Tamron SP 90mm f/2.5 Macro Reviews

Jul 6th, 2013Racinette

Price Paid
$125 CDN Used

Product Understanding

Time Owned
More than a year

I purchased this lens used around four years ago. I already had the excellent Nikkor 55mm f2.8 AI/S, but the blades of that lens were getting sticky and exposure was unreliable. At that time, I shot with several Fuji and Nikon DX bodies. This lens was able to give me a bit more reach and had the added bonus of being a good portrait lens. I also used Tamron Adaptall lenses for many years, so I knew I could use this lens all I wanted and and easily resell it for what I paid if it didn't work out like I wanted.

For macro, it's great. The Nikkor 55 is sharper, but the extra working distance is handier. I use this lens mainly at weddings to shoot photos of jewellery or flowers. It does its job well - good natural colours and able to blow away an annoying background with the longer focal length and better maximum aperture than most current f2.8 macro lenses (i.e. clutter that always collects and you can't move while getting ready for a wedding). Note: maximum aperture # actually changes with macro lenses due to extension, so you might not think there's much of a difference between f2.5 and f2.8 -- there is, so focus can be defined in a very small area (e.g. a ring placed in a flower) and no fake-looking post-processing is needed to blur the background - a really nice effect. This lens only goes to 1:2, but I've found that enough. In a pinch, I use an extension tube.

This is a decent portrait lens for facial close-ups wide or nearly wide-open. However, since it's a manual-focus lens, don't expect it to be quick to use. The focus needs to be spot-on, but I've found that it's sometimes too easy to rush portraits with an AF lens and the eyes aren't always tack-sharp. Therefore, slowing down can be a good thing.

Happily, it works great and I'm quite satisfied with it. I've considered "upgrading" to a newer lens, but optical stabilization is not necessary for serious macro work, and the only real advantage of newer lenses are the coatings -- this lens can be a bit soft due to flare, especially shooting into bright lights like at a wedding dance. A lens hood helps, but another choice of lens helps for those situations helps even better in most cases. On an FX body like my D800, this lens doesn't have the resolution of newer models, but I've found clients don't tend to make huge enlargements of the shots I make with this lens. Pixel-peepers will turn up their noses at this lens, but for the money, you simply can't go wrong!

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