makes you walk around your subject getting the best frame the old fashioned way, which is better. You'll take less bad "record" pics and more good "arty" ones. Used with the current slew of half-frame DSLRs, the effective view is 135mm -- in years past considered the perfect medium telephoto for candids and details. Best of both worlds in one fixed prime lens!
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on 10 December 2015
I have been blown away with the optical clarity of this lens.
A little different to a kit lens, this lens takes a little getting used to but perseverance has really paid dividends.

I am now taking photographs that I had previously just dreamed of.

A 24 shot panorama.
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0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 June 2013
Bought this lens for my D90 and it is as good as the reviews suggest. Sharp as a tack. Extreme macro. Photos of flowers in particular are amazing!

It was a little difficult to handle on the D90, mainly because of the insanely shallow depth of field involved with some of the closest macro shots mean that you have to decrease the aperature to tiny levels, which means that camera steadiness becomes an issue as there is very little light getting in.

However, it is the most fun lens I have and very impressed with the output.

One thing I didn't expect was its compatibility on FX bodies. I recently upgraded to a Nikon D600 and, while my quite expensive 18-200mm VRII lens is now annoying to use (The viewfinder image is now circular, with a black rectangle in the middle for framing) and reduces the D600 to an APS-C size sensor, this lens does not! It's fully compatible with FX and is now easier to use with the larger sensor on the D600, which is much easier to capture the necessary amounts of light at smaller aperature sizes and faster shutter speeds.

It has reignited my love for this lens; I'm off to use it again!
0Comment|13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 October 2012
I use this on a Sony A230 and A55. I (and many others) consider this the best standard macro out there. It's super sharp wide open, stopped down it is superb. It has a small dof for cool macro work and the bokeh is very smooth and creamy, ALMOST like the Sony 135mm STF (google it). The AF isn't the best, but I MF when doing macros since it is som much more accurate. When I do portraits with it or general use I just use the limiter. Simple. IT turns the af speed from poor to decent. For this price and giving this much performance, nothing beats it.
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on 10 July 2012
For a long time I wanted to get a macro lens but had to wait as I had other lenses I needed to purchase first (24-75mm zoom, 70-300MM zoom for example -and both from the Tamron SP range). After deciding now was the time I purchased this lens.

Like the other Tamron SP lenses it is quite chunky in construction and has a well made focus ring with plenty of grip. The lens has a 55mm diameter objective lens which although not huge does give respectable performance in poorer light conditions. A lens hood is supplied and is of the cylindrical type rather than a petal type but I find I don't use it as the front lens element is well recessed into the lens barrel to control flare anyway. The autofocus is not particularly quick and can hunt in lower light conditions but it does have a focus limiter switch which can reduce this problem. The lens does lengthen considerably but it does not rotate when focusing and the minimum focus distance is 3 inches.

The image quality is excellent for the money and the reproduction ratio (effectively magnification) of 1:1 means that you get a large and clear image. This is a definite advantage over a shorter macro lens (35/50mm) as the working space you can leave between you and the subject will mean that insects/animals will more likely stay still than if you were on top of them with a shorter lens. Amazingly, this lens is full frame compatible and works fine on my Alpha 850 with no vignetting problems to speak of. At 90mm the depth of field when working really close is very narrow even at higher F stops so a tripod is a good idea as you will tend to sway in and out of the focus range if you use it handheld. It isn't impossible to use handheld but it takes skill, patience and good light/flash.

To sum up, this lens is excellent if you need a macro lens with a longer focal length and you haven't got £500-600 to spend on the best ones. With patience and practice you will be astounded by your own images.
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on 24 September 2011
This lens is pin sharp, for the price it is an excellent lens.

My only fault and the reason for 4 stars not 5 is that the AF can struggle even at a reasonable distance from your subject in low light. All that said as a macro lens and for close up work you would only use MF and so eliminating the problem.

With such a nice push pull ring from AF to MF changing from one to the other becomes a breeze and you never really miss a shot.

Well worth every penny.

ps. If you don't own a lens pen you should invest in one as the lens is quite deeply recessed.
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on 27 March 2011
great product ...have used with and without tripod .the lens is sharpe and easy to use .. had some nice shots on first test..sturdy build and light weight... it came with case which was good quality .photography is only a hobby for me.this lens fills all my needs for a macro ...
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on 28 June 2012
I love the macro features of this lens but primarily find myself using it for portraiture, especially pet portraits. It's fast enough to get great actions shots from a distance (important for pet photos) and provides great detail and sharpness for fur and eyes.

The AF does hunt a bit in low light when focusing at a close range, but that's to be expected - I usually use MF, anyway. I'm amazed at its hand-held macro performance and find myself hardly ever using a tripod (though I have to hold my breath a bit to keep myself from moving when I press the shutter button, just to make sure I stay correctly focused). This is the lens I hardly ever take off of my camera.
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0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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