Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 review

Budget macro lens option available in four mounts

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Tamron sp af 90mm f 2 8 di macro 1 1 review

Still, the changeover between the two modes is far more preferable than the more common small and fiddly switch, and the ring itself is just slack enough to hold its position while still being easy to turn.

The lens' only notable omission is an image stabilisation system, which is of particular significance to Canon and Nikon users on account of these DSLRs not offering sensor-based stabilisation.

At the Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1's bargain price this isn't unexpected, but it does limit the minimum usable shutter speed, particularly for cropped-sensor bodies where the effective focal length increases.

The lens' overall image quality is excellent at times, and at others less so. At the maximum f/2.8 aperture its central sharpness is more than impressive, although, unfortunately, it fails to maintain this towards the edges, which are considerably softer.

Once the lens is stopped down it's able to put in a far more consistent performance, and its overall sharpness compares well with that of the handful of macro lenses priced £200-300 higher.

At f/16 and above its consistency wanes once more, although even here it proves it's still capable of producing relatively sharp and detailed images. Elsewhere, some chromatic aberrations are visible in the centre of images, although this doesn't appear to get significantly worse, if at all, as you venture further out towards the edges of the frame.

Control over distortion is about average, only being marginally worse than Canon's EF 100 f/2.8 Macro USM and Sony's 100mm f/2.8 Macro.


In summary, although you get what you pay for with this lens, but you sometimes get the unexpected bonus of a little more. True, with its noisy, basic focusing motor, and no internal focus, it's hardly the most refined option, but its sharpness compares more than favourably with more expensive lenses, and its price can't be argued with.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLens
Fixed Focal Length90 mm
Lens Mount TypeMinolta AF
Maximum Aperture Fixed2.8
Image StabilizationNo
Brand NameTamron
Filter Attachment Diameter55 mm
Lens TypeMacro
Height96.5 mm
Product SeriesSP
CompatibilityKonica Minolta DSLR Cameras
ManufacturerTamron Co., Ltd
Product Model272E
Product NameSP 90MM F/2.8 Di 1:1 Macro
Manufacturer Part Number272ES
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.tamron.com
Marketing Information

The Tamron SP designation is reserved for lenses developed with special emphasis on extraordinary photographic performance. Engineers are free to innovate in an uncommon atmosphere where optical performance comes before price, resulting in lenses that satisfy the demands of discerning photographers.

The SP 90mm F/2.8 Di enjoys enviable DNA from Tamron's original SP 90mm F/2.8, further refined for the demands of high-resolution digital imaging. Extraordinary 1:1 (life-size) close up capacity, combined with what many consider an ideal portraiture focal length (when used on full-frame DSLR or 35mm SLR cameras) this prime optic was nicknamed "the portrait macro." Equally at home on APS-C DSLRs, rendering a picture angle equivalent of the 140mm lens on a full-frame DSLR or 35mm SLR camera, photographers appreciate the resulting increase in front element-to-subject distance and close-up photography. In addition, this 135mm-like picture angle is well-suited for environmental portraiture. Extraordinary sharpness, striking contrast and a remarkable absence of distortion combine to produce images of exceptional caliber.

Weight (Approximate)405.4 g